« ForrigeFortsett »
programs, to invite some of the best men in the educational world, among them Doctor Seligman, of Columbia Univerity, and Doctor Davenport, of New York, who have been so long interested in education, and so on through. Prior to that, I recall that I tried to obtain for the board of education in a smaller city information as to what extent the city was warranted in issuing bonds for school purposes. I was unable to get a satisfactory answer from the departments of economics in the universities or elsewhere. It is my judgment that the Government should have whatever information is extant upon this subject.
The CHAIRMAN. We want to know what, in your opinion, the Federal Government should do.
Doctor JONES. I think it would be hardly worth while to speak on the subject of the physical welfare in the outlying districts, which are suffering for the lack of sufficient preparation along that line. I believe that is common knowledge to all of us.
I believe there should be a department, not held in the high estimation which is expressed in the chairman's bill, but making it coordinate, possibly, with the department of education.
As to a director of welfare, the city of Cleveland has spent something like $4,000,000 for welfare. The cost of public education is about $13,000,000. There you see the ratio between the two costs. That $4,000,000 is provided by private subscription under what is known as the unit fund. In addition to that, the city, through its municipal agencies, has provided some additional help:
The CHAIRMAN. The bill I introduced embodies the administration plan for reorganization of the executive departments and creating a department of education and welfare, the idea being to get under one head in one department all of the education and welfare activities of the Federal Government. I speak of that because you were talking about welfare.
Doctor Jones. I think I know in a way what your plan is, and I think I agree with it heartily as it stands. Doctor Finegan has spoken of the training features. You would probably discount my expression on that subject. I believe training of teachers has not been adequately provided for in this country in point of quality, and possibly in point of quantity. Our State institutions for the training of teachers have become-I would express it mildly-rather light, so that they have built up adequate staffs of instructors without giving reasons, and you are relying very largely upon your larger institutions of the type regarded as schools of education being housed in your State universities, and some of the larger private institutions, undoubtedly, institutions like Columbia, Harvard, Yale, will find it impossible to provide the amount of trained teachers that are required by the schools on the basis of the standards that are now being set by the schools but not necessarily being set up within the schools.
As to the director of foreign education, I do not know how widely your present bureau has kept in touch with what is being done in other countries. It occurs to me that if a department of education had been fully advised prior to the war as to what education was going on in other countries we would have been better advised of the various economic and social conditions in those countries and that might have been of value to us. I am sure that we should be posted on what is being done throughout the world.
Progressive legislation as being prosecuted now in the States, in the Nation, does not follow a satisfactory, representative manner.
The National Educational Association, particularly in support of the Sterling-Reed bill, may or may not represent the bulk of opinion and of the opinion which you might want. In so far as State legislation is concerned, probably throughout this country there are all kinds of teachers pensions bills being provided. It seems to me that in some central clearing house there should be adequate information provided upon the maintenance and rehabilitation and future provision for the personnel of the teaching body. It is my judgment that unless the Government does make provision for some basis of extending the benefits of all that information from a clearing house to the country, and in the second place, unless there is proper attention given to the personnel, I do not mean just the raising of salaries, but the protection, care or improvement of the teaching body, just as a large commercial and industrial institution would do it, and unless there is an agency set up here to provide for it, that it will be provided by the organization itself, and to the disadvantage of the good of education nation-wide. That may not come this year or next. It would come within 10 years. The prevention would be far superior to protection later. I believe I have finished my statement.
STATEMENT OF MR. WILLIAM TRUEMAN, TREASURER NEW YORK STATE RURAL SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT ASSOCIATION, KINGSTON, N. Y.
Mr. TRUEMAN. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the committee, this bill has been referred to on several occasions this morning as the Dallinger bill. My understanding is that it is the Sterling-Reed bill.
Mr. TUCKER. I think that is correct.
Mr. BLACK. If you are familiar with the Sterling-Reed bill, discuss that.
Mr. MOORE. There are three bills, one of which is the Dallinger bill.
Mr. TRUEMAN. That I had not seen. H. R. 3923 is the only bill I have seen.
Mr. BLACK. That is the Reed bill.
