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establishment of a basic minimum of educational opportunity in every corner of the United States. I say this with profound regret because in general I should like to see Federal expenditures curtailed rather than expanded. But these are times when no activity that can materially promote our national security should be rejected because of expense alone. And I am convinced that in the long run we can never be secure as a Nation until the educational benefits that we are capable of providing are distributed equitably among our people.
In conclusion, may I say that my testimony has been directed toward the general aim this bill is intended to promote rather than toward the bill itself. I have pointed out that certain provisions which the American Youth Commission would emphatically wish to see in a bill of this kind are present, but I have not attempted to criticise the bill in detail. I do not wish to rule out the possibility that in particular respects it might be improved, but it is my impression that on the whole this bill is a good one.
My testimony upon this bill has been in general terms. The detailed evidence supporting the need for Federal aid to education is very extensive, and much of it has already been presented to you. I should like, however, to cite a few instances to serve merely as illustrations of the concrete facts that have led the American Youth Commission to endorse the principle of Federal aid.
The sum spent on the education of the children in daily attendance at our schools averaged $84 in 1938 for the Nation as a whole. This is not in any sense a recommended sum but simply the existing average. Our wealthier States spend much more. New York, for instance, spent $148; California $131; New Jersey, $126. On the other hand there were nine States that spent less than $45. Arkansas spent $32; Mississippi, $28.
It cannot be said of the States that support their schools meagerly that they do so from lack of effort. Almost without exception these States are making a greater effort than the States whose educational expenditures are highest. They are devoting a large part of their resources to educating their children, but these resources are much less than those enjoyed by our more fortunate States. In 1934, the wealthiest State had more than 6 times the economic resources, based on wealth per child 5 to 17 years old, than the poorest State had. Lack of resources available for school support is a handicap affecting large areas of the country--areas which have the task of educating a very considerable proportion of the Nation's children. In the rural Southeast, in 1930, the farm population included 13 percent of all the children of the country, but it received only 2 percent of the national income. The nonfarm population of the Northeast, which had only twice the child population of the Southwest farm area, received 21 times as much income, or 42 percent of all that received by the whole Nation.
Even if our national wealth were distributed evenly among the adult population, who must support the schools, some areas would have far fewer resources than others, for in many parts of the country children are more numerous than in other parts. In 1930 there were 675 children 5 to 17 years of age per 1,000 adults 20 to 64 years of age on farms, while there were only 348 such children per 1,000 adults in cities of more than 100,000 population. The adults on farms thus
carry an educational burden proportionately about twice as heavy as that of the adults in the large cities.
In my opinion, perhaps the most telling argument for Federal aid to the States for educational purposes is the fact, now well established by authoritative research, that a substantial number of the States simply cannot, from their own resources alone, support a minimum defensible program of public education. They could not do so even if all the available tax moneys they might raise were applied to that purpose. You are doubtless acquainted with the estimates of Dr. Paul R. Mort, of Columbia University, which indicate that this situation would have been true of nine States even in the prosperous year of 1930. Assuming the application of a model uniform tax system in all States, Dr. Mort finds that in these nine States 100 percent of the general-purpose taxes that would have resulted from the operation of the model law would have been insufficient to maintain the schools at an acceptable minimum of efficiency. Even in about two-thirds of the States the minimum program could not have been supported from the estimated yield of this tax plan without seriously encroaching upon the amount needed for other governmental services.
The present situation clearly calls for action, and I see no way to remedy the evils I have pointed out other than assistance from the Federal Government. The need has now become unmistakably apparent. We cannot afford to delay action longer.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you very much, Mr. Harriman.
Senator LA FOLLETTE. Mr. Chairman, I am sorry, but I have to leave to go to the Foreign Relations Committee. There is an important matter coming up in that committee this morning that requires my attendance.
