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MARCH 2, 1931.-Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the state of the Union and ordered to be printed
Mr. REED of New York, from the Committee on Education, submitted the following
[To accompany H. R. 10821]
The Committee on Education, to which was referred the bill (H. R. 10821) to provide for the further development of vocational education in the several States and Territories, and for other purposes, having considered said bill, reports favorably thereon with the recommendation that it do pass.
H. R. 10821 is a bill to provide for the further development of the program of training of boys and girls and men and women in the trade, industrial, or commercial pursuits in the several States.
All funds appropriated under the provision of this bill are to be used solely for the purpose of extending the training prescribed in the Smith-Hughes Act which was passed by the Congress in February, 1917.
The Smith-Hughes Act, which was passed by the Congress 14 years ago, provides for the promotion of practical training as a part of the public-school program. Under the stimulus given to practical training by this act, there were enrolled last year in vocational trade and industrial classes organized under the act 633,223 persons. Of this number 554,115 or 87% per cent were workers enrolled in classes organized primarily to assist those who have already entered employment to become safer and more competent on the job. The work that has been conducted in these classes has so commended itself by its practical character that a very large number of additional centers are now demanding assistance in the establishment of these departments. Recent drastic reorganizations and changes in methods of production in the trades and industries have stimulated demands for enlarged programs more comprehensive in character in many centers where the work is now well established.
The funds available under the provisions of the Smith-Hughes Act, which reached their maximum in the fiscal year ending June 30, 1926, were adequate to meet the manifest needs as they existed at that time, but the situation in manufacturing and commerce has radically changed so that at the present time additional legislation and funds are badly needed to enable the public program of vocational education to keep pace with modern developments.
The Smith-Hughes Act provided, after 10 years of increasing appropriations, a maximum of $3,000,000 for vocational education in trade, home economics, and industrial subjects. The act provided that $600,000 of the funds available could be used for home economics, leaving a maximum of $2,400,000 actually available for vocational training in the trades and industries.
Commercial education was not provided for in the Smith-Hughes Act. An examination of the report of the President's Commission of 1914 on the need for vocational education shows that commercial education was not included in the Smith-Hughes Act, because of the feeling that the needs in that field were being cared for through private schools and public high-school courses.
The situation has changed materially within the past decade with reference to the employment demands made upon commercial workers, and those who are conversant with the status of commercial education throughout the United States believe that vocational training in this field has lagged far behind other forms of vocational education which were encouraged and promoted under the Smith-Hughes Act.
At the present time the great bulk of commercial education, both public and private, is concentrated upon the fields of stenography, typewriting, and bookkeeping, yet modern business and office practice is passing through a state of specialization with the introduction of new machines and processes analogous to the development of modern industry. These needs demand specific training and retraining of commercial workers along specific lines not touched by traditional commercial courses.
Since 1926 the Federal allotments to the States for vocational education have ceased to increase. During this interim, there has been considerable agitation on the part of communities in a number of States for the establishment of additional trade and industrial training of vocational grade. The States in many cases have been unable to respond to these requests because of the lack of funds, and many States have been forced to pro rate available funds. For the fiscal year just closed the States have expended approximately $4.60 of State and local money for every dollar of Federal money received for this purpose.
While the official reports covering last year's work made by the States to the Federal Board for Vocational Education show that instruction was offered in some 225 trade and industrial subjects, this is but a very small percentage of the opportunities for training represented in the trade and industrial filed as it has been specializing within recent years.
Official records show that the funds available under the SmithHughes Act have been used, close to 100 per cent each year, in maintaining needed and valuable forms of trade training, hence, additional funds will be necessary if the States are to adequately care for the
reeducation of the unemployed group in addition to expanding present programs to meet local needs.
At the present time, in many cities of the United States, there exists a more or less permanent unemployment situation, expecially in the ranks of the adult wage earners. When skilled workers are suddenly thrown out of employment due to the introduction of new types of machines or new processes or for any other reasons, provision must be made for securing other employment. If this is not done, soceity at large must bear the burden and self-respecting wage earners will become dependent upon public charity, eventually joining the ranks of the permanently unemployed. With the high-speed output expected of each worker under present-day conditions, it is found to be increasingly difficult to secure new positions without some preliminary training.
