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Mr. BELL. You intend to refer this bill to the General Subcommittee on Education, of which Mr. Pucinski is Chairman?
Chairman PERKINS. Let me make it clear to the gentleman from California that the full committee is exercising certain oversight jurisdiction.
We have several members here, and I am delighted to see all of the members that are here. A quorum is present, and I am delighted to welcome you here this morning, Dr. Marland.
We welcome you for the purpose of obtaining your views on the socalled revenue sharing program, and any comments you want to make on behalf of any specific legislation before the full committee. Mr. Quie has a bill on revenue sharing.
There are several members of the committee who believe that we would not obtain as much money under the so-called revenue-sharing plan as we are presently receiving and we would like for you to clear up that matter. Are some of us laboring under a false impression, or is this true? Many of us, as you know, are interested in elementary and secondary education, and we would not like to see the program disturbed, a program of $2 billion.
In my district, the elementary and secondary education program is of great importance for construction and maintenance and operation of the elementary and secondary schools, and that goes also for the entire country. What we have been getting far exceeds anything thus far mentioned in this so-called revenue-sharing plan.
The schools of America are in desperate shape, and the Federal Government has not done nearly enough.
The schools are closing down all over the country because of the inadequacy of local resources, so the Federal Government has got to make a greater contribution than we are presently making, and the form of that contribution, the way we will proceed, seems to be the chief problem that this committee is confronted with, and we would like to probe as deeply as possible in obtaining the views of the administration.
Your viewpoint may be well accepted, if you can come up with something that is constructive to recommend to the committee.
We certainly want to give the administration every opportunity, and I intend to see that the administration has every opportunity to present all of its views insofar as bettering the elementary and secondary schools in this country. I want to see that every viewpoint that you have is thoroughly considered by this committee, and that is the chief purpose of this hearing, in opening these hearings. I anticipate that many days of hearings will follow, and this subject matter will be pursued at great length until we do come forth with a bill. It is my expectation to see a bill within the next 60 to 90 days that we can take to the floor of the House, to cope with the great problems that confront the schools of America today. We are glad to have you here this morning, and to welcome you here with the idea that you may be of tremendous assistance to this committee.
Mr. Pucinski, we will now hear from you.
I want to welcome to this committee our distinguished hard-working commissioner, Dr. Marland, who has been doing an outstanding job.
He has brought an entirely new dimension of concern for American education. I am sure we will be working very closely with the Commissioner in achieving some of the goals the gentleman from Kentucky has spelled out.
In reply to my colleague from California, the ranking member of the General Education Subcommittee, we are today starting these hearings on H.R. 7796, and under the leadership of the chairman of the full committee in order to give the hearings the impetus and dimensions of importance they so rightfully deserve.
The bill I understand will be referred to the General Subcommittee. It is our hope to hold a series of hearings across the country during the recess. The chairman then plans to resume some further hearings here in Washington, with the hope we will have a bill ready for consideration by the full committee by the first of March. I agree with the gentleman from Kentucky, Mr. Perkins, that there is a tremendous urgency:
It is for this reason I congratulate you, Mr. Chairman, for beginning these hearings today on H.R. 7796, the President's special revenue sharing for education proposal.
But I want to make clear at the beginning my belief that this bill is not the complete answer to the horrendous financial crisis facing American education today.
In fact, I believe that "revenue sharing" is a misnomer and has caused some false hopes to be raised among local taxpayers.
This bill is no more than a consolidation of present programs with a miniscule addition of funds to present appropriations.
It may lead to some better bookkeeping and more effective administration, but it misses the crux of our problems.
The basic fact is that the crisis facing our schools results not from a multiplicity of overlapping Federal programs, but from an antiquated tax structure which places a crushing burden upon the local taxpayer.
Almost 54 percent of the revenue for our elementary and secondary schools comes from local sources, mostly the local property tax.
And the Federal Government pays a mere 7 percent of the cost of elementary and secondary education.
I believe that the Federal Government must enter into a true partnership in education with local and State governments, with the Federal Government by 1974 paying for one-third of the cost of elementary and secondary education.
Since we are now in a trillion dollar economy and are on our way to a $2-trillion economy, I believe that the success of this proposal is simply a matter of our committing ourselves to a better education for our youth.
We must resolve to turn our priorities around and to assume our rightful share at the Federal level.
The Federal Government today collects 64 percent of the total tax revenue in this country and the local governments only 17 percent.
Yet the Federal Government pays this miserly 7 percent for education while the local governments must pay 54 percent.
And as we reach a $2-trillion economy, the taxing ability of the Federal Government will further outstrip the ability of local governments and will thus further aggravate the growing taxpayers' revolt.
Therefore, I believe that the Federal Government must not only assume one-third of the cost of education, but must also condition the receipt of this money to the States on their reduction of local property taxes.
Last year as many bond issues were defeated in elections as were accepted.
Let there be no mistake about the meaning of this fact; local taxpayers will no longer accept our antiquated school finance system.
And we must make fundamental reforms immediately if we are not to imperil the very continuation of public elementary and secondary education in our country.
Therefore, Mr. Chairman, I must reiterate my belief that discussions of this bill are all well and good—its objective is worthy—but we must look more broadly if we are to find a solution to the true crisis facing American education.
As I have said to the Commissioner, and I believe the Commissioner may want to touch on this in his testimony, there is no sense in piling more categorical aid programs on the school system of America, when schools cannot open their doors.
In Chicago, we averted closing down our schools this year for 12 extra days merely because we borrowed money from next year.
Now, no one in his right mind would say that is the way to do it, but that is the only way they could do it. I am hopeful by next year we will be able to have legislation to give the school districts some operating money to keep these schools open.
