Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

or

and down the hall. They will easily think of something to do. John and Harry come in, stand before the class, and say, “What were we doing?All the class who are ready to guess raise their hands. Either John or Harry, as the teacher may decide, designates which child may answer. The child thus designated guesses, perhaps, “You were putting on your hats?” John and Harry answer, * We were putting on our hats, “We were not putting on our hats.” The game continues until some one guesses correctly, when he may choose some one and they go into the hall, and the game may be played again.

That is failure of verbs to agree with the subject in number and person.

The next is the correct use of the subjunctive mood.

TEACHER. Children, all sit back in your seats. Close your eyes. Go to sleep. Dream that you are not a boy or a girl, but are some animal or flower or tree. (Waits while they dream.) Wake up! What did you dream that you were, John?

John. I dreamed that I was a fish.
TEACHER. If you were a fish, what would you do?
John. If I were a fish I would swim.
TEACHER. Mary, what did you dream that you were?
MARY. I dreamed that I was a butterfly.
TEACHER. If you were a butterfly, what would you do?
Mary. If I were a butterfly, I would fly high in the air.

Continue as long as the children are interested. If they fail to dream of a variety of things the teacher may be a fairy and whisper a name to them while they sleep.

That is published at the taxpayers' expense by our Bureau of Education. I do not believe the country would be the gainer by increasing this output, or by a system which would allow no child to escape this method of improving his English.

Bureaus are notoriously extravagant. I have two other books here also issued by the Bureau of Education showing this tendency. Mr. Thomas Marshall, former Vice President of the United States, said that he had lived in Washington long enough to see a good many small bureaus grow into good sized bedroom sets. Mr. Chairman, anyone who has observed the rapid growth of bureaucracy and its inevitable tendencies knows that this $100,000,000 asked for as a beginning by the proponents of this bill is a mere drop in the bucket to the sums which will be and must be demanded if the provisions of this bill are carried out adequately.

It is true that the Americans are a docile people and they have borne pretty patiently the staggering tax burdens which have been loaded on their shoulders. But I believe it would be the part of wisdom not to try them too far; and certainly our Government has plenty of pressing problems to occupy it without assuming that responsibility which it can only assume by going counter to the provisions of the Constitution—the responsibility of educating the children of the country, which belongs to the State.

In closing my statement for the Massachusetts Public Interests League, I would like to read a sentence or two from the World's Work of June, 1922, which seems very apropos:

Remote from the local and individual problem, responsive to no local pressure, and in fact practically

responsible to nobody except when an issue looms so large that a member of the Cabinet or Congress is forced to intervene, this Washington bureaucracy is about as undemocratic an instrument as human ingenuity could devise to attain the purposes of democracy. This is no fault of the men who comprise it. It is the fault of the plan itself. Such a machine is in its nature an instrument of a centralized government and not of a union of self-governing States.

I have also been asked to appear here to-day in behalf of another organization of Massachusetts women, the Massachusetts section of the National Civic Federation, a very active organization in Massachusetts. I have this statement from them:

The Massachusetts section, National Civic Federation, wishes to be placed on record as against the education bill (Sterling-Reed). The postcard vote on the subject was 627 against the bill and 61 in favor.

I have been asked to record this vote by Mrs. F. Lothrop Ames, chairman of the legislative committee of the Massachusetts section.

They have also taken a vote of their legislative committees in Haverhill, Milton, Newton, Brockton, New Bedford, Beverly, and Manchester, which stood 41 against, 8 for, and 2 uncertain.

I thank you, Mr. Chairman and gentlemen.

STATEMENT OF MRS. JAMES G. WHITELEY, REPRESENTING

THE WOMAN'S CONSTITUTIONAL LEAGUE OF MARYLAND

Mrs. WHITELEY. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen, you all know the old story of one man saying to another, “I know a man out West who made a million dollars,” and the other obligingly asking him, 'How?” Then the first one says, “By minding his own business.”

I think it is good of you to let me tell that story and smile at it, for, of course, you have heard it before; but I am not telling the story because it is new or because it is funny, but because I want to use that as sort of a text here.