The CHAIRMAN. I have to make the same statement. The Foreign Relations Committee is holding a meeting that was decided upon 2 weeks ago. Senator Bunker, of Nevada, is here and will continue the hearing. Senator Ellender will be in, and I think that Senator Lee and Senator Hill will be here before we get back. We may come back a little later. Are there any questions, Senator Bunker?
Senator BUNKER. No.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you very much, Mr. Harriman. I appre. ciate your comments.
Dr. Studebaker, please.
STATEMENT OF JOHN W. STUDEBAKER, UNITED STATES
COMMISSIONER OF EDUCATION
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Studebaker, for the record, will you state your name?
Mr. STUDEBAKER. John W. Studebaker, United States Commissioner of Education.
Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, I wish to discuss briefly the unsatisfactory school situations existing in many sections of our country and to explain the steps which I think are absolutely necessary to remedy those situations. During the 6 years in my present position as Commissioner of Education, I have become rather well acquainted with some of the obstacles to school improvement. It is these obstacles and their removal that I desire to discuss.
Economic ability and children are not equally distributed among the States. This fact is well known and it is the compelling reason why the Federal Government is duty bound to assist the States in financing their schools, thereby bringing about some measure of equalization of the burden of school costs. Just as people of each individual State long ago realized that school costs should be equalized among the school communities or districts of the State, so must we now realize that the costs must be equalized among the States.
The people of those States with low tax resources, but with large numbers of children to educate, deserve much credit for the efforts they have been and are making to provide adequate school facilities. But sacrifice as they will, there is scant chance that they alone can carry the burden of an adequate education for their children; with the help of the wealthier States, the load can be carried without an undue burden for any State.
Any reasonable measure of tax-paying ability applied to the several States, shows how greatly the States vary in their financial ability. For example, in round numbers $24 per capita can be raised annually in South Carolina by applying the second model-tax plan of the National Tax Association, $20 in Alabama, and $18 in Mississippi as compared to $68 in Montana, $77 in Iowa, and $109 in Nevada. So long as one State can raise several times as much revenue per capita using a given tax plan as can another State, it is obvious that funds will have to be provided by the Federal Government if this great handicap in the State with low taxing resources is to be overcome.
Our citizens do not necessarily spend their lives in one section or State; consequently their educational welfare is a concern of all the people. We cannot and should not expect the taxpayers of a State with low economic resources to do the impossible and provide schooling of a standard equal to that which the States together can well afford, but costlier than that which any of several States alone can 'support.
As Governor McNutt' and other. witnesses have pointed out, the need for the Federal Government to assist the States in financing their schools did not arise with the emergency. The need has existed for many years, but recent events have accentuated it.
Wealth continues to concentrate in certain communities and States. Some regions have suffered more than others from droughts and the depletion of natural resources. Modern programs of education call for the outlay of more funds than formerly, requiring that States with sparce populations must use proportionately large sums for the education of vouth in rural areas. Providing education facilities for Negroes, for children of migratory workers, and for the children of families of defense workers expand school costs far beyond comparable costs of the past.
SCHOOLS FOR MINORITY GROUPS
States which have large percentages of Negroes in the population have always had a real problem in providing suitable educational facilities. In most cases the economic ability of those States is low as compared to the other States or to the State of average economic ability. For example the range in relative ability to support school varies among the 12 Southern States having the highest percentage of Negroes in the population, from 1.0 to 2.51 as compared to a range of 3.74 to 6.14 for the 12 States of the Nation ranking highest in such ability. Furthermore, the percentage of white children to adults in Southern States is much greater in most cases than it is in the States of other sections of the country, which fact adds to the school cost burden there. Mississippi, for example, has about 30 percent of her entire population enrolled in school as compared to approximately 17 percent in New York State.
Implications of recent court decisions.-Unit costs in schools for Negroes in those States where separate schools are maintained are generally lower than they are in schools for white children. Now that the Federal courts have rendered decisions that such costs must be equalized, the people of these States will find it not only difficult, but practically impossible to meet the additional burden. For example, it would have required $2,331,448 more for the colored teachers in Alabama in 1937–38 at the rate paid white teachers; $2,460,950 in Mississippi, and $3,029,550 in South Carolina.
