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if it were not for the fact that a city-bred person has much more to learn in adapting himself to country life than a country-bred person has to learn when moving to the city. Therefore in order to equalize these differences we have provided for city children to be taught tilling the soil as a means to physical development and this would naturally lead to the enrollment in the State civil academies of the youth of our cities. In this way we will build up a noble race of men and women fully developed physically, mentally, and morally, capable of taking their places in the affairs of American life, and equal to any emergency, with an added reverence for the laws of God, for the President of the United States, for the governors of the States, and all in authority, for the sacred life of the family, and, lastly, the noble privelege of being a citizen of the United States with its Constitution guaranteeing our liberty of self-development.
From an economic standpoint there would be a better interchange between city and country in the matter of labor and a larger proportion of our people live on the soil or associated with it.
By thus enobling country life and making it interchangeable with life in the city we can broaden the vision and equalize the opportunities and rewards of all the people and thereby increase our joys and reduce our perils of life.
The Christian religion is the religion of individual character. The spirit of American civilization is, similarly, the opportunity for the individual, and the Constitution is the fulfillment of the Declaration of Independence which says, that "every one has the right of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The greatest pursuit of happiness is the development of one's-self to the maximum of one's capacity
This is the concern of the Nation as a whole, and can be attained most easily by the establishment of these academies associated with the State agricultural colleges where the only question for admission would be, " what can you do to become the best you are capable of.”
I believe such a form of education would reduce our insane, criminal, and indigent classes by over 50 per cent, and that alone would more than justify the slight expansion of the attention of the Government in education as a whole, and not endanger any rights possessed by the several States.
Are you short for time?
Mr. BUSH-BROWN. I will close, then, with a few words on the desirability of having the fine arts made a part of this bill.
The apex of every education and civilization are the expressions in the fine arts. When you seek the greatness of a nation, you ask what they have done in science, what they have done in music, in poetry, in sculpture, in architecture, and in painting. Therefore that constitutes the highest phase of our educational function as a people, and it ought to be under the protection and under the guidance, and under the encouragement of the Nation as a whole, just as it is in France and in other countries, especially in Italy:
If, however, this bill is not soon to become a law, I would like to point out that the Government is already pledged to develop the fine arts in having accepted the bequest of Smithson, which established the Smithsonian Institute. It was for the arts and sciences. The
vision of Congress has seen the wisdom of development of the sciences until it is the finest institution in the world, but only lately has the Bureau of the Fine Arts been established, and fortunately we have at the head of it Dr. William H. Holmes, not only an artist of distinction, but also a man eminent in science. There is no one in the counary so well qualified as he is to develop his bureau along the lines suggested in the amendment to this bill.
What we need is a broader vision on the part of the public and Members of Congress that the fine arts are as important to the growth of the Nation as the sciences. One for the material things and the other for the things of the spirit.
We have everything with which to make the greatest research in creative art except appropriation with a mandate to use American inspiration and American motives.
When that is furnished then we will find that what the lotus was to Egyptian art and the acanthus was to Greek art our American forms may be the future of American art.
I would like to close by saying a little formula which I have arranged to partly illustrate these things:
Work is the salvation of man.
Creation, the understanding of the principles of our existence, the laws of nature, leads to religion.
And if we are to succeed as a Nation we must make a religion of our liberties.
And there is just one quotation I would like to make from one of our minor poets, which says these things in verse:
I ask not wealth, but power to take and use the things I have aright;
But that the common lot of man be nobly borne and glorified.
(Thereupon the committee went into executive session, after which it adjourned.)
COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION,
Wednesday, May 7, 1924. The committee met at 10 o'clock a. m., Hon. E. Hart Fenn presiding
Mr. FENN. Gentlemen of the committee, please come to order.
We have before us the bill (H. R. 3923) to create a Department of Education, etc. The clerk has told me that Doctor Finegan desires to be heard, as he has to leave shortly. Doctor Finegan, we will be glad to hear you now. STATEMENT OF DR. THOMAS E. FINEGAN, HARRISBURG, PA.
Doctor FINEGAN. Mr. Chairman, I should like to give the committee the background from which I view this bill. My elementary education was obtained in a one-room rural school. I also had the experience as a young man of teaching in rural schools for six years, and later of supervising the schools of a county in New York State
for two years,
From this field I went into the State department of education in New York, where I served for 27 years, for part of the last two years having been acting the commissioner of the State.
Mr. TUCKER. Of education?
Doctor FINEGAN. Yes; of education. In 1919, on the invitation of Governor Sproul, I went into Pennsylvania as the head of the State department of public instruction to reorganize the school system of that State and served in that capacity for four years.
I am giving you this background for the purpose of bringing out the point that I have the outlook and the viewpoint in education of a State administrator.
A fundamental principle that is recognized everywhere in American education is that education is a subject which always has been, and which I hope always will be, a State affair--a subject always to be under the control and regulation of the several States. It is from this viewpoint that I wish to express briefly some of the reasons why I am favoring the bill known as the Sterling-Reed bill. I have no fear whatever about the centralization of authority in the Federal Government to control and regulate the educational systems of the several States. If I thought for a moment that the enactment of this measure into law would take from the States the control, power, and authority over education which they have exercised since the formation of our Government, I would stand here and ask you to report adversely upon this bill; but with the experience I have had as an administrator in this field, and with the knowledge I have of the inequalities of education prevailing, not only within States but between the States, I believe that this is a measure which ought to receive your serious consideration. My experiences in educational administration and my knowledge of conditions throughout the country compel me to give the measure my hearty support.
