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and we came the first night, with only a few, it was real hard to understand. Old plugs like us couldn't learn, I told them. But I thought I would try it and in about 12 nights I could read and write
My children were all away from home. I raised a large family and I gave them all the learning that I could. They had to get their education away from home, all except one of my children. They are all married but one; I have one single daughter. When they all got away from home, I always did crave to read and write, because as my children came on they could read and write in their home to the off children. I thought I was getting along very well, but I did want to learn to know it. Then when all got off there wasn't no one at home at all, and one of my sons was in France, and when I got letters, I couldn't read them, and I had to take them off to neighbors to read to me. I had four daughters away from home, and I thought my time had come. You know how mothers is to advise, and I could not advise them at all, because I couldn't write to them. And so when the night school was organized, I went to work and it wasn't long before I could write to them and read their writing, and I think I could soon be graduated if I only just had a chance. [Applause.]
And so we are just getting along fine with our night school, and we just ask for all of you to do the best you can for us. I do believe if the Government had known anything about me before the night school came along they would have just sent a teacher to me.
And so I come into the school right along. Being unlearned does cramp anybody, just like I have been all the days of my life. I have got telegrams traveling on the train and didn't know a thing, and somebody would say, "I know that lady is going to get lost”; but I guess I never have got lost yet.
Miss Gray. You tell them how you enjoy reading now.
Mrs. MISHOE. Yes, I enjoy it. I can't read without spelling; if a syllable is very long I have to spell it. I haven't got out of that, but I think in time I will. You know 36 nights isn't very much. I believe it would be fine if the day school would get out and let them work and just have night schools. They would make good use of their time. If they just have a little bit of time they make good use of it, and they spend all day and get home and not try. I think it would be nice to have night school entirely.
Miss Gray. Tell how your ability to read has helped you so much.
Mrs. MISHOE. I can read and write now. You see all these old plugs, as I call them and I have another name, I call us old wore-out fellows. I wouldn't tell how far, but I am away up in the sixtiesbecause there may be others here. I never accomplished nothing only just for the satisfaction, but later on if I was to be deprived from my work and have to sit down in the corner and couldn't work and maybe didn't have anything to do, I could read the Bible and read all these things and my letters from the children, and read for somebody else, don't you know, and I could do that instead of sitting there with my lips poked out, or if not I would burn my toes.
So I think it is one of the grandest things that ever has been proposed in the country, leaving out everything else, and the old folks that are unprepared and haven't any learning are the very ones that are almost, you might say, the backbone of the world.
Mr. MOORE. Let me ask you a question. You say you are how old?
Mrs. MISHOE. I am 64. I am ashamed to tell it, though.
Mrs. MISHOE. I don't know; it hasn't turned gray. If I had had the opportunities of learning young, like young children have, that have the opportunities now, there is no telling what kind of an office I would have filled.
Mr. HASTINGS. How many were in attendance at the night school you attended-how many pupils were in attendance?
Mrs. MISHOE. I declare I've forgot. I think it was about nine.
Mr. HASTINGS. How many of the nine continued in the faith until they could read and write?
Mrs. MISHOE. All nine of them. We haven't got no one at all now in our school district but what can make something else besides that cross mark, you see.
Mr. HASTINGS. Everybody in your school district now, as the result of these night schools and this effort, can read and write?
Mrs. MISHOE. Yes; with the exception of one or two-I mustn't tell a story
There is one or two. I did have to tell stories, though, when it was first organized, to get them to go, because I told one old man-I was so anxious for it, to get the number—I told him, to get him to read and write, that when my husband died I was going to write to him. [Laughter.]
But it didn't do any good at all, he never did come, and he is one of them. But all of them, with the exception of two, in my school district, did come.
Miss GRAY. You see, gentlemen, that in South Carolina it is necessary to have 12 pupils to pay the teacher $1 an hour. So that is why Mrs. Mishoe was trying so hard to get the 12.
Mrs. MISHOE. Our teacher is all wore out in the daytime-teaching in the daytime—and we roll out at night and it's cold, and you have to take that little lantern along, that just gives a little light, and sometimes you don't have a chance to wash your eyes clean, and she will give out, all day teaching, and we really need a bright teacher. We have a fine teacher; they always had a fine teacher, but she teaches in the daytime-works all day—and coming back at night, you can't expect her to be good and bright, even if we are; and I never am, because I have too much to do.
