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First, may I ask whether you have sat through all of the hearings of this committee, or is this the first session that you have attended ?
Mr. PERRY. This is my first.
Senator MORSE. Then you haven't heard the evidence that has already gone into the record ?
Mr. PERRY. No; I haven't. I am familiar with the hearings that were conducted on S. 1305 in 1939, and on S. 637 in 1943.
Senator_MORSE. I have two or three questions for my own clarification. I understand that you do not know of any Southern State in which you believe that the standards of education now provided
? Mr. PERRY. If we include Oklahoma and Missouri, and now Maryland, I would say that these States provide decent minimum standards of education for colored children. As a matter of fact, I would say that in the main-I don't have the figures before me but I believe that in the main they are about equal to that provided to the whites in those States.
Senator MORSE. And if this bill is passed, then, in those States the returns from the bill to the States would provide funds that would give the colored children in those States a standard of education above a decent minimum standard ?
Mr. PERRY. I don't know how much Missouri or Oklahoma will receive under this bill.
Senator Morse. Whatever they receive
Mr. PERRY (interposing). I don't know, where you have a high standard--for example, New York or California, these States do not receive anything under the equalization provisions of the bill, and Wyoming doesn't receive anything I would assume that where you have a reasonable minimum standard of education, that the State in question would receive practically nothing. It is only where you have a low standard, and it happens that where you have an abysmally low standard, as in Mississippi, you also have an abysmally low standard for Negroes.
Senator MORSE. Making that assumption as to the administration of the bill for the sake of argument, then, you reduce the States that will profit from the bill to only those States that will receive something under the equalization provisions of the bill, and those States will be only those States that do not have a decent minimum standard of education?
Mr. Perry. I think the bill so provides.
Senator Morse. I will take you on that major premise, although I disagree with your interpretation as to how it will be administered. But let's start with that as the major premise; your point is that for the benefit of any State in which colored children do not now receive a decent minimum standard of education, you favor the passage of this bill because it at least will give something to those colored children to improve their education?
Mr. PERRY. That is right.
Now in those same States, however, if the colored children get anything under the bill, the white children are also going to get something under the billé
Mr. PERRY. Yes.
Senator Morse. And you think that it may be that in some of those States the white children already get a standard above a decent minimum standard of education?
Mr. PERRY. Once again we get into questions of standards of education, upon which I am not competent to testify, but I do say this, that if the annual expenditure for education for a white child in Mississippi is $190, he is only getting the education of all of the children in the State of New York, and I certainly have no desirespeaking for the association, we have no desire—to depress or suppress any group of people on the basis of race or color. The more they get the better.
Senator Morse. I understand the witness' position, Mr. Chairman, but to keep the record perfectly clear as to my position in this discussion, I have heard no evidence yet that would lead me to believe that any State provides in this country today a decent minimum standard of education that is necessary if we are going to keep democracy as strong and vital as we are going to have to keep it in order to meet the future problems of this country.
Senator ELLENDER. Are there any questions? 'Is Mr. Rackliffe present?
Mr. RACKLIFFE. Yes, sir.
Senator ELLENDER. Come forward, please, and give your full name to the committee reporter.
Mr. RackLIFFE. My name is John Rackliffe, and I represent the National Teachers Division of the State, County and Municipal Workers of America, CIO.
Senator ELLENDER. Has not the CIƠ already made a statement? Mr. RACKLIFFE. That is correct.
Senator ELLENDER. Is this a duplication of the statement previ. ously made?
Mr. RACKLIFFE. No; it is not, sir. The department of education and research of the national CIO made a statement on Tuesday morning when Mr. Kermit Eby testified for the national CIO, whereas what I have to submit is testimony by the State, County, and Municipal Workers of America.
Senator ELLENDER. You have a prepared statement?
