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In that connection I was astounded to find this situation that in Westmoreland County, where huge quantities of coal are produced, if you had imposed just a little, measly 5-cents-a-ton severance tax on coal since it has been mined in that county, you would have enough cash on hand, which, if invested at a rate of 3 percent there would be enough money produced each year to run your schools in the whole county.
Dr. GILBERT. But the trouble is that it was not done.
Senator ELLENDER. I know that. But it is up to the people there to do that, your school teachers and all of the boys you are educating, to instill in them the idea that more could be done by the State itself.
Senator Ball. Do you have a trust fund for your schools?
If not, the hearing will stand in recess until tomorrow morning at 10 o'clock.
(Thereupon, at 5 p. m., Monday, April 28, 1941, an adjournment was taken until Tuesday, April 29, 1941, at 10 a. m.)
EDUCATIONAL FINANCE ACT OF 1941
TUESDAY, APRIL 29, 1941
UNITED STATES SENATE,
Washington, D. C. The subcommittee met, pursuant to adjournment, at 10 a. m. in room 318, Senate Office Building, Senator Elbert D. Thomas (chairman) presiding.
Present: Senators Thomas (chairman), Ellender, Hill, La Follette, and Ball.
The CHAIRMAN. The hearing will be in order. I will ask the recorder to place in the record a telegram from the National Congress of Parents and Teachers. (The telegram is as follows:)
SELMA, ALA., April 28, 1941. Senator ELBERT D. THOMAS, Chairman; Committee on Education and Labor,
Washington, D. C. National Congress of Parents and Teachers on record for Federal aid for education as a means of equalizing educational opportunity and for provision for education of children on Government reservations. Desire maximum local control and distribution on basis of need. January executive meeting pointed out need of assistance in defense areas where population increases greater than local facilities can accommodate.
Mrs. Wm. KLETZER, President. The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Dinwiddie, please.
STATEMENT OF COURTENAY DINWIDDIE, GENERAL SECRETARY,
NATIONAL CHILD LABOR COMMITTEE
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Dinwiddie, will you state your name, your address, and position for the record, please?
Mr. DINWIDDIE. Courtenay Dinwiddie is the name. I am general secretary of the National Child Labor Committee, 419 Fourth Avenue, New York City.
Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, I think we all recognize that our Nation was founded on the principle of equality of opportunity. Equality of opportunity presupposes an educated citizenship. One of our greatest national weaknesses lies in the denial of even an elementary education to hundreds of thousands of our citizens. We have heretofore as a Nation treated this situation far too lightly.
The National Child Labor Committee is deeply concerned not only with obvious child-labor abuses but also with its ever-present associates, ignorance and illiteracy. I submit for your thoughtful con
sideration listings of the 15 States in the Union which have the poorest ranking with reference to child labor, illiteracy, school attendance, length of the school term, and per capita expenditures for school purposes. Without going into detail now I call your attention to the strikingly high correlation between these several unhealthful diseases which must be eradicated from our body politic. That the blame for denial of equal educational opportunity should not rest wholly upon the States you, Mr. Chairman, proved in your speech in the Senate on April 7. The States with the poorest educational facilities are, as a rule, straining themselves most, in proportion to their taxable wealth, to give their children an education.
Just now when we are deeply concerned with the resisting power of our democracy we should look more carefully than ever to this fundamental underpinning of a sound democracy, namely, the education of its citizens. The President's Advisory Committee on Education and other competent authorities have submitted, or will submit, to you impressive information on the inadequacies of our school buildings, equipment, and personnel, and on inequalities of the school term, and type of education offered for children in many of our communities. I will not attempt to retrace the ground already ably covered. It has been shown beyond question that the extent to which great numbers of our children are denied education is a reproach to our national vision and determination which can only be wiped out by a frank, thoughtful, and direct program of equalization, such as is propɔsed in the Thomas-Harrison bill.
The National Child Labor Committee, however, does have a special contribution to make to this discussion. For several years we have been studying what happens to the children of migrant families who lack the legal status of State residents because of their earnest search for work across State lines. I am submitting to you a few digests on schooling from several studies of migrant families which we have made. Without taking your time for details which can be read in the record, your attention is called to:
(a) A study of 81 families containing 173 children of school age picking strawberries in Arkansas and Kentucky in 1939. Thirty-six percent of these children had not attended school a single day in the previous calendar year. The other 64 percent had averaged only slightly over 4 months in school during the year and retardation of the children was serious.
