“The two vital characteristics of the political system of the United States are, first, that the Government' holds its powers by a charter granted to it by the people; second, that the powers of government are formed into two grand divisions-one vested in a government over the whole community, the other in a number of independent governments over its component parts. Hitherto charters have been written, grants of privileges by governments to the people. Here they are written grants of power by the people to their governments.

“Hitherto, again, all the powers of government have been, in effect, consolidated into one government, tending to faction and a foreign yoke among the people within narrow limits, and to arbitrary rule among a people spread over an extensive region. Here the established system aspires to such a division and organization of power as will provide at once for its harmonious exercise on the true principles of liberty over the parts and over the whole, notwithstanding the great extent of the whole; the system forming an innovation and an epoch in the science of government no less honorable to the people to whom it owed its birth than auspicious to the political welfare of all others who may imitate or adopt it.

“As the most arduous and delicate task in this great work lay in the untried demarcation of the line which divides the general and the particular governments by an enumeration and definition of the power of the former, more especially the legislative powers, and as the success of this new scheme of polity essentially depends on the faithful observance of this partition of powers, the friends of the scheme, or, rather, the friends of liberty and of man, can not be too often earnestly exhorted to be watchful in marking and controlling encroachments by either of the governments on the domain of the other."


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I here submit the views of prominent educators and public men and those of certain organizations and societies in the United States on the subject of Federal aid to education and the Sterling-Towner bill.

Among those who have expressed themselves most forcibly against the Federal
Government giving aid to education in the States may be mentioned ex-Presi-
dent Charles Eliot, of Harvard; President Nicholas Murray Butler, of Colum-
bia; President McKinley, of the University of Illinois; President Lowell and
Dean Briggs, of Harvard University; Mr. Inglis, director_Harvard Graduate
School of Education; President Hibben and Dean West, of Princeton; President
Goodnow, of John Hopkins; ex-President Hadley, of Yale; President Sills, of
Bowdoin; President Jessup, of the University of Iowa; and Dean Sutton, of the
University of Texas.

I offer also a resolution passed by the Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Missouri,
Ohio, and other States during the past year on this subject:

"Whereas public education has thriven splendidly under our present system of State control and, on account of the differences between the States, might suffer grievously if it were supervised and regulated by a Federal bureau;

"Whereas a Federal bureau of education must inevitably result in a limitation on State rights, a contraction of individual liberty, and an additional financial burden on the taxpayers;

Whereas the definition of the term 'Americanization' and the perpetuation of religious liberty are of vital concern to us all and might be materially affected by a Federal bureau of education under political and denominational influences;

“Whereas the Sterling-Towner bill now pending in Congress embodies the probabilities and possibilities just mentioned: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved by the Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Missouri, Ohio, and other States, assembled in the national convention at Fort Wayne, Ind., from June 20 to 30, 1923, and representing more than a million members throughout the United States, That we are opposed to said bill.”

I also offer the views of one of the most distinguished and able churchmen in the South, Bishop Candler, of Georgia, on this subject: "(Bishop Warren A. Candler, in the Western Recorder, May 10, 1923.)

Another case in point is that of the Towner-Sterling educational bill, which is an utterly unwise and indefensible measure.

"This measure seeks to establish an executive department of education, similar to that of the Department of the Interior or the Department of Justice, with a secretary in the President's Cabinet to administer it. It would receive


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large annual appropriations for distribution among the States, and the secretary by disbursing these large sums upon certain conditions could, and would, color and control the education of the youth of the Nation.

It is far worse in all its features than the vicious ‘Blair bill,' which the people opposed vigorously and defeated overwhelmingly about 30 years ago. poses for the United States a thoroughly Prussianized system of education. The creation of a department of religion with a secretary in the President's Cabinet would be scarcely more injurious or more un-American.

“But some good people clamor for its adoption because they wish to extirpate ignorance and promote education in the land. Certain educational associations, in which a group of officials propose all sorts of resolutions and secure their adoption by a body of unthinking delegates, have indorsed this dangerous bill. They claim the teachers of America are favorable to it. As a matter of fact an overwhelming majority of the teachers of the United States have never given it a thought. If they had, they would oppose it as an unwarranted and hurtful interference by the Federal Government with the work of their noble profession. All the people will unite against it as they did against the ‘Blair bill? about 30 years ago, once they understand it.

