Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

Doctor Mann. No, sir; the Department of Agriculture is best to carry on the work with the agricultural people.

The CHAIRMAN. It is getting very late. What you have to give us is interesting and I have been wondering if later in the hearing you would be willing to come back when we could give you more time?

Doctor MANN. Yes, sir; I have two or three other important practical suggestions dealing with the practical side of this question, that I have been able to work out, due to my intimate connection with the Federal Government as well as outside of the school system.

Mr. BLACK. I would like to hear you further at some time.
Mr. BACON. I think that would be very valuable.

The CHAIRMAN. The committee will adjourn until one week from to-day, and on next Tuesday we will meet at 11 o'clock in order to give the National Conservatory of Music people a chance to be heard. These will be at a Senate hearing, and can come over here.

(Whereupon, at 12.45 o'clock p. m., the committee adjourned.)

COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION,
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,

Wednesday, March 26, 1924. The committee met at 10 o'clock a. m., Hon. Frederick W. Dallinger (chairman) presiding.

The CHAIRMAN. We begin to-day to hear the people who are opposed to H. R. 3923, known as the Sterling-Reed bill.

Mr. TUCKER. Mr. Chairman, while you are starting that I would like to put in the record a paper sent by me the faculty of the Washington and Lee University opposing this measure; a very strong letter from Bishop Collins Denny, of the Methodist Episcopal Church South, of Richmond, Va.; and a letter from Dr. Thomas C. Johnson, of the Union Theological Seminary, Richmond, Va. I think he is the head of that institution now. It is a strong statement against the bill.

The CHAIRMAN. If there is no objection they will be inserted in the record. (The letters referred to are as follows:)

PUBLISHING HOUSE M. E. CHURCH SOUTH,

Richmond, Va., February 18, 1924. Hon. HENRY ST. GEORGE TUCKER,

House of Representatives, Washington, D. C. MY DEAR SIR AND FRIEND: Permit me as a friend of many years to offer a few objections to the pending bill known by the name of the "Sterling-Towner bill.” I am strongly opposed to the passage of that bill and regret that I can not set forth my objections at some length. Let me slightly touch two objections:

First, Congress, to assume the constitutional power to pass the bill, must interpret the general-welfare clause of the Constitution as a blanket power to take any action believed to be for the benefit of the people of this country. Such an interpretation would make meaningless the fact that Congress is limited to enumerated powers granted in the Constitution. Such action would be contrary to the understanding of the delegates to the Constitutional Convention of 1787, as shown by the debates and votes in that convention; and that interpretation of the clause is specifically denied by the most prominent members of that convention in discussing the clause, is also denied by many of the ablest writers on the Constitution, and has not been accepted by the courts.

Second, not only does the Constitution stand in the way of the rightful passage of that bill but, on the ground of expediency, it is condemned. What greater damage could be wrought than to put the education of our people into politics? Of all the vital interests of the people from which politics should be wholly excluded, religion and education are the most important. It is not denied that more true education and far better education is needed. More and better religion is also needed, but neither religion nor education needs to be nationalized. An attempt to nationalize either is not likely to be an improvement. Are we to learn nothing from the disasters of others? Germany adopted a system of standardized education. In addition to many other calamities of that system it is to be noted how wilting was its effect on the independence of its ablest and best-trained scholars and teachers, the “intellectuals. The finer, the more delicate traits of mind and character must have been atrophied before those men, at the command of the German Government, could have signed their abhorrent document. Standardized education tends to produce such results even in those of greatest gifts and highest training, and did produce them in the action cited.

Solid objections to this bill are so numerous and so strong that public opinion, once fully informed, will probably make its defeat inevitable. I am, my dear Mr. Tucker, Most truly yours,

COLLINS DENNY.

ܙܙ

DEPARTMENT OF ROMANCE LANGUAGES,
WASHINGTON AND LEE UNIVERSITY,

Lexington, Va., February 18, 1924. Hon. HENRY ST. GEORGE TUCKER,

United States House of Representatives, Washington, D. C. DEAR SIR: We, the undersigned, members of the faculty of Washington and Lee University, desire to go on record as opposing the passage of the so-called Sterling-Towner bill, in the belief that the bill is unnecessary, inexpedient, and un-American.

The matter of education is a question to be settled by those who are locally personally interested and informed, and a Federal officer in Washington can not be thus informed and interested as to the educational needs and the social and intellectual conditions in the several States of this wide-spread Union, nor in the local conditions within the various sections of the several States. An attempt to standardize or federalize education in the manner set forth in this bill would, therefore, be a detriment and not an aid to the cause of true education, and would bring about a Prussianization of American education that would jeopardize individual State, local, and personal development, and make of our educational institutions a series of interlocking cogs, all moving merely at the rate of speed set by the central machine in Washington. The results would be a dead level of mediocrity.

And further, if the Central Government were to provide aid for education in the several States, the Central Government would have the right and the duty to control the “how” and the "what” of education throughout the entire country.

