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purpose that Congress had in mind in passing the legislation providing for the closer earmarking of funds.
Senator ELLENDER. Has your Department any difficulty with these various States in having them follow such rules and regulations as you may prescribe for them to get these funds?
Mr. STUDEBAKER. No; no great difficulty. In fact, insofar as controls are possible under the vocational education acts we have always tried to work cooperatively with the State officials, realizing that the success of any policy of moderate control would depend upon its acceptability in the States, its workability.
Senator ELLENDER. I assume such control as you may have exercised was to see that the money was spent for the purposes for which it was allocated?
Mr. STUDEBAKER. Exactly so. Senator ELLENDER. And that would be probably the extent to which you would exercise that control under this bill?
Mr. STUDEBAKER. Yes. But, as I said a little while ago, the degree in which those controls would need to be specific here is much less, because this is a general bill and therefore the controls would be exceedingly general. To be more specific, if you vote, as you do every year here, money for agricultural education in the States, it is to be assumed that what you want as the result of the expenditure of the money you appropriated is agricultural education, not medical education, not trades and industries, not bookkeeping, except as a certain phase of accounting would be involved in agricultural education.
From these examples I think we can conclude that efforts by the Federal Government to relieve educational poverty result in better conditions and ultimately in a larger proportion of the cost of good education being borne by the States and localities.
Preparedness is also an issue at stake. Others who have testified before you have pointed out that only a highly trained people can compete and, indeed, survive in the world in which we live. That seems to be the lesson of events. We were shocked by the high percentage of illiteracy and the drain it put on military preparedness in the last war. We lulled ourselves into the belief that our school system would gradually improve and eliminate such a handicap by the time of the next emergency. But the next emergency has arrived and where are we? We are in the position that the Army has to take time out from military training to teach men how to read and write. At Fort Belvoir, just a few miles from the Capital, a class of soldiers comes together every Saturday morning to learn to read and write. A report has been given me indicating that in one State 11% percent of all draft registrants had to put X for their signatures. An equal number could sign their names but could not read a newspaper or write a letter. One in five registrants in that State is of relatively little use to national defense because he is a man who cannot even read simple orders. As a Nation we should ask ourselves if this is preparedness. Can we most effectively defend our Nation with men with such handicaps?
Time lost in education is irretrievably lost. But we can begin now to prevent tragedy in the future by extending the education front. Only the Federal Government, the protector of the whole people, is powerful enough to do this. The Federal Government, which is responsible for the protection of our borders, must have educated
citizens if it is to succeed in guarding us against strong, ambitious enemies.
Senator Ball. Doctor, I was interested in this estimate of $115,000,000 needed for school facilities. Did that survey really go into much detail as to the points where these new industries are being built and did you take into consideration the fact that some of those industries, when the emergency is over, may close down, so that in some instances you may want temporary school housing and in some instances you may want school housing?
Mr. STUDEBAKER. Mr. Senator, Mr. Henry Alves, one of our associates in the office is here. He directed that survey. If you do not mind, I will ask him to answer these particular questions.
STATEMENT OF H. F. ALVES, UNITED STATES OFFICE OF
Senator ELLENDER. Give your name and present occupation.
Relative to the scope of the study, the Commissioner indicated that all defense areas were included. At least that was our intention. Because of the fact that there are certain varying stages in the development of given defense projects, the estimates secured from the respective projects will consequently vary in degrees of accuracy.
When we started the study early in December there had been programmed by the Defense Housing Coordinator slightly more than 30,000 Federal houses. There was no information available at that time-certainly not as much as there is now, as to the permanency or the temporality of such houses. Consequently, most of the estimates, perhaps all of them, as far as we know, were projected in terms of school-building needs of the same type as is found in the particular locality. In the main the needs were projected for permanent buildings.
At this time we have in our files a number of supplements to those reports, and in many instances we now have definite information in a given defense area that the housing facilities, that is, family dwelling units, are temporary, or they are of such a nature that they are quickly movable, they are demountable. Our proposal, and the Commissioner's recommendation is, in his official report, that the school needs should agree with the permanency or temporality of the family housing.
