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Mr. BLACK. Would your argument be in favor of the bill if the States who can not support an educational system could find ways of doing it?
Mr. MORGAN. I do not think that is the question at issue. Here is a program that has been framed by the best minds in American education, men and women who know this country educationally, from coast to coast, and from the Gulf to Canada.
Mr. BLACK. It is an appropriation matter largely.
Mr. MORGAN. I do not think so. There are three provisions in this bill, and I think one of them is just as important as the other. The dignity which a Federal department of education, with a secretary in the President's Cabinet will give to education, is necessary.
In this room a few weeks ago the United States Commissioner of Education testified that the work of the library in the Bureau of Education was one whole year behind. I do not think, gentlemen, that would be true if our national educational interests were presided over by a man who sat in the President's Cabinet, and who would speak to this committee and to this Congress, with the authority and dignity and information that that office would enable him to have.
Mr. BLACK. Do you not think that there would be more dignity to education that has less political control?
Mr. MORGAN. I do not think that political control is implied in this bill. It has not been so in other leading countries, all of which have departments of education, with ministers in the cabinet. I do not think any political interest in America would dare meddle on a political basis with the educational interests of this country.
There is another provision of this bill which is very important, which would bring together the State superintendents of schools, 25 experts, and 25 laymen.
Mr. BLACK. That is possible as a voluntary proposition without statute?
Mr. MORGAN. Its findings would have a dignity, a method of distribution, and a prestige, if it were brought together in this way, that they could not have on any other basis. The third provision is Federal aid.
The educational workers and laymen interested in this bill are numbered in tens of millions, and they understand its provisions. They may understand all the details involved but they have perfect confidence in the measure, and the results it would achieve in American education. As we look back on this movement, 20 or 25 years from now, we will wonder why the bill did not pass sooner. I would as soon stand against the tides as against this measure, knowing, as I know, the sentiment that is back of it in this country.
I recall a meeting in 1921, in which there was discussion of the status of this measure. There were those at this meeting who expressed the feeling that if the measure were not passed in 1921, the forces would disintegrate. A gentleman got up and said, “I am not afraid the forces back of the bill will disintegrate. My only fear is that the bill will pass too soon, that it will pass before the great issues at stake have had a chance to register themselves throughout the United States," and he proceeded to tell of a school bond issue in a local community that would not have passed without this great nation-wide interest in education.
It is three years since 1921, and that prediction is true. The movement which we then thought was strong is ten times as strong to-day. If this bill is not passed within a short time, it will have twenty times the strength within a few years. The interest is fundamental.
Miss WILLIAMS. Mrs. Glen Levin Swiggett, chairman of the committee on Federal legislation, National Council of Women, was not able to be present, but Miss Elizabeth Eastman will make a statement for her.
Miss EASTMAN. Mrs. Swiggett, chairman of the committee on Federal legislation of the National Council of Women, was detained and could not be here this morning, but she wishes me to say that the National Council of Women, composed of 37 organizations, 33 of which are national organizations, represents more than 11,000,000 women. This council indorsed the establishment of a department of education in the belief that such a department follows in the natural and logical order of things. In the historical development of the country it has been the practice of this Government to establish executive departments for the purpose of fostering and promoting those interests which can better be done by the Government to the profit of all its citizens than by leaving the promotion of such interests to the States; and that it will be the means for the creation of needed vocational types of training, while giving at the same time a more purposeful objective to our national educational program; that is, the preparation of all our people without exception for the intelligent exercise of citizenship, political, economic, and social.
Miss WILLIAMS. It has been asked how many people belonged to these various organizations, and I have a list of the organizations with their membership here, their bona fide membership, which I should like to file.
(The paper referred to is as follows:
Membership of allied organizations National Education Association.-
135, 000 American Federation of Teachers.
7, 500 American Federation of Labor -
3, 350, 000 National Committee for a Department of Education.-
101 National Council of Women...
11, 000, 000 National Congress of Mothers and Parent-Teacher Associations.-
530, 546 General Federation of Women's Clubs.. National League of Women Voters..
2, 800, 000 Supreme Council, Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, Southern Juris
diction of the United States (reaches). International Sunday School Council of Religious Education..
270, 000 National Council of Jewish Women..
48, 000 National Women's Christian Temperance Union..
500,000 American Association of University Women..
15, 000 National Federation of Business and Professional Women's Clubs.. 35, 000 General Grand Chapter, Order of the Eastern Star.
1, 500, 000 National Women's Trade Union League...
600, 000 National Board of Young Women's Christian Association.
600, 000 National Society, Daughters of American Revolution.
181, 963 National Federation of Music Clubs.