The conception of the purpose of preliminary training, embodied in the Smith-Hughes Act, is primarily one of training boys and girls of high-school age through courses two to four years in length. Such a training program is manifestly impractical in meeting the needs for preliminary training on the part of adults who have been displaced and must secure assistance in as short a time as possible. With families dependent upon them, a large proportion of such workers can not afford to give more than two or three weeks' time to training which will enable them to secure some other type of employment. Because of this condition specific provisions should be made for providing short intensive courses for adult workers.
The fourteenth annual report of the Federal Board for Vocational Education states that for the fiscal year 633,223 individuals took training in trade and industrial classes for which Federal funds were used. Of this enrollment 79,108 were boys and girls who were preparing to enter trade and industrial pursuits. This is but 3.9 per cent of the 2,000,000 such boys and girls whom authorities estimate should receive training of this type each year.
Juvenile workers to the number of 382,340 were enrolled in parttime schools and classes. This represents but 9.5 per cent of the 4,000,000 young wage earners to whom such training should be made available each year.
In the field of adult education, where instruction is given through night school classes in such subjects as will help employed workers do a better job or enable them to prepare for eventual promotion, 171,775 were enrolled. Educational authorities estimate that there are approximately 45,000,000 adults gainfully employed in the United States each year. The enrollment in trade extension schools accordingly only represents approximately four-tenths of 1 per cent of this number. While it is recognized that not all of this number would enroll in evening schools, were they made easily available, it should be quite evident that the present program in this field is reaching but a very minute portion of the adult wage earners who are potentially interested in receiving such training.
In order to carry out the purposes of this bill it is essential that additional funds be made available to the Federal Board for Vocational Education, for making studies and investigations and maintaining an adequate staff for service to the States, especially in the field of commercial education. At the present time the board has but one man on its staff for commercial education. The committee feels
that additional funds are necessary to enable the Federal board properly to administer this enlarged program and carry forward the necessary research work and field service to make the work of maximum value to the States and to the citizens for whose benefit additional opportunities for vocational training are to be provided.
It was very forcefully brought to the attention of the Committee on Education that there is an unusually widespread interest in this bill throughout the Nation. The bill has the indorsement of labor leaders, employers' organizations, educators and business leaders represented in chambers of commerce from all parts of the country. It is indorsed by the American Federation of Labor, the National Association of State Directors of Vocational Education, and the American Vocational Association.
This bill does not initiate any new principle of Federal participation. It merely extends the benefits now enjoyed by many communities to others not now receiving such assistance in training their workers for more advantageous participation in the industrial and social life of these communities.
GRANTING EQUIPMENT ALLOWANCE TO THIRD-CLASS
MARCH 2, 1931.-Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the state of the Union and ordered to be printed
Mr. KENDALL of Pennsylvania, from the Committee on the Post Office and Post Roads, submitted the following
[To accompany H. R. 229]
The Committee on the Post Office and Post Roads, having had under consideration the bill (H. R. 229) granting equipment allowance to third-class postmasters, reports the same back to the House with the following amendments:
In line 3, strike out "1929" and insert in lieu thereof "1932." Strike out "8 per centum of the" in line 7, and all of lines 8, 9, and 10, and insert in lieu thereof the following:
fifty per centum of the box rents collected at such offices, the allowances to be paid quarterly, under such rules and regultions as the Postmaster General may prescribed: Provided, That when post office fixtures and equipment are furnished by the Post Office Department at post offices of the third class, the provisions of this bill shall become inoperative.
So amended, the committee recommends that the bill do pass. There are 10,943 postmasters of the third class. Of these approximately 1,642 are in quarters leased by the Post Office Department where fixtures are furnished by the lessor, including box office equipment. At the other third-class post offices the postmasters are required to purchase or rent the fixtures; they furnish the box-office equipment out of their own salary (salaries of third-class postmasters range from $1,100 to $2,300 according to postal receipts) and turn in the box rents to the Government.
The Post Office Department fixes the amount of rental charged for boxes, the postmaster furnishes the boxes and collects the rentals, keeps the records, turns the box rents in as postal revenues, pays taxes and insurance on his equipment, and derives no revenue from his investment.