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together. You can say, "Oh, they won't do it; there are going to be these wonderful people that are going to protect you.
The CHAIRMAN. The proponents of the bill say that they do not propose anything of that kind in this bill.
Mrs. Gibbs. Oh, well, they do not propose it; but, gentlemen, it is the letter of the bill and the way it can be interpreted, and not this year and next year, but the years to come.
Mr. RobSION. Perhaps it may have been my fault in not understanding you correctly, but you created the impression on my mind that you would impugn the motives of every person who favors or agitates this legislation.
Mrs. GIBBs. Well, I meant, as I said before, I feel that perhaps their hearts are more to be trusted than their heads.
Mr. ROBSIÓN. You accuse them of being ignorant and accuse them of improper methods.
Mrs. GIBBS. Well, not improper. I would just say that they have been led astray by very glowing and interesting accounts of what can be done by putting a bureau into power. I feel that human nature is such that we are not going to get the results from it, and I can only tell you what I feel. I feel that it is my patriotic duty to come here and warn you of the dangers to America from establishing a bureaucratic government here in Washington to deal with matters which rightfully belong to the State.
Mr. WELSH. Are you afraid of the uplifter?
Mrs. GIBBs. I am afraid of anybody that gets away from local self-government.
The CHAIRMAN. What is their idea of illiteracy and Americanization of foreigners and the better training of teachers; are you opposed to this?
Mrs. GIBBS. No, indeed; I am on a committee that has been working with foreigners, and I go to the night schools and am interested in them.
Mr. Robston. What money does the State of Maryland pay for the encouragement of night schools and for an improvement in the matter of illiteracy?
Mrs. Gibbs. I know we are spending a very large amount of money for our public-school system.
Mr. RobsION. I understand that. But look at the matter of illiteracy among foreigners, what is the State of Maryland putting up for that?
Mrs. GIBBS. In actual money?
Mrs. GIBBs. We are very proud of the amount we are spending on education, and every child must go to school until he is 16 years old unless they can get working papers and convince some one that they have a right to go to work.
There are some children, let me tell you, that you could not possibly teach anything to beyond a certain age. Our mental survey carried out by the Mental Hygiene Society in some of the schools in Baltimore has shown there are some children that are “work-minded” and can only absorb a certain amount of knowledge anyway, and it is a case of where you can lead the horse to water but you can not make him drink.
I think that John Fiske was right in what he said in his book, the Critical Period of American History. He said:
If the day should ever come when the people of this country allowed their local affairs to be directed from Washington, on that day the progressive political career of the American people would have come to an end and the hopes that have been built upon it for the happiness and prosperity will be wrecked forever.
Mr. ROBSION. You think it is the sentiment of the people that they would not want the stimulus of Federal aid?
Mrs. GIBBS. I think they would resent it.
The CHAIRMAN. You spoke of Democratic women in your State being opposed to this. Do you think the same thing is true of the women in South Carolina and other Southern States? We have had a good many witnesses here from some of those Southern States, showing the evidence of what has been done down there in the way of endeavoring to stamp out illiteracy. A number of the witnesses here from those states were strongly in favor of Federal aid in stamping out illiteracy. Do you think South Carolina, for instance, is able to stamp out illiteracy by her own efforts?
Mrs. GIBBS. I feel that she is, up to a certain limit. There are certain groups of people where, of course, it is difficult to stamp out illiteracy entirely. You take some of the colored people in the South. The Southern States of course are handicapped with a large number of illiterate negroes.
You might put those people under the finest educators in the world, but still you could not make them intellectuals,
Mr. Rossion. Perhaps the strongest advocate this measure has had are witnesses who have come from the Southern States.
Mrs. GIBBS. Perhaps there are groups that think they are going to get something for nothing; but personally I can not see how we are going to gain anything by it.
Mr. ROBSION. If there is anything in this fear that you suggest about having mixed schools, they would certainly realize it down there, and it would affect them more adversely in those States than it would affect you in Maryland.
Mrs. GIBBS. "Just what group have you had from these States? Has it been a real cross-section or has it been some little group where the teachers hope to have their salaries raised?