250, 000 American Library Association -
5, 669 National Vocational Education Association..
1, 500 Woman's Relief Corps-Total...
21, 830, 279
Miss WILLIAMS. There is a very brief editorial here, written by William Frederick Bigelow, editor of the Good Housekeeping Magazine, which I should like to read to the committee.
In this editorial he speaks to 2,000,000 women, and tells them some of the things they should be interested in in Congress. Mr. Bigelow says:
One is the question of education. This, one of the most important concerns of the American people, perhaps the largest single enterprise in the Nation, is conducted by 48 different partners, who have themselves only the loosest kind of control over their particular parts of it. In other words, education is largely a local matter, being good or bad in proportion to the interest and ability of the locality. The education bill provides for the dignifying of education by placing in the President's Cabinet a man whose duty shall be to look after the interests of education as Secretary Hoover looks after the interests of commerce, Secretary Davis of labor, and Secretary Wallace of agriculture. Education is now in the Department of the Interior, where it got $161,990 of the $328,000,000 appropriated last year. But money is not the heart of the education bill. Whether the $100,000,000 which the bill as introduced calls for is appropriated, or whether that sum is cut in half or quartered, is not the main point, which is national recognition of the fact that education is a national problem and should be dealt with nationally. Get education into the Cabinet. It will pay for itself. Talk
I want to call attention to another magazine article and file it. It is published in the Farmer's Wife, a magazine without competetion in its own field, and which goes to more than 1,000,000 subscribers. That means perhaps 5,000,000 readers. The article is written by Ellis Meredith from the standpoint of one of the cleverest things on the bill. I should like to file it. I am having each new member of the committee sent a copy of the magazine. I hope out of the mass of stuff that comes to your desk you may have an opportunity to see it, if not to read it.
THE STERLING-REED EDUCATIONAL BILL
The Great War gave a tremendous impetus to education. In Russia the revolution established a public-school system in 1917 and started upon the ambitious task of making an illiterate nation literate by 1925. Our American Legion has set 1927 for our educational year of jubilee, and Mexico has set herself to educate her 85 per cent of illiterates without fixing a date for the completion of the undertaking, Señor Vasconselas, who is at the head of the educational program in Mexico, does not look upon education as a universal panacea for what ails us,
"Reading and writing in themselves,” he says, “solve no problems, although they are the corner stone of the building. Our purpose is to make good citizens; that is to say, men and women free of spirit and free in fact, able to think for themselves, to judge life with their own minds, and also able to earn their living and to shape the community in such a manner that any earnest worker can attain a comfortable manner of living.”
This freedom of spirit and action is what we mean when we talk of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," for the sake of which we made our Declaration of Independence, and this is implied by a Constitution pledged to “promote the general Welfare,” that sadly overworked word being spelled with a capital even in the days of the fathers.
From the very beginning the "general Welfare” has been served by promoting the cause of education. The ordinance governing the Northwest Territory states that “religion, morality, and knowledge being necessary to good Government schools and the means of education shall be forever encouraged."
The sixteenth section in every township was set aside as school land. Two years later it gave an additional grant of two townships for the support of State universities, and in 1848 the thirty-sixth section of each township was given to the schools. In 1862 the Morrill Act led to the establishment of agricultural colleges, and in 1867, in response to a memorial from the National Association of State and City School Superintendents, a Bureau of Education was created in the Department of the Interior. Since 1918 appropriations have been made for the education of Indians, and since we have acquired Territorial possessions afar educational work has been carried on in Alaska, Hawaii, the Philippines, Porto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.
Until 1917, with the exception of practically all the educators, the parentteacher associations, and a goodly number of women's clubs, the Nation was fairly well satisfied and regarded its educational status with the complaisance of ignorance.
It did not know that out of some 20,000,000 children of school age, 5,000,000 were absent from school daily. It did not know that one-third of all these children belong to the “retarded class.” Not delinquent or defective but not up to the grade where they should be.
“This is not a problem concerning a few undeveloped or feeble-minded children," says Doctor Ayres. “It is one affecting most vitally perhaps 6,000,000 children in the United States." The figure is higher now, for he wrote some time ago.
These are not “foreign" children. Let us stop right here and get a few figures by heart. Between the ages of 5 and 14, 65 per cent of our native children are in schoal, 69 per cent of immigrant children, and 72 per cent of the children of foreign-born parents. Of the total number of school children rather over 17 per cent finish the eighth grade. By no means half pass the fifth.