Only then will categorical programs of this Government have any meaning to the schools.
Commissioner, I welcome you and your staff here this morning.
This is the beginning of what I believe is a very historic hearing on trying to address ourselves to the basic problem of American education.
Chairman PERKINS. Mr. Brademas.
I want to welcome the distinguished Commissioner of Education, and his colleagues, to present their views on the question of revenue sharing
I just want to make one opening comment, which I believe is not irrelevant to the purpose of our hearings this morning.
I note that Mr. Kurzman in his testimony cites the state of the Union message of the President last year, in which the President said the following:
The time has now come in America to reverse the flow of power and resources from the States and communities to Washington, and start power and resources flowing back from Washington to the States and communities and, more important, to the people all across America.
I think that is a good statement.
I want to say, Mr. Kurzman, that the President has a splendid opportunity to do just that with the OEO child development bill which is on his desk today, which would make possible the sending back to States and communities, and to the people, of funds for child development programs.
That is the first point I want to make.
The second point I want to make, goes to a statement in this morning's Washington Post, by your superior, Secretary Richardson, who comments on the low public image of politicians because of their failure to deliver on fantastic empty pledges, and Mr. Richardson is quoted as attacking the propensity of the politicians who promote more than they obviously deliver.
My mind goes back to October 2, 1968, when Mr. Nixon, then a candidate, said on the radio, “For my part, I will make this pledge: I will never promise what I cannot deliver," and then I recall, Mr. Nixon's OEO message to Congress of February 1969 in which he said, and I know it from memory, because I have quoted it so often, and I have praised it so often, "So critical is the matter of early growth that we must make a national commitment to provide all American children an opportunity for healthful and stimulating development during the first 5 years of life".
That is a great example of a promise by a politician, and so I hope Mr. Nixon will follow the admonition of Secretary Richardson, and back up his promises with performance.
I for one have a very lengthy list of promises by candidate Richard Nixon and by President Richard Nixon of all of the wonderful things he is going to do in so many areas—crime, drug control, education, and all of the rest—and I hope very much that you will not be disstressed if some of us feel that it is our responsibility to call to the attention of the American people where Mr. Nixon has kept his pledges and has made good on his promises and where he has broken his pledges and where he has broken his promises.
We as Members of the House of Representatives, and Members of the other body are judged by the American people on whether we tell the truth and keep our promises, and in a free and democratic society that rule ought to go for Presidents of the United States as well.
I do not know what Mr. Nixon will do on the child development bill. He may have already decided one way or the other on it, but I hope he will not be shown to have promised more than he can obviously deliver, and I hope he will not be subject to the very eloquent criticism of Secretary Richardson, and I hope he will enable the American people to share some of that revenue you are going to tell us about today.
Chairman PERKINS. Mr. Quie.
I was not going to say much until Mr. Brademas' talk got me worked up, so I want to say a few things now myself.
If you had proposed to bypass the States, I would certainly be opposed to your education legislation.
I think it is of the utmost importance that we utilize the administrative capabilities of the States, and I commend you for recognizing that. This committee, I think, sometimes by a very slim majority feels the same way:
When the President made his promise on child care, he did not say the Federal Government was going to do all of it. He used the word we, I think he meant State and local government and private effort as well as the Federal Government. I think it is a false hope given to the people, to promise that the Federal Government will do everything for them, that the Federal Government will provide all of the child care, and to me that is what the conference report appears to do. I think this has to be a partnership.
I think if the program is good, the parents have to put up some money themselves as well as making a commitment of time and energy for the development of their children.
As far as making lists for promises, I do not think that will be much of an advantage politically, because the Republican Party of Minnesota has been keeping a list for a long time on their junior Senator, former Senior Senator, former Vice President of the United States, of the times where he has been inconsistent, contradicting himself, but he keeps winning by bigger margins all the time.
I think this is sort of the nature of politics, where somebody else interprets what the person says contradictions can be made to appear.
It is hard enough to keep promises, but when you have somebody in the other party interpreting them, then it is more difficult.
I hope you can get on with your testimony, especially on revenue sharing, but I certainly do not want to keep listening to this administration being maligned for what I believe is a sincere effort to help the people.
Chairman PERKINS. Let me respond to my dear friend from Minnesota. In my judgment, if the President of the United States uses the argument that the States do not have the opportunity to play an active role in the administration of the Child Development Act, for veto purposes, that is just a smokescreen.
The States have a constructive role, a constructive partnership with the local governments and cities throughout the country.
We do give the local communities the same standing, which they should have, as the larger municipalities and the States if they are capable of producing a program of quality. The Secretary makes that judgment, and if the local community does not have the capability, then he lets the State administer that program, and puts 5 percent of the funds in the hands of the States for technical assistance, for the purpose of helping some of the communities. I regret to see the President of the United States, who has talked so much about the rural people of America, veto the economic opportunity amendments under the false pretense that the State does not have the opportunity to play an active part.
If he vetoes this bill on that ground, he is saying indirectly to the rural people of the country, we have no confidence in the rural people. We want the big cities to have the power; we want the States to have the power, we want to continue to exclude the rural people in America.
In reality, that is what the President is saying if he vetoes this bill on that flimsy ground, because the bill provides for a constructive partnership between the different levels of government, and the States can play a great role in that constructive partnership. If I were the Secretary of HEW, or the President of the United States I would not insinuate that these cities of 5,000 do not have the social services and the capability.
This is the greatest demographic issue that I have heard since I have been in the Congress.
Mr. Ruth. Will the chairman vield?
These gentlemen from the administration did not expect to come here and get this kind of treatment, but I would suggest, before we continue this, we let the gentlemen make their statements.
I would like to hear them before I go to the House floor.