(6) A study of conditions relating to the education of children among migrants in Michigan last summer showed a similar denial of education. Perhaps the figures cited are illustrated most clearly by the situation of one family. An 18-year old boy had completed the fifth grade before he left school. A 16-year old boy, who had not attended school for 4 years, completed only the second grade. A 14-year old youngster had gone to school for only 2 months during the past year, and the two younger children seemed headed for similar “harvest vacations” that tend more and more to be permanent absences from school. Communities where these children work welcome their labor but do not recognize responsibility for their schooling because they expect them to move on. It is to the country as a whole that they must look for their citizenship rights to an cducation. The fact of deepest significance is that these children will be considerably behind their parents in education.
Whereas, in our cities, the second generation, even among those not born in this country, are remaining in school for longer periods— here among our native American families who have taken to the road, we find children leaving school in earlier grades than their parents. Similar retrogression is being noted in other studies. This is a new phenomenon in Americna life and should shock us into action.
(c) A memorandum containing somewhat similar information about the children of migrants in Pacific coast States will also be left with this committee. It reveals a denial of education resulting in retardation for these children caught in the migrant stream, and quotes data indicating that they are little, if any, behind the children of residents in intelligence. Their greatest handicap educationally is primarily that they lack the privilege of attending school.
(d) We also made a careful study of children of families migrating from the city of Philadelphia to the cranberry bogs and truck farms of New Jersey to see what the effect had been upon their educational standing. That retardation among these children was more than double the average in Philadelphia, as shown by the memorandum, is quite easy to understand when it is noticed that these children averaged practically 2 full months lost from school.
The plain fact, gentlemen, is that we have been blind to a development which has been going on for many years. We have developed machine production for many phases of planting and cultivation in agriculture. Due in large part to the machine, costs of that production have been brought to a low figure notably on large and corporately owned farms. Paralleling this machine production at low cost there has been developed mass harvesting by hand labor over short periods. I do not need to go into all the social ills which have resulted. My point here is that a final item in cutting the cost of this labor is the denial of a decent elementary education to hundreds of thousands of children. We simply cannot afford that price.
We are talking, and talking sincerely, in terms of building a strong Nation able to resist aggression. Munitions and weapons of war are a vital part of that defense for today. But we are most short-sighted if we do not recognize and remedy the terrible wrong that we are doing to our children and their future. The sensitive, formative years of childhood come only once.
The National Child Labor Committee strongly endorses the proposals of the Thomas-Harrison bill to remedy the lack of equal school opportunities, not only for our migrant children but for children everywhere who are being educationally starved.
Finally, Mr. Chairman, we believe that there should be an amendment to the bill which will assure one of its main stated purposes; namely, there should be no discrimination between the children of migrant families and those of permanent residents. The wording of this proposed amendment is as follows:
Page 9, line 8, after the semicolon and before the word “and” insert the following:
(G) Provide for a just and equitable apportionment of such funds for the benefit of schools and school personnel for children whether such children are temporary or permament residents of the State or of any district of the State.
ADDITIONAL DATA SUBMITTED WITH STATEMENT OF
NATIONAL CHILD LABOR COMMITTEE,
New York City.
Six IMPORTANT RANKINGS Below are listed in order of rank the 15 States with the poorest ranking in the United States on the points specified. The State with the poorest rank heads the list. I. Greatest percentage of population IV. Lowest relative amount of attend10 to 25 years, inclusive, employed: ance: 2 Mississippi.
South Carolina. South Carolina.
Arkansas. North Carolina.
North Carolina. Louisiana.
Arizona. New Mexico.
New Mexico. II. Highest percentage of illiteracy V. Shortest average length of school among persons
10 to 20
years, term: 3 inclusive: 1
Mississippi. South Carolina.
South Carolina. New Mexico.
North Carolina. North Carolina.
West Virginia. West Virginia. JII. Lowest percentage of children 7 to VI. Lowest per capita expenditure for 15 years, inclusive, in school: 1
education: 4 South Carolina.
South Carolina. Texas.
Mississippi. New Mexico.
Oklahoma. North Carolina.
North Carolina. Tennessee.
Maryland. West Virginia.
New Mexico. 1 Based on the United States census, 1930.
2 Based on a comparison of estimated number of aggregate days attendance by children 5 to 17 years and the aggregate days attendance if all children 5 to 17 years of age had attended 200 days (National Education Association based on 1930 census). 3 For 1929-30 (U. S. Office of Education). 4 For 1927-28 (U. S. Office of Education).