« ForrigeFortsett »
and Government and for that surplus which is saved as capital. A great city, such as New York, depends for its very existence on its hinterland of supply. Without this supply hinterland New York City would become an impossible living place in less than a week. Famine, pestilence, and death would stalk its streets. Florida and California send fruits, Minnesota and the Dakotas send wheat, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, and Nebraska send meat, Pennsylvania and West Virginia send coal, Wisconsin, Washington, and Tennessee send lumber, the Southern States send cotton, the Plains States send wool-in short, practically every State in the Union contributes something to the support of the inhabitants of New York City. Then, on the other hand, out from New York City there flows goods and services to every nook and corner of the Nation. If no one bought these goods and services, there would be a glut. The wheels of industry would stop. Wage earners would have no wages. Supplies could not be sold. Disaster would replace prosperity.
These few hints of interdependence will serve to raise a question or two. How is the supply hinterland and the consuming hinterland of New York City to get their equitable share of the economic surplus which develops in that great city through their cooperation? That portion of these hinterlands which is located within the State of New York gets a return through a State tax on real estate for the support of the State government and of public schools and through a State income tax. But what about the hinterland that is included within Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Florida, Montana, Arizona, California, etc.? At present, the return is made through the expenditure of the proceeds of the Federal income tax for the general welfare. And expenditures by the Federal Government for education of any grade or kind must stand or fall on exactly the same arguments as those for a lighthouse, the extermination of the gypsy moth, or the Army or Navy.
But what difierence does it make to New York City if people are not taught to care properly for their health, if they are illiterate, if they do not become citizens, if they are taught by young, immature, and unprepared teachers? The answer is clear-New York City's economic development is limited thereby. Mr. A. Lincoln Filene recently made this clear (hearing of February 20. 1924). Henry Ward Beecher made it so clear to England during the Civil War in his famous Manchester speech that the English Government did not recognize the Southern Confederacy. Slave labor ruins free labor by its competition. Bad money drives out good money. Ignorant producers are never very efficient and they are poor customers. The idealistic philosophy of “all for each and each for all” is the soundest economic principle that was ever uttered. If you read history at all you must know those great economic centers that have reduced their hinterland populations to the conditions of serfdom, peonage, or slavery have perished at the hand of the barbarians whom they bave created by their selfish policies.
In particular, it may be said that our distinctly rural population is as yet only slightly touched by the industrial revolution. Their economic status is law. The labor-saving devices, the conveniences and comforts, the forms of relaxation and pleasure, and the close personal contacts which the industrial revolution has brought to the centers of population have not yet reached the country dwellers.
The rural schools have lagged behind in their development. The schools of rural States have lagged behind those of industrial and commercial States, and thus the rural school problem is more than a rural life problem, more than a State problem. It is, indeed, a grave national problem.
The Federal Government has made possible the establishment of colleges of agriculture and mechanic arts in every State; it appropriates $50,000 to each of them every year; it pays $30,000 a year to each State for the maintenance of agricultural experiment stations; it puts more than a million dollars every year into agricultural extensions and farmers' institutes; it supports magnificently a most efficient Department of Agriculture. All this is fully justified by the basic importance of agriculture to the life and prosperity of the Nation. It is all deserved by the hinterland of our food supply. We have gone into the matter also for the manufacturer by reasonably large appropriations from the Federal Treasury for vocational education. What is needed above everything else in an educational way in this country to-day is to put rural public school education on its feet. Country boys and girls must be so taught that they can and will read the helpful pamphlets on agriculture,
stock raising, and farm management that the Department of Agriculture and the colleges of agriculture and mechanic arts publich. We must find a way to get our scientific knowledge of agriculture into the minds of the next generation of rural folk.
It will be found on close examination that the $50,000,000 authorized to be appropriated for equalization of education opportunity by this bill is directly in the interest of rural schools. You will find the phrase "especially in rural schools and schools in sparsely settled communities" in the bill. You will find lengthened school terms and better-prepared teachers specifically mentioned. The phrase "for the partial payment of the salaries of teachers” was inserted so that the States might pay a bonus for well-qualified teachers who would go into rural schools. You know the handicaps and inconvenience involved in teaching school in the open country and even in our small villages. These inconveniences can be balanced only by a larger compensation. This larger compensation can of course be paid only by the States, and the whole purpose of this relatively large authorization of an appropriation for equalization of educational opportunities is to provide the incentive to the States which will lead them to improve their rural schools. This improvement depends absolutely upon outside financial aid for the conduct of rural schools.
