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written in there so that no State could go back of the level that it had already achieved. We found six months was the legal minimum to be found in any State in the United States, and therefore that was written in there so that no State can take a backward step in education with regard to the length of its school term. We also put in a provision regarding the compulsory educational system, and we framed that in terms of the minimum achievement of the different States at the present time, so that they can take no backward step in regard to compulsory education, and yet receive benefit under this bill. They can abolish their compulsory education law if they see fit, but with it they will give up their participation in Federal aid. There is one other requirement in the bill, which requires that the English language shall be the basic language of instruction. It was put in because it was coming before the legislatures of the country for affirmative action. It has never been turned down.
Those provisions were inserted in the bill not for the purpose of enabling the Federal Government to enforce standards as against the States, but to consolidate the gains already made in public education in these different States in such a way that there could be no backward step either with regard to using English as the basic language of instruction in our elementary schools, with regard to the compulsory education laws, or with regard to the minimum length of term now existing, and I think the Federal Government ought to safeguard its interest in those ways. You are not putting this money out to the States in the manner of free giving, as a gratuity, you are appropriating it to the States in order to encourage them to maintain their existing standards of education, and to go further, and therefore you set these limits here and you set up these conditions, just so there can be no backward step. That is what it is for.
Mr. TUCKER. I see; but to the extent of the conditions is not the Federal Government doing what this bill says it can not do?
Mr. KEITH. No.
Mr. TUCKER. Interfering with the organization and the administration of the school systems?
Mr. KEITH. No.
Mr. TUCKER. For instance, suppose the State of Virginia's term was 20 weeks and not 24 weeks, as provided in the bill, and in order to get the advantages of the bill she raises it to 24 weeks. Is not that practically—although not really so—is it not practically the Federal Government determining that it shall be 24 weeks ?
Mr. KEITH. No. It is simply encouraging Virginia to do a thing she should have done years and years ago.
Mr. TUCKER. Is it not practically the Federal Government legislating on that four weeks? Of course Virginia does it willingly, you say, in order to get in; but it is under a pretty serious pressure, if not compulsion, it seems to me.
Mr. KEITH. No; it is entirely voluntary with Virginia.
Now, if there are any other questions on that phase of the matter I shall be glad to be interrogated about them.
Mr. FENN. Would it not be a premium offered to Virginia to extend her term from 20 weeks to 24 weeks?
Mr. KEITH. It might be.
Mr. ROBSION. There are as many conditions in this bill laid down to get Federal aid for eduration as the law lays down to get Federal aid for roads, which Virginia has very gladly accepted.
Mr. TUCKER. Yes; that is true.
Mr: ROBSION. And if Virginia can accept Federal aid for roads, I do not see what the objection would be to accepting Federal aid for education.
Mr. TUCKER. There are two very decided objections. I think the appropriation for roads is a constitutional act, and I do not think this is.
Mr. LOWREY. You remember, Mr. Robsion, in the discussion of the roads bill, this objection was offered the same as presented to this bill, that while it is voluntary with the State as to whether the State will accept Federal aid to roads on the terms given, that at least it does this; it gives aid to the States that do accept it, and the State that does not accept it will have to help furnish the revenues to pay it to the State that does, and will therefore rather feel that they must accept it or be very badly discriminated against. That was the argument on the roads bill.
Mr. FENN. In these State-aided roads, to use that term, how is the construction determined; is it determined by the National Government or is it determined by the State, as to the actual construction?
Mr. ROBSION. Well, it is very much on the order of the bill for Federal aid for roads.
Mr. FENN. I may say we have a fine road in our State, 60 miles long, a Government-aided road, built of concrete for the entire 60 miles. I doubt if the State itself would have constructed a road of that splendor. I don't know, as I say now, whether the plan of construction of that road was prescribed by the National Government or by the State.
Mr. RobSION. It comes in this way
Mr. ROBSION. The State, in the first place, has the right to select the road to receive Federal aid, and then they lay out their plans and specifications, and then all of those are submitted to the Secretary of Agriculture, and if he approves it the Federal Government will go 50-50 to build it.
