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districts where children and their parents move from one territory to the other, this bill would provide relief.
However, there are two phases of it that I wish to speak to for just a moment. The first is with reference to equalization of educational opportunities between the rural section and the urban communities.
In the State of Georgia we are still largely rural people. And this holds for a great deal of the South. The teachers in rural sections are paid very poor salaries, due to the fact that there is but little property to be taxed, so far as the local situation is concerned. That has been tremendously improved by the State's taking over a part of this burden in the last few years. We have only had what we might call a State system of schools for about 4 years. While we had some State aid previous to that time, 4 years ago we adopted laws that gave us better State support. But even with that better State support, the rural sections are suffering tremendously.
That does not apply only to the sections within the State but through the whole of the rural sections throughout the United States, as well as in the South, I imagine.
I think it ought to be known and understood that the effort that is being made, especially by the Southern States, to take care of education, is the supreme effort in education in this country.
The little community in which I was born and reared, for example, after it had paid it 5 mills county-wide tax, as well as its State tax for education, still has such a small amount of property that it adds 15 mills on the local school district in order to maintain what they think is a good school system.
Senator ELLENDER. In that connection, Dr. Sutton, prior to 1928 we had some communities in Louisiana that taxed themselves as much as 70 mills?
Dr. SUTTON. Yes, Senator.
Senator ELLENDER. What proportion of the school burden iş borne by the State in Georgia? Can you tell us?
Dr. SUTTON. That varies, because in a great many sections of the State the State money is practically all that they get. In Atlanta, for example, it is about 20 percent.
Senator ELLENDER. Eighty percent by the State?
Dr. SUTTON. Yes, Senator. In this little district that I speak of, it is about 20 percent from the State and 80 percent by the local district.
Senator ELLENDER. What is the largest contribution that is made to any county in the State of Georgia ? Give us the percentage.
Dr. SUTTON. From the State?
Dr. SUTTON. As I say, in a great many sections it is the whole thing.
Senator ELLENDER. A hundred percent?
Dr. Sutton. Yes; that is correct. The recent law exempts up to a certain amount of money the property on which a man lives, and his household furniture; and it has practically wiped out everything except what the State gives.
Senator ELLENDER. We have that same situation in Louisiana at the present time.
Dr. SUTTON. So I think the situation is very serious when it comes to the question of rural communities.
Now, here is where that touches all of us. For example, in Atlanta we are confronted with the situation of these people moving from rural sections where they have had very poor school facilities; and they are irregular in their work; and they are a very, very great burden upon the city to which they come.
What is happening in Georgia, I suppose, is very much like what is happening in Virginia, and I am sure all over the country; that is, that people are moving to where they can get better school facilities.
I was trying to divide the situation as to the Negro and the rural schools; but for the time being I want to speak of both of them.
For instance, Atlanta is becoming the mecca for all the Negroes in Georgia; and here is the situation that confronts us.
The average Negro teacher in Atlanta receives $1,300 as a yearly salary. The average Negro teacher in the State receives about $500, although I do not remember just exactly that it is. But you can easily see how the teachers will migrate.
Now, what happens to the teachers happens to the schools, because if they have a $500 teacher the chances are that they have a $500 school, and that Negro realizes, "If I can move to Atlanta, I can get a better school for my children."
The result is that in the city of Atlanta, which is a very small corporation so far as area is concerned, we have moved up from 27 percent Negroes to 38 percent Negroes. The residential section, of course, is expanding outside the city limits and the white people, for the most part, are moving out there and are selling their property to the Negroes. So within a short time, if things move as they have been moving, we will have 50 percent Negroes within the city. That is because we are paying better salaries. That is what is happening. We are depleting the whole back country; we are reducing tax values.
I could give you my own little home county as an example, where I sold land myself in 1918 at $60 an acre, and that land changed hands a number of times up until 1938, when I bought it back for $3.25.
The people have moved away. They have moved toward the schools. As they have moved toward the schools fewer and fewer people live out there, and that land is less and less desirable, and the tax value of it is all gone. The few people who do continue to live there have absolutely nothing so far as local taxes are concerned, with which to support their schools. That creates one of the most serious situations that I know anything about.
