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should like to tell you something of the way in which our interest in education as an organization and my own interest as an individual has led us to the conclusion that Federal aid is essential.
In appearing before you here today I represent, Mr. Chairman, an organization of women, of women who are citizens, mothers, grandmothers, aunts, cousins, or maybe just friends of children. We have no vested interest except perhaps that vested interest of survival, of survival physically and spiritually, recognizing that that survival depends literally as well as figuratively upon education.
I have been a teacher and I know what it feels like to be underpaid. I have been a mother of school-age children, and I know firsthand what public education means to them. Fortunately, my children went to school before buildings were overcrowded, and while there was still adequate supply of qualified teachers.
I have been an aunt to two nieces who went to school in a suburb on a double shift. Half-time education it was literally. I saw first hand not only the havoc it raised with their education but what it did to the orderly routine in a home, the kind of routine that is so necessary for stability of children.
I have lived in a suburb where the new high school was overcrowded the day it was opened. I speak to you then as a representative of those women whose children are losing educational opportunities day by day, the kind of loss that can never be made up, for when that time in a child's life has passed it is gone forever.
The National Council of Jewish Women, with its 100,000 members, is made up of women of the type I have just described to you. We have in our various activities carried out a twofold program. One has been in relation to giving support to those measures on a local, on a State, and on a national basis that would further the education of our children. The other has been to center those services, those voluntary services in a way that might directly help to alleviate the situations.
We have worked long and vigorously for increased local and State support of schools. We know that greater financial efforts can and must be made by States and localities in support of the public schools. But it is just because of our work on the State and local level that we know that the Federal Government must also assume its responsibiliites for building a system of public education in this country capable of meeting the demands of the space age.
I come, Mr. Chairman, from a State -- the State of Minnesota—that has made greater than average effort in the support of its schools. I come from a community, Mr. Chairman, the community of Minneapolis, where the taxes in that community, the property taxes that support the schools, are among the very highest in the country. Our State this year is faced with an additional need for $80 million to be added to its revenues. This $80 million will provide not new services but will simply help to maintain and improve the existing services.
If a State like Minnesota and a community like Minneapolis is in need of some kind of Federal aid to meet its educational problems, then how much more must those States who are not as prosperous or not in the kind of favorable condition and position that Minnesota is in to meet these problems—how much more must they need them.
My own experience over the years is, in a sense, an illusration of the way in which recognition of the necessity for Federal aid becomes apparent to all who are working to improve educational facilities. In my own city of Minneapolis I have headed a number of drives for charter revision which would enable the city to give greater support to the schools. Also it was my privilege a few years ago to serve as statewide chairman for the Minnesota Citizens Committee for Constitutional Amendment which permitted the revenue from iron ore taxes to the amount of some $10 million to be used by the State for current school support. It was indeed a great source of gratification when this amendment was passed by the largest plurality of any referendum ever held in the State of Minnesota.
When I attended the White House Conference on Education as a delegate from Minnesota, I learned at firsthand how closely related were the education problems of all the States.
There are many hundreds of thousands of Americans throughout the country who are working hard to improve their schools through State and local action. They cannot succeed alone. The responsibility of the Federal Government is clear and urgent. It is only the Federal Government that can provide the measure of support and equalization of educational opportunities which are essential, if all the children of the country are to receive a sound and forwardlooking education.
The Council of Jewish Women is fortunate in that it can make a direct contribution to the strengthening of the schools by providing voluntary services. One illustration of the kind of activity in which our sections are engaged is the recent 18-month survey made in Passaic, N.J., sponsored jointly by our section and the local chapter of the league of women voters. Immediate results of the study included the appointment by the board of education of a curriculum study committee of outstanding civic leaders and the formation of a Citizens Committee for Better Schools.
Other on-going activities by council sections aimed at improved American schooling include volunteer work as teachers' aids to relieve teachers of routine tasks and also to help enrich school programs with library service, storytelling, music art, and drama." Council sections continue also their longtime interest in the education of blind, deaf, and mentally retarded children. In a number of communities council sections help to set up special classes and pay special teachers, assist with transportation, clerical work, and record or transcribe textbooks in braille or in large type for partially sighted children. In many places these services have helped provide the only available schooling for handicapped children in the community.
Our sections have also supported legislation and referenda to provide greater State and local funds for schools. It is because of our widespread, grassroots work in education that we came to the realization at least 15 years ago that the only way to make substantial progress toward improving and equalizing educational facilities for the
young people of America was through Federal aid.
