Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

board of education as a minister in the British Cabinet; to visit the inspectors of the English school system; to interview the head masters of the schools to which these inspectors had gone, and I want to bring to the committee assurance that practically all of the secondary schools of England, with the department of education operating in the British Government, are under private control. The governing bodies are constituted entirely outside of Governmental domination or dictation; the supervision and inspection is carried on in those schools, private as they are, without interference with the local autonomy, the methods of teaching, or anything connected therewith.

In so famous a school as Rugby, which is a household word in America (but which I take as a type) because the inspectors of the department of education from London go to Rugby School on the invitation of the governing body of that school, they conduct an investigation, they make a report in detail on the instruction being given; they offer suggestions for the improvement of Rugby School and lend a very substantial service to that school, and all without interfering, in one iota, in the final control over that school and in the local and independent operations of the school. And the thing which is true of Rugby is true of 30 or 40 other schools which I saw and examined at close range.

Mr. LOWREY. Mr. Chairman, might I suggest is not that just in line with what happens in all of our States when the State board of education or the State university sends its visitor to private schools and denominational schools to inspect and affiliate the school with the colleges ? It is a kind of supervision, and yet it is a welcomed supervision and a helpful supervision?

Doctor HERRICK. And leaves the local authorities free.
Mr. LOWREY. It interferes in no way at all with the local authority.
Doctor HERRICK. I think that might well be said.

Mr. REED. I was just going to ask you this question: So far as you know or can say, would there be any Federal inspection of our schools, or is it contemplated in our schools to have any Federal supervision in any way, shape, or form under this plan?

Doctor HERRICK. I do not think so. So that it would be more removed from the danger of interference or the setting aside of local authority, than would be true even under the English system; yet under the English system there is no setting aside of the local authority or interference with the religious societies in the maintenance of their schools, or of locally incorporated school societies in the maintenance of their own schools.

Mr. WELSH. Doctor, would you consider the English system sufficiently parallel to ours to use it for purposes of comparison?

Doctor HERRICK. In this particular I would. I think it offers to us a very splendid evidence of the fact that the Minister of Education does not dominate and stifle and retard the local educational activity.

Mr. BLACK. May I ask what local government has control of the schools in England?

Doctor HERRICK. They are called governing bodies and each of them is a distinctive incorporation.

Mr. BLACK. Answerable to whom?
Doctor HERRICK. Answerable generally to their own society.
Mr. BLACK. Are they answerable to any town or city?
Doctor HERRICK. In secondary schools.

Mr. BLACK. There is nothing analogous to our State school system, of course?

Doctor HERRICK. They have a system of board schools of the elementary grade. The secondary schools are practically all under independent local governing bodies.

Mr. BLACK. There is no local political guidance of the educational bodies?

Doctor HERRICK. They are local educational bodies, some church officials, some selected by private companies; some of them are deans of colleges or presidents of universities-some one thing, some another-but they are each a distinctive thing.

Mr. Black. They are publicly supported; is that it?

Doctor HERRICK. Yes; they receive in certain instances grants from the board of education, but in Rugby School they receive no grant at all. This inspection is on the invitation of the governing body of Rugby School, and the board of education gives advice, counsel, and stimulation, and Rugby gets no money at all from the board of education. The English system is very individual. The local authority has the great control and initiative, and it is operating in connection with the minister of education, and the minister of education has not retarded or stified individual initiative.

Mr. BLACK. There is no attempt at standardization, either, proceeding from the minister?

Doctor HERRICK. I would say through suggestions of the minister they are attempting to standardize. There are certain ideals their inspectors and examiners do set up, and in these written reports which they make to the school they examine they do offer a standard or level to which they think the school might come; they do suggest to the school improvements which might well be introduced to the benefit of the school.

Mr. BLACK. Is there indirect control over the school and governing body of the school, by any authority, or denial of authority, in the credit that the minister of education might give to a school certificate?

Doctor HERRICK. No; they give no credit to school certificates at all in England; everything is on an examination system, scholarship admissions, and all the system of preferments and scholastic recognition is based on examinations and not at all through what we ordinarily know as certificates or official recognition.