I want to speak about one particular phase of this, if I may, that may seem to be-well, I would not say out of place, but it is a phase that possibly we have not thought much about. And that is that the wealth in this country consists in the culture and the education and the training of our people. If we think about it, I don't think we give much attention to it.
My thesis is this, that the barometer of good business in this country is the culture of the masses of the people. If you want to sell and exchange commodities and services, you have to have a high order of intelligence. With our foreign trade practically gone, we have a
reserve in this country of 35,000,000 people who are about fifth graders or less.
A little while ago I spoke, or we spoke of literacy. A man who can just read and write is not much better off than a man who cannot
He has to arrive in the scale at something beyond literacy, where he has discriminating thought and reasoning ability before he can become of much value. When that fellow rises in that scale and has greater wishes and greater wants and greater desires and greater needs, a kind of upsurge of his soul gives him a desire for things which are better than he has. But, fortunately, that desire can be carried out and met by the educated man. That other man, that cultured man, has far greater buying powers than the other fellow. There is no transfer of services or commodities for the man who is on that low level.
We are trying to replace our foreign trade and we are trying to build a better business in this country. The greatest opportunity in the world that I know of to do that is to give to the masses of people a higher educational and cultural level. There is only one way on earth that that can be done, and that is through assistance from the Federal Government to all people.
People in these territories that I am speaking about have already taxed themselves to the limit. But the wealth that is created in the East, in the North or anywhere else, or a part of that wealth, comes from the plains of the West or from the humblest Negro laborer in this country. After all, wealth is nothing but the actual labor and work and effort and refinement of material resources that come out of the work of the individual.
It seems to me that if we have 35,000,000 who change from an average of, let us say, third or fourth graders to an average high-school graduate, it would increase the wealth of this country in such an amount that the $300,000,000 asked in this bill would be a mere bagatelle.
The only people in this country that I know of who have vision is the Government. I say that to the credit of the Government. You can say what you please about politicians, or what not, but that is the fact. I just recently made a 10,000-mile trip around this country and had a very great opportunity to observe things. The one agency, and the only one that is concerned with long-term vision is the Government. And here is an opportunity, as I see it, for a very, very small amount of help in carrying forward this idea of giving to these 35,000,000 people and the children this needed assistance.
The reason why I am so much interested in adult education is because I think we have to look at the whole picture and not just those that are of school age. And I want to mention one other thing. This is the way to do this thing without friction in our country, and especially in a community that has had as much racial trouble or racial differences as the communities in the South. But I imagine that would apply to a great many other minority groups all over the United States. I felt it in the West when I was out there.
If we do not do something like this bill proposes, we are going to create a great deal of racial feeling. If the Federal Government does not step into the breach and help, and if we go back home and are forced to reduce white salaries in order to equalize others, you are going to create among a certain low element a terrible situation. And I don't know just how terrible it will be.
It may be said to the credit of the Negroes as a whole that they are not trying to press that the white salaries be reduced. But there is no other way in which to do it if we are to take care of that situation.
There are all kinds of organizations that could come forward and make this situation exceedingly acute. I cannot help but believe that the one way of keeping down our racial prejudices is worth more than the entire amount set up in the bill.
I want to quote just a figure or two, if I may, as to what it would cost the State of Georgia to equalize salaries:
Facts showing comparative expenditures and amounts needed to equalize educational
opportunities in the public schools of Georgia (based on State funds only) Actual amount paid white teachers, 1940–41.
$7, 539, 367. 50 Actual amount paid Negro teachers, 1940–41.
$2,096, 122. 50 Number of State-paid white teachers.
14, 915 Number of State-paid Negro teachers
7, 007 Average salary of white teachers.
$505. 49 Average salary of Negro teachers.
If Negroes received same average salary as whites it would require
annually ($505.49 X 7,007). Actual salary paid, 1940-41.
