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I was a member of a committee some years ago appointed to study this question and there was a very fine businessman on that committee I am not going to give any names here—and he said:
I get the logic of this, but the southern people are lazy people and until they start doing something about their own schools I will not vote for any proposition involving Federal aid to aid what you call the rural South and rural America. Let them do something themselves. They are not doing anything.
He pointed a finger at two or three Southern States. He was a fine man, a patriotic American, and a reasonable man. All we had to do was show him the facts and when he found out the truth he said, "That is astounding to me."
When he learned that the southern people were putting more in proportion to their economic ability into public schools than any people in the United States, he began to see the picture differently.
I might say that the report become a unanimous report representing every cross section of American labor and management, from the North, South, East, and West.
I would like to illustrate that point in this way: If the State of South Carolina were to put all its general fund revenues into public schools alone and forget, God forbid, the insane, public welfare, and public health and other enterprises, South Carolina's public schools, and I can say this about many other States—would not then, even then, come up to the national average.
Remember, South Carolina's tax rate is just as vigorous as the tax rates in the great financial industrial areas. Therefore, if this bill fails it means that children in America, even with the utmost that these localities and States can do, cannot even come up to the national average.
Now, let us look at the tax structure just a minute and see what the logic is there. Taxation on agricultural property is largely taxation on land and the property where the farmer is, and the farmer does not very easily shift that taxation from the land and that particular local property, whereas in our increasingly integrated industrial financial society taxes, in the final analysis, are on the consumers because the tax load can be shifted.
What I am trying to say here is that all sections, all people, help produce the Nation's wealth and, therefore, should share in this fundamental institution, that is, in the support of public schools. Since more people, as consumers, help to pay the taxes, then by a double reason of logic, there should be Federal aid to rural America and the States for public schools.
Now, I see people here today who remind me of the part that the West has played in this Republic. What used to be the source of American individualism and American democracy was land to the West. The influence of the frontier in American life was perhaps the most fundamental democratic influence that came upon the American scene, that is, that ever moving to the West. Lands were kept open and lands were kept equally open, equality and openness. Then something happened in America when we reached the Pacific and filled in the gaps between. That great influence for the equality of opportunity and the open freedom of our life disappeared.
What is the great institution that we have in America today that keeps opportunity, or at least should keep opportunity, open and equal? That is the public school. Just as young America in Massachusetts or the Old South or the Middle States could say there is always a door open to the West for freedom and equality of opportunity, today, the child of the humblest immigrant can say the door of the school is open, and I think we would like to say equally, and that is the purpose of this bill, to make that school door open and equally open to all children.
The people in Mississippi who have to struggle with a tremendous tax rate, comparatively speaking, to provide let us say $50 a year per child for education, have a far harder struggle than the child whose parents live in New Rochelle, N. Y., who have to struggle, perhaps, to provide more than $140 a year. Yet, all those children are American children, citizens of the States and citizens of the United States.
While we are in the midst of this war, which is fought for the freedom of the mind and equality of opportunity of all people, regardless of race, color, or creed, let us take into account the national emergency here at home that the schools are falling back.
As our boys this morning moved forward from Guadalcanal and Tarawa and Saipan and Guam and Leyte and Luzon, carrying the American flag with all its meaning for freedom and equality of opportunity for Americans and all mankind, can't we give them an assurance that the things they are fighting for are not falling back at home as they move forward for freedom and democracy?
I think I can hear voices this morning coming across the plains and the hills and from the sand dunes from schoolrooms without teachers, from schoolrooms with substandard teachers, voices of children, voices heard and voices too long unheard.
As I look into your faces this morning and think of the context of your own lives and your struggles to do your best for America, I believe that this presents one way to do a little more for some 26,000,000 school children in the United States.