The Federal Government can not go further than to stimulate the States to educational efforts along particular lines. It dares not touch the control of public schools. No one wants it to do so. Poor rural schools are as much a national menace as illiteracy or alien islands. And simple economic justice demands that the Nation take the lead in pointing the way to bring the rural school onward and upward to the levels and standards demanded by the economic and social life of to-day.
Now, this three-fold argument is presented in order that you may see that there is something in this case besides merely a desire to have a certain amount of money appropriated. These appropriation clauses in this bill are to encourage the States to do these different things, to encourage them to promote education, which is the central theme of this bill.
The CHAIRMAN. We thank you, Doctor Keith.
Miss WILLIAMS. We have done our best to answer the various questions brought up at the other hearing. We wish now to proceed with the last one of our night-school pupils, who was good enough and interested enough to come from South Carolina, to tell you the the story of his work. I am going to ask Miss Gray to go on with that part of the program which stopped with the noon session.
Miss Gray. I was very much interested in the discussion we have just had. A few weeks ago I saw a map of Ohio, and one of the lower counties was black. I, naturally, was interested in knowing why it was black. It was a map in black and white showing the illiteracy in Ohio, and the county
that was black was shown in that color because the people who settled in that county came from the South and they were quite illiterate, and so that county was illiterate. It seems we do not stay put, we move all around, which indicates that illiteracy is a national question.
This morning we had a representative of one of our rural counties here. We are going to have a representative from one of our industrial centers to speak to the committee now. As I stated, this type of work has been done in South Carolina for six years under State control. We started out with a small appropriation of $5,000.
This year we hope it will be $50,000. That is not enough. In many of the large industrial centers the presidents of the mills pay more than 50 per cent of the salaries of the teachers. It is not compulsory, but we merely ask that.
Now, I am going to introduce Mr. L. M. Brown, who, I might say, was one of the hardest people we ever found to get into night school. It is not an easy job to get these people to go to night school. There has been an attitude on the part of a great many people that it was all right to be ignorant if they could fool folks about it, if they could just keep it to themselves. I think Mr. Brown had a bit of that idea, because he had lived in his community for a long time, was a deacon in a Baptist church, and the majority of people did not know that he could not read or write. He was so clever that somehow he could throw people off the track if the question came up. And so it was after about six months of constant urging that he was finally interested. Since that time he has been one of South Carolina's greatest evangelists for night school. I introduce Mr. Brown.
STATEMENT OF MR. L. M. BROWN, OF GREENVILLE, S. C.
Mr. Brown. Gentlemen, I can only tell you about this school business from experience; that is all. As Miss Gray says, I was hard to get into this thing and I have been just as hard to get out.
In this place where I live, Greenville, we have what we call a night school for grown up people who didn't have the chance to get an education when they were growing up, as I didn't.
I was raised up until 9 or 10 years of age in the mountain section of Greenville County. I never went to school a day in my life. I was 4 or 5 miles from
school. The CHAIRMAN. Did they have a compulsory school law in South Carolina at that time?
Mr. Brown. No, sir. I just wish they had had. And then my father moved to a cotton mill, and I have been working in a mill ever since.
Mr. ROBSION. What age were you when you went in the mill ? Mr. Brown. About 9 years old.
Mr. ROBSION. Do you have any State law now to prevent children of that age working in the mill ?
Mr. BROWN. Not at that time. Just so you knew your way to the mill and back again
Mr. ROBSION. Do you have such a law now?
Mr. Brown. Yes; no one under 14 years old can work. We moved to the mill and from that time on I have been in the mill.
To show you the disadvantage that a man has in not having no education at all, and I will try to show you that. In a cotton mill you have to have a little bit if you climb, to get up to be a boss man of any kind, you have to have some education so you can figure up your numbers of yarn, etc.; you have got to do that to hold a position.
