« AnteriorContinuar »
support for the public schools, distributed on an equalization basis, is much the most pressing need of American education at this time.
The grants are intended to be available for a broad type of public school program. The provisions of section 7, on availability, seem adequate to insure the availability of the funds for any appropriate expenditure of the public schools and their auxiliary services in connection with current operations and mainte
EXHIBIT 15 Amounts of existing authorized Federal grants for educational services, based on
total amounts authorized to be appropriated 1
(In thousands of dollars)
The plan of apportionment for the general aid is specified in section 4. The plan of apportionment is definitely intended to put funds where they are needed, and not to put funds at any other point. It is a true equalization plan; it will accomplish a very high degree of equalization for the areas where financial ability is most inadequate, particularly when the relatively small size of the fund to be distributed is considered.
The apportionment procedure under any equalization plan is necessarily somewhat complex, but the procedure specified in the present bill is much less complex than the plans for local equalization which have been enacted into law in a number of the States, and it is based essentially upon the same principles. Basically, there are only three problems to be solved: (1) The measurement of the educational load of the various areas, in this case the States; (2) the measurement of the financial ability of the various areas; and (3) the combination of the measures of educational load and of financial ability into a measure of financial need which can be used in the distribution of funds.
It would be possible to write into the bill the specific formula by which the funds for equalization purposes would be distributed among the States. It is difficult, however, to write the entire details of the formula into law, since the exact data that would go into the formula change from year to year. Taking that fact into consideration, and the fact that the provision of aid for schools in defense areas, for children residing on Federal properties, and for children of migratory workers should be worked out on a project basis, it is hardly feasible to write a specific formula into the pending bill. The procedure set up in section 4 of S. 1313 for apportioning funds to the respective States is much more practical and will result in greater equity.
The board of apportionment is instructed as to the factors that must be taken into consideration in making apportionments to the States. A reading of section 4 (b) and (c) will make it clear that their power is not arbitrary and that real equalization for general elementary and secondary schools is the plain objective. It is difficult to conceive what the board could do other than take into consideration the three factors enumerated above, namely, educational load, financial ability, and a combination of these factors so as to arrive at a measure of financial need.
EDUCATION OF CHILDREN RESIDING ON FEDERAL RESERVATIONS
The Advisory Committee on Education investigated the educational needs of the children residing on Federal reservations. The Federal Government reserves throughout the Nation take considerable territory from State and local government control. Many families with children of school age reside legally on such reservations. Since the reservations are federally controlled, the Government property, the property of individuals, and the local incomes of residents thereon are not subject to State and local taxation. The Federal Government has no general policy regarding educational provisions for children on these reservations. For some Congress makes excellent provision; for some the use of Federal funds is authorized; while for others absolutely no provision is made by the Federal Government. As a result, the responsibility for educating thousands of children living on such reservations falls on the parents or is transferred by them to the adjacent State public schools. The taxpayers of school districts adjacent to reservations provide schooling for such children at a cost exceeding a million dollars annually. In many instances school facilities are entirely lacking for children whose parents reside on property under the control of the United States Government.
The exact number of children who would be eligible for educational aid is not known, but it is estimated at 30,000. Questionnaire returns received from. 815 reservations reported 23,061 children 6 to 18 years of age on 686 Federal areas in 1936-37. About 79 percent of these children were on reservations exclusively under Federal jurisdiction. The evidence indicates that about 7,500 children in many scattered areas now obtain education only through payment of tuition in public or private schools, or in schools maintained through the contributions of the reservation communities.
Various expedients are now used to secure or provide education for children on Federal reservations. The most common is reliance on the charity of adjacent public-school jurisdicticns, where schools are nearby and available. In a majority of cases the children have been accepted without payment of tuition even where legally not entitled to attend the public schools. However, the prevailing opinion in these areas is that the Federal Government has been avoiding an obligation that it should long ago have assumed.
The general proposition is this: The Federal Government pays no taxes to local or State government. Schools are almost wholly dependent upon local and State taxation for their very existence. If any local or State jurisdiction took the position that the education of children within its jurisdiction is wholly a matter of parental responsibility, it would be considered by the country in general as socially benighted. But the Federal Government assumes such a position with impunity, except in the minds of those few persons affected. The education of the children residing on Federal properties is clearly a Federal responsibility.
