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We are of the firm opinion that few, if any, Southern States will be able, in the foreseeable future, to bring their systems of public education up to a desirable level without an enlarged program of direct financial aid from the Federal Government. It is our considered judgment that the bill now under consideration, S. 181, will do much to improve the over-all picture.
With respect to the benefits to Negro children and teachers to be derived under this legislation, we believe that the provision contained in section 6 of the bill providing for a “just and equitable apportionment” of the funds for minority racial groups in States maintaining separate schools, comes very close to being an adequate safeguard against discriminatory allocation of these moneys. While this legislation will not wipe out existing differentials obtaining in State expenditures for Negro and white schools, current estimates of the funds Negro schools will receive under it indicate that in practically every one of these States per capita expenditures for Negro pupils and teachers will increase by more than 100 percent.
When similar legislation was before the Senate in October 1943, an amendment was adopted which virtually required States to eliminate any differential in State funds for Negro and white schools as a condition to receiving benefits under this type of legislation. As much as we deplore the discriminatory action of many States in this regard, I want to make it clear that we do not regard this legislation as a proper vehicle or means of correcting this type of inequality. The association has won, or has pending, suits in nearly every Southern State to eliminate these unlawful discriminations in their publicschool systems. These suits involve the matter of teachers' salaries and, in some instances, admission to State universities and colleges. We propose to continue this fight even after the pending bill is passed. We are, therefore, happy to record ourselves as endorsing enthusiasti. cally and without reservation S. 181.
Senator Taft. Take this Louisiana discrepancy, $77 per white child and $20 per colored child, and the discrepancy in Mississippi is even greater
Mr. PERRY (interposing). Yes; even greater.
Senator Taft. Now, the result of this bill will in no way reach that discrepancy.
Mr. PERRY. That is quite true.
Senator Taft. We may add $10 to every colored child and at the same time add $10 to every white child, under the provisions of this bill, so that when you get through it is $87 for the white child and $30 for the colored child.
Now it seems to me that the whole justification for this bill, the only one that appeals to me at all, is the theory that every child in this country is entitled to some minimum education, and that the Federal Government is interested to that extent, not in removing entirely the discrimination. But it seems to me that any equalization bill which fails to assure to every child-before anybody else gets anythingsome minimum education, a $50 education or whatever is decided to be the standard which the Federal Government thinks should be absolutely assured to every child, fails to be an equalization bill, and I don't think you can use the equalization argument for this $100,000,000 feature of the bill—and I think for you to come in and say that this is
for the benefit of the colored children simply because you add the same amount to every colored child that you do to every white child, is a denial of the whole principle of equality.
Senator ELLENDER. The fact remains though, as I understand the bill, that the money that is allocated to a State is divided among the two races in proportion to their respective percentage of the entire population. For instance, Louisiana has 38 percent colored and 62 percent whites. The colored will receive 38 percent of the fund and the white will receive 62 percent.
Senator Tart (interposing). If the Federal Government has any interest in education at all, it is in the general statement that we undertake to assure to every child a certain minimum education, and it seems to me that any equalization must be based on that theory, and it seems to me that any money of this sort given to a State should go, in a case like this, entirely to the colored children until they get the $50, or whatever is stated to be the level that the Federal Government considers sufficient.
Mr. PERRY. Senator, I would just like to address myself to that. Personally, I should like to see that myself
— Senator Taft (interposing). I think we ought to try to draw such
Mr. PERRY. I should like to see a floor on the amount of education that any child may receive. But as a practical situation—and we are practical people_let's take the State of Mississippi, in which the differential which obtains is now 606.6 percent
Senator TAFT (interposing). What are the figures for Mississippi; have you got them here?
Mr. PERRY. I have some figures that were released from the U. S. Office of Education. According to these statistics in 1939–1940 the expenditures for a white child were $52.01, and for a Negro, $7.36, and the percent of cost per white pupil is greater than the percent of cost per Negro pupil by 606.6 percent.