Mr. TUCKER. Doctor, may I ask you a question? Would you favor this bill if you thought there was any danger of the Federal Government taking control of the educational systems of the States ?

Doctor HERRICK. I would not.

Mr. TUCKER. The bill itself is very clear on that subject, giving the entire control to the State officers, and yet I find in it three distinct conditions upon which it can be accepted. One is that there must be a 50-50 appropriation. The second is that each State that seeks the benefit of the bill must have a compulsory system of education. The next is that each State must have 24 weeks of school term. Now, those are very good propositions; we all want them. They are not objectionable. But, if the State of Virginia has a school system running for 20 weeks instead of 24, and in order to get in under this bill they adopt the 24-week system, does not the Federal Government practically control the school system of Virginia to the extent of those four additional weeks?

Doctor HERRICK. I should feel, in answer to that, Mr. Chairman, that the desire on the part of Virginia, her acceptance, or her submission of her interests to the terms of the bill, was an entirely voluntary matter. The bill does not force Virginia or any other State into an acceptance of these terms, and the option is still with the State; and the bill very carefully guards it at every stage of its development, in connection with every provision of the bill, of the several appropriations as provided, and it is carefully guarded that the authority does not supersede, nor is it compulsory upon the State.

Mr. TUCKER. This bill, you know, if it were passed, would last for two years; the appropriation, as I understand it, comes up again two years from now. What guaranty is there that there may not be conditions put in the bill then that may be objectionable. These conditions are all right; we all want to see a compulsory education law; we all want to see a 24-week term. But does not money make the mare go, and will not the party that is furnishing the money dictate the policy of schools, and is it not the history of these things that this is but a beginning? We all admit that the educational systems in the States are bad and we all want to improve them, and this is but a drop in the bucket; and if this bill were passed, in 10 years from now would not our appropriation be $500,000,000 a year instead of $15,000,000, to carry out what we all want?

Doctor HERRICK. I have no doubt the appropriation would be increased with the development under the proposed bill, if it were carried out; because I think the bill'is so eminently wise, that the wisdom of these increased appropriations would be demonstrated. But, as a dark consequence which would flow from the bill, I am not so troubled by this. I have confidence in the Congress; I have confidence in the good intentions of those who are directing the affairs of the Government, and believe that a thing which is sound in principle, which is sound in its practical operation, as demonstrated already in various activities of our own Government, and as demonstrated in the activities of the governments abroad, that that can safely be left to the future development as the necessities of the case are shown to present themselves.

Mr. BLACK. Do you prefer the English system to ours?
Doctor HERRICK. I do not.

Mr. WELSH. Of course you can understand that the great objection to this bill will be directed to the question of the subserviency of the States to this Federal institution.

Doctor HERRICK. That is all the objection I have ever heard to the bill, Mr. Welsh.

Mr. WELSH. And it is a very serious objection?
Doctor HERRICK. Yes.

Mr. WELSH. If this bill should be adopted and the Federal Government should cooperate with the States on a 50-50 basis, say, for two years, and then at the expiration of the two years the central organization should lay down certain conditions which might be objectionable to certain of the States, would not the tendency be to break down State initiative and State control of education, by practically forcing them to comply with the conditions of the central body, in order to get that grant?

Doctor HERRICK. Of course, that is on the assumption that the Congress is going to do a foolish and unwise thing.

Mr. WELSH. No; the department of education may lay down these things.

Doctor HERRICK. They have no authority under the bill.
Mr. WELSH. Who will lay down the conditions ?

Doctor HERRICK. The conditions can only be laid down within the terms of the bill itself.

Mr. WELSH. I am talking about the educational conditions; not the financial conditions, but the educational conditions in order to get the grant.

Doctor HERRICK. The only authority which the secretary of education or the Federal administration of education could possibly exercise is the authority granted to them in the bill itself, and there is no provision of the bilî which would permit them to impose arbitrary and unreasonable and unfair conditions.