“But at present the people of the country are asleep on the subject, and they need to be aroused. They do not perceive the purpose of the bill nor apprehend the wretched consequences of the measure if it were adopted.

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"The people will render a verdict similar to that given by the overwhelming majority of the members of the Chamber of Commerce once they are informed and aroused on the subject, and they can not be awakened too soon,

“This mischievous measure will be introduced in the next Congress, and the dextrous propagandists who have supported it heretofore will be working vigorously for it again. Indeed, the people should know that a number of lobbying bureaus and boards have headquarters at the National Capital and that by postal propagandism with the citizens of the country and personal appeals to Members of Congress they are constantly seeking to secure the passage of all sorts of paternalistic schemes that rob the Federal Treasury, prostrate the States to impotent provinces, and increase the burdens of Federal taxation. In cooperation with other unworthy agencies they are reducing the Federal Government to a most extravagant and wasteful cooperative society which disguises its extraction of millions of dollars annually from the pockets of the taxpayers by sending back a few paltry appropriations to local enterprises and selfish schemes of spurious reformers.

"They not only levy and collect taxes through Federal legislation which ought not to be levied, but by the most insidious methods they denature the Government itself, displacing the freedom of a constitutional Republic with the tyranny of an unscrupulous bureaucracy. The Constitution, designed for the defense of the liberties of the people, is rapidly becoming an object of contempt upon the part of these demagogical bureaucrats.

"All the people may as well understand that there is no money but their own in the Federal Treasury.

“The people themselves will be forced to furnish the money for all the schemes of the bureaucrats, notwithstanding the pretenses of these propagandists that they are getting something out of the Government for the dear people.'

In 1921 the Chamber of Commerce of the United States of America appointed a committee "to examine the question of the Federal Government's participation in education." The committee was composed of eight members, and filed · a majority and minority report. The majority report, consisting of five members, opposed the creation of a Federal department of education with a secretary in the President's Cabinet; second, the enlarging the present Federal Bureau of Education; and third, Federal aid to education in the States on the 50–50 basis. A minority of two took the other position, favoring those th propositions, while one member of the committee favored only one of the propositions practically, namely, that of enlarging the Bureau of Education. Their reports were submitted by referendum to all of their subsidiary organizations throughout the States, which was closed February 9, 1923, with reports from 594 organizations on the subject. The propositions submitted and the results on the balloting on each proposition were as follows:

I. Do you favor the creation of a Federal department of education with a secretary in the President's Cabinet? Votes in favor.

4611 Votes opposed.

1, 3191

* *


II. Do you favor enlarging the present Federal Bureau of Education? Votes in favor.

623 Votes opposed..

1, 074 III. Do you favor the principle of Federal aid to education in the States on the basis of the States appropriating sums equal to those given by the Federal Government? Votes in favor

527 Votes opposed..

1, 200 Under the by-laws the chamber is committed on a proposition submitted to referendum by a two-thirds vote representing at least 20 States provided at least one-third of the voting strength of the chamber has been polled.

The result of the final count is that the chamber is committed in opposition to Propositions I and III. It is not committed either for or against Proposition II. (See Special Bulletin, March 9, 1923, Chamber of Commerce of the United States of America, Mills Building, Washington, D. C.)

In examining this report, excluding the States from which only one organization reported, and there were several of these, 41 States through more than one organization made reports. Of the 41 States, 22 voted against all three propositions. Nine States voted for all three propositions. The latter States were North and South Dakota, Utah, Nebraska, Montana, Mississippi, Florida, California, and Arizona. Ten States reported for some and against others. These States were as follows: Colorado, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Missouri, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, and Washington. Of these latter 10 States, 7 reported against I and III, so that of the 41 Štates, 12 voted for I and III, and 29 against I and III.




If this bill could fairly escape the criticism of its unconstitutionality, and the appropriation by the Federal Government of money to the schools of the State was without legal objection, the bill itself is open to the most serious objections.

The first of these is evidenced in the Keith and Bagley book and by publications of various societies in the country showing a purpose on the part of its advocates to nationalize, federalize, and standardize education in the United States. Such a scheme, without regard to its constitutionality, is unscientific, un-American, and must result in dissatisfaction and confusion.