You have three bills before you which are related to this subject. I have followed the hearings given by congressional committees. I have attended several of them in the Senate as well as those given by this committee. I have also read the reports in the press, and have been in all of the important national educational meetings where these measures have been discussed, and have not yet found a person who has a State or national reputation in public education who does not say that the present situation is ineffective and intolerable and that the interests of the country require a more definite and a broader interest on the part of the National Government in educational affairs. Nearly all who have spoken on this subject have said that, while education is regarded as a matter of State concern, to be controlled and regulated by the States instead of the Federal Government, nevertheless, the Federal Government does have and always has had a concern in education.
Let us briefly examine the Towner-Sterling bill to ascertain definitely what machinery is set up and what activities in education on the part of the Government are contemplated by this measure. First, the bill creates a Federal department of education and the head of such department shall be known as the secretary of education who shall be a member of the President's Cabinet. We are told by the opponents of this measure that the creation of such officer with a seat in the President's Cabinet will inevitably result in a centralization of authority in Washington over the educational affairs of the
whole country. That the establishment of such office with such rank as is contemplated will inject the educational affairs of the country into all sorts of political controversies.
I can not understand the psychology of people who make either of these charges. Being jealous of State prerogatives and rights in the field of education, I am supporting this bill because the whole history of the development of education in America shows that the contention of our opponents is not sound. Each State in the Union has a State department of education. Many of them are strong and effective and exercise a leadership in education that is felt in every section of the State. Many of them were established in the early history of their respective Štates. Whenever the establishment of one of these State departments came up in a State legislature, the same charges of centralization of authority in the State capital and the injection of politics into the administration of the schools have been made. Neither of these great injuries and wrongs have been perpetrated upon education by the establishment of State departments of education. In many States such departments are a bulwark of defence against the political assaults which have been leveled at public education.
There has probably been no great reform proposed in educational practice or administration in any State in the Nation which has not been subjected to the charge of centralization of power, the usurpation of the people's prerogatives, or the injection of the evil influences of politics. These evil results have not been realized upon the adoption of such reforms. It is not strange therefore that these charges should be made against the Sterling-Reed bill. Such charges were of course expected.
Men in public education administration are on the average men of the same ordinary horse sense that men are who are serving in other fields of administration. Educational leaders in positions of responsibility usually survey their fields and ascertain their official relation to every branch of the work under their supervision. Educational administrators profit by the success or failure of other administrators.
We all know that the United States Steel Corporation is one of the most successful business concerns in the country. It is composed of several constituent companies-20 or more. Does the president of that company usurp the powers and functions of each of these constituent companies or does he throw back upon the authorities of each one of them the power and initiative to operate their companies and produce results? The officials and the experts of the main company offer advice and suggestions but the direct responsibility of the management of each of these constituent companies is placed directly upon the officers of such companies. Wise men who have such responsibility seek advice of those who are having the larger and broader experiences. Such action produces cooperation which promotes efficiency and progress.
A wise executive or administrator will never seek to exercise power or authority arbitrarily. He will seek the cooperation of all interests under his supervision or control. Every educational administrator knows from experience that the greatest asset he can possess is a public sentiment on the part of his constituency which will support progressive school policies. Even where great power may be vested
in a State or Government official it is generally exercised under what may be called a decentralized policy. In other words, official authority may be exercised by the process of devolution. Such processes are never arbitrary.
I assume that any man chosen to a position in the President's Cabinet as a secretary of education would not undertake to inaugurate a policy hostile to the feelings and beliefs of all the educational leaders of the country as well as the sentiment of the public. He would, I take it, respect the traditions and settled policies in education in this country. Without legal authority he would not undertake to offend the American people including the entire teaching profession.
But assume a person should be chosen in such position who would endeavor to do all these objectionable things, how could he accomplish his purpose! The Sterling-Reed bill does not confer upon the proposed secretary of education power or authority to centralize the direction or supervision of education in the several States. If that officer should enter upon a program to obtain such power, he would immediately have arrayed against him the entire teaching profession of the Nation. The men and women who have been urging the enactment of this bill would be here urging the Congress to oppose such program. The Congress including you men upon this committee could deal with this question if it should ever be raised and brought before you.
There is nowhere in this bill a single line that confers upon the secretary of education power or authority to control in the slightest degree the educational policies of the States. There is nothing in this bill which centralizes power and authority to any extent in the Federal Government. There is nothing in this bill which seeks to standardize education throughout the Nation. Each State continues without interference on the part of the Federal Government to work out its own State programs. There are 48 general plans of education, one in each State under the Sterling-Reed bill. The bill provides, first, that in order that a State may participate in the apportionment of the funds appropriated, it shall maintain a school for a period of 24 weeks. What States in the country do not maintain a school for 24 weeks? There is no State in the country which does not have a school term for that period of time. But suppose there were some States that did not have such terms.
In such case should not the concern and interest of the Nation in education give proper expression to the desirability of each State, providing its future generations with at least 24 weeks of schooling in order that these children might receive that minimum education and training essential to American citizenship? There is no State in the country to-day which does not have a compulsory attendance statute. True, they are more rigidly enforced in some States than in others. In some States they are not properly enforced; but that is a very serious question, and the States ought to see that those laws are enforced. Under the Sterling-Reed bill the enforcement of such laws rests absolutely with the States. If a State expects to receive its proportion of this aid, then that State ought to enforce the compulsory attendance laws.
Mr. BLACK. May I interrupt you at this point?