Mr. WELSH. Yes; but you know the tendency of educators to require many, many kinds of standards and to apply many, many kinds of theories. Now, suppose that the same powers and influences that are at work backing this bill should, in the very near future, take up some other phase of it, and put it forward as a proposition and probably have it drafted into an amending bill, would not the whole tendency be to drive in an entering wedge to break down the State control of education? That is a point I think you will have to meet.

Doctor HERRICK. Judged by the success in having secured the adoption of this bill, this is a measure which has been pending since 1868, which has been almost constantly before the educational interests of the country and it has been repeatedly urged upon Congress--the very committee which is now supporting the bill has urged it for the past 8 or 10 years—I should feel the progress in the enactment of this bill did not offer any serious danger to the sort of thing which you suggest.

Mr. BLACK. It has been defeated regularly, has it not, since 1868 ?

Doctor HERRICK. It has been discussed, recommended, and considered.

Mr. BLACK. It never got very far in Congress, though, did it?

Doctor HERRICK. Well, it has been repeatedly before the committees of Congress.

Mr. TUCKER. We had the Blair bill, you remember, for about 10 years, in the eighties, and that was finally defeated.

Doctor HERRICK. I thank you.

Miss WILLIAMS. Might I read here a clause in the bill that distinctly prohibits Federal control ?

Provided, That all the educational facilities encouraged by the provisions of this act, and accepted by a State shall be organized, supervised, and administered exclusively by the legally constituted State and local educational authorities of said State, and the secretary of education shall exercise no authority in relation thereto; and this act shall not be construed to imply Federal control of education within the States, nor to impair the freedom of the States in the conduct and management of their respective school systems.

If there is any plainer language in which that might be written, I am sure the committee back of this bill would be very glad to have it. Then may I also say that this national council on education, which is made up of the 48 educational officers who are answerable to the

people, and 25 people representing the various phases of education, and 25 people representing the public at large, to my mind constitutes a very safe guaranty and safeguard of the States' rights in education for all time.

Mr. Black. Suppose any State should get in the control of an alien group and that alien group should decide, in its system of education, that an alien language, and an alien language only, should be taught, and suppose that State should come, under this bill, to the Federal Department, the Federal Treasury, the secretary of education, and ask to receive its part of the funds for school purposes. Would it get it?

Miss WILLIAMS. The public schools, we believe, should have the English language taught. That is one of the conditions.

Mr. BLACK. I am assuming we get to that condition, that one State may be controlled by an alien group (and it is quite possible), and that alien group insists, in that State, that their own language be taught and not the English language: Under those conditions, would that State be able to get from the Federal Treasury an allotment of the money for those purposes?

Miss WILLIAMS. State schools in which the English language was not spoken?

Mr. BLACK. Yes.

Miss WILLIAMs. That would be a violation of one of the three minimum requirements. I do not think any of us would stand for a condition such as you suggest, Mr. Black.

The next speaker on the program this evening is Dr. J. 0. Engleman, field secretary of the National Education Association. Doctor Engleman is my colleague in the field work of the association and has traveled very extensively for the past year. He has met many groups, both lay and professional, and he brings the point of view from the field which I think the committee will be very glad to hear.

STATEMENT OF DR. J. 0. ENGLEMAN, FIELD SECRETARY,

NATIONAL EDUCATION ASSOCIATION

Doctor ENGLEMAN. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the committee, I think I can afford to be brief in the things I say with reference to this bill. I do not know that I can hope to bring something new, but I may be able to reflect judgments and practices and experiences that are nation-wide in reference to education, since, as a représentative of the National Education Association, in charge of field work it has been my privilege and my duty to travel about the country during the last 15 months and to be in two-thirds of the States of the Union in educational work within that time. If there is any one thing that has been apparent from these surveys and from this nation-wide travel, it is a nation-wide interest on the part of the school forces of the country in this measure.

If it were the judgment of only a small group, even of such distinguished men and women as are here, we might hesitate to speak in behalf of it; but inasmuch as it represents the combined judgment of the school men and women, with very few exceptions, throughout the Nation, the great rank and file of school teachers in all phases of school work (an army of 700,000 and more of them) it seems to me it has some weight.

« ForrigeFortsett »