This direction and control would of necessity in many cases militate against the best interests of education; for the needs and desires of Idaho, for example, would hardly be the same as those of California or Florida, and the central control of education would not, therefore, be for the common welfare.

Again, the passage of this bill would add further and unnecessary expenditure of governmental moneys, and this would mean further and unnecessary taxation; for the Government has money to give to the citizens only as the citizens give to the Government.

For the reasons above noted and for others that might be cited, we beg to commend most heartily the efforts that you have already made to defeat this bill, and urge that you continue to do all things possible to prevent its passage. Very sincerely yours, R. G. CAMPBELL.

H. D. CAMPBELL.
FRANKLIN L. RILEY.

R. H. TUCKER.
J. S. MOFFETT, Jr.

L. W. Smith.
FOREST FLETCHER.

L. J. DESHA.
G. D. HANCOCK.

J. W. KERN.
D. B. EASTER.

J. A. GRAHAM.
EDGAR F. SHANNON.

LEWIS TYREE.
B. N. WOOTEN.

UNION THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY,

Richmond, Va., February 21, 1924. Hon. HARRY ST. GEORGE TUCKER,

House of Representatives, Washington, D. C. MY DEAR MR. TUCKER: It is the privilege of citizens back home to let our Representatives in our legislatures know how we feel on matters of public interest. The citizens are not to treat Representatives as if deputies The Representative is not a man with his ear to the ground listening to nascent movements of the populace. I understand that; but on the other hand it is within the rights of the common citizen to think on the common welfare of our whole people and to accentuate dangers to that common welfare, recognized or not, by our lawmaking bodies, or to encourage rightful and noble efforts on the part of our Representatives to protect and to further the common welfare.

You will not count me presuming if I write a word of commendation of your course in opposing the Sterling-Towner bill?

You know my interest in constitutional government-my hatred of bureaucracy and its logical consequent, Bolshevikism; and of the great pleasure which I have had in thinking of you as in our House of Representatives in Washington, there to defend the bulwork of the liberties of the American people. I am particularly glad you are in the arena now, when battle should be done against the revolutionary Sterling-Towner bill.

I do not doubt that many who have favored that bill have done so from good motives—the desire to rid the country of illiteracy—to stimulate greater educational effort from Maine to Texas, and from Florida to the State of Washington. Neither do I doubt that nine out of ten of those who have favored the bill have been blind to the tremendous—the direful-cost at which, through the passage of this bill, they would encourage this greater educational effort-the cost of usurping the prerogatives of the State governments, of wrecking the Constitution of the United States, of subverting the very genius of our institutions and the prostituting of Congress itself as a tool in this unworthy work. You have made all this plain and will make it plainer.

I entertain another conviction, namely, that these gentlemen, so far as they are moved with desire to give an increasingly excellent education to our whole population, will ride to a fall if they carry this bill and establish the machinery for directing the education of the whole people from Washington. In standardizing the education in all the States they will sterilize the present universal urge in all our States to give all our citizens a fitting education. There is now a healthy rivalry between the States in the effort to advance their educational work. Let the States, yes, and the citizens of the States, work out their own salvation in this matter. Nobler individual citizens will be developed and thus nobler States, individual initiative being given free place.

It would be a curse, as history shows it has been a curse, for one church to attempt to standardize the teaching of religion for all Christendom. Denominationalism in the ecclesiastical sphere is not without a helpful stimulus to religious education of the best sort. It will be a curse for the United States Government to endeavor to standardize the teaching of the whole country. It will stem the tide of progress. It will choke the life of education of the best sort. It will result in miseducation almost certainly.

There are local conditions, too, which would make national contolr of our schools simply intolerable. We have a race problem in the South. It should be left to the section to settle. There is as much conscience of duty here as in the other sections of these United States. And our own people understand the terms of the problem better than peoples living at a distance. Understanding the terms, they are the people to solve the problem. We want a pure Caucasian people preserved in the South. We look with horror on a leveling down into a negroid population.

There are other things of which I would give you the plain citizen's view, but, my dear sir, I must not trespass further. Let me state compactly certain of our objections to this destructive bill. Some of these I have touched upon. Some I have not spoken of.

We abhor the breaking down of the Constitution of the United States, and the usurpation of the powers reserved by the States to themselves, and the prostitution of the Congress of the United States to doing this unworthy work, and the killing of the present general urge toward fitting education for all our people, and the increased burdens of taxation inevitably to follow the passage of this bill, and the multiplication of officeholders, and the politicating of all our publicschool teachers, and the deference to the grand mogul of education in the person

of the proposed new Cabinet member-himself a political puppet, and the deadening of honor, our very Congress forgetting its vowed loyalty to the Constitution-trampling on the Constitution in passing the bill, and the whole drift toward Bolshevikism. It is enough to give a hard-headed ScotchIrishman a nightmare.

Mr. Tucker, I am glad you are in Congress, and girt for the battle. God put you there. May He be with you. Yours ost truly,

THOMAS C. JOHNSON. The CHAIRMAN. Is there anyone here who wishes to take charge of the hearing? Mrs. Robinson, do you wish to be heard ?

