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So, in conclusion, the problem of education must be considered in the perspective of the totality of our problem. I have said before, and I say again, that the greatness of the United States, its prosperity and its high standards of living, are directly related to the educational system which has enabled us to make the best use of our human resources. To fall behind in education is to fall behind in everything else.
For many years local, State, and Federal provision for education has amounted to about 312 percent of our gross national product. But the rapid growth of our school population has outstripped the increase in our gross national product.
The result is that less money is available on a per-pupil basis. A larger share of the economic pie is needed for education.
It seems very curious to me that the Soviet Union can allocate from 7 to 10 percent of its national income to education, while we have to struggle to make half as great an effort. It simply amazes me that anyone seriously accepts the notion the Russians can afford education we cannot afford.
The truth is that we have not tapped our immensely productive society and spurred it on to provide the kind of education America needs. I have no hesitation in saying that we need the best in education as much as we need the best in national defense.
We have a responsibility to continue and strengthen the American heritage of universal education. We owe it to our children and their children, and most of all to ourselves as the present trustees of their right to achieve complete fulfillment of their individual potentials.
Mr. Chairman, I want to thank you for the opportunity given to me by the members of your committee to discuss the need for Federal aid to education. I am confident that your committee, and I am sure the House committee, will recommend effective Federal action to meet the great crisis in our educational situation. And I am hopeful that the Congress as a whole will take the necessary action.
It is late now. We must have legislation at this session.
I notice that you devoted one section of your presentation today to the question of inflation. I think you handled it very well. Do
you not also find this to be the situation as to those people that you refer to, who have fears of inflation and therefore seek to transfer the burden to the States: Is it not just as inflationary if you transfer it to the States as it would be if you left it at the Federal level! And is that not all that these people are trying to do, apparently! As far as inflation is concerned, they do not do anything except shift it from the national scene to the State scene.
Governor WILLIAMS. It might even be that if there were inflation involved by the issuance of the same number of bonds, it might be a little more inflationary if the States issued them, because the Federal Government does not collect an income tax on income from State bonds.
Senator McNAMARA. That is right. Now, in your conclusion, you say:
I have no hesitation in saying that we need the best in education as much as we need the best in national defense.
I think you imply there something that I have strong feelings on, that actually education is national defense, just as much as planes and missiles and all the other modern instruments, because we are engaged in a struggle in this world for the minds of men. And certainly money spent on education is just as much money spent in the interest of national defense, as I understand it, as money spent in modern missiles or anything else.
Governor WILLIAMS. Certainly I agree with you, Senator, because in the final analysis, our only defense is the brainpower of our people, because all of our weapons of war today become obsolete so quickly that if we did not have the genius to go forward, we would be obsolete. But even more than that, as you have pointed out, it is the peacetime efforts of our people which are equal and in the long run, I trust, of greater importance, because we all seek peace, and without wise men we will not achieve it.
Senator McNAMARA. The figures that we are dealing with here, when we get into the billions that are necessary for education, are to the mind of the average person, and to all of us, I am sure, very large. If we look at it in relation to the amount of money that we spend for national defense, which in the current budget is about $41 billion, then it does not appear to be so large, because this is really part of the national defense picture.
Governor WILLIAMS. Well, I like your comparison, Mr. Senator, because it implies that when it comes to national defense, any man in his right mind is not going to be worried about inflation in order to get the necessary weapons. And certainly to give our children the necessary education we should feel exactly the same way.
Senator McNAMARA. And we will have a better chance for obtaining peace in the world if education is pursued to its ultimate. Governor WILLIAMS. Correct.
Senator McNAMARA. Are there any further questions or comments from the members of the House whom we are so honored to have with us here today?
Representative BAILEY. May I say I appreciate very much the frank and forthright manner in which Governor Williams has presented his problem, reminding him that we have a national shortage, backlog, of about 140,000 classrooms. That means that 1 of every 11 of the classroom shortage is in the State of Michigan. And you really have a problem.
Governor WILLIAMS. You are quite right, sir.
Representative BAILEY. And I again want to say that I appreciate the frank manner in which you have faced this situation in your testimony to the committee. We would get somewhere, Mr. Chairman, if a few more people would be frank and not try to sell the Congress a bill of goods.
Governor Williams. Having appeared before a congressional committee before, I would not try to sell them a bill of goods.
Representative RABAUT. Mr. Chairman, my purpose in coming over here is to give a perfect exhibition to the Members of the Senate and those assembled of the ranking citizen of my congressional district, the Honorable Governor Williams.
Senator McNAMARA. Whatever the reason, we are glad to have you here, Congressman Rabaut.
We thank you for your fine presentation, Governor Williams, and we assure you it will be very helpful to the Senate and to the Congress of the United States in considering this problem.
The subcommittee will reconvene at the call of the chairman.
(Whereupon, at 4 p.m., the subcommittee was recessed, to reconvene at the call of the Chair.)
FEDERAL GRANTS TO STATES FOR ELEMENTARY AND
TUESDAY, APRIL 7, 1959
Washington, D.C. The subcommittee met, pursuant to call, at 11 a.m., in room 4232, New Senate Office Building, Senator James E. Murray (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.
Present: Senator Murray (presiding).
Today we are resuming hearings on legislation which would authorize Federal grants to States for public elementary and secondary schools. We will hear testimony today, tomorrow, and Thursday. We plan to conclude these hearings on Tuesday of next week.
Today we will hear from Mr. Edward Hollander, representing the Americans for Democratic Action; Miss Sally Butler, speaking for the General Federation of Women's Clubs; Mr. George Oakes, of the American Parents Committee; and Mrs. Charles Hymes, representing the National Council of Jewish Women.
The first witness this morning is Miss Butler.
STATEMENT OF SALLY BUTLER, DIRECTOR OF LEGISLATION,
GENERAL FEDERATION OF WOMEN'S CLUBS Miss BUTLER. Mr. Chairman, I come here representing, as you announced, the General Federation of Women's Clubs, of which Miss Chloe Gifford is president, and the statement is really a statement made by Miss Gifford.
Miss Gifford, for your information, is connected with the University of Chicago, on leave for 2 years with the General Federation.
I would like to say, too, before I start reading my testimony that the General Federation does not support specific bills. We support principles, and we feel that you men that write the bills know more of the detail than the women of this country, and we trust you people to work out a bill which will be satisfactory. We like to have you know what we want.
I have read and studied S. 2, and it does really seem to have incorporated most of the things that the General Federation is interested in, as there are some others, too.