Miss GRAY. Mrs. Mishoe represents one of our coast counties, and I might say the most backward county in the State. It is strictly rural. I am going to introduce now Mr. Aiken, from one of our large industrial counties, Greenville. I introduce Mr. Ernest Aiken, of Greenville,
STATEMENT OF MR. ERNEST AIKEN Mr. AIKEN. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen, I used to be scared of the Government, but I am proud to come before you people to tell you just what we want. I was raised up in North Carolina.
Mr. FENN. What part?
Mr. AIKEN. In Transylvania County. We lived 4 or 5 miles from a schoolhouse, and I am sorry to say that in them days that my father was more interested in other things than he was in sending his children to school. So we lived up there until I was about 9 years of age.
Mr. HASTINGS. How old are you now, Mr. Aiken?
Mr. AIKEN. Twenty-seven. He decided that he could do better in a cotton mill than in the mountains, and so we moved from North Carolina to South Carolina-Piedmont, and there, hardly 9 years old, I was put to work in a mill, not knowing the pleasure that an education would mean to me.
So I grew up to be practically a man, and I always wished some way would come for me to have some learning. I had to get someone to write my letters for me and to read them.
So in 1918 I was drafted to the Army. When I got overseas there I was—I wouldn't have known my name if I had seen it in box-car letters.
Well, we were traveling very often, going all the time, and I didn't have time to write or read much—that is, even if I could have read myself and I was ashamed to get someone to read my letters, and so I managed to get one boy to write some for me-to write and to read my letters. I trusted him very well. So I didn't write many or read many. I got a letter and had to carry it three days before I could get someone to read it. We were busy, in a hurry going to the front, and I got ashamed of myself. When I got so I could get that letter read for me I found in that letter where my wife was desperately ill with flu. So I made up my mind that if I ever did get home safe. that I was going to try to learn to read and write whether I learned anything else or not.
So it was my good fortune when I got home that there was a night school in my village where I could go to, and when I entered that night school-I just learned how to read a little when I was over there--and I entered that night school and I made perfect attendance for two years, and I have been going ever since that time, and now I have a pretty fair knowledge of reading and writing. I have got what you might say a fifth or sixth grade education, besides history and geography. I have studied history a whole lot. Now, I mean to stick to that night school and try to get further.
This August past I had the pleasure of going to college for one month down at Erskine College. The State provided for the people who had not had a chance of going to school an opportunity of going to college for one month during August, and I went down there and certainly did enjoy myself, and learned something about a college, too. I hope to see you people do something for us, so we may carry this work forward.
So I thank you all. [Applause.] (Thereupon, at 12.30, the committee took a recess until 2.30 p. m.)
The committee met pursuant to the taking of recess at 2.30 p. m., Chairman Dallinger presiding. The CHAIRMAN. Miss Williams, who is your next speaker?
Miss WILLIAMS. I am going to ask Doctor Keith to appear next and to answer Mr. Tucker's question that he asked at the last hearing of the committee which we held at night on February 20, in regard to the book of which he is one of the authors, The Nation and the Schools. Doctor Keith, will you reply to that question?
STATEMENT OF DR. JOHN A. A. KEITH
Mr. KEITH. This little book, The Nation and the Schools, which Miss Williams has sent to each member of the committee, was written in 1919, by Dr. W. C. Bagley, of teachers' college and myself. In it we sought to set forth many of the facts that show the relationships of the nation and the schools, and, conversely, many of the influences of the school upon national life.
We claim no great originality for the material that is in this book. Our chief mission was to gather this material together from various sources and restate it and organize it with reference to this great issue that was then being discussed, and is now being discussed in this country.
The animus and the attitude of the book was distinctly, from the standpoint of the authors at least, not in favor of the nationalization or the federalization of public education on this country, or of any standardizing or nationalizing or federalizing education of any kind in this country; and I want to present a few excerpts from the book itself which may be taken as fairly indicative of the animus of those who wrote it..