Minding one's own business is as important for the State as it is for the individual. It is the only road to success. You know there is help that hinders. If a State would be strong and prosperous it must work out its own problems and shoulder its own burdens. Of course, that a State should mind its own business is a fundamental principle of the Constitution. In fact it is the most original, the most distinctive principle of the Constitution. In the long course of history there have been several highly regulated, strongly centralized governments, great empires; but this idea of leaving power and responsibility in small communities is an American invention. It is something we might be a little proud of, too, sort of an ideal, and for each State to mind its own business and let the others mind theirs is Americanism.

This idea of leaving power and responsibility in small communities is probably the greatest contribution America has made to the universal science of government.

So I think we want to hold on to that a little bit. This matter of education is something we consider peculiarly our own business, and if anything is the particular business of a community it is the education of its future citizens.

Of course it is all a question of what is your own business; but that seems to be a sort of basic and natural right, and if a community does not educate its own citizens it has a migh typoor chance for them. Of all the rights which the States still retain the privileges to maintain their own schools and protect the education of their children seems most natural and right and the last thing to be accorded to any outside agency:

Really the best test of a community is the sacrifices it is willing to make for education, and when we remember some of the heroic

efforts for education made in the early days of the Republic, when the states were poor and without any luxuries whatever, it seems extraordinary, it seems astonishing, that any State of this Union could be willing to accept aid in educating its children or even think of buying that aid at the price of its sovereign rights. To any

self-reliant and ambitious and free state this bill is an insult. I can not really think that any state has fallen so low as to be unable or unwilling to educate its children. It seems to me something almost impossible to think of.

States rights is really just another name for human rights. States rights form a rampant to protect the individual, the mere human being, against the tyrrany of government. A man can make his voice heard in any state, he can get together with his neighbors and make a loud noise, he can be heard; but what is he, what is a mere man, before the Federal Government? One weak, unimportant man. He may be weak and he may be unimportant, but if he is a father nature gives him some interest and some right in this matter of education.

You know the bringing up of their children is the biggest thing in the lives of fathers and mothers. They begin to plan for a baby's education from the moment he comes into the world—and how ridiculous they can be on those occasions. “This little fellow is going to have a better chance than I had. I am going to see that ħe understands his arithmetic”; and they go on and it is the biggest interest in their lives.

A long time ago there was a famous document, now too often forgotten, that mentioned something about life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Now, there is no happiness in the world a man can pursue that is so satisfying and so lasting as the bringing up and education of his children, and really that happiness should be left to him. You see there is a human side to this question. Is education to be taken out of the hands of the fathers and mothers of this country and given into the hands of the secretary of education?

Leave education to the States, and you will leave it where the fathers and mothers can have some oversight over it and direct it to some extent. But you know the idea of interfering with State rights in the name of education is an absurd idea, anyway--absurd. Local self-government running its own affairs is the greatest educational force, and nothing has done more for real education in this country than the fact that in each of the States the citizens have had to grapple with all the problems, complex as they may be, of selfgovernment.

So you strike a blow at State rights and you strike a blow at education if you take away the control and management of education from the States.

Mr. Chairman and gentlemen, we object to this bill for three reasons: In the first place, we consider it a very serious invasion of State rights; second, we object to the expense. The expense forms the least of our objections, yet it is a very serious one. We know that the Government has no money except what it gets from the taxpayer, and we know that the people are overburdened with taxes already. The money has to be collected from all over the country and then spread out again. We are fortunate that it is spread out again. It is a kind of robbing Peter to pay Paul. But that means robbing 940414241

20

Peter to pay Paul, with a difference. Those who rob Peter will be paid for picking Peter's pockets, and those who pay Paul must first be paid themselves. It provides for a great many officeholders, and I think the real point of the bill is right here.

That is really our objection to the expense. Of course they say there is this bargain which the bill offers the State on this 50-50 basis. The bargain is a right to interfere; they offer them a right for money; give them some money to buy a right to interfere in their affairs. That bargain has been aptly compared to the celebrated trade that Esau made. That has often been compared to that. It is so apt that it comes to anybody's mind. A birthright for a mess of pottage. Esau got his pottage, and I know what we will get if this bill passes; we will get a mess. [Laughter.]

That brings me to our third objection of the bill. Gentlemen, we do not want the kind of education this bill offers.

In nothing is a man's ideal so well expressed as in the education he plans for his children. That is also true of the community. Its scheme of education is the measure of its faith in the future, its picture of a better world, its vision, its ideal.