Mr. ROBSION. Some of the proponents of this bill have talked about there being little groups of people here and there who are against it, for certain reasons, and now you folks come here and talk about little groups being for it. I think the propaganda for both sides comes about the same way, that those little groups get together and say they represent a million people or ten million people.
Mrs. GIBBS. Well, I am telling you that the first time in the history of Maryland we reelected a governor on this issue, and that he never omits to talk against this bill whenever he has the opportunity.
Mr. REED. Did the wet and dry issue enter into the election at all?
Mrs. GIBBs. I do not think it entered into it very much. The dry counties voted for him.
Mr. REED. Your State, I believe, is violently in favor of the eighteenth amendment ?
Mrs. GIBBS. I don't know. Some counties think it is a wonderful thing. We do not have any trouble regulating our own affairs. All we want to do is to be let alone.
The CHAIRMAN. Can you tell me whether both candidates were wet or dry?
Mrs. GIBBS. Both were wet.
Mrs. GIBBS. No. We have other rights we are taking care of besides the right to drink.
The CHAIRMAN. It is almost 12 o'clock and the committee will not be able to continue in session any longer to-day. We shall continue the hearing a week from to-day.
(Whereupon, at 11.50 o'clock, the committee adjourned.)
COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION,
Wednesday, April 2, 1924 The committee met at 10.30 o'clock a. m., Hon. Frederick W. Dallinger (chairman) presiding.
The CHAIRMAN. The committee will come to order. We are here this morning to hear remonstrances against H. R. 3923, the bill to create a department of education. I understand that Dr. Charles O'Donovan of Baltimore is here and we shall be glad to hear him.
Mr. TUCKER. Before we hear Doctor O'Donovan, I would like to have the authority of the committee to submit a letter. It is from the president of Princeton University, Dr. Hibben. He writes me as follows:
I am strongly opposed to the bill mentioned in your letter of March 19, but it is impossible for me to get away on the 2d of April to appear at your hearing as I have an important engagement for that date. Briefly my opinion is as follows:
I have expressed myself as opposed to the Sterling-Reed bill because, in my opinion, a centralized bureau having supervision of the education of the country would be always subject to political interests and ultimately to political control. The result for America would be, in all probability, similar to that in Germany. The German system of centralized educational control is, of course, carried to the extreme, but it shows the tendency of such an organization, In Germany the results have proved disastrous not only to education but to the general spirit and morale of the German people. As a particular instance, I would cite the letter which 93 professors of various German universities sent out to the so-called intellectual world at the beginning of the war, a letter which they were all compelled to sign by a central educational authority. While we might not have the same disastrous experience in America, the Sterling-Reed bill opens up possibilities in this direction.
STATEMENT OF DR. CHARLES O'DONOVAN, OF BALTIMORE, MD.
Doctor O'DONOVAN. I am a practicing physician in the city of Baltimore and a citizen and taxpayer of the State of Maryland. I wish to protest against this bill, which protest I would like to develop at length, with the permission of the committee. May I take a fair amount of time, Mr. Chairman?
The CHAIRMAN. Yes, sir; you may proceed.
Doctor O'DONOVAN. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the committee, the first objection that I have to this bill is the enormous expense which immediately presents itself upon study of the proposal.
At this time, as every member of the committee must know, the people of this country are suffering from a crushing burden of taxation, which has been entailed upon us by our participation in the
This bill proposes at once to increase this burden by $100,000,000. In every part of the country which I have visited-and at some time I have been in every State in the Union except four, from Pennsylvania east to California west, within the last year-in all conversations I have had with people I have met, both of the medical profession, at the convention in San Francisco, and also on the trains, going to and from that convention, and at the various places of resort where I stayed, out and back, where anyone has introduced this subject of the burden of taxation upon the citizens of the United States at the present day, there has been a universal protest against the enormity of it and the great desire expressed that we should be relieved of some of this taxation as promptly and as largely as possible.
Now, this bill proposes at once to add $100,000,000, with the likelihood that it will grow, to which I would like to refer later on.