Mrs. Robinson. If you please, Mr. Chairman.

STATEMENT OF MRS. B. L. ROBINSON

Mrs. ROBINSON. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the committee, I am here as the president of the Massachusetts Public Interests League, an organization of women of Massachusetts in 88 cities and towns, with associate members in 8 States; our platform is “To defend the Constitution of the United States, and to oppose bureaucratic and socialistic legislation.”

We believe that the Sterling-Reed bill is both bureaucratic and socialistic, and we are therefore opposed to it. But in addition to our opposition by reason of general principles, at a large meeting of the Massachusetts Public Interests League on March 7, 1924, at its headquarters, 280 Dartmouth Street, Boston, the following resolution was unanimously adopted:

Resolved, That the Massachusetts Public Interests League go on record at the hearing before the House Education Committee as opposed to the SterlingReed bill for the following reasons:

1. Because it will greatly strengthen the bureaucracy, which is already a serious menace to self-government in the United States.

2. Because it will give unrivaled opportunities for propaganda of any kind the secretary of education may be interested in furthering.

3. Because it would tend to place the entire public school system of the United States in partisan politics. 4. Because it taxes certain States heavily for the benefit of other States.

In referring to the fourth reason against the bill I should like to say that we believe that the taxation of one State for the benefit of the others is in direct opposition to the principles of self-government, which is the corner stone of our form of government; and that the further we get away from it the more certain is the destruction of our Republic and the loss of our liberties.

There is no evidence that there is any State in the Union which is financially unable to provide a public-school education for its children. Some States, it is true, are unwilling to tax themselves adequately to supply the needed funds. But is that a reason why States which do tax themselves heavily and are in advance in educational matters should be peanlized by being taxed to support the schools of these other States ?

Iowa is said to be the richest State per capita in the country. It is a beneficiary under the Sterling-Reed bill; as are also Minnesota and Texas, rich States, owning rich, valuable school lands.

I was born and brought up in the Middle West, and I confess to a good deal of shame to see these prosperous States willing to assume the rôle of paupers, living off of others, so far as the education of their children is concerned. It is not the true American spirit and they should not be encouraged in it.

The CHAIRMAN. Is it not the fact that Iowa and many of those other Middle Western States have very fine public-school systems?

Mr. ROBINSON. Yes; I believe it is.

One of the reasons given for the passage of this bill, and it has made a strong sentimental appeal, is that all children should have equally good educational opportunities. The only way in which all children could have equal educational opportunities would be to discover the very best teacher in the United States, and place all the children in the country under her or his care, for the personality of the teacher is of the first importance in education.

It was said that Mark Hopkins on one end of a log and a student on the other made a university, because Mark Hopkins was such a great teacher.

A bureau of education can not guarantee equally good teachers for all children; but it could, of course, do much to standardize the methods by which all children are taught.

Are we sure that the ideas of education of the Republican or Democrat in different administrations chosen to be secretary of education in the President's Cabinet would be so admirable that all children should be exposed to them?

I have here a book, Bulletin No. 43, 1923, of the present Bureau of Education, which is devoted to methods of improving the pupils in English. I would like to read some short extracts. This is to teach English, the right use of the English language, for improving pupils' English, and on page 7 there is a suggestion as to the best way to teach the right use of

pronouns:

THE TROLL AND THE THREE BILLY GOATS

Troll-A rather large child.
Little Billy Goat-A small child.
Brother Billy Goat-A medium-sized child.
Billy Goat Gruff— A large child.

The big troll crouches in the aisle past which the billy goats have to go as though crossing a bridge in search of greener pastures.

TROLL (in a very grumbly voice). Who is crossing my bridge?
LITTLE BILLY Goat. It is I, Mri Troll.
Troll. I am going to eat you for walking on my bridge.

LITTLE BILLY GOAT. Oh, please don't eat me, Mr. Troll. My brother is coming soon and he is much fatter than I am.

That may be good grammer but it is bad ethics. [Reading further:) TROLL. Very well, I'll wait for him; but don't you walk on my bridge again. LITTLE BILLY GOAT. Oh, thank you, Mr. Troll; I won't.

Brother Billy Goat now comes onto the bridge, and the conversation is repeated. Then comes Billy Goat Gruff. TROLL. Who is crossing my bridge? BILLY GOAT GRUFF. It is İ, Mr. Troll. TROLL. Ah, you are the one I have waited for, and now I shall eat you all up. BILLY GOAT GRUFF. We'll see about that. (He chases the Troll away.)

Thereafter, if a child uses the wrong pronoun the teacher has only to remind him that even a billy goat uses better language than that, and the next time he is more careful. That is a lesson on pronouns.

The next is the failure of the verb to agree with the subject in number and person:

John and Harry go into the hall and do something which they think the class can not easily guess. They may shake hands, bow to each other, or walk up

« ForrigeFortsett »