STATEMENT OF JOHN RACKLIFFE, EXECUTIVE SECRETARY OF
THE NATIONAL TEACHERS DIVISION, STATE, COUNTY, AND MUNICIPAL WORKERS OF AMERICA, CIO
Mr. RACKLIFFE. The problem of Federal aid to education is closely linked with the entire future prospects of a prosperous and secure America. The postwar perspective of full production, 60,000,000 jobs, and a fuller life for all, will be seriously endangered if our national program of education suffers from either cultural or economic inadequacies.
President Roosevelt, in his message to Congress in January 1944 outlining the economic bill of rights included among them the right to a good education. If the majority of American citizens can agree on what a good education is, then we can unitedly determine to achieve such an education for all our people.
The State, County, and Municipal Workers of America, the CIO union concerned with the welfare of teachers, would define a good education as one which can produce adult Americans capable of dealing successfully with the problems of an expanding democracy, trained in cooperation and in the art of rational living, free from racial and religious prejudices.
We are convinced that only through Federal aid can all our people be assured this good education.
American production for war has shown what this Nation can be expected to achieve with an expanded peacetime economy. But the realization of 60,000,000 jobs will depend on full cooperation among business, labor, agriculture, and government. In government, a prominent place will be taken by States, counties, and cities. They will not be able to play their full part, however, if they are restricted to the resources which they can derive from State and local taxation.
The Federal Government must come to the aid of the lesser units of government and must back up their programs with the resources derived from its greater taxing power. The principle of Federal aid has been widely accepted in the field of public works, as in the construction of public highways. Federal aid is accepted with little question in the realms of public housing, public welfare, and social security. Since the early days of the Republic, the State land-grant colleges have brought Federal aid into our form of education. Federal aid has been given to promote the establishment of agricultural schools, the teaching of home economics, vocational training, and to provide nursery schools and adult education. The time has now come for considerable expansion of Federal aid in education.
The postwar United States will need an alert, well-trained and well-informed body of citizens. Veterans returning from the war will want to continue their interrupted educations and will want new types of vocational and technical training. The varied experience of our men and women in the armed services has opened up to many of them new educational possibilities. Adequate retraining programs must be devised to fill the needs of the wounded and disabled. In addition, as full production and full employment give to our adult population a more secure life, free from the terrors of unemployment, many Americans will, for the first time, find a leisure and tranquility which will enable them to feel free to learn new skills and to devote themselves to enlarging their cultural lives.
Above all, the public school system must be raised to much higher levels. It is in school that most children receive their first broad knowledge of the world and the men and women who live in it. In school they gain their first insight into geography, history, economics, and the whole story of mankind. The attitudes which children develop in school toward the lessons of the past and the problems of the present and future will in large part determine the contribution which they will be able to make as adult citizens to our country's welfare.
Federal aid to social services is quite generally accepted. The Federal Government, in the interest of the public welfare, helps to maintain the victims of ill-advised economic policies, the human products of poor social and educational backgrounds. Surely Federal aid for education, the one public service most capable of averting these evils, is more than justified. It is now imperative.
The United States has long prided itself on its traditions of free universal education, its literacy record, its high standards of technique and culture. But the time has now come for us to look more closely at the facts, the statistics, and the record. I don't quote many statistics, sir, because a great many have been quoted previously in this testimony. The armed services, defending our country's existence against the threat of Fascist barbarism, have suffered severely from the inadequacies of American education. Selective Service figures, many of which have been cited in earlier testimony before this committee, have demonstrated the glaring need for improvement in the American educational system. Previous witnesses, speaking on behalf of the National Education Association, have estimated that there are 10,000,000 "functionally illiterate” adults in this country, and that at least 2,000,000 of the 5,000,000 men rejected from the armed services would have been acceptable if they had had more education.
The 12 States that in 1920 paid the lowest salaries to teachers found 20 years later that 110 men per thousand could not meet the minimum educational standard of 4 years of schooling. The 12 States that paid the highest salaries in 1920, on the other hand, showed only 23 men per thousand unable to meet this minimum requirement. "Lack of education among Americans has seriously weakened our striking power in this war. It can weaken equally seriously our recuperative powers in building the peace.