Mr. TRUEMAN. I am perhaps unfortunate, or maybe I am fortunate, in not having as good a background as Doctor Finegan. But I suppose, at least, I ought to give you some reason or some excuse for my being here, and I ought, at least, to supply some kind of credentials. My credentials are exceedingly humble. My official capacity is as a school trustee-a common, ordinary district-school trustee-which I have filled to the best of my ability for a number of years under difficulties, which I can not go into now. I might also add that I was recently elected as district trustee in an overwhelmingly Republican district, I myself being unfortunately a Democrat. So that I give you as my reason for being here and offer it to you as a
Mr. HASTINGS. I do not think you should apologize for that.
Mr. TRUEMAN. It will depend on one's circumstances. I do not know this committee. I am only here as a stranger. But I do know my own conditions. I have fought. You do not know what I have been through. I am just through with one of the biggest fights I have ever had in the Empire State. I think it was largely through my instrumentality that the rural school bill was defeated at the last session of the legislature and the one previous. I take that much credit to myself, that I have fought that in and out, not a day-but in season and out, because I am convinced that it is dead wrong, and this is another one of the same pattern. I have told you what my credentials are for coming here, that I represent the farmers of New York State. I know the sentiment in the rural districts, I think, as well as any one there. I have expressed myself in season and out of season in the little schoolhouses all over the county in which I live, Ulster County, N. Y., and the reception that I have had and the clamor to get me back to tell people what this thing meant was simply wonderful. To give you an illustration of the sentiment there in regard to this bill I will read you a resolution, passed at a meeting at Syracuse before 221 farmers and rural residents of 21 counties, that will give you the attitude of mind of the people that are living on the land, that are doing the world's work.
The Rural School Improvement Society was formed to combat the determined effort on the part of our State educational department and a few politicians to destroy our rural school system, replacing it with what they call “Modern education." The farmers are almost a unit against this, as is indicated in the following resolution passed at a conference of over 200 farmers from 21 counties at Syracuse recently:
Whereas we are confronted with the complete breakdown of our public-school system in that instead of giving us educated people we have the cigarette-smoking flapper, the jazz-loving, joy-riding youth to whom labor in any shape is nauseous; and
Whereas we are also confronted with a demand on the part of our professional educationists for more power amd more money to enable them to bring these blessings into the rural districts; and
Whereas this means the wiping out of our rural-school system, which has proved itself for over 100 years the very backbone of the Nation, surviving without scandal as an institution every other organized human activity; and
Whereas we are still close enough to the soil to know that some one must work if all are to live, and being willing to do our part in the future as we have in the past: Therefore
Resolved, That we working farmers and rural residents of the State of New York hereby protest against any change in our rural schools as contemplated in the bill now before the legislature and pledge ourselves to do all in our power to prevent it becoming law; and further
Resolved, That we can not sufficiently condemn the activities of those who are trying to put this scheme over on us, and draw their attention to the dire necessity of setting their own house in order before tinkering with ours.
Now, gentlemen of the committee, you have heard this morning from the highest authorities up to State commissioner. You heard all of the sides of this from the top down. I want you to listen to the other side from the bottom up, which we have always understood as being the ground work of democracy, but it appears now that our democracy is to be handed down to us from above instead of working up from below. It was only 10 hours ago that I was putting manure into the hills for the corn we have got to reap, and all this before us is going to add to the burdens we are already bearing, and we know it, but our professional educationists, securely entrenched behind the powerful sentimental and superstitious value attached to the word education are now making an exhibition of themselves that is not difficult to explain.
We hired these people to educate our children in good faith; they have miserably failed to do this. Instead they have produced an uncanny species of precociousness that quickly changes to a soggy cynicism in which religion is a joke, statesmanship becomes synonymous with graft, and civilization itself is despaired of. Their clear duty was to eliminate ignorance; instead we find them allied with the grossest form of it in the shape of the gross superstition that a "formal education is the cure for all our ills.
Instead of asking themselves the obvious question, “If what has been done in the past warranted us in going ahead in the future,” we find them everywhere rushing off to Federal and State legislatures, demanding huge appropriations and unlimited power to force their desires and experiments down the necks of a most unwilling public.