What is meant by the terms “nationalized," "federalized," and "standardized" education in the United States? These are all suggested in the literature which has been produced advocating this bill, although the bill itself declares that the control of education under this bill is to be left entirely with the several States. If the Federal Government is excluded from all control of the schools in the States, how can any one of these three be accomplished? There are two provisions in the bill which show how it is done. The Federal Government is given power to appropriate money to the schools and, second, to lay down conditions upon which the money can be received by the States. Those conditions will bring about the standardization or nationalization of education into one uniform, inflexible system common to all the States, while the bill on its face gives the complete control of the schools to the States.

The very words themselves "federalize," "nationalize," and "standardize" import a control which is confessedly denied under the Constitution to the Federal Government. Federalized arithmetic and nationalized geography, and standardized psychology all denote most plainly the elimination of State control of those subjects. We want no uniform standard of education in the United States. It would be as fatal and as absurd as for the Federal Government to standardize or nationalize agriculture and apply the same methods to the pineclad hills of Maine as to the orange groves of Florida. If the States have the right to control education, the right to control the standard, the methods, the books, the teachers, the whole system must remain with the States.

Even Keith and Bagley seem to seriously doubt whether this right to nationalize or standardize education is within the power of the Federal Government, for on page 154 they say:

"There is another reason for not attempting to prescribe by Federal legislstion the methods of procedure by the States. Constitutionally the right to

organize, supervise, and administer education within a State is clearly the function of the State itself. If a State accepts a law with procedure specifically defined in it, it substantially enters into a contract with the Federal Government. It is an open and undetermined question whether such a contract is not itself unconstitutional. In other words, can a State by contract surrender to the Federal Government a function which the Constitution has reserved to the State?"

And yet their whole book is filled with arguments to show how this bill will federalize and will standardize education.

To standardize or nationalize the school system of America is merely another word for transferring the system bodily from the control of the State to the control of the Federal Government. Having the power to impose conditions, that power will be exercised, and after the system gets into operation in future bills we will find new conditions imposed by the Federal Government which will culminate in Federal control and the extinguishment of the control of the States.

The word “nationalization” carries with it the obliteration of State control and the adoption of national control. It carries with it the idea of one controlling central power at Washington to supervise the 48 systems of the States. One head to control 48 different systems, which by this bill are declared to be free from such control. Or, if not, means the obliteration of the 48 systems, merged into 1 system, the same for each of the 48 States. This doctrine of standardization of education has been well treated in a pamphlet issued by the American Council on Education at Washington in connection with the proposed SmithTowner bill, as follows:

“The power to establish standards would unquestionably be the most influential prerogative of a department of education. Under the Smith-Towner bill the department is implicitly given this power. Through its ability to withhold appropriations unless State plans meet with its approval the department can establish minimum standards in some of the principal fields of educational effort. It is this implied power to coerce through shutting off supplies that constitutes in the minds of critics of the bill one of its principal dangers. Standards formulated in the serene seclusion of Washington may be imposed without debate or appeal upon institutions in all parts of the United States. Nothing is more likely to foster bureaucratic tendencies."

No stronger statement on this subject has been made than the following:

That all education should be in the hands of a centralized authority, whether composed of clergy or of philosophers, and be consequently all framed on the same model and directed to the perpetuation of the same type, is a state of things which, instead of becoming more acceptable, will assuredly be more repugnant to mankind with every step of their progress in the unfettered exercise of their highest faculties. (John Stuart Mills, “The Positive Philosophy of Auguste Comte,” p. 92.)

The Hon. Franklin K. Lane, ex-Secretary of the Interior, in his report to the President of February 28, 1920, says:

“Federal control of schools would be a curse because the inevitable effect of Federal control is to standardize."

Second. The bill provides for the establishment of a secretary of education, as a Cabinet officer, with power to unify and expand all of the supposed educational activities of the Federal Government. Exactly why an office of this character should be created it is difficult to see; confessedly the Federal Government has no control over the educational activities of the States, and yet it is here proposed to create an officer with nothing that he can do constitutionally. An officer not to execute the law but to break it. It would be as sensible on the part of the Government to abolish the Army of the United States and yet continue to appoint officers of the Army with nothing for them to command. Is it not enough that the people should be taxed to pay the salaries of officers who are carrying out the legitimate powers of the Government, and not be required to pay additional taxes to create thousands of new offices that can not constitutionally function?