Education has been left to the States, and when the draft came the Nation learned that some of the States had left it to the individual, and 25 per cent of the young men between the ages of 21 and 31 years were unable to read and write the English lanugage; many of them could not read or write at all. In Norway, Sweden, and Denmark 1 in 1,000 is illiterate. In Japan 2 per cent of the men of military age are illiterate. When the German Army answered the muster roll 1 out of 2,500 was illiterate, and in the navy 1 in 10,000.
The Nation was shocked and all of us highly resolved that with victory something should be done. It is five years since the armistice, and we are still dodging and drifting. An educational bill has been introduced in Congress by Senator Thomas Sterling, of South Dakota, in the Senate and in the House by Daniel Alden Reed, of New York. The following organizations have indorsed this bill:
National Education Association.
Supreme Council, Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, Southern Jurisdiction, United States.
Order of the Eastern Star.
The recurrence of the word “woman" does not mean that this is a woman's movement. Men belong to a number of these organizations, and the Scottish Rite Masons and American Federation of Labor are distinctly male in their make-up. The declaration of President Coolidge in favor of Federal action has been a great help, and it is fervently hoped that Congress will pass the bill during this session, for the educational situation is not improving. Right now there are one and a half million children who have not gore to school a single day in the past year. We shall probably have submitted to our legislatures a constitutional amendment enabling Congress to prohibit child labor. It has been estimated that there are only about 300,000 children unprotected by State laws regulating the hours and conditions of labor. Which is the graver problem? The pending bill provides for an educational department with a secretary in the Cabinet. empowers Congress to appropriate money for research work and for Government aid to those States which wish to extend their educational program, exactly as has been done in the case of the agricultural colleges with such fine results.
There is to be no interference with State management, officials, or courses of study. The fact that it has the indorsement of the officials who would be interfered with is sufficient guaranty that there is no possibility of anything of the kind.
It creates a national council on education to consult and advise with the secretary of education on subjects relating to the promotion and development of education, such council to be made up of the chief educational officials from the States, 25 educators and 25 laymen to be appointed by the secretary annually. They serve without pay, save actual expenses incurred in attending conferences called by the secretary.
The main purpose is to "promote the general welfare” by getting the facts in regard to illiteracy, immigrant education, public schools, especially the country schools, recreation, and sanitation, and the supply and qualifications of available teachers. Here are some very unpleasant figures which we need to learn by heart:
“Of the 20,000,000 boys and girls in the public schools during the war it was conservatively estimated that 1,000,000 are being taught by teachers whose education has been limited to seven or eight years in the elementary schools; 7,000,000 are being taught by teachers who are scarcely more than boys and girls themselves, and whose appreciation of their responsibilities must, in consequence of their youth and inexperience, be extremely slight; 10,000,000 are being taught by teachers who have had no special preparation for their work and whose general education is quite inadequate.”
Some of those children belong to some of the readers of the Farmer's Wife.
The case is so pressing that the members of these organizations, especially the women, say—“Why waste time talking? Let's go!" Women have much to learn about the leisurely processes of legislation.
The main objections to this bill are three in number: First come the "irreconcilables," who want no invasion of “State rights," no matter how much some children may be wronged by the neglect or inability of some States to cope with this fundamental problem. The answer to this objection is that the States have had all the time there was in which to do their part and some of them have failed.
Massachusetts, which is the leading “high-brow" Commonwealth of the Union, actually has a growing population of illiterates, and those very regions of the sunny South where the name of “Jeff” Davis is most revered forget that the best thing he ever said was, “We must not grind the seed corn."
This rebellion against Federal action brings up a troop of arguments familiar to those of us who have ever attended many local legislative proceedings and heard the outcries against "sumptuary legislation.” The “right” of a man to beat his wife or his child or his horse was not taken from him without vigorous protests. The State adopts a policy and does not intrude so long as all goes well.
If the child is fed and clothed and educated, the State keeps hands off, but if the child does not come to school or comes cold and hungry and ill the enlightened community feeds and clothes and ministers to him. If he is defective or delinquent, it is the best kind of economy for the State to give him very special supervision.
The State has discovered that there is no such thing as private measles or individual smallpox. We can be sick in our own homes, but we must submit to quarantine and disinfection.
In a larger way the United States stands in much the same relation to the individual States. If the Sate, like the parent, can not supply the child's educational needs, to the end that it shall be a valuable citizen of the United States, this bill would enable the Federal Government to supplement local appropriations and give the information necessary to establish a down-to-date school system,
Right here someone is bound to object. “Yes, but that means that the richer States will have to contribute to the poorer States. They will be taxed for the education of children other than their own, even if they refuse to take advantage of the act."
If a special tax were to be levied for this purpose that would be true, but such is not the case. Speaking in round numbers the Government is now spending 93 cents out of every dollar of taxes for pensions, the Army and Navy, and Air