$3, 541, 968. 43 2, 096, 122. 50
1, 455, 845. 93
Additional amount needed to bring Negroes to level of
whites. Average educational level of Negro teachers: 2 years' college,
1939–40. If Negroes were paid same salaries as whites on 2-year college level
(an average of $455 per year), it would require to pay them ($455 X 7,007)
3, 188, 185. 00
Additional amount needed...
1, 092, 062. 50 Median educational level, white teachers: 3 years' college,
1939–40. If median level of training for Negroes were 3 years' college, to
pay annual salaries on level of whites, would require (525X 7,007)-
3, 678, 675. 00 Additional amount needed.-
1, 582, 552. 50 In 1937–38 the average educational level of Negroes was only slightly above county license.
In 1939–40 the average educational level of Negroes was 2 years' college.
In 1939–40 the average educational level of white teachers was practically the same as in 1937–38.
Facts showing comparctive expenditures and amounts needed to equalize educational
opportunities in the public schools of Georgia (revenue from all sources considered). Number of white elementary teachers
10, 700 Number of white high-school teachers...
4, 954 Average salary of white elementary teachers.
$737. 56 Average salary of white high-school teachers.
$1, 192. 12 Excess high-school over elementary average salary
$154. 56 Additional amount needed to bring white elementary to level of white high-school teachers..
$4, 863, 792. 00 Number of colored elementary teachers
5, 836 Number of colored high-school teachers.
870 Average salary of colored elementary teachers
$346. 14 Average salary of colored high-school teachers.
$728. 47 Excess of high-school over elementary salary.
$382. 33 Additional amount needed to bring colored elementary to level of colored high-school teachers..
$2, 231, 278. 00 Total number of elementary teachers, white and colored.
16, 536 Total number of high-school teachers, colored.-
Facts showing comparative expenditures and amounts needed to equalize educa
tional opportunities in the public schools of Georgia (revenue from all sources
considered)—Continued Average salary of elementary teachers, white and colored
$599. 42 Average salary of white high-school teachers
$1, 192. 12 Additional amount needed to bring white elementary teachers to level of white high-school teachers
$4, 863, 792.00 Additional amount needed to bring colored elementary teachers to level of white high-school teachers..
4, 937, 139.00 Additional amount needed to bring colored high-school teachers to level of white high-school teachers...
403, 376. 00
Total additional amount needed to bring all teachers to
10, 204, 307. 00 National annual average salary of teachers..
1, 283. 00 Average annual salary of Georgia teachers
716. 00 Excess national average above Georgia average.
567. 00 Additional amount needed to bring Georgia to level of national average annual salary
12, 678, 120.00 The figures that I have here, filed by the State department of education, show that if all the Negro teachers were brought up to the level of the white teachers and if elementary and high-school teachers were put on the same basis, and if this differential between the rural and city teachers were taken off, the State would actually need more than $10,000,000 with which to do it. If we were put on the level of the national average it would take some $12,000,000.
These figures are absolutely astounding. I appreciate that the only help that I can see to our people must come from some organization or from some department of the Government.
I think this bill is well drawn. I think it will effect its purpose. I believe it will save a great deal of racial prejudice. I believe it will go far—but not all of the way—toward equalization of educational opportunities between rural and urban sections and between Negroes and whites.
I thank you, Mr. Chairman.
STATEMENT OF DR. JOHN K. NORTON, TEACHERS COLLEGE,
Senator ELLENDER. Will you please give for the record your name. address, and such other data as you desire to put into the record with reference to your occupation?
Dr. NORTON. Mr. Chairman, and members of the committee, my name is John K. Norton. I am a professor at Teachers College, Columbia University, and have been since 1930. My field is school administration and school finances.
I have been studying this general problem as one of my specialities for some 20 years. I am the author of two or three books-. The Ability of the States to Support Education, published in 1926; Wealth, Children, and Education, published in 1937; and Education and Economic Well Being, which was issued as a report of the Educational Policies Commission, published in 1940.
I am carrying on further research in this field at the present time.
I think you will want me to telescope any material that has been fairly well covered already; so I shall do that.