Here is a problem for the Federal Government to share in solving. Its implications reach beyond any State boundaries and affect the welfare of the whole Nation. It is doubtful if the States affected can carry the added burden.
MIGRATION ACROSS STATE BOUNDARIES, EFFECT. UPON EDUCATION
Economic and social conditions of the present day in our Nation over which the individual State governments have little control, place financial burdens upon the State school systems which some of them have difficulty in meeting. There are migrations of large numbers of families across State lines. For instance, to mention a few: California with the people from the Dust Bowl; Washington with the workers on the huge reclamation projects; and New Jersey with migrant workers to harvest seasonal crops. These population movements are caused by severe and extended droughts, depletion of natural resources and closing of man-made projects, lack of employment in some areas and new enterprises opening up in others, seasonal employment, and recently the activities of the national-defense program.
The people of no State can very well take care of a great number of new children who suddenly move into the State at the beginning or the middle of the school year. School budgets are not elastic enough for that. Even a wealthy State like California could not provide schools at once for the great numbers of children migrating there a few years ago from the drought-stricken area of the Plains States. Furthermore, the financial resources in many instances are already taxed to the limit and the additional burden cannot be carried. Unless and until a definite stand is taken upon this question of suitable education for all children, conditions will continue to be bad for many children who move from one locality to another and from one State to another during the school year.
Reports show that children of migratory families are retarded in their school work to a much greater extent than other children. A report from New Jersey ' indicates that nearly 8 of every 10 children of migratory workers were retarded in their school work. A report
1 King, Luella M. Problems of education relating to seasonal and migratory labor. Washington, D. C., 1931. Bulletin of the Department of Rural Education of the National Education Association, p. 31.
for Colorado shows that 24 percent of the resident rural children as compared to 42 percent of the migratory children were retarded in their school work.
NEEDED SCHOOL FACILITIES IN DEFENSE AREAS
Senate Resolution 324 dated October 9, 1940, called upon the Secretary of the Navy and the Secretary of Warto make a full and complete study and investigation of all school facilities at or near naval yards, Army and Naval reservations, and bases at which housing programs for defense workers are being carried out or are contemplated.
Specifically three questions were asked relative to these areas, namely:
1. Whether such housing programs will necessitate additional school facilities.
2. Whether the communities adjacent to or near such yards, reservations, and bases are financially able to provide such additional facilities if needed;
3. Whether the Federal Government should provide such additional facilities irrespective of the financial ability of the community.
Plans for the study were formulated with the assistance of interested Federal agencies and State departments of education to include all local areas affected by activities of the defense program. Representatives of State departments of education cooperated with local school authorities in obtaining the information called for on a form prepared by the Office of Education in cooperation with representatives of State departments of education.
Reports from State departments of education setting forth by areas (by schools and by local school administrative units) estimates of needed school facilities are on file in the Office of Education. Many of the original estimates, filed in January and February, have been supplemented as more definite bases for projecting needs have become available. A large number of the reports of estimated needs are accompanied by area maps showing locations of existing school buildings and of proposed new buildings and additions to present buildings. As additional defense projects, such as air bases, training centers, and industrial plants, are planned and developed, the need for school facilities in defense areas will become greater.
On January 21, 1941, I filed my official report with recommendations on school needs in defense areas with Administrator McNutt, who transmitted it to the Departments of the Navy and War. The Secretary of the Navy and the Secretary of War in turn transmitted it with their reports to the United States Senate as called for by Senate Resolution 324. This official report and the recommendations are incorporated in Senate Document 20 and in the report of the hearings on H. R. 3570 held by the House Committee on Public Buildings and Grounds.
The findings of the study pointedly show
That there is an imperative need in many localities for additional school facilities to accommodate children of personnel connected with projects essential to the national-defense program;
That school plant facilities should be programmed and built at the time that family housing facilities are programmed and built;