Gambar halaman
PDF
ePub

FEDERAL AID FOR EDUCATION

a

I say it was historic, because I was raised in the South, being all of my life a Georgian. I have served the American Federation of Labor throughout the State for the past 18 years. I feel that conference and that action was a great turning point in the evolution of the racial problem throughout this Nation.

Now, I wish to direct your attention to certain features of this bill; features that distinguish labor's bill from the bill sponsored by educational administrators. First, of course, labor is anxious to protect the classroom teacher. Labor asks that 75 percent of the funds in title II be allocated for teachers' salaries. Labor is taking no chance on having a lump sum given to a State for the State to use for general educational purposes unless the payment of teachers' salaries is fair and guaranteed.

I can already see a large number of school superintendents who are going to try to make a great show by using the money to buy new moving-picture films, television, and all the other new things which we also think are very necessary, but we think that the schools ought to pay their teachers well before they buy some of the films and other teaching aids.

I want to repeat what Vice President Woll said on this point: We do not want to have the Federal Government tell the State how the State is to use its money but we think that it is sound public policy for the Federal Government to tell the States for what purposes the Federal money offered them is to be used.

A vitally important feature in title I provides for planning by the State agency of all buildings to be erected from Federal funds. Let me direct your attention to the fact that this bill does not appropriate 1 cent of money for capital outlay. This bill does not give a school building to any part of the country. But this bill saves our Government-National, State, and local-millions and millions of dollars which would otherwise be wasted for building purposes.

As a point of illustration: A number of years ago, under the Federal vocational program great abuses were discovered. One thing that brought about the President's appointment of the National Advisory Committee on Education, was that we found in one of the Southern States, Mississippi in particular, that under the guise of using Federal funds for educational purposes, projects were being built in many cities in Mississippi as vocational schools which were actually factories, manufacturing plants, and the whole program and scheme was to call this factory a vocational school, and our vocational funds went to pay the superintendents and foremen under the guise of instructors.

There were millions of dollars involved in that project when the American Federation of Labor first made the expose. Of course, after we exposed the situation the United States Ollice of Education prohibited the use of vocational funds for that project, and the WPA had to recall their funds.

You find in Mississippi today-if they haven't torn them down in the last 6 months-a number of buildings where the brick was halfway up on the first story, where the factories, called schools, were in process of construction.

I call that to your attention purely to emphasize our interest in wanting to be sure that Federal funds are protected and that the teachers do get the benefit, and to emphasize the fact that the public school authorities in the State should approve any buildings where Federal money is used, no matter what the total appropriation is, for the construction of educational facilities.

This bill recognizes the fact that right now, under the Lanham Act, there is an awful lot of money available for building purposes and we recognize the fact that millions of dollars will be expended in a Federal works program. I say this because we assume that the Congress of the United States is fully aware of the fact that it will probably have to put on a tremendous public works program during the period of reconversion and readjustment.

On behalf of labor, I am hereby telling you, first, that labor and every other sane and constructive group in this country will request an extensive Federal works program, and, second, that labor and every other sane, socially constructive group will demand that that program be used for schools, hospitals, and other social purposes.

I want to point out to you that this bill simply serves notice on the Federal Government that the taxpayers will hereafter expect the Federal Government to spend their money only in keeping with wise and economic plans; and that we insist that planning be done by the public agency at the State level. Just one point more that I want to emphasize in connection with this section:

This bill does not give title to property in any building to any nonpublic agency or organization; it does provide that if nonpublic agencies get Federal funds that they too will have to submit plans for the construction of such buildings.

This bill differs also from the other bill before this committee in that it provides money for the aid of every child in this country. Yes, it is true that this bill does state in title II that if a child goes to a nonpublic or nonprofit school as his parents wish and as the law of our country permits, then the Federal Government is willing to spend some of the money it has set aside for children's help to fix up a leak in the roof in the building to which he goes.