Senator TAFT. My recollection is that in the last bill—and whether the provisions have changed any in this one I do not know--when you got through allocating this money there was actually a bigger dollar discrepancy between the white and colored children than before you started. In other words, for some reason that I don't understand, we will say that every white child got $8 more, and every colored child got $6 more. The percentage wasn't quite as great but for all practical purposes it cannot be claimed that this bill, which leaves the colored child with a $13 education, is equalizing education in the United States.
Mr. Perry. Well, just for the purpose of the record, I have some estimates that have been made of the benefits under this bill, and these estimates run, for white children an average of $14.86 which they would receive in Mississippi, and the Negroes would receive $15.03. These figures are a little out of line; I believe they are predicated upon 1937–38 figures.
Senator TAFT. They are a little different from the ones of 2 years ago.
Mr. PERRY. Yes. But at any rate the estimated expenditures per pupil, as of these 1937–38 figures, would run $56.16 for the white children and $20.58 for the Negro.
But I just want to make this observation: If Mississippi is to receive, say $8,000,000—and that is true generally of the States, because all of them have very wide differentials—and if, as a condition precedent, it is going to have to divert such funds as it receives from the Federal Government to Negro education, based upon the attitudes which have been displayed not only by the States but by their legislative representatives here in Congress, I doubt very seriously whether any Southern Senator or Congressman would vote for this bill.
Senator Tart. I am not talking about who will vote for the bill
Mr. PERRY (interposing). I want to say this, that when you put on that proposition it is tantamount to saying that Negroes in Mississippi will continue for an indefinite period to receive five, or six, or seven dollars per capita as an expenditure for education, and from my point of view, I would like to see the thing you advocate go over; I would like to see a reasonable ceiling of $50, or $60, or whatever standard the educational authorities would make, but I don't want to see Negroes continue to get $6 or Negro teachers continue to get $230 per annum for an indefinite period, just because we want to proceed
upon the ideal situation of a complete abolition of all differentials. Senator Tart. I don't see why we are so interested in seeing that every white child in Mississippi, for instance, where the figure is $52, gets any more. They may not be interested in seeing the white children get any more. They have chosen to take their funds that are available and, by assumption, that is as much money as they can possibly devote to education, and they give four-fifths to the white children who may be getting plenty of education already. Then why should we be interested in improving the status of the white children? If that is the basis for Federal intervention in this field, which has always been local, why isn't our only interest in seeing that every child gets a fair start in life, that is, a minimum education?
Mr. PERRY. I quite agree with you, Senator, except that I have this further observation to make. As I indicated
Senator Tart (interposing). I am not talking about whether you get this bill through or not. There are too many things in this bill to get it through. I think, if we decide what is the right thing to do, we can get the bill through, or a bill through, but I don't think that this mere idea that you can just allot the same amount to every white and colored child, when the discrepancy is now 6 to 1, I don't think that carries out our obligation, if we have any.
Mr. PERRY. And by the same token I don't think that it carries out the obligation of the Federal Government to continue having children of all races and colors—and I am particularly interested in the Negro-receive a standard of education or a per capita expenditure which runs around $6. I think you are going to have to do something to clear that thing up, clear that situation up, and I don't think we can wait for 50 years when the country and its representation from the South becomes enlightened to the point of view that they want to do the right thing.
Senator TAFT. I think the colored situation in the South is the biggest, and perhaps the only argument, for Federal intervention in aid to education, and I don't think we meet it at all by adding $6 to a $7 education. I don't think that meets it.
Mr. PERRY. I don't think it meets it, Senator, but I do think that you relieve it and improve it. For example, there are some figures which indicate that a Negro teacher in Alabama now receives, I think it is $408 a year. Under this bill she would receive $995. It would certainly affect the class of teacher that could be obtainedit isn't simply a matter of the pupil—but it would also affect the type and kind of person who would be enticed or brought to Alabama for the purpose of doing a good teaching job.
Senator Tart. I don't think the theory of handing out money to all the States is a sound one. A great many of the States don't need it at all, and parts of the Southern States don't need it at all. And just to hand it out in order to get votes for the bill has resulted in a bill which to my mind doesn't do what we should do, if there is any justification for Federal intervention. That is my criticism.