I submit that this is an added burden which the citizens of the United States should not be called upon to bear. I can speak for myself and for the difficulties I have in taking care of my own family four grown children and two grandchildren. I know from the experience of the last five years, and comparing it with the difficulties I had before, I know of my own knowledge what an added burden not only directly but indirectly in the cost of everything that enters into the enjoyment of life, these taxes have become; and I protest as strongly and as heartily as I can against an added burden of this kind being placed upon our already overworked shoulders.
Now, whose money is it that this bill proposes to distribute among the States? As far as I know, money does not grow here in Washington. Whatever money of this $100,000,000 is distributed as largess or, rather, as bribe, to the different states who accept the provisions of the bill, is taken from the citizens of the various States themselves; this money is taken out of my pocket and the pocket of the constituents of every man around this table with one hand and held out to him as a gift in the other hand. The people who sent you here to represent them, gentlemen, are not fools. We know perfectly well that we are carrying the burden of this taxation; we know perfectly well that the United States Government is not giving something that it possesses in its own vaults back to the States, to encourage education, as is said in the bill, "to encourage the States in the promotion and support of education.” We know that this is our own money, originating in the various States, forced out of our pockets by taxation, and it is our idea that we are equally as capable of spending our own money in our own way to educate our own children as to pass it up to a proposed Secretary of Education here in Washington for redistribution for educational purposes.
There is one feature of the bill, that I would like to note immediately, and that is that in each of the articles it says the money shall be given to States " which qualify." It is true that very carefully written into the bill in each section is a statement that it shall be used by the States according to their own laws.
Now, that sounds all right when it is read by itself, but one must take the bill as a whole; and if this is done one sees only too clearly that here in the proposed Department of Education is placed an enormous amount of power; power to say, not directly, but indirectly, how the money shall be used in the States, and whether or not these States shall get any of this money, because unless certain things are
done the States do not "qualify," and it is distinctly said in the various articles that the States must "qualify” before the money will be allotted.
Let us take up the features of the bill individually. The first proposition is seven and a half million dollars for the removal of illiteracy. It occurs to me that that is not a very convincing argument to persuade the people to give up a hundred million dollars.
What is being put into the schools of every State is money for that very purpose. The removal of illiteracy. What else are the schools for? That is the desire, to remove illiteracy, and the different States are carrying out that purpose more or less successfully and certainly with greater increasing efficiency as the years roll on. I have lived long enough to know that the illiteracy of the United States is decreasing, and rather rapidly. It is true that the proponents of the bill point to the enormous amount of illiteracy that was shown by the examinations of the soldiers at the time of the war, and when these figures are picked out and looked at on the wall they look very large, and like large figures they are apt to be startling to those who have not considered them. But if we consider the proportion of illiterates and the number of people in the country, the difficulties that these various people have had, or their unwillingness to decrease their illiteracy, they do not look quite so startling.
It is a very difficult thing to raise a people who were frontiersmen, who were mountaineers, who were removed from the opportunities of education, to raise them from illiteracy at one bound into the excellently educated people that one finds in the cities and the larger communities.
It is being done throughout the country regularly, faithfully, successfully. I believe that every State in this Union is making an earnest and conscientious effort to improve its educational advantages, and I see no reason why the Government should spend seven and a half million dollars in attempting to remove illiteracy. That amount of money is not going to remove much illiteracy from the children of school age that belong to 110,000,000 people.
I ask you, gentlemen, fair mindedly to approach this section of the bill, and I think you will find this section carries little or no force with it.
The next section is seven and a half million dollars to Americanize those who live in the United States. It does not define what Americanization shall be, but I presume it means to enable the individuals aimed at to appreciate the benefits of citizenship, to take their part in the burdens and trials and to enjoy the rights and privileges of American citizens.
Now, I will submit to every member of this committee whether or not in his own district such things are not taking care of themselves. You go into any city, into any of the schools, on the streets, in the slums, places where one finds those who are not Americanized and that of course means immigrants and see how they are Americanizing themselves.
Gentlemen, it is not in the school that Americanization is brought home to the children and the children of course are the ones that this bill proposes to teach--but it is on the street corners and on the baseball lots, and in the public gymnasiums and playgrounds-most of them are in the city-these are the places where the children of immigrants mix up with their fellow children.