After all, we are fighting this war for freedom of the mind, equality of opportunity, and that great humane tradition which comes across 2,000 years which the Nazi parties have tried to throw in reverse. The world revolution of the people is in head-on collision with the Fascist counter revolution, and that battleground is not only through the plains of Brandenburg this morning and over toward Bataan, but that battleground is also in the schoolrooms of America where the quality of the teacher is based on her opportunity to have a decent standard of living so that she can do her best work in the schoolroom to the end of preserving the freedom of mind and the great intellectual and spiritual human tradition of our race so that we not only can intellectually understand our problems and wisely plan and think ahead, but can organize in America a place where there can be work for everybody, equality for everybody.
Out of the humane impulses which have been communicated to us in our churches and in our schools we can organize a world with freedom, democracy, plenty, and peace, in a world of human brotherhood.
Senator MORSE. There are some questions I would like to ask.
Senator FULBRIGHT. Thank you, Dr. Graham. Some of the members would like to ask you a few questions.
Senator MORSE. Before I ask these questions, Dr. Graham, I think perhaps I ought to confess some responsibility for your being here,
although I do not know that it is an actual fact. You were quoted the other day at a hearing and I paid a little tribute to your great leader
a ship in American education by saying something to this effect, that your views on southern educational problems would mean more to me than the views of any other educator in the country, and knowing how groups work when they have bills before a senatorial committee, I am a little suspicious you got a telephone call thereafter suggesting perhaps you might better have your views presented and put on the record.
I am glad, if that is what happened, if that was done, perhaps it may be of some inconvenience to you.
Dr. GRAHAM. I would say, Mr. Chairman, I was in a right considerable struggle with the legislature of North Carolina for a little more equal educational opportunity in North Carolina.
Senator MORSE. First, I want to say I think you have made a great statement. I think that statement is pretty much the epitome of the ideals of public education in a great democracy.
I want to ask you some questions along these lines.
We have had evidence and testimony here to the effect that this bill is not a bill that is based upon a true principle of equalization because of the fact that under the terms of the bill white children in the South, or any place in the country, but particularly in the South where you have your segregation problem, that the white children will get as much money per student under the emergency clauses of the bill as the colored children, and, therefore, because of that fact, the bill is unsound as it does not rest upon the true equalization principle.
I would like to hear your comments on that point.
Dr. GRAHAM. Mr. Chairman, this bill provides that the Federal appropriation shall be distributed equally between all groups, majority groups and minority groups. I would say there is not much Federal control in the bill, that is, the Federal moneys that are appropriated to the States shall be equitably distributed to all children.
This is just a question of simple honesty. The Southern States will get Federal moneys from this bill, if it passes, on the basis of the number of children. Now, some of those children are Negro children. If that Federal money does not go to those Negro children, then that is simply a misappropriation of funds. That is just not common honesty.
If the States get money because of a certain number of children and some of those children are Negro children, then, as a matter of common honesty, those Negro children should get equally the benefits of that fund.
Now, your question, Senator Morse, goes beyond that point alone, because you recognize the fact that in the Southern States Negro children do not get the proportional amount or an equal part of the State school funds.
I want to say this on the record: I am personally in favor of Negro children getting a fair and equal distribution of the school funds. In my own State, and I give this simply as an illustration of the way southern people with a little more economic ability to be just to minority groups are just, the State of North Carolina now by law provides for every child in North Carolina, white or black, a 9-month school term and 12-grade schools. Now, that is not completely fulfilled. It takes 2 or 3 years to carry out the intent of a law. But it is on its way to fulfillment, and I would say the people of North Carolina,
Senator Morse, are no better than the people in any other Southern State.
But, as they have through their own efforts won a little more ability to be fair, they are fair.
Therefore, by that logic and by this example, if this Federal aid goes to these hard-pressed States which cannot with their utmost efforts provide anything further toward bringing their educational opportunities up to the national average, if this lift is given, just through the very incidence of relieving a terrific economic load, there will not only be this equal distribution of Federal funds, but in time more equal distribution in the State funds.
The Senators from South Carolina, Arkansas, Florida, and Louisiana know that is a fact.
Let me say this. If I understand this bill, and I boned on it last night when I knew you were going to cross-examine me very lightly, this bill will help provide more equal opportunity. This is a third answer to your question.
