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STATEMENT OF DR. CHARLES H. JUDD, OF THE CHICAGO
UNIVERSITY, CHICAGO, ILL.
Doctor JUDD. Mr. Chairman, I should like to begin, if I may, with one or two detailed points regarding the Sterling-Reed bill. Í think it is agreed in general by students of education that this bill is brought before you with the understanding that it will undergo
thorough revision. During the long history of this bill and its predecessors, the answer has commonly been made to criticisms made of the bill that the details will have to be rectified by Congress or one of its committees. I will, therefore, if I may, refer to one or two details that seem to some of us to require revision.
Turning first to the financial section of the bill, it will be noted that when funds are appropriated, they are to be distributed in various ways. For example, on page 6 of this bill, H. R. 3923, a formula is laid down for the distribution of the funds that are to be provided for the correction of illiteracy. I read from page 6 of the bill, beginning in line 6, as follows:
Said sum shall be apportioned to States which qualify under the provisions of this act, in the proportions which their respective illiterate populations fourteen years of age and over, not including foreign-born illiterates, bear to such total illiterate population of the United States, not including outlying possessions, according to the last preceding census of the United States.
In other words, this money is to go to the States in proportion to the needs of the States. That is perfectly clear and entirely defensible. If a State has a great many illiterates, then it will get a larger portion of the fund.
Identically the same formula is adopted when we come to the apportionment of the fund for training teachers.
will turn to page 10 of the bill, you will find this language, beginning in line 12:
The said sum shall be apportioned to the States which qualify under the provisions of this act in the proportions which the number of public-school teachers employed in teaching positions in the respective States bear to the total number of public-school teachers so employed in the United States.
And so forth.
The effect of the formula in this case is that the apportionment of money for the improvement of teachers in the various States is not made in proportion to the needs of the States, but quite the opposite; it is made in proportion to the number of teachers they now have. Illiterates are to be provided for in terms of need, but the money that is to be distributed to the States for the improvement of the teaching profession is to be made in terms of the number of teachers they already have on hand.
A very simple calculation can be made, and has been made, in published criticisms of this bill which shows very clearly that the States which have the largest need for teachers would not benefit by this portion of the bill, as much as the States which have an ample supply of teachers. For example, take one of the States where the educational system is relatively new, such as one of the Southern States, where the number of teachers in proportion to the pupil population is relatively small, and contrast the amount that would be received under this bill by such a State with the amount which would be received by one of the rich Northern States, where the educational system has already gone forward and where there is a more adequate
supply of teachers; it will be found that the newer school system will not secure the amount of money which will contribute to the correction of the deficiency.
Mr. BLACK. Is there any justification for the exclusion of foreignborn illiterates from that section?
Doctor JUDD. I think that it was intended to be provided for those in the section of the bill dealing with Americanization. I think that the two portions of the bill are intended to supplement each other at this point.
There are a number of other points at which the plan of distributing the subsidies must be described as unscientific and inadequate, but I think that the one stated will suffice as an example.
The case cited illustrates what I meant when I said that if the bill is to be acted upon favorably, it is the hope and expectation of the educational people that it will receive careful and detailed consideration and revision at the hands of this committee.
This bill was drawn, as you doubtless know, as an emergency war measure. It has been radically changed in the course of its history, but it is still an emergency measure. The appropriation part of the bill was drafted at a time when it was felt by a great many educational people that it was quite impossible to maintain public schools without immediate financial relief of the sort that was asked for in many quarters for all public institutions. My own feeling is that the whole appropriations measure is of such doubtful wisdom that it ought to be lopped from the bill.
The CHAIRMAN. Do you mean the entire $100,000,000 appropriation?
Doctor JUDD. I do. The recommendation has been repeatedly made that the bill be divided, and that consideration be given the first half of the bill rather than the second half.
Mr. REED. Would you tell us whether this recommendation has been publicly made and by whom?
