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Emphasis on education, we believe, cannot be too great. That applies not only to the matter of furnishing skills for immediate use; it applies to furnishing skills for reconstruction of the peace. It also is a guarantee of a Nation sufficiently strong in the future to have no fear of aggression on the part of any other nation. And to do that, we must have a citizenry which both understands the ends for which it would be called on to fight, as well as to be equipped with skills with which to fight.
We would also like to point out in passing that the Negro school teacher has problems also that many white teachers do not have. In most instances she is unable to get graduate courses in her community in night or extension courses during the year while she works as other teachers do, but must go long distances to get advanced professional training. This adds railroad fare, higher living expenses often duplicate living arrangements, because she must maintain her family at home while she also maintains herself in some other community—in addition to the regular tuition and school expenses.
There is a veritable Niagara of latent human ability and talent in America that educational opportunities would make available to America. Our vocational history proves that some of our most outstanding inventions have come from very poor persons whose talents would have been lost to America if they had not had the educational opportunities.
We believe that the human resources of America are our most valuable resources and deserve the best training that America can give them. This cannot be done on a $600 and less salary per year. If the States do not provide this, the Federal Government must:
We are fundamentally interested in raising the level of education. And we regard this matter of increasing the teachers' salaries for all teachers as in substance like a floor under the public educational system, because with the competition between the State educational system, paying low salaries, and the war industry, paying larger wages, the teachers, especially in the rural areas, where the children need educational opportunities most, will be drained off from the schools, and, therefore, we feel that raising teachers' salaries places a floor under education.
Education is perhaps the only insurance that a democracy can take out to safeguard its future in war or in peace. There is nothing new or revolutionary about Federal aid to education as has been pointed out to this committee and to the Congress before.
The reason for opposition proposed by the opponents of this bill that Federal control will follow Federal aid is in our opinion an excuse rather than a reason. Land-grant colleges are not Federally controlled, nor are any of the other Federally aided educational institutions Federally controlled.
Further, it has always been a source of amazement to me to find all the alleged fear of “Federal control.” The Federal government is run by people like you and me and the same kind of good old American people who run the State—no better, no worse. They are public servants, yes, and all public servants, either local, State, or Federal, are as good as we people make them.
We have been deeply concerned about our rural education and educational facilities not only for Negroes but for white people as well,
and we are certainly concerned that Federal aid be apportioned fairly and equitably to our rural school teachers, both black and white.
Therefore, gentlemen, because of the total need of America itself both present and future; because of the mobility of our people; because of the urgency of the need; because Federal aid is not new; because the relinquishing of State control is not an issue; because the majority of the people of America who have requested this legislation year after year; because our national human resources deserve the preservation, conservation, and insurance of education; because we believe the Federal Government should place a floor on all the fundamental necessities of good citizenship; because we believe the latent and potential contribution of our human resources have not been tapped because of lack of educational opportunity either in war or in peace, we urge the passage of this legislation in its present form.
Senator ELLENDER. Can you tell us anything about the association to which you have referred and how it is maintained ?
Mrs. JOHNSON. The American Teachers Association is an association composed of all of the teachers throughout the United States, that is, the colored teachers. The National Education Association has Negro members also, but the American Teachers Association is the Negro teachers association. It is national in scope and has a majority of the colored teachers of America in its membership.
Senator ELLENDER. I suppose it has membership in all the States. Mrs. JOHNSON. That is right, Senator Ellender.
