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STATEMENT OF MR. CHARLES L. SCHANBERGER
Mr. SCHANBERGER. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the committee, I live in Pikesville, just a little outside of the city of Baltimore. I am not going to take as much time as the doctor. I can not hope to cover the subject in anything like the way he did. But my position before this committee is that of a citizen and taxpayer of Baltimore, the head of a family of six children, four of whom are now attending a parochial school, and two of whom within the next four years will attend such a school.
As a taxpayer in that county I am in definite and intimate touch with the educational affairs of the county. I know precisely what it costs me as a taxpayer to maintain the public schools of the county, and not the least important is its expense.
If there is any phase of educational matters to which I may take exception I have only to travel to Towson, about 8 miles from my house, or to Annapolis, about 40 miles from my house, and thereby reach the center of its control.
My tax bill tells me that so much was spent by the county on education, and that I am assessed so much to maintain education. It is optional with me whether or not I avail myself of the educational facilities I help the county to maintain.
Gentlemen, I emphasize optional; it is optional. I may send my children to a public school or not. I may send them or not just as I choose, under the present conditions.
In my community at least there is no question that the private and parochial schools equal the public schools, and still less question that from a patriotic point of view quite as high principles are drilled into the children in one as in the other. In my case, and the case of perhaps one hundred thousand citizens like me, I spend my own money to educate my children (and I want to tell you it is a very serious problem to me) and at the same time expend my proportionate share of the taxes to maintain the public schools.
If these one hundred thousand citizens suddenly elected to send their children to the public schools, more public schools would be needed and the tax rate would have to be increased, and I would save money, but my neighbor who does not send his children to private schools will have increased taxes.
But the situation as it is at present suits me. I am willing to bear the burden. There are some things I want my children to learn which the public schools do not furnish, and perhaps should not furnish. I demand constant and full religious instruction for my children, and am willing to pay for it, while at the same time paying as much proportionately as any other citizen to support the public schools.
I might interject at this juncture that unquestionably the public schools of my county give every reasonable facility for education except a religious instruction. As long as the county controls educational affairs I am not fearful of any infringement on my rights, and it is danger to my rights that I see in the centralization of education which may be brought about under this bill that compels me to come to Washington and tell you of my fears.
Mr. ROBSION. Do you think that if this should become a law that you would be denied the privilege of sending your children to the parochial school?
Mr. SCHANBERGER. In answer to that question I can only say that I have the decision of the court, which has just been rendered, overturning the law passed by the Legislature of Oregon, in which the fear of which I speak is made a reality, and may become an eventuality.
Mr. ROBSION. Do you think that would ever become a reality? Mr. SCHANBERGER. It could very well become so; yes.
Mr. BLACK. Of course, if this decision is affirmed by the Supreme Court it could not be.
Mr. SCHANBERGER. Yes, if the Supreme Court upholds the decision. I think it has decided the same way in the case of education in German, in the German language.
The CHAIRMAN. You do not contend that there is anything in this bill that will interfere in any way with that?
Mr. SCHANBERGER. No. You can not find it in the bill. But I believe that an intelligent man will read very well between the lines.
The CHAIRMAN. Where can there be such an inference found in the bill?
Mr. SCHANBERGER. Doctor O'Donovan has pointed that out, in that the secretary of education appoints the council, and the secretary can say whether or not the State comes up to the qualifications required, and in fact the secretary will in effect be the czar of education.
The CHAIRMAN. Have you not the same situation in your State where the funds go to the county on condition that certain things are done by the county?
Mr. SCHANBERGER. But I have elucidated that. I can go to my county commissioners and use my influence, and I know the county commissioner personally: He happens to live up the road from me.
The CHAIRMAN. The funds go to the county in your State on the condition that certain things are done or not done
Mr. SCHANBERGER. No; they come right out of the county treasury; we pay a county tax.
Mr. ROBSION. Weil, it is under your State law?
Mr. SCHANBERGER. Yes, sir; we pay 95 cents a hundred dollars, that is what we paid last year for education.
Mr. ROBSION. And certain conditions have to be met before any teacher can get his pay or any district can get its money?
