« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »
which indicate that a Negro teacher in Alabama now receives, I think it is $108 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 Taft. 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. By 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
to have a minimum somewhere and that ought to be the basis of an allotment. I don't think you ought to come and ask the Federal Government to pay out $10 to improve colored education, and as a price for that, take $10 out of the Treasury of the United States for every white child in the United States, whether he is getting a perfectly adequate education or not. That is my only objection to your position on this. I understand your eagerness to get more money for the colored children, but it seems to me that our duty is to work on some principle which will give the money where it is needed, and not just to scatter it to everybody in order to get votes from everybody, if you please, to put over the increase that actually ought to be granted to the colored children, and of course there are whites that are in the same situation also.
Senator AIKEN. It seems to me that if this additional money is granted to the Southern States for educational purposes, that it would be an incentive to these States to adjust their legislation so that they could spend, or would be willing to spend, a larger percentage on the colored people.
Mr. PERRY. I think that is the point. As more funds come in, and there isn't a drain on the treasuries of the States, it seems to me that they might accumulate enough money to bring that about.
Senator AIKEN. If this additional amount of money goes to the States, a larger percentage of the total might well be spent on the colored children.
Mr. PERRY. Absolutely.
Senator Taft. Do you really think that? The law says expressly that a just and equitable apportionment meansany plan of apportionment, allotment, or distribution which results in the expenditure, for the benefit of such minority racial group, of a proportion of said funds not less than the proportion that each such minority racial group in such State bears to the total population of that State.
Consequently that means that you don't have to give any child, no matter how low an education he is getting, any more than you give the richest in the State.
I don't know, but I think you have a pious hope that if you get more money, you will get a better break than the law requires, but I don't see any real reason to think that.
Mr. PERRY. I realize, Senator, that there is nothing in the law that requires that, but I think that we can rely on the law of human nature that as things become more plentiful people become less stingy.
Senator Taft. It seems to me, furthermore, that we have an obligation in this question of assuring every child some minimum education, that goes beyond your particular problem, and that is that if we put in Federal money, we should require that the States themselves equalize educational opportunities to some extent and in some way before the Federal Government will step in with its money.
Senator ELLENDER. Under the bill there is some provision that the States shall maintain their same standards, that is, their present standards.
Senator Tart. But I am talking about or suggesting an equalization, that is to say, such as we have in Ohio today, in which all the poorer districts are taken care of out of State funds to a much greater extent than the wealthier districts.
Senator AIKEN. I don't think we can or should assume that the Southern States will decline to improve the lot of the colored children to a greater degree just as soon as they find they have means to do so and still maintain the educational expenditures and opportunities for the white children. I don't think we should assume that the Southern States would be unwilling to adjust their laws to the changed revenue conditions.
Mr. PERRY. I should like to say that I am not holding any brief for the condition which prevails. As a matter of fact, we are opposed to the segregated school system because it is our experience that wherever you find that, you will find discrimination, not that segregation is discrimination per se, but it generally works out that way.
So, I am entirely in agreement with Senator Taft, and I should like to go even a step beyond that and say to abolish the system of segregation in the South. But if you are going to have it, it ought to be actually equal in fact.
Senator Aiken. But you haven't any idea that you would get this bill through if you were insisting on that being written into it, have you! Mr. PERRY. That is right.
Senator Morse. You start out, of course, with the Southern segregation. We start out with the premise that the white children are allowed by the Southern States more money than the colored children. Now, is it your position that the Southern States, by and large-or name anyone you want to-supply the white children at the present time with a minimum standard of education of which educators of the country approve?
Mr. Perry. That isn't my position. I am not passing upon whether the educational standards in the South are adequate. I am not an educator. I don't know what minimum standards educators approve. I do say that the educational standards in the Southern States are considerably below the norm, and that is for all of the people, and I believe that the white schools in the South are also below the norm of schools in other areas of the country.
Senator MORSE. I understand from your testimony that you raise no objection to the fact that this bill provides an equal amount of money per student ?
Mr. PERRY. We do not.
Senator Morse. And I assume that the fact that you do not object to that is that you apparently believe that the white children in these Southern States have not yet been raised to a decent minimum standard of education ?
Mr. Perry. No; I am not expressing any concern over the level of education for whites in the South, as such. I am simply making a comparison between the State expenditures in the South as compared with those in other sections of the country. I am not undertaking to pass upon the level and the standard of education of whites in the South. I am particularly and primarily concerned with the status of education for Negroes in the South.
Senator Morse. Speaking hypothetically, then, if you haven't formed an opinion on the level of education for white children in the South, do I understand that even if the white children in any Southern State were at the present time receiving a decent minimum standard of education, nevertheless, in order to get the benefits under this bill that the colored children will receive, you would be willing to have the white children receive an equal amount above the existing minimum standard ?
Mr. PERRY. I would.
Mr. PERRY. That is the only way it can be worked. It may be weak and it may not be rational on all points, but it seems to me that that is the only way you can improve the lot of the Negro in the South.
May I continue with my statement?
Mr. PERRY. Though there is no doubt as to the obvious intent of this bill to safeguard the interests of Negroes in States having separate schools with respect to the expenditure of Federal funds for education, I feel that the bill can be strengthened on this point, however.
I should like very much to see some administrative procedure set out in this measure whereby citizens might make formal complaint where it is alleged that the funds are not being equitably apportioned by a State.
Section 7 of the bill, which deals with auditing, provides that if the Commissioner of Education after notice and hearing finds that any State is expending any portion of funds contrary to the provisions of this act, he may withhold funds from such State until the diverted funds are reimbursed. This section also provides that the State educational authority shall have a right of appeal to a United States district court from a decision of the Commissioner to withhold funds. This section relates solely to accounting procedures and is a unilateral action on the part of the Commissioner. The entire history of State educational funds, where separate schools are maintained, shows strong disposition to distribute such funds in an unequal manner.
By the same token, in other Federal legislation providing against racial discrimination-and I think particularly of the Selective Training and Service Act of 1940—there has been a strong disposition on the part even of agencies of Government to violate these clauses. The result has been that the letter and the spirit of the law has been violated, and yet the Negro's only recourse has been to resort to long, cumbersome and expensive court action. I would, therefore, like to see included in this bill a procedure whereby a citizen can make formal complaint to the Commissioner of Education who will be authorized to hold hearings to determine the validity of the same. And in line with the provisions giving the State the right of appeal to a district court, as contained in section 7, I should like to see a similar section permitting an aggrieved citizen to apply to a United States district court if the Commissioner after a reasonable time does not hold hearings on his complaint or an appeal from a decision of the Commissioner not to withhold funds where it is alleged that such funds have been wrongfully diverted.
Because of the short notice I received for this hearing I have not had time to prepare an amendment along this line, but I request that I be permitted to submit such an amendment to this committee at a later date.