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ever schools they are enrolled, be it tax-supported or privately supported. The issue of permanent Federal aid for education to remedy the inequalities of educational opportunity now existing throughout the Nation should be presented or its own in a separate bill so that there will be opportunity for full consideration and debate. Very sincerely yours,
/s/ GEORGE JOHNSON,
Director, Department of Education. The CHAIRMAN. Is there anything else? That is all then. The hearing will stand in recess until 10 o'clock tomorrow morning.
(Whereupon, at 4:50 p. m., the committee recessed until 10 a. m., Wednesday, April 30, 1941.)
EDUCATIONAL FINANCE ACT OF 1941
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 30, 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, Bunker, La Follette, Bridges, and Ball.
The CHAIRMAN. The hearing will please be in order. Mr. Harri
STATEMENT OF HENRY I. HARRIMAN, VICE CHAIRMAN, AMERICAN
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Harriman, please state your name in full, and your title, for the record.
Mr. HARRIMAN. My name is Henry I. Harriman. I reside in Boston, Mass. I am vice chairman of the American Youth Commission, and chairman of its executive committee.
The CHAIRMAN. You may proceed.
Mr. HARRIMAN. Mr. Chairman, this bill I consider of very great importance, and while ordinarily I should like to speak informally, in this case I have prepared my statement so that it may correctly express not only my own views but the views of the American Youth Commission.
The organization I represent was established in 1935 by the American Council on Education. The Commission consists of 15 men and women prominent in various fields of public life. It is wholly nonpartisan. I have here a list identifying its present members, which I submit for the record.
MEMBERS OF THE AMERICAN YOUTH COMMISSION, APRIL 1941 Owen D. Young, chairman, honorary chairman of the board, General Electric Co. Henry I. Harriman, vice chairman, formerly chairman of the board, New England
Power Association. Miriam Van Waters, secretary-superintendent, Reformatory for Women, Fram
ingham, Mass. Will W. Alexander, vice president, Julius Rosenwald Fund. Clarence A. Dykstra, president, University of Wisconsin. Dorothy Canfield Fisher, author. Willard E. Givens, executive secretary, National Educational Association. George Johnson, director, department of education, National Catholic Welfare Conference.
Mordecai W. Johnson, president, Howard University.
The American Youth Commission was established to consider the situation and needs of young people in America today, expecially those between the ages of 16 and 24, and to recommend to the public measures for meeting these needs and improving the situation of young people. For the past 6 years the Commission through its staff, has conducted numerous studies and experiments in an effort to discharge this obligation. Reports on these activities are available in a series of 26 volumes, published or soon to appear. The Commission itself meets in Washington several times a year to receive the findings of its various studies and to determine the extent of agreement among its members on matters relating to the welfare of youth. The official statements of the Commission are found in a series of seven pamphlets, released over the past 2 years, and they will be brought together and extended in a full report now being prepared.
The adequacy of the educational opportunity available to young people has always been a matter of major concern to the American Youth Commission. One of its principal staff studies was devoted wholly to this subject, and the report of that study, Equal Educational Opportunity for Youth, presents overwhelming evidence of the glaring inequalities that exist among the States in this respect.
When the President's Advisory Committee on Education issued its report in 1938, recommending Federal aid to the States for general education, the American Youth Commission considered that report in a special session and endorsed its recommendation for Federal aid. This decision was not arrived at without difficulty, since certain members were strongly opposed to any extension of the activities of the Federal Government and all were reluctant to increase the financial obligations of the Federal Government at that time. The fact that the Commission could reach unanimous agreement on this point in the face of great unwillingness of some of its members to accept the course of action that seemed called for should be a powerful tribute to the weight of the evidence supporting the case for Federal aid to general education.
Since the defense emergency arose, the Commission has several times taken occasion to point out that the need to remove the educational handicaps that lay upon so many of our young people has become more rather than less acute. Its view of the primary importance of education in a program of national security is embodied in the following passage from the statement, A Program of Action for American Youth:
In the larger view, the primary motive of any program of national defense is to protect our freedom and our democratic institutions. In this respect, education is established in public policy, not as a secondary interest, but as the first line of defense against that internal break-down which in many nations has proved to be even more dangerous than external attack.
No one should think that the contribution of the schools to our present defense effort is or should be limited to the various emergency programs in which they are cooperating with the Federal Government to secure the rapid training of skilled workers. Indeed, this emergency effort must itself be handicapped by the shortcomings in basic education that Federal aid is intended to correct. All of the federally financed emergency programs have been superimposed upon the regular school program. They assume that the vocational trainees have already received the fundamentals of general education through the regular school facilities supported from local and State funds. Actually, of course, this assumption is contrary to fact in many parts of the country.