(The document referred to by Mrs. Johnson in her statement is as follows:)
AMERICAN TEACHERS ASSOCIATION STUDIES
THE BLACK AND WHITE OF REJECTIONS FOR MILITARY SERVICE
A STUDY OF REJECTIONS OF SELECTIVE SERVICE REGISTRANTS, BY RACE, ON ACCOUNT OF
EDUCATIONAL AND MENTAL DEFICIENCIES
(Conducted by Martin D. Jenkins, associate professor of education, Howard
University (chemistry); Francis A. Gregory, principal, Armstrong High School, Washington, D. C.; Howard H. Long, assistant superintendent of schools, Washington, D. C. ; Jane E. McAllister, professor of education, Miner Teachers College; Charles H. Thompson, dean of the Graduate School, Howard University)
THE AMERICAN TEACHERS ASSOCIATION OFFICIAL STAFF
President : Miss Mary L. Williams, Charles
ton. W. Va. Vice-President: 0. J. Thomas, Prairie View,
Executive Secretary: H. Councill Trenholm,
1. Arkansas-Louisiana-Mississippi IV. Indiana-Kentucky, Ohio-Tennessee-West
Marcas M. Rambo, Cincinnati, Ohio.
V. Delaware-D. C.-Maryland-New York-Nero
Jersey-Pennsylvania C. L. Harper, Atlanta, Ga.
W. McKinley Menchan, Cheyney Training III. North Carolina-South Carolina-Virginia School, Cheyney, Pa. Walter N. Ridley, Ettricks, Va.
The American Teachers Association is an all-inclusive national professional organization of teachers of Negro children and of educators interested in the achievement of the American goal of equality of educational opportunity for all children without respect to economic circumstances, place of residence, sex, or race. It was organized in 1994 as the National Association of Teachers in Colored Schools and continued to function under that name until the 1937 meeting at Philadelphia when the present name was chosen as one step in the broadening of the scope of effort and of membership participation in the organization.
At the special national conference held at Richmond, Va., in August 1943, in lieu of a regular convention, program consideration was given to the educational and racial implications of the experiences of Selective Service and of the Army with the problem of low educational qualifications of many men who were being called for induction into the armed forces. Out of the pointed discussions of that meeting, a special research committee was designated to make a study of this question and present a report for the consideration of the annual convention being held at Nashville, Tenn., August 15–17, 1944. This publication is the report of that committee which is being submitted to the members of the American Teachers Association and which is being made available in this special publication, rather than exclusively in the Bulletin (the official quarterly of the association) for the perusal of the many students of education and the many citizens of this Nation who have genuine interest in the forwarding of our national development through a more effective program of adequately provided educational opportunities.
Additional copies of this report may be available through the executive secretary of the American Teachers Association (post office box 271, Montgomery 1, Ala.). The major portion of this report is also being published in volume XX, No. 4 (October-December 1944) of the Bulletin.
PART I. THE PROBLEM AND ITS BACKGROUND
One of the most serious problems facing our Nation in these war years is that of manpower. The call for manpower has reached into every corner of our country-has taken fathers from their children, skilled workers from their tasks in essential industries, high school and college youth from their studies. And yet the call is for manpower. In the face of this situation millions of men have been rejected for military service--disqualified for physical defects, disqualified for mental deficiency, disqualified for educational retardation. Although these rejections are alarmingly high throughout the Nation, they are especially heavy among the Negro population and particularly that portion of the Negro population living in the Southern States.
The American Teachers Association, whose members are engaged in the education of Negro youth, is greatly concerned about the failure of so many Negro men to meet the minimum standards of acceptance established by the armed forces. As an expression of this concern and in order to provide a basis for a program of remediation, the American Teachers Association delegated a special committee to make the study herein reported.
This study is concerned with the following questions:
1. What basic factors contribute to the high rejection rate of Negro selectees on account of educational or mental deficiency?
2. How can the rejection rate of Negroes be reduced, and what sort of program needs to be established to rehabilitate population groups now failing to meet reasonable standards of performance?
BACKGROUND OF THE PROBLEM
Selective Service procedure, 1940-44
The Selective Service System is charged with the responsibility of meeting the manpower needs of the armed forces in accordance with specifications established by the forces. Its policies and procedures with reference to the educational or intelligence standards set up for selectees have been modified from time to time in accordance with the needs and demands of the armed forces.
The first plan.-For the period November 1910 to May 14, 1941, there were no educational standards prescribed for service in the Army, which at that time was the only branch of the armed forces furnished men by the Selective Service System. Registrants were acceptable if they could understand simple orders given in the English language.