Even the great State of New York and the great State of California, where you have the greatest economic ability to provide equal opportunity, do not provide equal opportunity. There are higher opportunities in some areas and smaller opportunities in other areas of these States.
Let us leave the South for a minute, here. This bill will help those great States. In fact, I think it will almost morally compel them to provide more equal opportunity for some of the neglected areas of New York, Illinois, and California.
Senator MORSE. The next question is one I have asked other wit
Do you have any State in the South in which the white children now enjoy a decent minimum standard of education? I ask the question because I want to know whether there is any basis for the argument that by the appropriation granted under this bill, if it is passed, we will be throwing money away in the sense that we will be giving money to white children who in perhaps some States at the present time have adequate money appropriated for their education, and so that we can safely say they had a decent minimum standard of education.
Dr. GRAHAM. Senator Morse, it is my very definite impression, and therefore I will state it as a generalization, and if there is one exception it will be a surprise to me, that there is no Southern State, in spite of the fact that the Southern States are making a greater effort than any of the other States in the Union to provide a decent educational opportunity for their children--that there is no Southern State that now comes up to the national average.
Senator Morse. Do you hold that the money that will be received by any Southern State from this bill will result in the colored or white children receiving an appropriation that would bring their level up; that is, their educational level up to one in which it could justifiably be said that any of the money is wasted?
Will not the money under this bill help improve the educational standards to some degree and to some degree encourage more persons in the South to go into the teaching profession?
Dr. GRAHAM. Absolutely; yes, sir. There is no question or doubt about that.
Senator MORSE. Now, just an opinion for what it may be worth.
What is your opinion as to the standards of education, as you may know these standards in these so-called Northern States, including the wealthy States? I might say you indicated to some extent an answer to this question, but I want it directly on the record about such States as New York, Illinois, New Jersey, and California. Do you think any of the money that will go to them under this bill would be wasted or that we as Senators would be guilty of casting a vote in favor of waste of Federal funds on the ground that some States now give their children a standard of education which could not be improved by the Federal Government?
Dr. GRAHAM. Well, I would say, Senator Morse, if you take the $200,000,000 part of this bill you find it is for a national emergency growing out of the war and in a total war all States are affected. Those that have schools above the average of the Nation and those that have schools below the average are affected.
I am talking about economic support now. The hand of war has fallen on schools in all States, whether they are rich or poor, and teachers have left schools in all the States whether they are rich or poor, and so the emergency part of this bill will rightfully give aid to New York and California, too.
That is true because of the national nature of the emergency.
Senator Morse. As I understand your testimony, even in the socalled wealthy States, the war itself has caused educational dislocation. It has placed an additional burden upon the schools. We have had a mass moving population going to the shipyards and war industries, and so on. And thus, even though we are dealing with a State which we might say could raise more money for education if it were willing to do it, there is still a Federal responsibility owed to the people in those States to share some of the load caused by educational dislocation resulting from the war. Is that your opinion?
Dr. GRAHAM. Yes, sir; certainly it is.
Senator PEPPER. Dr. Graham, I want to concur in what Senator Morse has said. It is hard to imagine that anyone could add anything to what you said either in content or the eloquence with which you have said it.
Now, isn't it a fact that the decision of the United States Supreme Court is in substance gradually working out the matter of the difference in the amount of public funds allocated to white children and colored children so that the school authorities are now prohibited against discriminating on the racial basis in the allocation of those funds.
Dr. GRAHAM. May I answer that of my own knowledge and not by way of any impression here.
The State of North Carolina by law now pays white and Negro teachers of the same training and competence the same salaries. That is not only because of the law of the United States, it is because of the law of the State of North Carolina. Now, I do not say, Senator Pepper, we have 100 percent fulfillment of that at this moment, but I am saying we have gone so far forward in the last 5 or
that 100 percent fulfillment is just around the corner.
Every Negro child in North Carolina, by law now, has a right to a 9 months' school term and a 12-grade school, and by law in North