I have been offered time after time jobs that would pay five times as much as the one I am running to-day. I had to turn it down on account of my education. That is the reason why I am here, gentlemen, to-day before you people; people that I know can help such I am if
want to help us. You have got the authority to do it, or I have been told you have. I don't want any more men in the State of South Carolina to be in the fix that I have been in.
Now, that is from my heart. I have no enemies in South Carolina, nor no other State, that I know of. I want every man to have a chance; it don't make no difference if his hair is gray like mine. have been in this night school for four years and a half, and I would not take all the money that is in America for what I have learned in it, and I couldn't write my name when I started. Money ain't no object to a man who can have a chance to learn to read and write when he is 48 years old when he never before knew his name when he seen it. Now, that is a fact. I heard people say that it was money throwed
away to try to educate old folks, but certainly that is a mistake. This lady here this morning told you about how she has learned, and she is 63 or 64 years old.
Now, we want you people to come across with us and help us to have still more chances than we have had. We want you people to do this for us. If I had had the opportunity that you men have had when you were growing up, I might have been in J. J. McSwain's place. There ain't no telling where I would have been. I think possibly I would have just as much sense as most anybody if I had had the education. You
You see, I was left out. I am 52 years old, and I go to school three nights in the week. If I don't go to school at night, I work until 9 o'clock in the mill to help my boss men fill the orders that they have to fill.
Mr. ROBSION. How far have you progressed in the four years you have been in the school?
Mr. BROWN. I don't know.
Mr. BROWN. Well, I can work in arithmetic up to the fifth-grade arithmetic, but I studied pretty hard on arithmetic, I did; I needed it; and I studied my lessons a whole lot under my baby at home at night. I tell you, gentlemen, if you men had been left in my fix and
had seen where I have been you would be willing to help anybody if you could do it.
I have been to school every night in the week except Sunday night, and sometimes I almost was ready to try it on Sunday night. We have at Brandon Mills, where I live, about 60 or 65 enrolled there, and we have a teacher that teaches, and I don't know what they pay her, but she teaches five nights in the week and every day around over the village.
Now, the people here have told you about how hard a whole lot of people were to get in the schools and how hard they were to get started. There never has been nobody harder to get started than I was; I know that. The teacher that I had first come to me, I don't know how many times, and I cut her off pretty short-because you can't get everybody in these schools, you know that—but finally she got me started in this school with other men that were as old as I am, or just about as old. You take the majority of people that are 50 and 55 years old who can not read or write, and it is a hard matter to show them how they can do it; it is a hard matter to let them know that they can learn something. She kept trying and trying to get me in this school, and at last I told her that I would come one night, and I went over there one night. She said she believed she could learn me if I would try it. Well
, her and my wife together got me over there. Well, I tảink that is the best thing I ever done in my life, was when I went to that school that night, and every other man would think so if they had been in my fix.
Now, think about it this way. It is an injustice to my family, to my country, too; it makes a man a better citizen to have a little education. Now, you will all agree to that; you can not help it. You take an ignorant man. Well, say, for instance, take a man that went overseas. He could not make as good a soldier not knowing how to read and write at all as he could knowing how. There is no question about that. He can not make as good at nothing, just like myself. I am not as good a citizen as a man is that has got a good education.
I don't believe, never have believed, that there was a better man that ever breathed the breath of life, hardly, so far as a man is concered, than I am. I never looked a man in the face in my life that I thought was any better than I am. I have as good blood in me as anybody. I am a full-blooded American. But what we need, gentlemen, is an education given the old people as well as the young, and we have people in America that is trying to do this.
We want to ask our Government to come across and help us a little bit as well as our State helps us, and our mill helps us.
Now, the mills help these schools all the time; mighty near all of them. Where the State pays a part the mill will pay a part and keep the school going.
If our Government will come across and help, you see how many more schools we will have. There are so many schools needed, but we can not have them because we ain't got the money to have them. I am talking about these men that want to go to these night schools, as they call them. We can not have a school at a whole lot of places on account of not having enough money.
Now, we want you people to think about this thing and help us if you will. If I were in your place, just like I told you just now, and