Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

been before Congress any measure which had united back of it so great a mass of both lay and professional opinion as this SterlingReed bill, an opinion that has been formed after careful consideration of the bill."

I have been following for some time editorials in newspapers and magazines throughout the United States. The expressions which are found in our great newspapers and magazines must be encouraging to anyone who believes in education as the foundation of democracy, and I have here three brief statements which, if I may, Mr. Chairman, rather than read them, I would like to have inserted in the record at this point.

One is a statement from the Washington Herald and other Hearst newspapers. The second is a statement by Dr. Frank Crane, which appeared in the Chicago Evening American of February 21; and the third is a statement entitled Earth's Noblest Monument.'

If there is no objection I would like to have these included as part of my remarks.

The CHAIRMAN. There is no objection and they may be included.

FOR A SECRETARY OF EDUCATION

The Senate Committee on Education and Labor, of which Mr. Borah is chairman, is conducting hearings on a bill presented by Senator Sterling, “to create a department of education, to authorize the appropriation of money to encourage the States in the promotion and support of education.”

Nothing more important could be done by the Congress now in session than to enact such a bill into law. It is futil to fight over the details of the measure. It is unfair of the objectors to the bill to mask their opposition under the disguise of economy, unequal distribution of Federal moneys, defense of States' rights and opposition to further centralization of government, when as a matter of fact the objectors have ulterior motives for their opposition.

Everything could be stricken out of the bill beyond the enacting clause quoted and the provision of section 1, establishing a secretary of education, as a member of the President's Cabinet, leaving the details of organization and activity to the new executive department when duly created and functioning. The one thing to be assured is the creation of a department of education and so to register America's appraisal of the importance of education to a self-governing, selfdirecting democracy.

Surely, if a referendum could be secured to discover the Nation's opinion on the subject of education as a national concern, there is no doubt that the Nation would demand a department of education headed by a secretary of education, a member of the President's Cabinet.

The fundamental education of the entire people is the most pressing task before this Nation as a Nation.

a

(From an editorial in the Washington Herald and other Hearst newspapers. February, 1924.)

(From the Chicago Evening American, February 21, 1924)

REAL DEMOCRACY BEGINS IN THE SCHOOLROOM

By Dr. Frank Crane Democracy is not natural. It is acquired, the product of intelligence, the development of team play. It is cooperation, which is a very late product of evolution. Savages, untutored primitives, can not possibly grasp it. Wild Indians, native African tribes, primeval Fijis, as well as the ancient forefathers of every race on earth, all had kings, caste, commons, and high mightinesses. The natural state of mankind is competition, conflict, class hate.

When capitalists and labor unions organize to fight they are only doing what their ancestors did a thousand years ago in the bogs of Denmark or the forests of Saxony.

The only place this primal function of ignorance in wasteful discord can be overcome is in the schoolroom. Getting together has to be learned. Contention comes by nature. Just as the sense of the common welfare, respect for law, of self-restraint, and keeping step have to be learned.

By all means get together. But you can not get together at the convention in Atlantic City, nor in Judge Gary's board of directors, nor in Samuel Gompers's executive committee of the American Labor Federation. You could not get together when the President called you to meet at Washington.

If you really want democracy and hearty cooperation, you can make, it maybe, in a generation, but you will have to begin with the babies, keep every boy and girl in a common school (accent on the common) till they are of age, and teach them.

For democracy is not made in conventions, but in schoolhouses.

“More education and more democratic education is our great national need,” writes Dallas Lore Sharp in his book, Patrons of Democracy. Governments are not safe in the hands of any single class—a democracy of all governments, the least safe. There is but one thing to do give us more education, which in the United States means an education to the end of the high school for every citizen, even though compelled by law. Education is a class leveler. Though not by any means a cure for the inequalities of life, education comes nearer than any other thing to being the lowest common denominator to the 'vulgar fractions' of society that we call classes."

There is but one overtopping question: It is education.

There is but one place where the wild theories of half-baked enthusiasts can be corrected; it is the schoolroom.

There is but one person who can successfully combat the Bolshevist, the anarchist, and the maniacal devotee who would overturn the government, defy law, and destroy the accumulated products of civilization in order to state his fanaticism—it is the school-teacher.

This Nation needs to rouse itself to the vital importance of this matter; to examine and reconstruct its system of education; to teach foremost of all and all the time those principles of democracy which we are too much inclined to take for granted.

For every dollar invested in our public schools we should invest 10; for every dollar paid in salaries we should pay 10; for every teacher now employed we should have 10.

For a democracy without intelligence and team play is doomed.

(From the Journal of the National Education Association, March, 1923]

[merged small][merged small][graphic][subsumed]

This giant building represents the public schools of the United States. This is the one thing that is important in this Nation. In comparison with it nothing else has importance.