But the fatal objection to such an establishment, which must be evident to all, is that the creation of such a department would bring the schools of the country into politics and make them the "football” of political parties in the wild appeals which would be made to the people in the political campaigns of the country. The vitality, the force, and efficiency of the schools depend on their absolute freedom from any political influence, and this security can not be had when the controlling power of the schools would be a political appointee. Millions upon millions of dollars in taxation would be needed to supply salaries for tens of thousands of new offices to be created under the bill.


The theory that the secretary of education would be above political bias is simply absurd and can not be believed by any intelligent man who has an adequate conception of our form of government. His idealism and standardization would last for four years when a new appointee would come into office, and of course he would regard it as his duty to inflict his ideals and his standards upon the country. It is difficult to contemplate the political power which such an office would create in the Government, with 48 superintendents of schools in the different States—all men of influence and power—with the superintendents of schools of the counties and cities of each State under them; with the teachers of each county and city of the States under these State superintendents, to the number of 600,000 in the United States, this army could and would be marshaled as a solid phalanx to carry a political election. And think of such an army of lobbyists. The hundred million dollars carried by this bill would soon be increased to billions. Consolidation and destruction of the Government would be inevitable. The history of Germany need only be referred to as an example of such a system.

Third. Should this bill become a law it would doubtlessly result either in the impairment or the destruction of the school systems of many of the States rather than the upbuilding of the same, which, of course, is the object of its proponents. It is inevitable that the power to couple appropriations with conditions can not exist without the school systems taking on the color and character of those who have the power to make the conditions. This being the case, the schools will, of course, assume that character which a majority of the States desire them to have, for the Congress can prescribe standards of education indefinitely as a condition of their appropriation of money to the States. One of them in this bill is a “local school term of at least 24 weeks" for each State that accepts this appropriation.

Now, suppose Virginia to have a school term of 20 weeks; by accepting this appropriation Virginia would agree with the Federal Government to make the term 24 weeks. Are not the four additional weeks agreed to by Virginia a control by the Federal Government of the school system of Virginia to that extent at least? So that, if the Constitution puts the control of the schools in the hands of the States, can the State, by consenting to that control being lodged in the hands of the Federal Government, change the Constitution? Article V of the Constitution, which provides for amending it, prescribes no such method. This is a new invention in constitutional development; and when it is remembered that this power in the Federal Government, it is claimed, may extend to any conditions, or any number of conditions, is it not seen that each additional condition imposed will be additional control of the systems by the Federal Government? The advocates of this bill deny any desire to give the Federal Government control of the schools in the States, and yet they openly claim the power to make conditions which will give that control to the Federal Government. Things that are equal to the same thing are equal to each other. What this proposition in the bill really means when analyzed is this, that all that is left of the school systems of the States after all has been taken from them by conditions imposed by the Federal Government is to be left to State control. But the control given to the States of the school systems by the Constitution embraces the entire organization, administration, and execution of the systems, and by just so much as that broad and inclusive control is depleted and diminished by conditions imposed by the Federal Government, by just that much is that control unconstitutional and void. If a condition imposed by the Federal Government is complied with by the State, that part of the school system represented in the condition is as completely under the control of the Federal Government as if such power were originally granted it in the Constitution itself. Then multiply these conditions as the years go by and see where the State control is left.

The secretary of education is to be a member of the Cabinet. Our Government is a political government. One of the most prominent politicians of his day in Virginia declared“that the position of superintendent of schools of the State was the most valued asset of any political party that could secure it."

With 600,000 school teachers in the United States, with 48 State school superintendents, with thousands upon thousands of county superintendents, with the council of education provided for in this bill, all revolving in the same orbit, constituting an army "more terrible than an army with banners,” to carry out the political program of the political secretary of education, what would be the result? Would the systems be improved? Such a result means the annihilation of the school systems of the country by politics. In the literature promulgated on the subject we find it argued that there would be much benefit to the

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