Senator BALL. Your $115,000,000 estimate has not been adjusted for that change, has it?
Mr. ALVES. Yes and no. It would adjust itself automatically for this reason: Our total estimated need of $115,000,000 was projected in terms of the maximum number of Federal houses available, by funds then available. Since then there has been an additional $150,000,000 for defense housing, which will mean at least 42,000 to 45,000 family dwelling units. Because of the fact we did not in December recognize that certain buildings would be temporary, that margin would undoubtedly be taken up by this increase.
Senator Ball. How many pupils? Have you any estimate on that? How many pupils would you have to provide new housing for?
Mr. Alves. Yes. That is purely an estimate, however. There has been no accurate census. The projected total need of $115,
000,000 was estimated in terms of a maximum of 85,000 Federal houses—when I say "Federal houses” I mean family dwelling units supplied by Federal funds—with an equal number of private houses. We figure an average of between 1.3 and 1.4 children of school age, which was the average on the basis of 200 area reports. So that gave us approximately 245,000 to 260,000 children, in terms of estimates then available, that would be in localities other than the ones they had lived in, in the preceding school year. That is, they would find themselves in areas in which school systems did not have available school facilities for their children.
In that connection, I should state for further clarification that the first purpose of the form, which was used by these localities to project their estimated needs, was to have them record, school by school, in the district or the county or city, whatever it happened to be, the seating capacity, the enrollment as of June 1940, the enrollment as of December 1940, and then the number of available seats for children who might come in. By and large, we are perfectly safe in saying that if those estimates from approximately 215 areas at the time anywhere near represent a cross section and we think they do—that you may expect existing school facilities to absorb not more than 15 to 20 percent of the influx, except in a few large cities.
Senator Ball. I notice that figures out to about $450 per pupil.
Mr. Alves. That is for both capital outlay and possibly needed current expense.
Senator BALL. Is current expense included in that $115,000,000?
Mr. ALVES. About $18,000,000. I am wrong on the 12 percent. It would be about 16 percent. In the locality where there is a constitutional and legal limitation to the amount of tax income that a local governmental entity responsible for schools may derive from that source, if that governmental entity—which from here I will call the school district-is now taxing itself to that constitutional and legal limit, it is obvious that it cannot, from that source, secure any additional tax income until there is an increase in its tax base.
When the Federal Government builds 1,000 houses in that district they do not go on the tax roll. If there were 1,000 private houses, bear in mind that in the average State there is a non-tax-producing period ranging from 18 to 24 months before that increased tax income, resulting by virtue of the building of those 1,000 houses, will have any effect locally. Now that district, already at the saturation point, unless it can get all of the funds from State sources, which is true in only a few States so far as the minimum program is concerned, certainly cannot rely on its own local sources.
Senator BALL. I agree. I think it is the Federal Government's job to take care of it. I was trying to find out how you arrived at this estimate. That figures out something over $400.
Mr. ALVES. Somewhere between $375 and $400.
Mr. Alves. That compares very favorably, I understand, with the figure, for instance, for all the P. W. A. school buildings.
Senator BALL. P. W. A. or W. P. A.?
Mr. Alves. P. W. A. The regular P.W.A. school-building pro
. gram. In some areas, and logically again in the southern States, on the Gulf, you probably would not need that amount, whereas in the Great Lakes region you probably would need more than that. So that is an average.
Senator BALL. Oh, yes.
Dr. Studebaker, I was interested in your answers to Senator Ellender's questions about just how you would avoid Federal control. Frankly, I do not think you can do it. I think the amount of Federal control is going to be in exact proportion to the amount of Federal funds contributed to education. I do not see how you can avoid it. It has proven to be true in all the other Federal-aid programs, the social security, and so forth.
Your object, of course, here is to equalize educational opportunities. I do not know how you are going to do that without going into the State and setting standards, saying, “We will give you so much to bring these districts up to this standard,” and that is bound to involve control.