FEDERAL-STATE RELATIONS UNDER THE PROPOSED ACT The major issues that require consideration under the pending bill arise in connection with (1) the amounts of money authorized be to appropriated, (2) the apportionment of the grants among the States, and (3) the plan of Federal-State relations for the handling and administration of the funds. According to the evidence available, the amount proposed in the pending bill is certainly not too much. The method of apportionment has been discussed in another section of this memorandum.
The plan of Federal-State relations under the bill is simple and clear-cut. The bill contains the safeguards necessary to insure that the funds will be spent by the States only for the purposes for which appropriated. On the other hand, it contains stringent provisions to prohibit any Federal administrative official from exerting control over the educational policies of the States and local school authorities.
The most important provision with which the States must comply in connection with the general aid for elementary and secondary schools appears in section 6, paragraph (2), which specifies that each State accepting the general aid shall either through its legislature or through its State educational authority, if the legislature so directs, provide a State plan of apportioning the funds received under this act in such manner as to assist effectively in carrying out the purposes for which funds are appropriated under this act, and so as to reduce substantially inequalities of public elementary and secondary schools especially among school jurisdictions serving rural children and children of minority races for whom separate schools are maintained by law, taking into account the educational load, the total tax load, and the financial ability of the respective local jurisdictions to support public education, and the State funds available to such jurisdictions.
Many of the States now have excellent plans of distributing funds on equalization basis. On the other hand, many of the States have made only the
most inadequate beginnings in the task of equalizing educational opportunities among their various local school districts. It is apparent, therefore, that if the general aid for elementary and secondary schools is to be expended for the purpose for which appropriated, to assist in equalizing educational opportunities among States and within States," some provision such as that quoted is imperative.
The provision is general in character and will present no difficulty to any State willing to accept and use the funds for equalization. The required plan is limited to apportionment alone; it may be provided by direct enactment of the State legislature, or the legislature may delegate preparation of the plan to the State educational authority.
The bill also contains provisions with respect to the custody of the funds, reports of expenditures and of the progress of education, and auditing. If there is failure to make required reports, or if funds are lost or illegally expended, payments may be suspended by the Secretary of the Treasury, on certificate by the Commissioner of Education after notice and hearing.
The powers of the Commissioner of Education under the bill are so limited that it is difficult to see how he could exert control over State and local educational policies even in the event that he should desire to do so. In order, however, that there may be no doubt as to the intent of the bill with respect to the autonomy of the States and their local school jurisdictions, the bill contains specific prohibitions as to things that shall not be done. Section 2 provides that “The provisions of this Act shall
be so construed as to maintain local and State initiative and responsibility in the conduct of education and to reserve explicitly to the States and their local subdivisions” the following matters:
The control over the processes of education.
The selection of personnel employed by the State and its agencies and local school jurisdiction.
The American people would rightly object to any attempt to use Federal aid to education as a means of controlling the content or processes of education in the schools. A careful reading of the present bill will make it plain that it has been drafted with a totally different objective. The bill porvides aid where it is needed and it provides adequate safeguards to assure the honest and legal expenditures of the funds in conformity with the purposes for which appropriated. At the same time, it avoids giving discretion to Federal administrative officials, and specifically prohibits undesirable activities on their part in fields where it is of the utmost importance to maintain the autonomy of the States.
The CHAIRMAN. The hearing will stand in recess until 2 o'clock this afternoon.
(Whereupon at the hour of 12 o'clock noon a recess was taken until 2 p. m. of the same day.)
Pursuant to the recess, the committee resumed the hearing on S. 1313 at 2 p. m.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Sidney B. Hall?
STATEMENT OF SIDNEY B. HALL, STATE SUPERINTENDENT OF
PUBLIC INSTRUCTION, RICHMOND, VA.
The CHAIRMAN. Will you please state your name, title, and any other information which you wish to put into the record?
Mr. Hall. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the committee, I am Sidney B. Hall, superintendent of public instruction, State of Virginia, and chairman of the legislative commission of National Education Association.
Since several witnesses have already appeared before the committee I do not think it is necessary for me to repeat many of the things that have been said which I had contemplated saying. Therefore, instead
of repeating them I want to emphasize about three main points with reference to this Senate bill 1313.
It seems to me that this particular bill, while it is the culmination of thinking through the years with reference to Federal aid to education in general, several conditions have arisen in more recent months which make it imperative that this bill be passed by the Congress, or certainly some modification of this bill.
The three points that I have in mind are these: First, that this bill will help in closing the gap of inequalities in education in general.