Mr. FENN. I know that. Then, according to that statement the Federal Government has the say so as to how that road shall be constructed.
Mr. ROBSION. No.
Mr. FENN. You say it is to be submitted to the Secretary of Agriculture for his approval?
Mr. ROBSION. No; the Secretary of Agriculture may not agree that it was the proper place for the construction of that sort of a road or the proper width for a road, and he has the power to veto it.
Mr. FENN. Then he does, to be fair; he does have the say so as to the layout and construction of that road, and you let the secretary of education have the determination of how your schools are to be
You cited the roads as an illustration in support of this bill, and that is why I bring that point out.
The CHAIRMAN. There is no question about the constitutionality of the Federal aid to roads. It is explicitly given in the Constitution and repeatedly affirmed by the Supreme Court. It is under the power to establish post offices and post roads. Now, will you tell the committee on what you base the constitutionality of this measure?
Mr. KEITH. Well, we base it upon the precedents that have already been established, as matters of fact, brought into being by congressional action, appropriating money in the interest of education in the States, appropriating public lands in the aid of education in the States, with no adverse court decisions anywhere in the record about it.
Mr. ROBSION. For over a hundred years.
Mr. KEITH. We base it on the history of Federal aid to education in the United States.
Mr. TUCKER. Well, we have to look to the Constitution,
Mr. KEITH. Yes. We have also the arguments, by parallelism, of agriculture, of labor, of commerce, of our internal improvements, also the cost of maintaining the lighthouse at Boston Harbor
Mr. FENN. Well, that is a national defense, more or less.
The CHAIRMAN. Most of these things that you mention are under the commerce clause of the Constitution; and the land-grant colleges had to have military training connected with them.
Mr. KEITH. Yes; for the first two years in a male student's career the agricultural college must have military training.
The CHAIRMAN. You can justify that on the war power, but here is a proposition, and you will admit that this proposition goes vastly further than any other proposition in that it proposes to pay-this bill, I mean, I am not discussing the question of establishing, a Department of Education—this bill proposes to pay out of the Federal Treasury the salaries of local school teachers.
Mr. KEITH. Oh, no; it made no such proposal as that.
The CHAIRMAN. Well, it gives the State money for that purpose, to equalize, as I understand it. One of the principal items of this bill is the equalizing of salaries of school teachers. Now, is not that paying money out of the Federal Government?
Mr. KEITH. No; the Federal Government does not pay it to the local school teachers
The CHAIRMAN. But it is to be used for that purpose by the State, is it not?
Mr. KEITH. It may be used for that purpose, not that it must be; it may be used for that purpose.
The CHAIRMAN. But a certain part of it has got to be used for that purpose.
Mr. KEITH. No; it may be used for the various purposes mentioned in the bill. There is no must about it. I read section 9 of the bill, page 7, line 17:
That in order to encourage the States to equalize educational opportunities, $50,000,000, or so much thereof as may be necessary, is authorized to be appropriated to be used in public elementary and secondary schools for the partial payment of teachers' salaries, etc.
Mr. Fenn. That is it; it provides specifically for it.
The CHAIRMAN. That means that there is no question but what under this bill money raised by Federal taxation is to be used to pay the salaries of local school teachers, or may be used for that purpose. Now, I want to ask you, this being entirely a new proposition, the bill for vocational education contained an express provision that money should not be used to pay the salaries of teachers; it was for the training of teachers. I want to ask you if you will tell the committee, because we are all interested in this, where is the constitutional authority for paying, for using Federal money raised by Federal taxation, for the payment of salaries of local school-teachers?
Mr. KEITH. Well, the Federal authority is to appropriate money to the States, for the purpose of equalizing educational opportunities within the State, and then the State may use this money to bring about the equalization of educational opportunities for the personal payment of teachers' salaries.
