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The functions of the commissioner are clearly and unmistakably indicated. those institutions and activities to which he sustains the relation of executive as well as those things to which his relation is that of investigator.
The more adequate support for the bureau proposed ($500,000) will overcome a chief objection which led to the dissatisfaction with the work of the bureau as conducted in the past.
By itself H. R. 6582 is the best of the four plans; incorporated into H. R. 5795 in place of what is there provided with regard to the division of education we would have, in my judgment, the best plan of all, when all of the facts and factors, including our traditions and aspirations, are taken into the account.
We can not have a Cabinet officer for education alone without multiplying the number of Cabinet officers indefinitely. In such an event we might as well adopt the British system of having a large number of ministries with a limited cabinet determined in size and composition by the parliamentary program from time to time. Otherwise, the President's Cabinet will soon become as unwieldv as a town meeting or a debating society.
Nor do I think we should take too seriously all of this whimpering about education being “submerged,” “overshadowed," or what not, in case education does not have a department all by itself, with the privilege of a large fixed appropriation which no other department now has. This can not be under the terms of your bill, H. R. 6582, whether or not it is combined as I have suggested. The things that ought to be "submerged” are our prejudices and specious pleadings made merely to save the face of an overwrought association. The problem calls for the statesman rather than the schoolmaster, and there is no need of any risk involved in turning a sharp corner in the orderly progress of our Federal Government. After a fair trial of the plan suggested, it will be time to question further its adequacy for the purposes in mind.
There is much more which I would like to say. On a subject of such magnitude I do not see how I could say less. Begging your indulgence, I am, Sincerely yours,
W. P. BURRIS, Professor of Education, University of Cincinnati.
Equalizing Educational Opportunity