By that I mean that there are conditions where there are differences in educational opportunities within States and there are differences, of course, as between States. Without going into detail with reference to the abilities of the several States, which is a tax matter, it is obvious, I am sure, to this committee that the abilities of the various States vary in terms of their resources and the per capita wealth behind each child. That being true, there is bound to be obvious differences in educational opportunities between States.
Similarly when you get within the State you will find that there is variety of methods of managing State school affairs. Some are handled entirely from the State standpoint, like in North Carolina, and others are handled entirely from the local standpoint, or practically so. With those differences in methodology, obviously there are differences within the States, not only in terms of their abilities to pay in the various localities but in terms of the ability of the State as a whole.
Hence, in order to wipe out as fully as possible the differences in educational opportunities between the States and within the States there must be some outside assistance. And to us it is obvious that the Federal Government should assume the responsibility of caring for these inequalities.
The second point that I wish to call attention to is that likewise this bill will tend to equalize educational opportunities in terms of the recent court decisions with reference to Negro education. We know that the Negro education problem is a serious problem. We know that up until recently it was regarded primarily as a State or local function. We still believe that it is a State and local function. But in terms of the Supreme Court's decision with reference to these various court cases it is obvious now that the Federal Government has stepped into the picture and is forcing the issue, so to speak, which issue must be met either by the localities and the States or by Federal Government working with the localities and the States. And since Negro education has made progress in the several States in the past without Federal aid, in a rather satisfactory manner, this sudden forcing of the issue on these States seems to me must be met by the source which forced the issue.
In that connection I would like to read into the record a statement as follows:
Negroes have in general the poorest schools to be found in the Nation, the poorest trained teachers, the shortest school terms, the poorest buildings, the least equipment and instructional materials, and the most meager high-school facilities.
In spite of this unfavorable status, it is nevertheless true that Negro schools have been rapidly improving. It must be remembered that educational facilities for Negroes started from nearly nothing in 1866. From then to 1930 literacy among Negroes increased from 10 percent to 90 percent. Since 1918 remarkable progress has been made in the Negro schools; the average number of days at
tended per year per pupil has increased from 70 days to 111; the average length of school term, from 106 days to 142; the percent of school population enrolled in school, from 68.6 to 83.7; the percent of pupils attending school daily, from 65.7 to 78; the percent of pupils in high school, from 0.97 to 6.6; the number of pupils per teacher has decreased from 63 to 43. During this same period the Negro school population increased only 1.5 percent.
It seems to me from those data that it is obvious that the Negro educational problem, which is found primarily in the Southland, has been making considerable progress, and making it in terms of ability and effort of the States in those areas. And now that the problem is being forced upon them, as I indicated a little while ago, it would appear that it is almost imperative that the Federal Governmentthinking of the Supreme Court as representative of the Federal Government and the Nation-should meet the obligation which it has forced upon them.
The CHAIRMAN. May I ask one question right there, Mr. Hall? Mr. Hall. Yes; surely.
The CHAIRMAN. The question of mere literacy is no longer a question any greater among the Negroes than any other class, is it?
Mr. Hall. No, sir; the problem of literacy is just as serious with one group as it is with another. I think those data which I just read would indicate that rather clearly.
Much more could be said about that matter. In fact, I could read into the record evidence concerning the need for school buildings and better prepared teachers and things of that sort; but I think those data speak well enough for themselves.
I would next like to say that this Senate bill 1313 would not only tend to close the gap of inequality in general and also help to close the gap in terms of lack of educational opportunity between races, but it would also make it possible, in the third place, for an extension of the educational program in the directions in which they seem to be needed.
The point was made this morning by Senator Ellender, I think, that we train too many people for white-collar jobs but not properly and sufficiently to meet the ordinary problems of labor or the position to be found in labor.
I would like to get it into the record that while there is much truth in what Senator Ellender says—and I am sure that he would agree with me—we do not want to neglect the so-called general educational aspects in this picture, yet emphasize the very point he made, that is, the training of individuals for other types of occupation. In other words, I should say that I agree with the Senator that we do need more training in the vocational fields and more definite training in trades and occupations. But, at the same time, I am sure that he would not disagree with me when I say that we should not neglect any of the other aspects of education.
So in that sense I want merely to say that this bill would make it possible, as I see it, to construct and locate a series of regional trade schools whereby we can let those schools serve regions to which boys and young people could go and learn the various trades and occupations.
We all know that a trade school does not exist only of itself without other aspects of education being included.
What I mean by that is this, that as soon as you set up an institution like a trade and industrial institution, you have to have accompany