The Capitol, where Congressmen sit, the great Monument in memory of Washington, the mountain ranges, the whole Nation is subordinate to this noblest of all earth's monuments-the public schools.

What the Nation is, what its laws are to be, its future usefulness in the world, all depend on the school in which the children are taught.

Protect this monument, build it higher, nobler, better, and you have provided for the future and the safety of the United States.

A man is what he knows. First the child, then the grown man, is what the school and its teachings decide.

The monuments on this earth have changed. Not long ago when you traveled in Europe from one city to the other you might go hundreds of miles without seeing a public library. But everywhere you saw a public prison.

Now there are more libraries than prisons.

Once the great monuments of earth were the palaces of kings, castles, and fortresses of the nobles.

Now, as Mr. McCay shows in this cartoon, there is one monument that dwarfs all others, making them seem insignificant. That noblest of monuments is the public school in which the children of the Nation are taught at the expense of the Nation, receiving the knowledge that will enable them to build up and defend and carry on the Nation.

The public school typifies the spirit of the United States, the Constitution, laws, and beliefs of the United States.

The public school is democratic. It receives and treats all alike; wealth does not count, poverty does not hinder. The knowledge and the books are there for all.

The public school, like the Constitution of the United States, forbids all discrimination because of religion. It teaches the facts that all intelligent human beings accept. It leaves to the homes, the churches, the private or religious schools—for those that want them the teaching of special religious and other beliefs. The public school recognizes only social equality. The head of the class is for the child that studies, and the bottom of the class for the child that does not study. The only aristocracy is that of learning, of application, of good conduct.

The public school is first of all an education in citizenship.

That education is almost as important as the education in writing, reading, and arithmetic, the foundations of knowledge, since reading and writing open to us all the knowledge of the book.

Fortunate the boy and girl that go to the public school. Much to be pitied are those deprived of that splendid training in American life and American thought.

The public school is the United States in miniature. In it the little citizens that are to be the future voters sit side by side, all equal. They study and learn to know each other. They realize most precious knowledge—in early youth that it is what you are, not what your father has or what your grandfather was, that makes the difference in this world.

The establishment of the public school was the greatest event in all the history of the human race. It declared and established the fact that in a country believing all men to be created free and equal, it is necessary that all shall have knowledge and free knowledge in order to make that equality worth while.

The Nation now says, The mind of every child shall be fed at the public expense. The State will compel the parents to see that the children are taught and will supply free teaching for every one that wants it."

That declaration, represented by the public school, is the greatest step that civilization ever took.

And since the first step was taken the public schools have advanced in efficiency, in number, in beauty, in attendance, in magnificent results of every kind.

Politicians have grafted on the public schools, book concerns have grafted public school funds, contractors have swindled, and vicious, un-American elements that hate the public school because it really teaches the children, have fought against it like that English Governor of Virginia who hoped that there would not be a public school in his State "for another hundred years."

But in spite of it all, the public schools have gone steadily forward. The public has watched them, has demanded that they be built ever bigger, safer, finer.

The teachers are not paid yet as they should be, but each year there have been some improvements. Back of good pay for the teachers, the best schools and books for the children, there stands 90 per cent of public opinion, and 90 per cent is enough.

And wherever there is a public school, whether it be the magnificent high school of the biggest city, or the simplest little country school, one small wooden room with the American flag flying above it, you find the American spirit growing.

In that little school at the country crossroads, where the children run as the teacher rings the bell before the door, or in that magnificent school of the big cities, the spirit is the same.

The children are gathered as equals. They all have the same rights, they are all taught the same. They play together, they are American friends studying in childhood, growing up to be American citizens working together in adult life.

There is nothing more beautiful than a classroom full of children well taught; nothing more admirable than the career, the character, the devotion of an earnest teacher, giving to the children of other men and women all that the teacher has of intelligence, kindness, affection, and concentrated thought.

Honor the public school. Honor the system of teaching that is really democratic and really American. Send your children to the public schools, or you send them where their chance is cut in half.

No matter how rich you may be, or what you can afford, you can not, for the children's sake, afford to deprive them of tře public school atmosphere, of the democratic baptism that should come in early childhood.

There is only one really American schoolroom, that is the public schoolroom.

There is only one typically American school, and that is the American public school.

Children feel equality, and they feel inequality. From 5 to 10 years of age the child's character is formed and established for all the rest of its life. The prejudices, beliefs, inclinations, aspirations, and national feeling acquired at that age last until death.

“Give me a child until it is 7 years old," said an experienced teacher, "and after that you may do what you please with it. You never take out of its mind that which I have put in that mind.” And that is the solemn truth.