Senator AIKEN. Is the difference in the amount of salaries paid to white and colored teachers largely responsible for the difference in the amount spent on white and colored children?
Mr. PERRY. If I understand your question—as a matter of fact many States maintain differentials in their salary schedules.
Senator AIKEN. The white teachers average much more than the colored teachers?
Mr. Perry. They don't average it. The State laws actually provide that they shall be paid a stipulated sum and that the Negro teacher shall be paid a stipulated sum.
Senator AIKEN. That is a State law?
Mr. PERRY. Not on qualifications. As a matter of fact, a Negro teacher passes the same examinations and holds the same teacher's certificate, but nevertheless there would be that differential.
We have had a number of cases in regard to that. There was one in Newport News where differentials in salary schedules for white and colored teachers were declared unconstitutional by the Federal District Court there. In Maryland, through a series of test cases, it was declared unconstitutional there, with the result that finally the Maryland State Legislature in 1941 enacted a law which provided for wiping out the differentials, and made a general increase for teachers of a half million dollars.
In Jackson, Tenn., the court entered a consent decree several months ago which would bring the salaries of the Negro teachers in Tennessee up to the level of the whites, bringing in something like $80,000. That sort of thing has been going on all over the country, in the South. There has been a fight on it for over 3 or 4 years.
Senator AIKEN. Isn't it true that there are more high schools for whites than Negroes, in proportion to the population?
Mr. PERRY. That is entirely true.
Senator Aiken. Wouldn't that have something to do with the difference in the amount spent per pupil?
Mr. PERRY. That is right.
Senator AIKEN. As I understand it you would rather see the Southern States receive $7 more for the education of each Negro child, even though the white children were to get the same amount, than to see no increase whatsoever?
Mr. PERRY. Yes. Let me say here that we are not particularly concerned about the ceiling on white education, for example. If, in a public school, there is $50 appropriated for Negroes and $50 appropriated for whites, and through voluntary donations, for example, they want to raise the white standard to $100 per child, we wouldn't be concerned about that. We are simply interested in certain minimum standards for Negroes.
There is a case in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., which has received some notoriety, in which the schools for Negroes have been closed since December, and they propose to keep them closed until July 1. That is a case where the State actually closed down the schools. The Negroes have appealed to the State legislature and have tried to employ an attorney, but haven't gotten anywhere.
Senator AIKEN. Aren't there some States where the Negro schools run 7 months a year, and the white schools 9 months ?
Mr. Perry. That is right, and in some plates the Negro schools run 3 months and the white schools 9 months. That is another thing, this bill also has the effect of making the minimum school year 160 days.
Senator AIKEN. And to that extent the Negro population would be entitled to a little larger share of this Federal fund than they would be if it were divided absolutely equally? That is, if they got 2 months' additional schooling a year they would gain to that extent?
Mr. PERRY. I think that is substantially true, Senator.
Senator AIKEN. Does this law require that the States shall divide the money absolutely equally between colored and white children?
Mr. PERRY. The bill provides for a just and equitable apportionment, under section 6 (A) (1) (f), which states: in States where separate public schools are maintained for separate races, provide for a just and equitable apportionment of such funds for the benefit of public schools maintained for minority racesand so forth.
Senator Taft. And on page 15, subsection (d), you will find the definition.
Senator AIKEN. I have found that.
Senator JOHNSTON. Has any Southern State except South Carolina done anything like we are attempting in my State at the present time in trying to find out what each teacher is worth as a teacher?
Mr. Perry. Yes; and we regard that as being a means—at least as it has been tried in Florida--of evading various court decisions. They have been using a method of appraisal on the basis of intangibles, such as personality, health, references, and that sort of thing. Bý and large I would say that as far as I know there hasn't been any objective standard introduced in South Carolina or in any other Southern States, other than those which have been brought about by court action.
Senator ELLENDER. Are there any further questions?
Senator Taft. I don't intend to suggest that we provide equality in education for every child in the United States--we can't do that. We have many urban districts, of course, which will always spend more than various rural districts, but it does seem to me that we ought