The second plan.—It was discovered by the spring of 1941 that such a large number of illiterates had been accepted for training that the program of the Army to develop a highly mechanized and skilled force was being jeopardized. Consequently, effective May 15, 1941, an educational requirement for induction was established. This requirement was that only selectees would be accepted for service in the armed forces who were able, "to read and write the English language as well as a student who has completed 4 years in an American grammar school.” This requirement remained in effect until July 31, 1942.
Table I shows the percentage of registrants deferred because of educational deficiency, by State and race, during the period May 15 to September 15, 1941. The percentage of Negroes rejected (12.3 percent) is about 11 times the rejection rate of whites (1.1 percent). It is to be observed, however, that this ratio is by no means uniform in the several States. In 15 States the percentage of Negroes rejected is less than the total percentage of white rejections, and in 26 States the rejection rate for Negroes is less than the rejection rate for whites in 10 southern States. It is to be observed further, that the heaviest ratios of rejection among whites are those from registrants in the Southern States.
So many men were rejected under this plan that the War Department, on August 1, 1942, agreed to accept for induction educationally deficient registrants up to 10 percent of the white selectees and 10 percent of the Negro selectees inducted on any given day. This procedure remained in effect until January 31, 1943.
TABLE I.—Percentage of registrants deferred because of educational deficiency,
May 15, 1941-Sept. 15, 1941
On February 1, 1943, the Navy entered the selective service picture and it was decided by the Army and Navy jointly that men would be accepted for general service provided they had the ability to read and write the English language at the level commonly prescribed for the fourth grade. The Army, for its own purposes, went even further and ordered the acceptance for special assignment of illiterates and non-England-speaking registrants otherwise acceptable under existing regulations at a combined rate “not to exceed 5 percent of the total number of men accepted and assigned to the Army, by color, at each induction station on each day.”
The third plan.-It was still obvious that a large number of men were being rejected for military service who probably had sufficient native intelligence to do a satisfactory military job provided they were given certain intensive education within the armed forces sufficient to raise them to a level of functional literacy. Special training units were authorized within the Army for the training of such men as might be determined to have sufficient mental ability, and on June 1, 1943, all limitations governing the number and percentage of illiterates acceptable were revoked. The Army and Navy began, on this date, to accept for general service those registrants otherwise qualified who passed the minimum intelligence tests.
When the new plan to determine the fitness of selectees by intelligence tests instead of on the basis of educational achievement went into effect June 1, 1913, it was found that a larger number of men were being rejected for failure to meet what was then called minimum intelligence standards than had previously been rejected because of failure to meet the fourth grade educational requirement. The 10 principal reasons for the rejection of whites and Negroes for June-July 1943 are shown in table II. Several significant conditions are revealed by these data. Educational deficiency—that is failure to meet the minimum "intelligence” standard-was the chief reason for the rejection of Negro selectees (34.5 percent) accounting for over a third of the total rejections: for all purposes, whereas it was only the third most important reason for the rejection of whites (8 percent). Syphilis (9 percent) and mental deficiency (4.5 percent) ranking third and sixth, respectively, in the causes of rejections of Negroes, are not among the 10 principal reasons for the rejection of white selectees. Tuberculosis, on the other hand, accounted for the rejection of a larger percentage of white than Negro selectees.
TABLE II.—The 10 principal reasons for rejections of Negro and white selectees,
I During the period under consideration the order of rejection was as follows: (1) Administrative (e. ... criminal record, dishonorable discharge); (2) educational (failure to pass intelligence test); (3) physical (failure to pass physical examination).
2 Failure to meet minimum intelligence standard.
The rejection rates for June and July 1943, for failure to meet minimum Army induction standards are shown by State and race in table III.
The States shown are those having at least 0.3 percent of total Negro registrants. The situation is similar to that pointed out in connection with data of table I, namely, the larger incidence of rejections among southern whites and among Negroes. It is to be observed that 14 of the 15 States having the largest percentage of rejections among whites are Southern States. It is to be observed