Our support of Federal aid to education has been reinforced by the numerous studies made over the years by a variety of governmental and nongovernmental bodies. They lead to the conclusion that the Federal Government must share the responsibility for education.
Education is a vital factor in our national defense; as technological advances come about it is becoming increasingly vital in the economic life of the country, and it is in fact essential to our national security.
As we enter the space age the role of education is emphasized and our educational deficit becomes more apparent. Just, Mr. Chairman, as at the beginning of the 20th century it was necessary for our public schools to provide a kind of education that helped us adopt and get a common culture for the vast immigrant population that came into this country, so now are we faced with this necessity of further developing our education so that it can meet creatively, dynamically, and necessarily the demands of our modern scientific age, of what we have come to call the space age. This is pointed out in a statement from the study made by the Rockefeller Bros. Fund:
Not only are the tasks that must be performed to keep our society functioning ever more intricate and demanding, they are constantly changing in character. As a result, we are experiencing a great variety of shortages of human resources in fields requiring high competence and extended training. We are having to become more and more concerned with seeking and cultivating talent. We have become more conscious of the strategic importance of education in our society.
Our support of Federal aid measures has always been based on a careful examination of the proposals. Again this year our appropriate committee studied the various proposals before your committee, and we agreed to endorse the bill sponsored by Senator Murray and 30: other Senators, because we feel that it attempts to deal with the inadequacies of educational opportunities in many areas of the country and offers some support to the States which feel the impact of substandard education due to great population mobility.
There seems to be ample evidence and agreement that the need for additional classrooms and qualified teachers exists. In a speech entitled “Education and National Security” given here in Washington in January of this year, the Under Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare, Bertha S. Adkins, stated:
* * * We need more classrooms and we need them now. The latest estimate, according to Lawrence G. Derthick, U.S. Commissioner of Education, indicates a shortage of 142,000 classrooms. * * Overcrowding, double shifts, and other problems result from this shortage of space. * * * We have to do something about getting more teachers. Commissioner Derthick points out that we need an additional 132,000 qualified teachers right now. * * A shortage of qualified teachers means that each students gets less individual attention. It also means that many school districts are forced to hire people who do not meet minimum standards for their profession.
The difference of view seems to center around the question "Can we afford to support education ?"
The members of the National Council of Jewish Women believe that we cannot afford not to support the Nation's schools. At our biennial convention held in Los Angeles in February of this year, in addition to the general resolution I quoted before, the delegates adopted a statement which said in part:
The American people look to their Government to promote the welfare of the individual and of the country as a whole. Recognizing that sound fiscal policies are essential, we believe that they must encompass the services for the Nation's strength and well-being. As citizens, we are willing to make whatever sacrifices are required for the future of our country.
Let me say in conclusion that we, the National Council of Jewish Women, are in support of S. 2. We have studied the bills that have
been before the Congress in relation to this, and feel that this is the bill that would most adequately at this particular time meet the demanding needs of this country.
We respectfully urge this committee to approve a bill granting financial aid to the States which will help meet the crisis in education we are facing.
Mr. Chairman, in conclusion, I feel I should qualify the statement I made at the beginning when I said I have no vested interest.
I do have a vested interest. It is in the form of a little 2-year-old, a grandchild who came to see me off at the airport. As my plané took off I said to myself, I wonder what kind of a school he is going
" go to. I wonder what kind of an education he is going to get.
I am convinced that if we can get passage of legislation like S. 2, that little vested interest of ours is going to be well taken care of.
Senator MURRAY. Thank you very much for your statement.
I have to be on the floor at 12 o'clock when the Senate meets. So I would like to have the following witnesses summarize their statements with the understanding that their complete statement will be carried in the record as if delivered.
The next witness will be Mr. Edward Hollander of Americans for
AMERICANS FOR DEMOCRATIC ACTION
(The statement referred to follows:) Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee, my name is Edward D. Hollander. I appear here today on behalf of ADA, of which I am national director.
I appreciate the opportunity to appear before you in support of Federal legislation to aid the States and localities with their pressing problem of public education. This is, I believe, the fourth time in as many years that it has been my privilege to appear before the committee on this subject. I know you have taken many hours of testimony bearing on the educational needs of the United States. These were apparent to you long before the first sputnik brought them so forcefully to public attention. I will not take your time to rehearse the evidence of the needs which have already been placed in the record of this committee.