Doctor Judd. At the installation of President Kinley of the University of Illinois, Judge Towner said in answer to criticisms of the bill that the subsidy section could not be carried and was not at that time to be thought of as a part of the measure. The revision of the bill along lines stated is advocated by Commissioner Graves, the commissioner of education of New York City, in an editorial published in the Educational Review several months ago. That recommendation has been made repeatedly in the journals published by the University of Chicago to which Doctor Mann has referred.
Mr. BLACK. Is it the thought of the people making that recommendation that the second half of the bill could be revised and that it should be presented as a separate bill, to be passed later?
Doctor JUDD. The people who have made that recommendation represent, I should say, two shades of opinion. One shade of opinion is the one which you have just expressed. The other shade of opinion is that the whole appropriation measure had better be postponed until a careful study can be made and the scientific principles determined upon which such an appropriation ought to be made. That would require some special agency to be created antecedent to the making of any appropriation.
Mr. BLACK. That would do away with some controversial features!
Doctor JUDD. I think there is a very clearly defined opinion in many minds that there is so much controversial naterial with regard to Federal subsidies and with regard to Federal control, that it would require some Federal agency to make a very careful study before the question of an appropriation could be legitimately presented to Congress.
The CHAIRMAN. What about the States, if any, that are financially unable to educate their children?
Doctor Judd. If I may begin by going back to certain general considerations, it is contended that certain of the newer States, or sparsely populated States, are actually expending, relative to their incomes, very much more for education than are many of the richer States. ' I think that the answer to your question can hardly be given in absolute terms since the quality of education is always a relative matter. The fact, is of course, that all of our States have educational systems, and the fact is that all of those States have been steadily improving their educational systems. The evidence is that since the war very large progress has been made practically by every State educational system. It is believed by many of us that even if there are inadequacies at the present time in the various State educational systems, there ought to be methods of correcting those inadequacies other than by dependence of any State upon the Federal Government In view, therefore, of the lack of an absolute definition of the full meaning of incompetency to carry on a school system, I think it would be fair to make the statement that there is no State that can not, out of its own resources, operate the educational system that it now has. There is no State that has not within the last five years made progress toward more adequate provision for its school system.
The CHAIRMAN. Do you think that Federal aid should be given a State for educational purposes where that State is not taxing its own citizens up to the average that other States are taxing for educational purposes?
Doctor JUDD. There are some of the States which are taxing themselves, comparatively speaking, more heavily than other States at the present time.
The CHAIRMAN. Suppose you have two States side by side, and one State is taxing its property for local purposes, including education, at the full tax rate of $30 per $1,000 or $3 per 100, but right by the side of that State is another State that is assessing its property or taxpayers, we will say, at only one-fifth of the fair market value of the property, for purposes of local taxation, most of which, or a large part of which, goes for education: Now, do you think that the people of the first State should be taxed by the Federal Government for the purpose of paying a part of the school expenses of the other State, where they are not willing to pay more than one-fifth as much as the first State pays?
Doctor JUDD. I think it is perfectly clear that it would be inequitable to levy Federal taxation or to distribute Federal funds except upon the basis of equalized property valuations or some other common basis.
The CHAIRMAN. In other words, you think that each State, before receiving Federal aid, should show its willingness to tax its citizens upon the average basis upon which the citizens of other States are taxed ?
Doctor JUDD. Quite so. Or else I should think that any Federal apportionment to the States should be worked out by some equalizing agency.
Mr. LowRey. Doctor, your suggestion, then, as I understand, is this, that the question of these large Federal appropriations should at least be postponed until the question of a department of education is settled, and then let that department, whatever may be agreed upon, make the surveys and work out the proposition as to the appropriation; is that it ?
Doctor JUDD. Exactly so, sir. Now, Mr. Chairman, if I may regard that portion of my statement as disposed of, I should like to reinforce, if possible, what has already been said to you by the other speakers this morning. We have a school system in the United States which is essentially, and throughout its history, a system of local control. Some disadvantages come to our American schools undoubtedly from the fact that the different districts carry on their own educational experiments. I think the history of American education will show with perfect clearness that local control has brought us also great advantages.