We all know that in the 48 States of this Union there is a delightful variety of ideals; they do not all want the same thing; nobody knows that better than you gentlemen, the legislators; they do not all want the same thing, the people of this country, the people of these different States have not all had the same adventures. They have not all inherited the same traditions-climate and other conditions have caused them to develop differently. These differences we prize.

We do not want to be ironed out by the heavy hand of Government. I am quite sure, gentlemen, that each one of you cherishes intensely the traditions of your native State. You know the type of man introduced, you know the accent of his countryside, you love the savour of its individuality. But if this bill passes, you can not look for that sentiment in your children. Centralization and standardization are the objects of this bill, and there are no worse enemies to real culture.

To force the children of California and Massachusetts and Kansas and Maryland into one pattern or mold is to wilfully destroy all hope of variety or originality. Standardize the parts of ships, standardize the parts of automobiles if you will; but do not try to standardize the parts of our children.

Many of the greatest educators of this country consider that the passage of this bill would be a calamity to education. Dr. Nicholas Murray Butler, Doctor Eliot, the presidents of Yale and Harvard and of Princeton and of Johns Hopkins, and many others, have expressed their disapproval of it, and it really seems very strange that anyone should try to force on us a system of education that is disproved by so many leading authorities on the subject.

After all, gentlemen, education is something like a plant. You can pull it up and you can pull it to pieces, and press the leaves and count them and label them and in an abstract sort of way know a great deal about it, but it won't grow and send forth shoots, and beautiful flowers and strong new limbs, unless you leave it with the root in the soil whence it sprung and from which it draws its life.

The CHAIRMAN. What have you to say to the statement that has been made that those in favor of this bill do not intend to interfere with the States' direction of education?

Mrs. WHITELEY. Well, we have no example of any bureau that has been started, no matter how modestly, that does not grow, and in fact that is quite to the credit of the people that are connected with it. They are determined to make it a success and the thing gets more grasping and more grasping as time goes on. That has been the history of all things of the kind that have been started. It is a natural law of growth, I suppose. This is the entering wedge. We do not want any of it at all, be it ever so little.

I can not imagine any community fallen so low that it can not take its children and educate them according to their own ideas. Somebody else's ideas may be better, but we want our own. That is the only thing that makes the country so strong and interesting.

I remember reading a history dealing with the time of the Revolutionary War. The author of this history was astonished at the knowledge of law that the ordinary American colonist possessed. They possessed that education because in each little community, and in their town meetings and other meetings, they had been discussing those great questions and had been working on them and trying to solve their own problems. So we object to even the least little interference, because we are afraid it would grow.

Mr. REED. Would you be in favor of abolishing the Bureau of Education altogether, doing away with this bureau in Washington, wiping it out completely?

Mrs. WHITELEY. I do not know enough about all the activities of the Bureau of Education to make such a sweeping statement, I listened when Mrs. Robinson read from those little booklets, and they did seem very futile. Whether they do good work and whether they do keep their hands off of other things I do not know.

Mr. REED. Of course those pamphlets were intended as suggestions to teachers. I have had large numbers of requests for copies of those pamphlets, and very many commendatory comments in regards to them from high-grade teachers with reference to the value they found them in teaching in the way suggested.

Mrs. WHITELEY. Well, I have had a good deal of experience in education, and to me it seems trifling and foolish, and a foolish way to spend the money of the taxpayers. It seems to me a very futile and foolish thing.

Mr. REED. Then you would be in favor of the Federal Government giving no assistance in any way, shape, or form to educational matters of

any

kind? Mrs. WHITELEY. I do not think I could make as sweeping a statement as that, because I have not studied

Mr. REED (interposing). Well, if there is any danger of any entering wedge, then would there not be danger of the Government taking part in any way in helping education?

Mrs. WHITELEY. I am perfectly willing to say that I think the States are perfectly able to manage those things themselves. You gentlemen come from different States and you know you can do in the States just as well as a bureau can do the same work here. The original idea of the Government, as I understand it, was that the State should mind its own business—we have grown away from that, of course—and the States have all the rights themselves. They retained what they did not give up. They gave to the Federal Government the right to manage affairs that concern all of the States together; I think that is the theory.

« ForrigeFortsett »