Mr. STUDEBAKER. The kind of undesirable control we all have in mind when we use the word in that connection need not be practiced, Senator. I will cite as a good illustration in the field of education the grant of money to the land-grant colleges, which is $5,000,000 a year now for instructional purposes. I doubt whether you could find people who would say that there is undesirable control exercised in any case there. The law is such as to prohibit it.
Senator BALL. I think your suggestion for putting the formula for the distribution of these funds right into the act would be the best way to avoid any Federal control. Otherwise, if you are going to leave it to the determination of the administration, they are going to have to go in and see that you have got to do these things in order to get the money.
Mr. STUDEBAKER. I think the question there is whether or not we really believe in the thing that we are advocating the appropriation for, which is education. So far as I am concerned, I am willing, as an American citizen, to take my chances on the extent to which the States, severally and individually, will raise their standards of instruction, if you please, under leadership that will point the way, without the possibility of coercive control, if they have the wherewithal with which to do it.
Now we must be a little patient with the processes of democracy, and with education in a democracy. I think, for example, to be more specific if we were to put Mississippi in a financial position to raise its educational standards, from that time on out it is the question of the Federal Government in relation to Mississippi exercising the kind of educational leadership that will enable Mississippi to see how it may do the thing that it is eager to do. I have enough faith in the people of Mississippi, and of every other State, to believe that they want to do it if they see the way, without compelling them to do it by the kinds of controls that we imagine.
Senator Ball. I think you have a little more faith than I have. I am not familiar with the situation in Mississippi, but I know in my own State we appropriate very large sums through State aid to equalize educational opportunity, but our school districts in the rural areas were laid out in the days of the horse and buggy, and they, in my opinion, and in the opinion of a great many research people who have studied the problem there, are much too small in view of our modern transportation methods, and the result is that our State aid, to a certain extent, is perpetuating an uneconomic administrative set-up. In other words, we have tried to get the county system, for instance, up there, and the local school boards have always blocked it, because, under the present system, if they do certain things they get so much State aid and it pays them to block the county system, in order that they might equalize over a county, and maybe the tax rates for school purposes would go up. But you just cannot get them to go in on that kind of a system. I think studies up there have shown that the money they now have will give them much better educational facilities if they would simply improve their administrative set-up and recognize the change in our transportation system of today.
I am wondering if this Federal system is not going to just tend to perpetuate uneconomic administrative set-ups in your school districts all over the country?
Mr. STUDEBAKER. It seems to me that we shall be able sooner or later to convince the people in the States that they might modernize their local administrations of government and of education. You, I am sure, would agree that what you have just said with respect to education would apply to other phases of the State government.
Senator Ball. Oh, yes.
Mr. STUDEBAKER. There again it is an educational problem. If the people cannot be convinced that the reorganization of the larger local administrative units is advantageous, they will not reorganize. If they can be convinced that it is advantageous they will reorganize, and they have in some States.
For example, West Virginia and Maryland, and some other States, now have county units of school administration. I think in those States, as in others, we should not be too slavish even to the county need, we should think more realistically in terms of units of administration that are both economical and efficient. Among the 3,200 or 3,300 counties in the United States there are some counties that have only 6,000 or 8,000 or 10,000 people living in them. In such places probably some counties should be joined together to give efficient supervisory administration for local units. I have sometimes thought that we ought to aim to have local units for the administration of education comprising at least 25,000 people, as an estimate of the size of the population that would be required for a reasonably competent overhead administration.
Senator Ball. Yes; but if you subsidize, in effect, the present administrative set-up, are not you going to slow down the urge to modernize that set-up? That has certainly been my impression of what we have done with State aid in Minnesota. Your local school board looks at its tax picture. They realize that the State has authority to levy a certain tax, and they get so much State aid. Then they look at the county plan, and that is a small county, and they see that if they go into the county plan maybe it is going to cost them a little more in the tax rate and they may lose some of this State aid. Consequently, the equalization aid of the State has tended to perpetuate an uneconomic system. I am just afraid you are going to do the same thing on a national scale.