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1 As reported by the U.S. Office of Education for the year 1942–43. No figures were reported for Guam, Samoa, and the Virgin Islands.
The population allotment only. An additional $2,000,000 will be allotted by joint agreement with educational authorities
The weighted population formula is capable of being adjusted in various ways. For example, it would be possible to replace the figure for per capita income of the three richest States with one equivalent to, say, twice the national average income per capita ; this would have the effect of reducing somewhat the grants to the States with the lower per capita income and increasing the size of the grants to some of the States with higher per capita incomes. On the other hand, if it were preferred not to provide for grants to the richest States, the figure for per capita income of the three richest States could be replaced with the average of per capita incomes of a considerably larger number of States. If it were desired to give no aid to States having per capita incomes higher than the national average per capita income, that figure could be substituted. This would also necessitate dropping the suggestion that a floor be placed on the weight to be applied to any State's population.
Alternatively, if it was felt that 1 percent was too low a weight for any State, it would be possible to increase this "floor" and thus to increase the grants to those States affected by the "floor percentage”; this would decrease pro rata all the remaining grants. Just as a "floor" to the weights obtained by this formula may be desirable, so an appropriate "ceiling" on the weights may also be desired, perhaps 400 or 500 percent.
THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT AND EDUCATION
(The Advisory Committee on Education).
FOREWORD BY THE COMMITTEE
The Advisory Committee on Education was appointed by the President of the United States on September 19, 1936, initially for the purpose of making a study of the experience under the existing program of Federal aid for vocational education. Under its original assignment, the Committee was known as the President's Committee on Vocational Education.
In a later letter dated April 19, 1937, the President stated that he had been giving much thought to the general relationship of the Federal Government to education, that numerous bills in connection with educational matters were pending in the Congress, and that it was his understanding that the Committee was already in possession of much information bearing upon the subject. He there fore requested the Committee to give more extended consideration to the whole subject of Federal relationship to State and local conduct of education, and to prepare a report.
In accordance with this request, the Committee prepared a comprehensive report, which was transmitted to the President on February 18, 1938, and was transmitted by him to the Congress on February 23, 1938. The report was printed as House Document No. 529, 75th Congress, 3d session. An indexed edition of the report, differing in pagination but not in text, was also printed for public use by the Advisory Committee.
Demand has arisen for a summary of those parts of the report which relate particularly to the situation in the schools, inequalities of educational opportunity, the national interest in education, and the proposed Federal grants for educational purposes. This pamphlet has therefore been prepared in order to present briefly the relevant parts of the Committee's findings and proposals.
The pamphlet was prepared by the Secretary of the Committee and he is responsible for the selection, rearrangement, and interpretation made necessary by condensation of the report. Although the Committee assumes full responsibilty for publication of this summary, the complete report should be consulted for the exact text of the recommendations which were agreed to by the individual members of the Committee, as well as for the text of an expression of minority views on the part of one member of the Committee.
Interested readers should also refer directly to the Committee's report for its discussion and recommendations concerning the general problem of the education and adjustment of youth. Other sections of the report not summarized here include those dealing with higher education, vocational rehabilitation of the physically disabled, and education in the District of Columbia, the Territories, and other special Federal jurisdictions.
A SUMMARY OF FINDINGS AND PROPOSALS OF THE ADVISORY COMMITTEE ON
The public-school system in the United States greatly needs improvement. Glaring inequalities characterize educational opportunities throughout the Nation. The education that can be provided at present in many localities below the minimum necessary to preserve democratic institutions. Federal aid is the only way in which the difficulties in this widespread and complex situation can be adequately corrected.
These are the general conclusions of the Advisory Committee on Education. The Committee's report, based on more than a year of study of the schools throughout the country, is now under consideration by the Congress, to which it was transmitted by the President on February 23, 1938.
It is the purpose of this pamphlet to summarize major findings of the Committee and to present briefly the Committee's proposals for Federal aid for education.
ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY SCHOOLS
Public education is one of the largest of all public businesses. By 1930 the people of the United States were spending on public schools the impressive sum of $2,300,000,000 a year. The value of the property of the public schools had reached $6,675,000,000.