On page 5, beginning at the bottom of the page:
How the public schools may be made efficient upon a nation-wide basis is the problem for which the following chapters will attempt to outline a solution. The solution that will be proposed involves nothing revolutionary. The Nation has already established a policy of Federal aid for education. This policy, which antedates the Constitution, has been strengthened and developed during the period of our national life. It constitutes to-day a safe and tested framework upon which to build the needed extensions. There is no thought here of a national control of public education. This would be without warrant or justification. What is needed is a measure of Federal cooperation that will correct the underlyig defects resulting from a narrow and inadequate conception of educational responsibility--a type of cooperation that will stimulate the people to see their state and local educational problems in a national perspective, and that will make the provision of good schools and good teachers in every community a matter of duty to the Nation and of fidelity to the ideals for which the Nation stands.
I quote again from page 106, beginning with line 5:
On the other hand, for Congress to attempt to usurp the sovereign rights of each State to organize, supervise, and administer education within its own borders, and specifically and directly for the State's own citizens would clearly be unconstitutional. It is, indeed, unthinkable. Congress has never attempted to do this. It has never been advised or memorialized by educational leaders to attempt it. No one desires this sort of thing to be done.
I read again from page 154, the paragraph at the middle of the page. We are here discussing the proposals for the reduction of illiteracy, and the paragraph says:
There is another reason for not attempting to prescribe by Federal legislation the methods of procedure by the States. Constitutionally, the right to organize, supervise, and administer education within the State is clearly the function of the State itself. If a State accepts a law with procedure specifically defined in it, it substantially enters into a contract with the Federal Government. It is an open and an undertermined question whether such a contract is not itself unconstitutional. In other words, can a State by contract surrender to the Federal Government a function which the Constitution has reserved to the State? Since the purpose of the bill is to have illiteracy removed, it is wise not to involve in the issue provisions that raise constitutional questions.
I read again from page 168:
The Smith-Towner bill assumes that the Americanization of the foreign-born immigrant is a matter of great importance to our country. The actual work
must, of course, be done by State agencies. The bill seeks to stimulate the States to undertake this work. Congress has no power to force the States to undertake it, and even if it did have the power, it would still remain true that voluntary cooperation is always better than coercion.
I read again from page 265, the second paragraph on the page:
Our Federal Constitution, by silence in its original articles and by the negative of the tenth amendment, makes the organization, management, and supervision of public education exclusively a matter of State responsibility. No constitutional barrier, however, lies against the encouragement of public education by the Federal Government. The numerous instances already cited show this clearly. While the early grants of land were without condition other than that indicated by the express purposes of the several acts, the later ones have set up conditions that make the Federal aid contingent. This is as it should be.
I read again from page 307, at the bottom of the page:
It is evident from the foregoing discussion that the Smith-Towner bill is not a step toward national control of education or toward a national system of education. On the contrary, the Smith-Towner bill is a proposal for the further promotion of education in accordance with a precedent which dates unbroken from May, 1785. The creation of a department of education is also in harmony with the precedents which our own historical developments have established.
I read also from page 309, the concluding chapter of the book:
The assumption by Congress of the power to control public education within the several States has never seriously been proposed.
And again, from page 321. Making a summary in conclusion, the first paragraph on the page:
The United States is a federal form of government and is by its fundamental and organic law debarred from guaranteeing its own survival through actively and directly organizing, supervising, and administering public education in the several States.
Again, from page 323, beginning about line 9, the last paragraph of the book:
The creation of such a department of education is in line with what our States have done, with what every first-class modern nation except America has already done, and with what the Nation has done in creating Departments of Agriculture, Labor, and Commerce. These departments do not imply national control of agriculture, labor, and commerce. On the contrary, their chief function is to exercise a leadership, won through a demonstrated ability to render real service.
The CHAIRMAN. May I interrupt, to clear up a doubt I had in my mind? You refer quite frequently to other governments--what they are doing in England, France, Scotland, Norway, the Netherlands, Italy, and so on. Now, is not the system of government in the United States materially different from the systems of governments in those places?
Mr. KEITH. Yes, sir.
Mr. FENN. In other words, we have a sovereign government of sovereign States; each State is a sovereign State of the Union. It seems to me as if there was some distinction between our system of government and all these others you speak of. The various departments of France do not have the sovereignty that the State has within the United States; and the same with Scotland and England. Ireland to-day is more or less on the same plan as we are. Italy, I am not familiar with. But it seems to me as if there were a distinction in this control which you have advanced so well in that diagram there, between our system of government and that that prevails in France, for instance.
Mr. KEITH. There is a difference of control.