We have tried in this country a great variety of experiments which could never have been tried if there had been anything like a systematized centralized effort to direct educational policies. We have grown to such proportions, however, that experience collected in one of these communities can be made of advantage to other communities only if we set up some agency for collecting information and distributing it. I think it is fair to call the attention of this committee in this connection to the very important fact that we have better school reports at the present time than any other nation in the world. This fact is due to the policy of our Federal Bureau of Education, which has devoted itself altogether to collection of information There is no other nation which has anything like the type of school reports that we have. You will find that those reports were the admiration of educational authorities in England, and even Germany, before the war. I speak from personal knowledge. I spent the autumn of 1913 as a representative of the bureau making investigations in both of the countries mentioned, and I heard repeated comments by their highest educational authorities to the effect that our system of reports was better than could be found in any other country. Therefore, it seems to me that your committee should be urged to recognize that any new Federal educational agency ought to be one equipped to carry on extensive investigations and make reports that can go back to districts which have been from the beginning the real centers of policies in American education. Information will operate to guide and reinforce the local agency, and information will be free from the dangers which attach to subsidies.
In other words, I think that the financial part of this bill should be cut out because it is not in accord with American experience and American policy. The typical American policy is to have the Fed; eral Government collect and supply information, make it available to all and allow the local communities to carry on their own work of experimentation and work out a policy.
Mr. BLACK. What is there in this bill that makes it possible for the bureau of education to carry on work along those lines that it can not do now?
Doctor JUDD. You have had reference to H. R. 6582, which makes it possible to employ agencies not now employed. In the second place it provides ample funds and by that very means the bureau would be able to do things it can not now do.
The CHAIRMAN. Which of these two bills would you advocate?.
Doctor JUDD. At the present time I advocate H. R. 6582. My opinion is that bill would be, on the whole, more acceptable to the educational people if its form were modified so as to give us a department rather than merely an enlarged bureau. It seems to me that the department by virtue of the immediate contact of its head with the President would have certain advantages which a bureau does not have.
The CHAIRMAN. What have you to say with reference to the statement made the other day by President Goodnow, of Johns Hopkins University, that cabinet appointments, being political appointments, would be more apt to bring the educational system into politics than a high salaried head for the bureau, or a commissioner who would be more or less a permanent officer?
Doctor JUDD. The answer which I think can be made to that statement is, that the Cabinet officer would be in a position to secure information and resources somewhat more readily than a head of a bureau. It strikes me, that at the same time, various bureau heads serving under a cabinet officer would secure all the advantages provided by the present bureau. I should be quite prepared to face the hazards involved in such a plan.
The CHAIRMAN. But you think the bill ought to provide in some way, as far as possible, that the man who has real charge of the educational activities of the Government should be a man removed from politics?
Doctor JUDD. I do, sir, unqualifiedly.
Mr. BLACK. In other words, you do not think that the bill makes the bureau too important?
Doctor JUDD. I should rather see the department under the control by an assistant secretary or secretary than to leave it in its present condition.
The CHAIRMAN. That brings us to the other question of creating a department of public welfare and education, as recommended to the President in reorganizing the departments, which provides for an assistant secretary in charge of the Bureau of Education.
Doctor JUDD. In my judgment that bill stands between the other two bills—the bill that would be most preferred from the point of view I have attempted to present would be H. R. 6582, enlarged to provide a department.
The CHAIRMAN. Suppose the substance of H. R. 6582 were included in the bill for a department of education and public welfare?
Doctor JUDD. I should be very much for it in that form, with one modification, as suggested by a previous speaker; that is, the elimination of the Veterans Bureau from the bill H. R. 579.
Mr. TUCKER. Doctor Judd, I have been greatly interested in your statement about this educational bureau, which in our hearings here has been looked upon as the despised and rejected inefficient organism of the Government, totally unfitted for the work; and I have been very much impressed with your statement that the reports from that bureau have been the best of any country in the world.