Expenses were cut drastically during the early years of the depression. These - cuts meant curtailed school terms, restricted courses of study, overcrowded schools, and overworked, underpaid teachers. During the school year 1935–36, after partial recovery from the worst effects of the depression, support for the public schools totaled about $2,000,000,000.
Enrollments in public elementary schools have been declining slightly since 1930 because of the decreasing number of young children in the total population. In 1935–36 the elementary public-school enrollment totaled 20,400,000.
High-school enrollments continue to expand as a larger proportion of all youth enter the high schools. Enrollments in public high schools increased from 4,400,000 in 1929–30 to nearly 6,000,000 by 1935–36. City Schools
The strong public-school centers in the United States are found most frequently today in the small and middle-sized cities. The school situation in the great metropolitan centers is often less satisfactory. Most of the larger cities have the financial resources for good educational programs and in many cases spend liberally for public education. But the largest school systems necessarily can adapt to changing conditions only slowly. Rural Schools
In general, the least satisfactory schools are found in rural areas. Although rural schools have improved steadily, there is a wide gap between country and city levels of educational service. Under present conditions there is no prospect that the rural areas will be able to lessen this gap through their own resources.
In 1935-36 almost equal numbers of children were attending city schools and rural schools. City school systems spent an average of $108 that year for each child in attendance; rural schools spent an average of $67. Since town and village schools are counted as rural for statistical purposes, average expenditures per child in schools of open-country areas were undoubtedly much lower than $67.
Low school expenditures in rural areas have unfortunate results for the children. Since the teachers are poorly paid, they are frequently untrained and inexperienced. They usually follow textbooks and make little use of supplementary materials to give vitality and interest to their teaching. School terms average a month shorter than in cities. The health, welfare, guidance, and other services that school children need in addition to instruction are almost universally lacking.
In 1930, 800,000 children in the United States between the ages of 7 and 13 were not going to school at all. Most of these children lived in the poorest rural areas, where relief problems have been most serious since 1930.
1 The Advisory Committee on Education, Report of the Committee, for sale by the Superintendent of Documents, U. S. Government Printing Office, Washington, Þ. c. Price 35 cents.
Too Many School Districts
There are approximately 127,000 separate school districts in the United States. Each of these districts is free to decide on the type and quality of education offered, subject only to general State laws and regulations and the limits of available funds. Altogether there are about 424,000 local school board members; in 12 States school board members outnumber the teachers.
The large number of small school districts is responsible in many States for thousands of one-teacher rural schools with very small enrollments. A study completed in 1934 recorded nearly 44,000 schools in which the attendance per school ranged from 3 to 17 pupils. Because of the small enrollments, the average annual cost per pupil in such schools ranged from $80 to $200, larger amounts than were spent per pupil in many good city schools, although the quality of schooling provided in the small schools was in most cases far from good. Nearly one-quarter of the teachers in the one-teacher rural schools of the Nation have had no education beyond high school. Seven out of eight have had no more than two years of training beyond high school.
In these days of rapid communication and larger community areas, there is no excuse for the system of rural school district organization existing in most States. The system is wasteful of money and of human effort. It is largely responsible for poorly trained and poorly paid teachers, limited courses of study, lack of constructive supervision of teaching, the worst school buildings, and countless other deficiencies. In other words, the system gives poor results at a high cost for the service rendered. But unless the rate of progress is increased, it will take half a century to eliminate defective district organization. Handicapped Children Are Neglected
Some 2,500,000 children of school age in the United States are at present handicapped in some way that necessitates facilities for their education in addition to those provided for the education of other children. They are the blind, the nearblind, the crippled, the hard-of-hearing, the speech-defective. Not more than oneeighth of these children are receiving the attention necessary to make their education a success.
A majority of the handicapped children can be made capable of self-support if they are given a fair chance to obtain an education. To neglect this opportunity is to place an unfair burden on the children themselves and to make them an expense to the community throughout their lives.
Twenty-six States have laws concerning special classes for some types of handicapped children, but no State is providing funds large enough to meet the needs of these children. In rural areas practically nothing is being done to provide suitable education for handicapped children. Negro Schools
In most of the States where there are separate schools for Negro children, the schools for white children are below the national average, yet Negro schools are only about half as well supported as the white schools. Because of the economic relationships that exist between the two races, the low level of education among Negroes is a severe burden not only on themselves but on all who employ them or deal with them. Even in Northern States, the large influx of Negroes from the South makes the quality of their previous training a matter of vital importance to the localities where they live and work. Uneven Development of School Service
The outstanding impression from the survey of the schools throughout the United States is one of very uneven development.
Elementary school service of some sort is available in most communities, but the quality of the service varies greatly. The major problem of the ele. mentary schools is one of providing financial support where it is now inadequate. Improvement is needed in many respects, such as the preparation of teachers, the organization of school districts, and the supervision of instruction. But the methods of securing improvement in elementary schools are well known; the major factor that now prevents such improvement is a lack of adequate financial support.
High schools developed later than elementary schools. Many States have not yet accepted the obligation of making a high school education universally available. In consequence, high schools offer many special problems and present a picture of even greater diversity than do elementary schools.
High School Expansion
Nothing in the evolution of American education is more striking than the development of the public high school. Nothing like it has ever happened before in any other country.
As late as 1890 in the United States less than 4 percent of the young people of high school age were enrolled in public high schools. At present, more than 60 percent are enrolled. There are now some 25,000 public high schools in which 230,000 teachers instruct 6,000,000 boys and girls. In 1937 the annual number of graduates passed the million mark.
For the country as a whole, the period of extraordinary high school expansion appears to be coming to an end. But some growth in high school enrollments will continue for a time, particularly in those areas where high school attendance is still low.
There are about half as many young people of high school age as there are children of elementary school age. In 1935–36 high school enrollments in six States were over 40 percent of elementary school enrollments, but in eight States at the opposite end of the scale they were less than 20 percent of elementary school enrollments.
In view of the great unemployment among youth, it is abvious that many young people are out of school either because high schools are not available or because the available high schools are not suited to their needs.
In planning the work of the high schools, a central place should be given to their major task of preparing young people of high-school age for useful, selfsustaining adult life. Many changes are necessary to meet the gradual advance in the school-leaving age from its present average level of 16 years to the coming average level of 18 years.
The high schools must also assume much more responsibility for young people and adults who have left the regular school program. Most of the 900,000 young people who drop out of high school each year without being graduated are in need of further education. Many of them would respond if the right kind of part-time school programs were provided. Private Schools
To complete the picture of elementary and secondary education in the United States, it should be noted that there are about 12,000 private elementary and secondary schools. Nearly two-thirds are controlled by the Roman Catholic Church, and about one-sixth are under other church auspices. Private schools enroll about one-tenth of the total number of elementary-school pupils and about one-sixteenth of the total number of high-school pupils. In general, these schools meet standards set by public authorities. Most States recognize the public service they are rendering by granting tax exemption to those that are nonprofit making in character.
BASIC CAUSES OF UNEQUAL OPPORTUNITY
A large measure of opportunity for all is considered fundamental to American democracy. Yet satisfactory educational opportunities are found in only a few places where circumstances are unusually favorable.
A basic difficulty is the way the tax system is organized to provide money for schools. At the time when it was decided that schools should be supported at public expense, the property tax was the principal source of public revenue. Schools now receive an increasing amount of support from other types of taxes, but over three-quarters of the annual cost of public education still is met through property taxes, levied chiefly by local school boards and other local taxing agencies.
Because of this situation, the fortunes of education rise and fall with the ability and willingness of property owners to pay taxes. No other great social service is dependent so largely upon so unsatisfactory a tax base.
Most of the 127,000 local school districts raise their taxes separately. The larger the number of districts and the smaller their average size, the less likely is any reasonable relationship between amount of wealth and number of children. In several States the richest districts with the same effort could provide $100 or more per child for every $1 provided by the poorest districts.
Actual expenditures do not vary as much, because in most States the poorest districts tax themselves much more heavily than the richest districts. Many States also provide part of the cost of education through funds raised through