And we are also willing to give these children coal to keep them warm while they are in school and the like of that. In title III we say we are willing to give them health services, recreational services, and all the other services that will make them better Americans. We do, however, insist and the bill so states that not one cent of the money shall be used for instruction purposes in any sectarian school or for any sectarian purpose.

Title IV provides for student aid for any student who needs that money in order that he may continue his education.

I want to point out that under the NYA program literally thousands of children in the South, the rural centers and in the blighted areas, were permitted to go to public school that could not under any circumstances have gone to the public schools when the facilities were available if it had not been for the work project of the NYA and WPA permitting them to earn in some cases $8 a month, where they could actually buy shoes and clothes.

Gentlemen, from my personal observation, it is nice to say you have a fine school building, it is nice to have free transportation to the school building, but you cannot send children in the winter time barefooted and in rags to that type of a school and expect the child to be

a

able to obtain all of the benefits he is justly entitled to as a coming American citizen.

We feel that equally as important as giving good schooling is giving this work-opportunity to the poor, pauperized families, to their children, so that they can earn the necessary amount of money at least to clothe them sufficiently for them to appear decently in the public school system.

The XFL thinks it is sound for tax money to be used for the purpost of giving work opportunities to this type of children. We think it is good, sound, Americanism.

Now, gentlemen, once again on behalf of labor I want to issue a warning: These boys coming back from service will want jobs and I put the question to you-are you going to flood the labor market with high-school girls and boys, or are you going to help keep these girls and boys in school, where they belong? The answer rests with you gentlemen, for this bill provides the means to help keep them in school.

The answer rests with you gentlemen, for this bill provides the means to help keep them in school by giving them the necessary work opportunities in conjunction with their school education.

The American Federation of Labor membership in the South has no fear whatever about giving the necessary assistance to children in nonprofit private sectarian schools. I happen to be a Baptist. I cannot speak for my denomination, but I can speak for the members of the American Federation of Labor—1,800,000 in the South-and I can assure that there has been no religious intolerance or prejudice in the ranks of the trade-union movement in this country, particularly in the ranks of the trade-union movement in the South.

We feel that the families of all workers, that all children should be given equal benefits under the law.

Yes; it is true that there has been a tragic amount of prejudice manifest in certain areas of every State in this Union, but I want you to know that that prejudice is not characteristic of the American labor movement, and we hope and pray that it never will be.

Let us approach this question of the aid to the schools in a critical and philosophical way,

There are three fundamental principles which must be safeguarded in any bill giving Federal aid to education. The first is basic in our democratic philosophy; that is the right of the individual human being; the preservation of the dignity of man.

The second is basic in our form of government; the preservation of the autonomy of each of the several States in our Federal Union.

The third is essential in any free state: The prohibition of any legislative control of the educational content.

On the second and third of these points the Federation finds itself in agreement with practically all who ask for Federal aid for education.

On the first, however, there is a growing difference of opinion. In relation to this bill the principle manifests itself in the question: How much and what kind of power does government have over the individual human being? The American Federation of Labor believes this to be the most fundamental and indeed the most pertinent question confronting this Nation and every free nation today.

73384-45-pt. 2

1

I should like at this point to express our deepest thanks to the two Senators who have introduced this bill, not only for what the bill proposes for America's children but even more for their courage and vision in setting out the principles that (1) the child belongs to the parent and not to the State; (2) that it is the duty of the State to regulate conduct and actions of all for the common good and to assist wherever necessary to promote the common good; that it is the duty of the State to implement effectively the rights of citizens which it recognizes.

Under this bill the Federal Government aids the several States in maintaining the public school systems; it protects the rights of minorities; it assures an equitable distribution of funds for the common good; it recognizes the right of the parent to determine the kind of education the child is to have under State law; it implements that right as the needs may determine.

This bill does implement for all children the law of each State requiring the child to go to school, and recognizes the right of the parent to select any school which meets the minimum educational standards of the State.