The America of tomorrow will need not only an alert citizenry, it will need new skills and new techniques, many of which have been partly developed and explored during the war. Yet at the present time, with the tremendous possibilities of postwar American development emerging, there are in this country more illiterates than college graduates.
Such facts are shocking in a country which prides itself on democratic standards which can act as an example to other, less progressive countries. The discrepancies among different parts of the United States in regard to educational standards reveal equally appalling figures. The backwardness of the deep South in this respect is well known, and provides one of the most solid reasons for advocating Federal aid to education.
The low level of educational opportunity in the Southern States is in part a reflection of the general poverty of the area, where the traditional differential in wage rates has kept the average taxable income at a low level. Furthermore, the generally inadequate Southern expenditure for education is still further Towered by the discrimination against the Negro, who is relegated to separate schools that are housed in inferior buildings and staffed by teachers paid even lower salaries than those of Southern white teachers.
Fourteen Southern States, for example, fell below the national average of $77.52 spent per child on education in 1941–42, the figure reaching a low of $29.17 in Arkansas. Discrimination against the Negro population is demonstrated by the smaller expenditures made per pupil in Negro schools, a situation true of 17 Southern States where separate white and Negro facilities are provided. In Louisiana, for example, an annual sum of $61.21 is spent on each white child, while only $12.62 a year is spent on the Negro child.
The inferior educational facilities and standards of the Southern States have a harmful effect, not only upon the Southern people, but upon the entire life of the Nation. The citizens of each State are also citizens of the entire Union. Particularly in times of crisis the quality of education for citizenship in one area can seriously impinge upon the social, cultural, and economic status of the other States. The statement of Mr. Kermit Eby submitted for the national CIO has indicated the extent to which Americans habitually migrate from State to State and emphasizes some of the dangers which disparate degrees of education obtaining in different areas constitute for the whole Nation and its people. The seriousness of the dangers has been brought out especially in connection with the difficulty of recruiting trained, or even trainable, personnel for the armed services and for American war industry.
The backwardness of certain areas cannot in most instances be remedied exclusively from State funds but must be met by Federal subsidies. Members of this committee during the present hearings have pointed out that the wealth of certain States, particularly in the South and West, is drained off and accumulates in the hands of great corporations located principally in the North and East. The Northeastern States, which are able to draw upon some of these funds for purposes of taxation, have also a responsibility to support a Federal program designed to lift the educational standards of the poorer sections of our country.
Opponents of Federal aid to education frequently rest their argument upon the alleged “danger" of Federal interference in the right of the States to organize and direct their own educational programs. In this connection, it is of interest that the Federal Government has not been charged with unjustifiable interference in the internal affairs of the many land-grant colleges. The present bill, moreover, contains specific provisions calculated to prevent any possibility of Federal action which might impinge upon genuine States' rights.
Opponents of Federal aid, ignoring the complexity and interrelationships of current American economic life which have been mentioned by witnesses as well as by members of this committee, have charged that it is “unfair” to allow “rich” States to be taxed in order that the educational facilities of poorer States may be improved. The argument is reminiscent of those advanced by early proponents of universal compulsory education. Conservative newspapers in the early nineteenth century maintained that it was unfair to allow the children of the poor, who paid few direct taxes, to be educated at the expense of wealthy property holders, who could always afford to give their own children schooling appropriate to their means. Such arguments quite obviously concentrate upon the benefits which may be acquired by a privileged few rather than upon the general welfare of the Nation and the great mass of its citizens.
In the course of this war against Fascism, intolerance, racism, and organized brutality, the leaders of the armed services have discovered that the men and women under their command were frequently not only technically ill-equipped for modern war but also were dangerously ill-informed as to the meaning and origins of the war and the background of our allies. Misconceptions of such topics have led