Now, let me give you a bit of personal experience. Some 12 years ago I was before the education and the appropriation committees of the Legislature of Wisconsin, and the question came up as to how we could get normal-school graduates into the rural schools. I suggested they could get them into rural schools by paying a differential in salary. They inquired as to what this differential should be, and finally a committee agreed upon a differential and reported it to the general assembly and it was enacted into law, and in that State any normal-school graduate who will teach in a one-room rural school will receive from the State through the county superintendent of schools $10 a month more than the minimum salary prescribed by law for teachers of that class.
Mr. FENN. Does this bill apply to that, that increase of $10? Mr. KEITH. No; but this bill provides the leverage by means of which the State can pay a differential in wages to people qualified as teachers who will go into their most isolated and remote schools; but it does not force the State to use it for that purpose. It makes it possible that a State could so use it. Matching this money, it could so use it as to make the salary of qualified teachers in the rural schools attractive enough to get good teachers in those schools.
I have here a little argument that I have written out roughly. I have not had time to look it over since I gave it to my stenographer. This is a threefold argument on the matter of Federal aid to education in the States, and it is rather brief, and I would like to present it and then come back to your question, because I think I can answer that question much more directly and succinctly after I present this threefold argument, and I would like to give that now if I be permitted. This is really big business that we are dealing with.
The CHAIRMAN. There is no doubt about that.
Mr. KEITH. And one of the most complex propositions that this committee or any other committee has ever been called upon to deal with.
The CHAIRMAN. May I just say right here that it seems to me that if the Congress of the United States can constitutionally appropriate money to be used to pay for the increase in salaries of the local school teachers in small communities of the United States, I can not see why the Federal Government can not with equal constitutional authority, establish a department of public safety, a national department of public safety, and do the same thing with local policemen's salaries, to equalize them, on the ground that it would be for the national safety to have policemen all over the
country paid the same salaries, for instance, as are paid in New York City.
So far as the constitutionality is concerned I can not see any distinction between them. They are both excellent objects, but the question comes that if we start in on that thing, whether we might not just as well tear up our Federal Constitution and let Congress legislate for the entire United States. That is the thing that is puzzling a great many conscientious people who are thoroughly in sympathy with the objects of the bill.
Mr. KEITH. I am not a lawyer or a constitutional lawyer; I have looked into this simply as it came up in connection with educational matters, and I do not pose as a lawyer familiar with the Constitution. I would not therefore feel at all competent to pass upon the inquiry
The CHAIRMAN. It is just on this one phase of the question, of having this money for the payment of local school-teachers' salaries.
Mr. KEITH. I am inclined to think that the Federal Government is already doing that under the Smith-Hughes Act, in partially paying the salaries of teachers. You may not be doing it directly, but in our county
Mr. ROBSION (interposing). Has that been before the supreme court?
Mr. KEITH. I do not know.
The CHAIRMAN. No; none of these 50-50 measures have; but I think your whole idea-take your rehabilitation of persons injured in industry, for instance, we have extended that, but the idea was to get the States started, the United States Government to show them how to do it as a temporary expedient, and not to embark into a permanent policy.
Mr. KEITH. Not far from Indiana is a little rural community that had an academy that failed. They started a high school of the old type and that failed, and finally they started á vocational high school, and I am reliably informed that two-thirds of the salaries of the teachers in that school come out of the Federal or the Smith-Hughes money, not that the act directly and specifically provides that that money shall go to that object, but that it goes to the State of Pennsylvania, and the State has its sharefor maintaining vocational education within that State, of certain types that conform to the provisions and requirements of the law, and then the State of Pennsylvania, in its policy of organizing these vocational schools, turns over this money to the school board. This money is equivalent to two-thirds, say, of the salaries of the teachers. It is not turned over to them probably as salaries, but it is equivalent to two-thirds of the salaries of those teachers. So these people are getting the advantages of a high school, a so-called vocational high school, under the Smith-Hughes Act, State aid and Federal aid, because it is a vocational high school; and yet, year after year girls come up to the normal school with which I am connected, with four years of Latin-distinctly vocational, I suppose.
The CHAIRMAN. That is simply an illustration of how Federal money has been misapplied. Probably if Congress had any idea that sort of thing was to be done it would not have passed the bill. It certainly was not the idea to assist the teaching of Latin in Pennsylvania.