Mr. ALLEN. Did this body that adopted those resolutions have in mind at the time of the adoption of those resolutions that education was the cause of the young men and young women smoking cigarettes, that education was the cause of the great amount of theft throughout the country? Did this great body believe that education was the cause of all those ills ?
Mr. TRUEMAN. It would be impossible for me to interpret the inner thoughts of those 200 people, but we have a common notion among us, being common people, that education is intended to educate, and we find a decided lack of that kind of thing, and that resolution is a protest against it, not in education itself. Through the fight I have been making, it has been necessary for me to make an analysis of the situation and this is what I have found, that at the bottom of this whole thing we have our rural school teachers, one of the most despised group of human beings that you can find. I know, because I am living in it, and they are not in favor of this bill or in favor of the Downing bill that we killed in Albany on the 19th of April. Above those comes another stratum, the beginning of which is the district superintendents, and they are for all this thing, the centralization of education, of appropriations, of huge sums; the machinery is everything to them, and the educative part of it is nothing
Mr. BLACK. Was not the Downing bill suggested on the theory that New York could not do enough along the old lines with the funds available?
Mr. TRUEMAN. It was suggested by a self-appointed group of individuals at Cornell University under the name of a committee of 21.
Mr. BLACK. Their theory was that it was in the interests of economy and education.
Mr. TRUEMAN. Their theory was that they should bring the benefits of the State schools into the rural districts and wipe out the rural schools totally
Mr. BLACK. That was consolidation in the interests of economy.
Mr. TRUEMAN. Economy did not come in at all and was never mentioned. The real fight was fought out on the question of con
solidation, and Governor Graves has so discredited himself and the whole board of education in the State of New York to-day that I can give you my word for it that no bill that they could ever frame would be put through the assembly, and I know what I am talking about.
Mr. BLACK. It is your idea that the same people who favor the Sterling-Reed bill are in favor of the so-called consolidated school?
Mr. TRUEMAN. It is all part of the same thing. This is part of what we have fought.
Mr. BLACK. You think if they got power they might get under this bill that they would force the rural schools out and consolidate them?
Mr. TRUEMAN. They certainly would; of course, they would. It is impossible for me at the present time to go into all the details of that fight up there, but it would be exceedingly illuminating to you gentlemen. We have got down on our knees in front of the high standards of these people in this matter, which we have practically worshipped, and to have the whole thing thrown down into the dirt has been a humiliation that I can not make you understand. They stand absolutely discredited because they have told us falsehoods; they allowed us to believe right up to the time of the hearing in Albany on the 19th of last month, the most extraordinary meeting that ever was held in the assembly chamber, packed from wall to wall
. Eighty. delegates from my own little county went up at my request, and the bill never came out of the committee, though the richest people in the city of New York were there lobbying for it and even walking up and down the aisle, and on the rostrum accosted the speaker of the assembly on the platform.
Mr. BLACK. Do you recall whether or not Doctor Downing, of the State department of education, took any position on the bill?
Mr. TRUEMAN. What his position was? Mr. BLACK. Yes. Mr. TRUEMAN. He was in favor of it. It was the Downing bill. Mr. BLACK. Senator Downing? Mr. TRUEMAN. Pardon me? Mr. BLACK. I mean Doctor Downing, head of the department of education.
Mr. TRUEMAN. I am not sufficiently acquainted with these gentlemen up there. I only know one or two of them and they have not committed themselves to me. If a man will lie to me once he will twice, and I will not believe him, not if he swears it on a stack of Bibles. I have had my experience with this thing and I am speaking from conviction. I have spent an enormous amount of time and trouble in trying to get at the bottom of this thing and I believe that I have arrived at the true conclusion of it. I want to give you the result before I go on to my analysis. I found the most extraordinary thing. After the district superintendents, all of these different departments of education lie upon those like geological strata, one on top of the other, each fitting very beautifully into the other, until you get to the commissioner of education, a State commissioner of education, every one of them following in the other's footsteps and being absolutely in unison on one thing to break the rural schools. Then the extraordinary thing that dawned upon me was this, that immediately you get above the commissioner of education you go out into the pure air and there you have men like Dr. Henry S. Pritchett, Dr. Arthur T. Hadley, Dr. Charles Elliott, who are as much opposed to