Mr. SCHANBERGER. Yes.
Mr. Robson. Well, there is no danger in that. You think you can control the schools there?
Mr. SCHANBERGER. I have a far better chance to control the schools there than to come here and control Congress.
Mr. ROBSION. You think they would go wrong if you did not exercise your influence?
Mr. SCHANBERGER. They might. But I have more chance to exert that influence and more chance of having it prevail before the county commissioners of Baltimore County than any individual has in exerting influence before Congress of the United States.
Mr. BLACK. Generally speaking, you do not want education so far removed from local control as this bill provides?
Mr. SCHANBERGER. I certainly do not.
Mr. SCHANBERGER. Yes, I fear it may turn out to be a club. It is a most dangerous and pernicous measure, as I see it, sir. While I
represent no one but myself, I am sure that my position is typical of thousands in Maryland and other States who think along libertyloving lines.
I subscribe to the principle laid down by Jefferson, that government governs best that governs least. This bill is another step in the centralization of all bureaus in Washington, while I maintain that my county board is as competent to handle such affairs as any department in Washington, and does its work at a fraction of the cost that would be required if it were handled in Washington.
The theory of national control of education is opposed to American, democratic principles. I fail to see any more need for a secretary of education than there would be for a secretary of the press. in a very large sense one is a part of the other. I am for the utmost freedom of the press and of education alike. I do not see the need of an official at Washington having the power to influence what may be taught in public, private, or parochial schools, or in a university, any more than I would agree for a moment that a censorship of the press is desirable.
All of us saw the evils of the attempt at the latter during the war, and few of us would care to see a return to the same conditions, and it is undoubtedly true that a free press means continuance of many evils which bring harm to some of us under certain conditions, but it is conceded that a free press is a bulwark of our liberty. Let the radicals rant and their vaporings vanish. Apply a censorship of written or spoken words and actual rebellion is fomented. And so, as I see it, is the question of education.
If I care to have my children taught a certain language, a religion, or a dance, that is my affair. Of course the proponents of this measure say that they have no such intention, and that this bill will not bring control of education to any one man sitting in Washington. I say to this that if it will not do this there is no sense in spending a hundred million dollars on this experiment--if it will not bring the control and, further, if it will do this, liberty-loving taxpayers, such as I claim to be, oppose it.
Mr. BLACK (interposing). You do not want to go on record as saying that if the money will accomplish what is needed in the way of education in places where that education is most needed, that you would not be in favor of it, if it could accomplish it without control by the expenditure of money? I say, if it would result in bringing about additional education facilities where they have not got them now, you would not go on record as being against the proposition, would you?
Mr. SCHANBERGER. No; I do not want to do anything to keep education from developing along legitimate lines. I do not think this is a legitimate way to handle it.
Mr. BLACK. And would you be opposed to the creation of a fund to be used by the Federal Government in the way of extending loans where the money was needed, by States that have not sufficient funds of their own, to give the proper education, such money to be advanced in the way of long-term loans at a low rate of interest?
Mr. SCHANBERGER. Do you mean for the Government to float the loan?
Mr. BLACK. Yes.
Mr. SCHANBERGER. I have never thought of that. As the doctor says, money does not grow on trees.
Mr. Black. But the money comes back in the case referred to, it comes back in the course of time.
Mr. SCHANBERGER. That is a slightly different condition.
The CHAIRMAN. Well, you would want to be satisfied that there was some State that was unable financially to furnish education, would you not, before you would want to aid them in that way?
Mr. SCHANBERGER. Well, such a situation might be met in the scheme, in the manner in which you spoke of; but I do not approve of its being met. I do not approve of the States in that situation being helped under this bill. I do not see why we should be double taxed in Maryland so that the people in Alabama will be able to have the money necessary to have additional educational facilities.
Mr. BLACK. This is not a gratuity that I am referring to; I am suggesting a loan that would be paid back.