With your permission, I will address myself chiefly to economic and political issues which seem to us to have become the great obstacles to the enactment of Federal legislation to meet the country's educational needs. I refer, of course, to the argument first, that local education is a responsibility of State and local governments; and, second, that especially in view of the precarious state of the Federal budget, the Federal Government should not undertake any substantial responsibility for the financing of public education.
In the first place, Mr. Chairman, I wish to make it quite clear that in advocating Federal aid to local education, we of ADA do not rest our case solely on the difficulties of the States and localities in financing the needed school building and the needed increases in personnel and salary. We believe that even as the States and localities are able to squeeze out of their tax resources additional revenues for these and other social purposes, it would still be better for the Federal Government to help them on a large scale. We believe this is true, in the first place, in the interest of equity, because the Federal revenues are derived principally from progressive income taxes while the State and local revenues rely more heavily on regressive sales and property taxes. To the extent that Federal funds are used, the costs of these public services are more equitably shared among the population.
Moreover, we believe it has been demonstrated that the Federal revenue system is not only more equitable but more responsive to the growth of the economy, and that only by relying to a greater extent on the Federal fiscal system can we efficiently tap the rising national product and the rising national income for these high priority purposes. This is one of the reasons why we place such great emphasis on a fully employed and growing economy as a means of effectuating these purposes.
We believe, further, that education is not strictly a local or State concern, but a national concern. It is a national concern because the welfare of the Nation requires a well-educated voting and working population. And when we look at the record of migration from State to State in this country, it is impossible to say that the quality of education in any one State or any one locality is the concern of that State or locality alone.
And finally we are witnessing in this country a very disturbing development of interstate competition—not a competition among States to provide a better education for their children, but a competition among States to keep their taxes down by curtailing education and other services. It is this trend which has led to bitter experience in those States which have dared to maintain and to raise the standards of education and other services, only to find their industries threatening to move to States with lower standards of services and lower taxes. It is this trend which led Governor Freeman of Minnesota recently to demand Federal action to end the colonialization of State governments by big business, which, he said, is demanding either that State services be curtailed or that the costs of them be shifted through sales taxes and property taxes to the backs of those least able to pay.
Moreover, Mr. Chairman, there is ample evidence that the State and local governments are already straining their resources to meet the mounting needs for better education for an expanding school population. In 1957, 35 percent of all State and local expenditures were for public education; this was nearly twice as much as for any other State and local activity. In the last 10 years, State and local governments have increased their per capita expenditures for public school education from $29.65 to $71.71, a rise of about 140 percent. This resulted last year in the building of an unprecedented 70,000 classrooms to accommodate a school population of record proportions, and in the increases in teachers' salaries in many States. And yet it hardly made a dent in the accumulated backlog of need for classrooms, and still left teaching salaries far too low to attract and maintain qualified teachers in sufficient numbers.
At the same time, the States have made intensive efforts to increase their revenues. Since 1948, State and local revenues have risen 130 percent, from $13 to over $30 billion. State and local indebtedness has tripled, from $19 to $57 billion, while the Federal debt has remained relatively constant. New York and Pennsylvania plan to raise tax receipts by more than $200 million and many other States are forced to take similar measures to meet threatening deficits and rising costs, particularly the cost of education. One may wonder why those who express so much concern about the size of the Federal budget and threatened Federal deficits appear to be so little concerned about the plight of the States.
Of course, not all States are equal in revenue potential: There is a great gap, for example, between the 15 States with per capita personal income above $2,000 per year and the 9 States with per capital personal income below $1,500. Yet many of the States with the lowest income have relatively large child populations and therefore a heavier education load than they are able to bear. These same States are the source of many of the migrants whose educational shortcomings turn up to plague other States and communities later on. There is an urgent need for Federal aid as a means of equalizing the burdens among the high-income and low-income States.
The other horn of the argument against Federal aid is said to be that a massive Federal program, or indeed, any considerable Federal program, will unbalance the Federal budget with consequent inflationary results which would be seriously damaging to the economy and to the country as a whole. The disciples of this cult of the budget contend that our Government cannot afford to take the steps necessary to maintain an adequate system of public education.
The dogma, reiterated with tiresome regularity and echoed by a large part of the press runs like this: Inflation, it says, is the most serious problem confronting our Government and our people. The key to the control of inflation lies in a balanced budget. The budget can be balanced only by sacrificing programs de signed to meet our most pressing needs.