Because the schools have been left so completely to local initiative and responsibility, the educational situation of this country is one of great variety. The best schools are very good, the average schools are creditabỉe, the poorest schools are so bad that the conditions are almost beyond the belief of those who have not seen them. The poorest schools are also the ones in which the rate of progress is the slowest, with little discernible improvement and some retrogression over a period of a generation. Moreover, in the more povertystricken and isolated parts of the country, there are hundreds of thousands of children whose school attendance is very irregular and at least half a million children of elementary school age are who not even enrolled in any school.
These conditions are the result of dependence upon local property taxation for school support. Some school districts have taxable values a hundred times as great per child as those of other districts even in the same State. States as a whole differ widely in their financial ability; the wealthier States are 8 or 10 times as able to raise school funds per child as the least able. In proportion to their means, the poorest States make the great effort to support schools. That statement I wish to emphasize. Even with great sacrifice they are unable to provide good schools for all the children.
In general the agricultural States have the smallest ability to raise money for education. In most of the predominantly rural States, the resources taxable by the State and by the communities are entirely insufficient to support good schools and other educational facilities, such as libraries, for all their children and youth. Yet those are the States that have the largest proportion of children of school age in their populations and so are contributing most heavily to the future citizenry of the United States. The American Youth Commission, in its statement from which I have previously quoted, makes an earnest plea that the problem be viewed without bias. I quote:
Equalization of educational opportunity should be regarded realistically, not as charity from wealthy cities and States to their poorer brethren, but as a necessary provision for national security. The children born on poor land are as much citizens as those born in more fortunate circumstances. Many of the children in less prosperous areas will later live in States and cities far from their place of birth. Their education is a national concern which is in no way lessened because they happened to be born where real estate is of low assessed value.
The primary remedy foreseen by the American Youth Commission for the conditions I have been surveying is the same as that embodied in the bill now before you. In order that there be no mistake, I
should like to again quote you the Commission's own words. In 1939 the Commission said:
In view of the marked inequality in tax resources among the several States, Federal aid to the States for educational purposes
is essential and should be expanded as rapidly as possible.
In 1940, in its statement, Next Steps in National Policy For Youth, che Commission said:
the American Youth Commission has reached the conclusion that the Federal Government must provide some financial assistance for elementary and secondary schools. If properly distributed, a Federal-aid fund small by comparison with the $2,300,000,000 annually spent for public schools in this country would greatly change for the better the educational outlook of several million children and youth.
It should be a part of the record that the Commission envisions two major safeguards as integral parts of any comprehensive system cf Federal aid to education. The first of these is indicated in its statement thatFederal-aid funds should be distributed in such a way that they will go to the States and school districts where needed most.
This safeguard is provided for in the present bill by the establishment of a board of apportionment. Simple fund-matching is an unimaginative and often inefficient method of getting Federal aid into the areas where it is most needed. The obligations laid upon the board of apportionment by this bill should result in an equitable distribution of funds.
The second safeguard advocated by the Commission is that Federal aid should be safeguarded against Federal interference. I quote:
The plan of administration should guard with all possible care against the intrusion of Federal control over the instructional process in the schools.
This highly important stipulation is also in accord with the language of the present bill
. In recommending Federal aid, the Commission clearly implies its belief that Federal interference can be avoided and that the danger that interference will become a reality is less than the disadvantages certain to result from withholding Federal aid. To quote a final passage from the Commission's most recent statement:
The Commission is fully aware of the dangers involved in bringing the Federal Government into the general field of school support. It has debated this problem over a period of 5 years with the assistance of studies by leading experts. The Commission is convinced that Federal aid is urgently required and that it was never more important if we are to maintain and defend the ways of democracy.
I have in my testimony here been speaking as a representative of the American Youth Commission, whose views I have given in the language of the official statements of that Commission. If before I conclude I may be permitted to resume the role of private citizen, I should like to say that I personally am in full agreement with the views of the Commission that I have endeavored to lay before you. To me, as a layman, the facts regarding the educational situation of American youth are appalling. The only remedy I see for this condition is far from palatable to me, yet I believe that every honest person who will look at the facts must accept the conclusion to which I have come. I believe that Federal aid must be accepted without much further delay as the cornerstone of our national policy in regard to education. The Federal Government necessarily spends money for many purposes. Not one of them is of more importance than the