On that point there is marked difference of opinion. There is a group in this country which infers that any implementation of the parent's right to send his child to a sectarian school is a union of churchand state. But our Supreme Court has ruled otherwise on a number of occasions.

Mr. Woll has referred to the Oregon school case in which a perfectly good southern gentleman, Mr. Justice McReynolds, of Tennessee, rendered the majority opinion of the Court and held that sectarian schools have a right to function in this country.

Shibboleths have been used: “Union of church and state.” “Breakdown of the American public schools.” “Destruction of the free public school system.” These are empty phrases. When the Supreme Court decided that the Federal Government could give funds for sectarian institutions did it unite church and state? Certainly not.

When the ROTC was placed in colleges of every denomination did it break down the free public school? Certainly not.

When this Congress enacted the GI bill last year—unanimouslymaking available Federal funds for use in every sectarian school in the country which maintains educational standards, did this Congress unite church and state? Did you gentlemen destroy the public school? Or did you give to every human being who wore the American uniform, to serve his country, the right to chose where and how he, as an individual human being, would exercise his rights, in the light of his own convictions and his own conscience.

You gentlemen who voted for the GI bill have your own answers to make to your own conscience and to your own constituents. But I want to sound a note of warning. Today there is a far more

:

a threatening danger confronting America than a threat of having any one church take us over. That's no real threat today. The threat is the growing power of the state over the conduct of the individual human being.

Stateism-a pure Hegelian concept-is the very basis of nazismis on the march in this country. I wish to distinguish "stateism" from the state's proper and inherent right and duty to regulate con

duct for the common good. I feel that we in the American Federation of Labor have a right to speak on this point.

We have crusaded for legislative regulation and protection for human rights. Our record on that is one to give us a just pride. We are still fighting for that right. Harder than ever, we believe.

And the vote of the Senate in opposition to the slave-labor bill is proof that we are working together for proper restrictive laws and against slave-making laws. We do I repeat, look to the state; National, State, and local, to make laws restricting and regulating human conduct. We look to the state at all levels for funds to implement the rights that are granted us.

But we resist to the utmost laws which deny human freedom, freedom of conscience and freedom of sacred and solemn personal relations to all men.

Today the right of the parent to determine absolutely—within the precepts of law, to be sure, as enunciated in the Constitution and interpreted by the Supreme Court-how their child is to be educated, must be zealously safeguarded.

And I am deeply grateful to Senator Mead, whose illness we deeply deplore, and Senator Aiken for saying that the parent's right to educate his child must remain supreme, and that the right must be implemented in every possible way.

We think labor's bill is morally and socially sound and absolutely necessary for the Nation's welfare.

Senator Walsh. I am sorry, gentlemen, but we will have to answer the quorum call. We will suspend for 15 minutes.

(Whereupon a short recess was taken.)

Senator WALSH. The acting chairman regrets that the delay has been caused by the attendance of the Senators on the floor of the Senate. A controversy arose that required the presence of all the Senators.

Now, Mr. Googe, you gave some statistics about the illiteracy, I think, in North Carolina and Alabama.

That was discovered when they were inducted into the armed services?

Mr. Googe. Yes, sir.

Senator Walsh. You gave those figures broken down between the whites and Negroes, did you?

Mr. GOOGE. Yes, sir.

Senator Walsh. How does it compare? You spoke about 50 whites, I think, in North Carolina, out of 1,000.

Mr. Googe. The South had a much greater number of rejections of men than there were from the Northern States, but it parallels the amount of money available in each State per child for educational opportunities. There may be a slight variation in some particular States, but generally it parallels the amount of funds available for public education.

Senator Walsh. What were the rejections in New York on account of illiteracy?

Mr. Googe. In New York, 4.4 whites per thousand; and Negroes, 25.1 per 1,000,

Senator CHAVEZ. Even there it was reduced.
Mr. GOOGE. Yes.

а

« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »