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Mr. ROBNETT. I present the suggestion to the committee and to the Congress for the purpose of having them consider it. This landgrant business has been repeatedly and repeatedly cited as similar or comparative with this bill, that there is a great similarity between the two.
Senator FULBRIGHT. There is; yes.
Senator Taft. What is the condition that attaches to the appropriation? Is there any condition attached to the appropriation to landgrant colleges ?
Senator FULBRIGHT. The conditions are very similar to the ones in this bill, such as this audit. I think it is perfectly proper to provide that the money be accounted for. That is about the state of the conditions. It is allocated to certain things, for instance, agriculture and engineering, and not much, if any, just to general liberal arts. The money is granted every year to these colleges in these States and they have to account for it. The Federal Government has never attempted to control the personnel of the teaching staff in a certain manner in a certain school, it is simply an accounting arrangement which, it seems to me, is proper, and is followed in all similar acts.
Senator ELLENDER. Under the original act of Congress that provided funds for the maintenance of these colleges it was specifically stated that the legislatures in the States shall pass laws creating these colleges, and they shall have the right to administer them.
Senator FULBRIGHT. Very similar to this.
Senator ELLENDER. Then in addition to this we have vocational training, that goes nearer our elementary school system than the landgrant colleges, and yet you find that there has not been any interference of any kind by the Federal authorities in that respect.
Mr. ROBNETT. The point I was going to make is this, that this system of land grants applies only slightly to the public school system. It is a college and university proposition largely.
Senator FULBRIGIT. It is used for education, without interference and without control by the Federal Government.
Mr. ROBNETT. That is in incidental instances located here and there, scattered widely. You are talking here about a bill that is going to affect the public school system throughout all the districts in these United States. It is a unified system with possibilities of control because there is money involved.
In the other system there is land involved.
Senator FULBRIGHT. We have settled that. There is no question but that for many, many years there has been no land involved. However, annual grants have been made.
Senator JOHNSTON. Here is the way it is in my State. We have colleges in my State known as land-grant colleges. Every year the Federal Government appropriates hundreds of thousands of dollars and it is allocated by the State legislature. They set up an act in South Carolina that states how the college shall be run, and it selects all the teachers. Nobody ever complained down there about the Federal Government trying to run the college.
FEDERAL AID FOR EDUCATION
The Federal Government does not grant any land to us at all, but it does make equivalent grants of money to us annually.
Mr. ROBNETT. We are talking about two entirely different systems, Senator Johnston. I am talking about the public-school system and you are talking about a college system.
Senator Taft. May I make a statement, please? The Federal Bureau of Education has pursued a policy, in my experience, of working entirely through the State on all matters and not interfering in any way. I think I see the thing that is largely in your mind. That policy is not pursued, for instance, by the Federal Security Administration, by an act that is similar to the Federal Education Act.
I do not think you can show any interference in education. The question is when assistance becomes large and becomes absolutely essential for the continuation of the State system, whether that power is not at least granted by a bill of this kind. We have been very fortunate that our Federal Bureau of Education has worked through the State departments, and up to this time there has been no interference.
I do not believe that $100,000,000 would make it, but I think if you get it up to a billion, as represented here the other day, it would be hard to prevent control developing.
Senator JOHNSTON. I believe you stated that no State had requested some Governor's help to endorse this bill, to ask that it be passed. I hold in my hand a letter from Gov. Ellis Arnall, and I was Governor of South Carolina up until a few weeks ago, and we have asked for it.
Mr. ROBNETT. Senator Johnston, I was quoting from the minority report on the last bill. If you people have decided you want this recently, since that report was made, apparently Senators Taft and Ball and Wherry did not know that at the time they made the report.
Senator Taft. Here is the point about the State matter: The State director of education may go to his legislature, and the legislature in a southern and even in a northern State may decide that they would like to have this money for education, and they would be willing to appeal to the Federal Government, or the officials of the Government may have decided that that is what they want.
I do not know of any State legislature that has ever requested the aid, although I have no doubt that some of them will if they are asked to. I think you will find, while they have not requested it, that a certain number of the States would request it.
Mr. ROBNETT. I am quite sure that the inspiration for the bill did not come officially out of the States.
Senator FULBRIGHT. There is nothing compulsory about the bill. No State has to accept any of this controlled money.
Mr. ROBNETT. That is true, but if you go through the experience of the years you will not find when any money is given out, there are not many that would not apply for it. For instance, the WPA and NYA, I think it was quite general, every district that wanted a new courthouse, or a new city hall, came down here to Washington to try to get some money, because they saw it was available and they said, “Why not? We might as well have our share of it."
Senator FULBRIGHT. Nobody was so prosperous, according to you, that they would not have any need for this. You would not think that they would come and ask for it when they did not need it?
Mr. ROBNETT. I don't know. Human nature has changed very much during the last few years, and I have my opinions in connection with human nature. I have seen it in operation, and you have, too, Senator Fulbright.
Senator Taft. The answer that someone might want to make is that when you tax the people high in order to supply them with money for education, they would say, "If we are going to be taxed, we want our share of it."
Mr. ROBNETT. You answered it better than I did.
Senator FULBRIGHT. Would you be more specific about the people from Arkansas that you mentioned who are opposing this?
Mr. ROBNETT. Well, I would say George Benson, for one.
Mr. ROBNETT. I might cite several others. They are in Little Rock. I talked before a group of men there, and I am going back there, by the way, to speak before one of your organizations in Little Rock next month. I do not think it is necessary to give you the names of these men. I gave you one, George Benson.
Senator FULBRIGHT. President of a private college, isn't he?
Mr. ROBNETT. I don't know. You ought to know. You are from Arkansas.
Senator FULBRIGHT. I am not the witness. Mr. ROBNETT. I see. Senator JOHNSTON. Do you have anything else? Mr. ROBNETT. No. Thank you, sir. Senator JOHNSTON. We will meet again at 2:30 this afternoon. (Whereupon, at 12:20 p. m., the committee recessed until 2:30 p. m. of the same day.)
Mr. Rogers, will you give your name in full for the record, and your principal occupation ?
STATEMENT OF ELMER E. ROGERS, ASSISTANT TO COL. JOHN H.
COWLES, AND STATEMENT OF COL. JOHN H. COWLES, SOVEREIGN GRAND COMMANDER OF THE SUPREME COUNCIL, THIRTYTHIRD DEGREE, ANCIENT AND ACCEPTED SCOTTISH RITE OF FREEMASONRY, SOUTHERN JURISDICTION, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
(Both statements presented by Mr. Rogers.)
Mr. ROGERS. My name is Elmer E. Rogers. I am the assistant to Col. John H. Cowles, sovereign grand commander of the Supreme Council, Thirty-third Degree, Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, Southern Jurisdiction, U. S. A. As such, my appearance here is to read his statement on the pending bill, S. 181, and my own on the same measure. I willfirst present the statement of Colonel Cowles:
STATEMENT OF COL, JOHN H, COWLES
Our Nation includes 50 or more nationalities and races, and some 250 religious sects and cults. The only common melting pot, the only means of making all of these elements homogeneous and our people culturally united is the tax-supported free public schools. They have been well named the bulwark of our free institutions. As such, our tax-supported free public schools should ever be superior to any and all other schools throughout the country. They should be highly efficient in at least two respects:
1. They should impress upon the minds of the pupils the ideals and traditions of our country.
2. They should prepare our children in the basic subjects of learning so that they may be able not only to earn their livings, but to have an appreciation of the moral, political, economic, and other social questions in relation to themselves, their community and the Nation in its relation to other nations.
While I am thus impressed with the great importance of adequate support of our tax-supported free public schools, it is my opinion that they should be maintained at the sole expense of the several States. I favor such maintenance for three reasons:
First. There is no State in the Union which at this time is not better able, financially, to support its schools than the Federal Government is to contribute to that support. This is at once perceived when it is considered (1) that there are a few States that are free from debt, and (2) that the total bonded debt of other States is less than $2,500,000,000; whereas, the bonded obligations of the National Government are skyrocketing toward $300,000,000,000 and will probably reach much more than 100 times the total indebtedness of the States before the war is over.
Second. The incomes of nearly all the States for 1943 exceeded their expenditures.
Third. Federal aid tends to place the control of the public schools under the Federal Government.
However, if it be the sense of the committee that S. 181 be reported favorably, I suggest that it be so amended as to make the appropriations available only to tax-supported free public schools. The present wording of the bill does not give that assurance, although the descriptive term "public school" is used in the bill. I urge this for the reason that all private schools, even those that are sectarian, are regarded as public schools by their owners, largely for a money consideration. Therefore, if, as emphasized in S. 181, the proposed financial aid is left to the authorities of the several States and Territories to use as they choose, certain private and sectarian school interests will demand what they are now asking in many areas as their “just proportion" of school tax funds based on pupil population. They will argue that since the bill left the funds appropriated thereunder to the States to allocate as they please, the Congress intended that their schools were to share in the funds.
Senator ELLENDER. Would you mind a question?
Senator ELLENDER. You know, of course, under the bill it is up to the States to pass laws as to how the fund can be distributed ?
Mr. ROGERS. Yes. - Senator ELLENDER. There is nothing in this bill that would in any wise, as I understand it, give the States the right to hand over money to these sectarian schools that you refer to.
Mr. ROGERS. Senator, I should hope so, but we entertain that fear, that this term "public school" itself is not sufficient.
Senator ELLENDER. Well, I believe the purpose of the language as written in the bill is simply to afford the States the same right as they now have, for instance, to permit the use of free schoolbooks to all children if they desire, as well as transportation; but so far as contributing to the schools themselves, I don't believe that that is in the minds of the authors of this bill.
Mr. ROGERS. Well, I would hope not, and while I am familiar with the legislation in Louisiana, and the mode by which the taxes are distributed there, there is a persistent movement throughout the other States to obtain public funds for sectarian schools. Now, I hope, Senator, that your interpretation of this bill will obtain, and it may be cited in the various States wherever there is a tendency in that direction.
Senator ELLENDER. Of course, it would be left to the State legislatures.
Mr. ROGERS. Yes.
They will argue that since the bill left the funds appropriated thereunder to the States to allocate as they please, the Congress intended that their schools were to share in the funds. I am glad, however, to hear you state, Senator, that that can not be done under your interpretation of the measure. In proportion as the State authorities or legislatures would yield to such arguments, the private and sectarian schools would grow in power and influence to the detriment and final destruction of the present tax-supported free public schools.
To aid such schools would encourage the movement in this country to reestablish the union of church and state, a legal status which is prohibited to the Federal Government in the first clause of the first amendment of its Constitution. Lest some members of this committee take refuge in the conviction that State constitutions adequately prohibit the use of public funds to aid private or sectarian schools, they should be disillusioned by the findings of the Institute of Educational Research of the Fordham University, a Jesuit school, in its Bulletin No. 1 of 1936. The late Walter R. Reed, secretary general of our Supreme Council, stated at a hearing before the House Committee on Education of 1937, that the Fordham University Institute was of the opinion from its findings that direct appropriations of public money to the Roman Catholic schools would be legal in more than half the States, and a similar result might be obtained in most of the others "by a simple subterfuge."
Whether or not these findings are sound, it is my judgment that this bill should, in the spirit of the first amendment, specifically provide that the funds appropriated therein shall be allocated only for the use of tax-supported free public schools. To so earmark the appropriations in this bill would not be a departure from the practice of Congress when making appropirations to the States for education. All of such grants, so far as I recall, have been definitely limited and restricted in purpose. Although this bill would seem to limit its