Mr. SCHANBERGER. And I am speaking about this bill. As the doctor says, this would not necessarily mean better education. I claim that without spending this immense sum, educational matters in Maryland are just what the taxpayers care to pay for. If they are not getting all the facilites that they might have it is because they do not feel the need for better facilities for learning or because they do not care to pay for any more education than the very ample fabric they now have furnishes them.
Either reason is a good one and concerns only the people of Maryland. As one of the functions reserved to the State, there is no need to enter into an orgy of double taxation to accomplish a central control, which certainly is fraught with many possibilites of corruption and abuse, for admitedly the necessary Federal control of lands has not added luster to national administration of public affairs.
I think most of you will agree with that. I sum up my opposition on two main scores—its wasteful cost and the danger to my rights contained therein.
I do not admit that any man in Washington had the right or power to so manipulate the funds this bill places at his disposal as to prejudice my rights as guaranteed in the constitution of my State and the Constitution of the United States.
It is an easy matter for the powerful secretary of education, by the conditions he will bring into being, to favor or thwart the cult or sect of any citizen, and this I strenuously protest against.
This Government was never designed by its founders to interfere with such personal rights. It is nobody's business whether I am a Christian, a Jew, or a Hindu, nor is it any more the concern of this National Government that certain kinds of legitimate schools shall be fostered and others discouraged.
Harvard, the Union Theological Seminary, and the Catholic University are owned and controlled by separate groups of patriotic citizens and are maintained without Federal aid, and the same is to be said for the smaller institutions, down to the country primary school.
Let the Federal Government venture not into a domain where it is not wanted by the taxpayers and citizens of Maryland, as I take it, and where the individual States are already doing their duty as their citizens see it and wish it done.
Of course those who will benefit under this measure—and they number in the hundreds of thousands—will find less specious reasons for favoring it. But, gentlemen, give a thought to the meek and lowly taxpayer, he who liveth only to pay, and do not thrust aside the fundamental wrongs in this bill, that it is Federal interference amounting almost to control of a State function, and that the more government left to the county and the township the better are the citizen's interests served and their liberties insured.
We have gone a long way on this road called Federal aid. Maryland built her roads at her own expense, and to-day has the most comprehensive system to be found in this Union, planned and largely perfected before she accepted a dollar of Federal aid.
Governor Ritchie sounded the keynote when he said we want no more of this scheme. To-day Marylanders pay $5 to the Federal Government in taxes to $1 they pay to their own State in taxes-five to one. This $1,000,000 will not be found on the street, nor will any mysterious John T. King give it to Uncle Sam, but it will be collected from every man, woman, and child as an overhead charge pure and simple, to create a few more thousand easy jobs. I mean that, gentlemen-easy jobs— for those who want them and know how to obtain them. The cause of real education will not have increased by this bill one-half of 1 per cent, but another step will have been taken toward an educational oligarchy to trample common people's rights in the dust. Gentlemen, that is all I have to say, and I thank you. Mr. ROBSION. What county do you live in?
Mr. SCHANBERGER. Baltimore County, which is separate from Baltimore City.
Mr. ROBSION. In what business are you engaged?
STATEMENT OF MR. J. S. EICHELBERGER
The CHAIRMAN. Please state your full name and occupation.
Mr. EICHELBERGER. J. S. Eichelberger; I am editor of the Woman Patriot.
Mr. Chairman, we oppose this bill, first, because it is unconstitutional. I am not going to develop that at any length, because all of the members of this committee are undoubtedly familiar with that argument, which has been developed so well and so many times by the gentleman from Virginia. But we consider this in the nature of an illegitimate amendment to the Constitution. In other words, under article 10 of the Bill of Rights the control of education is absolutely reserved to the States. The proponents of this bill do not question that. This bill undertakes, not by due process of amendment through submission by two-thirds of Congress and ratification by three-fourths of the States, but it undertakes to do with a subsidy what can only be done by amendment to the Constitution.
That thought was developed at great length in the maternity cases to which I invite the attention of the committee.
The CHAIRMAN. To what do you refer?
Mr. EICHELBERGER. The particular thing I refer to is that the Supreme Court has held in at least three cases that you can only amend the Constitution according to the letter and spirit of Article