The American public school puts in the minds of children democracy, love of equality, belief in your fellow man, genuine equality that comes from mingling with all classes, and knowing them as equals and friends in useful mind-improving competition.

The test of the politician, the office holder, is his attitude toward the public school. If he hesitates, if he departs one inch from the old idea that the public school is the school of America, and the only school, if he hesitates in his loyalty to that school, he is a traitor to the spirit of the United States, and your vote should tell him so.

Willingness to support the public schools through taxation is the test of the good citizen. Every dollar spent on the public school comes back a hundred and a thousand fold in the future life of the public-school children.

Every dollar spent in public education and public schools is a dollar spent for insurance against trouble in the future.

Interest yourself in the public schools, in the teachers, in the children.
And honor the American public school, cradle of the Nation's future greatness.

A FAMOUS ROLL CALL

[ocr errors]

*

*

are so ex

George Washington: Promote, then, as an object of primary importance, institutions for the general diffusion of knowledge. In proportion as the structure of a government gives force to public opinion, it should be enlightened.

Thomas Jefferson: If a nation expects to be ignorant and free in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.

John Jay: I consider knowledge to be the soul of the Republic, and as the weak and the wicked are generally in alliance, as much care should be taken to diminish the number of the former as of the latter.

John Adams: Laws for the liberal education of youth tremely wise and useful that, to a humane and generous mind, no expense for this purpose would be thought extravagant.

James Madison: Knowledge will forever govern ignorance; and a people who mean to be their governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.

Horace Mann: The common school is the greatest discovery ever made by man.

Other social organizations are curative and remedial; this is a preventive and an antidote. They come to heal diseases and wounds; this, to make the physical and moral frame invulnerable to them.

Abraham Lincoln: I view it (education) as the most important subject which we as a people can be engaged in.

Daniel Webster: On the diffusion of education among the people rests the preservation and perpetuation of our free institutions.

Herbert Hoover: The Nation as a whole has the obligation of such measures toward its children, as a whole, as will yield to them an equal opportunity at their start in life.

Charles Evans Hughes: The American ideal is the ideal of equal educational opportunity, not merely for the purpose of enabling one to know how to earn a living and to fit into an economic status more or less fixed, but of giving play to talent and aspiration and to development of mental and spiritual power.

President Warren G. Harding: The Federal Government should extend aid to the States for the promotion of physical education, the Americanization of the foreign-born, the eradication of illiteracy, the better training of teachers, and for promoting free educational opportunities for all the children of all the people.

H. A. L. Fisher: That nation which employs the best teachers with the highest pay and as a part of the best school system will be the best governed and therefore the greatest nation.

H. G. Wells: The teacher-whether mother, priest, or schoolmaster-is the real maker of history; rulers, statesmen, and solders do but work out the possibilities of cooperation or conflict the teacher creates.

Mr. Morgun. They will explain better than I need to take time to do the increasingly favorable attitude of the newspapers throughout the United States, and I am glad it is a growing attitude. I am glad as I go about and talk in my professional capacity with newspaper editors in this city and to hear them say, "Although a few years ago I was in doubt about this measure, now I have no doubt as to its wisdom and necessity.”

In the second place, I want to speak about the remarkable unanimity that exists within the teaching profession itself. It is noteworthy that the National Education Association since it adopted as a part of its platform this measure has grown in membership from fewer than 10,000 to over 140,000.

And, gentlemen, in spite of misrepresentations to the contrary, you can count on the fingers of one hand all of the public-school leaders of the United States who are opposed to this measure; defining leaders as people who have won sufficient recognition to have their names well known as leaders in their particular field.

You will not find many workers outside the field of public education opposed to it; you will find a few representing great private educational institutions, but within the field of those who work in public education in our great elementary schools and our great secondary schools and high schools and State universities, those who are dealing with the problem of educating the masses of our people-among that group, you can count on the fingers of one hand prominent leaders opposed to the measure.

The National Education Association itself has indorsed the bill five successive times. The great department of superintendence has indorsed it six successive times and at its recent meeting at Chicago, reindorsed the bill with great enthusiasm, Other departments of the association like the department of elementary school principals, and the department of rural education-departments which represent tremendous educational interests-have indorsed it unanimously and enthusiastically.

The national organization of State secretaries, all secretaries of State associations, representing a combined membership in teachers' organizations of over 480,000, is standing unanimously for this bill, and practically every one of those State teachers' associations has repeatedly indorsed it after it has been carefully considered.

The Educational Press Association of America, representing a circulation of over 800,000 at its meeting in Chicago, unanimously and enthusiastically indorsed this measure after careful discussion.

These indorsements show how overwhelming and how persistent carefully considered support of the measure is.

I wish rather than to read them, that I might insert three other brief statements as typical of the things that educational journals are saying about this matter.

« ForrigeFortsett »