Page images

would be any Federal official in Washington. The final factor which persuaded me to join in cosponsoring S. 2 is that it contains possibly the least Federal interference with our school systems.

S. 2 involves only outright grants to the States on the basis of each State's school-age population. The only restriction on these grants is a provision that the States themselves continue to exert every financial effort they can for maintenance of their own schools. It provides for milk reductions in the per-child rate of the grants to the States in cases where a State lags in its own financial efforts in support of its schools.

This poses no threat of potential Federal control for the future. Local authorities will continue to operate their own schools, to establish their own standards for teachers, to hire and fire those teachers, to determine their own curricula, and to run their own schools in every way. The only way in which the Federal Government will be involved will be through its annual grants to States to help the States pay the costs of their public schools, grants based entirely on the school-age population of each individual State. The only restriction will be the requirement that States maintain their own financial efforts in behalf of their schools.

The bill's formula on this point of self-effort by the States is based on what is commonly known as a State school effort index to be computed on an annual fiscal-year basis. This index is determined by dividing the State's school revenue per public-school child in average daily attendance, by the State's personal income per child of school age, set by the bill as 5 to 17 years of age.

The national school effort index would be determined by a comparable computation on a national basis. States whose school effort index is below the national index would have their grants reduced on a proportionate basis. Funds withheld by the operation of this clause would be distributed proportionately among States whose own school effort equals or exceeds the national average.

This clause is aimed at persuading the States to do all they possibly can themselves to support their schools. This clause would not be effective during the first 3 years of the program, in order to provide a reasonable amount of time in which States that now are making a relatively low financial effort in behalf of their public schools may improve that effort and bring it up to a point more nearly in line with the national average.

I see little chance of Federal control arising under this clause. It merely sets forth a standard of individual effort which a State must meet in order to qualify for maximum Federal grants. Nothing in it should involve any Federal interference with the operation of any schools.

The States will have full latitude to determine for themselves just how they will use the money granted them by the Federal Government. They may determine for themselves what portion of their grant funds will be used for school construction and what portion for teachers' salaries. They are to tell the U.S. Commissioner of Education how they plan to divide their grant money as between school construction and teachers' salaries, and then submit' reports at the end of the fiscal year showing that the money was spent in accord with those intentions.

This bill provides that in the spending of part of its Federal grant for construction purposes, a State shall allocate the funds to its constituent school districts on a basis giving priority to school districts which have the greatest need for school facilities and are least able to finance construction of such facilities. On that portion of its Federal grant which a State spends on improving teachers' salaries, at least three-fourths of the money is to be distributed to all school districts in the State on a per-teacher basis and the remainder may be used to improve salary levels in particularly needy districts. Nowhere in these restrictions is there anything which necessarily results in Federal control of, or interference in, operation by local communities and school districts of their own schools.

The criticism most often heard concerning S. 2 involves its cost. On this point I do not urge the specific figures set forth in the bill as the basis for computing the grants. I do not feel the rates are too high at the outset, with the grants for the first year being set on the basis of $25 for each school-age child. In the second year of the program's operation it would go to $50; for the third year, $75; reaching the proposed maximum level of $100 per child in the fourth and ensuing years. I am fully aware that some Members of Congress feel that $100 per child is too high a level on which to compute the Federal grants.

Many of our local school systems today fail to prepare children properly for adult careers. Children attending such schools are deprived of any opportunity to develop the talents they possess. Many potential leaders in a wide range of scientific, civil, cultural, business, and other fields, may never have any real opportunity to display their leadership capabilities. This is a loss that the United States can ill afford. It is particularly unjustifiable when it can be remedied.

The question of how much we are going to put into educating our Nation's youngsters actually boils down to the relative importance we assign to educational opportunities for our children. I would rank it at the top rung of nondefense civilian expenditures.

Some parts of our country have prospered and developed to a greater extent than have some other parts. Some areas have not prospered enough to enable their local school systems to keep up with far-reaching technical and cultural developments. Under s. 2 the money to finance the program would be distributed on the basis of the geographical residential location of the children for whom the program is trying to help provide an education.

This committee has heard sufficient testimony from others to demonstrate the real need that exists for payment of higher salaries to our public schoolteachers and for construction of more and better public schools. Education is one of our country's most important professions. Teachers should be of the highest caliber and ability. Yet, taking my own State as an example, two-thirds of the graduates of Iowa colleges who have studied education preparatory to a teaching career never enter Iowa classrooms. Some take teaching positions in other States offering higher salaries. Most take nonteaching employment because the salaries are higher than those offered teachers.

Ďr. O. E. Niffenegger, placement director for Drake University at Des Moines, has just completed a study of employment offers filed by business and industiral companies at colleges throughout the State of Iowa for graduates of those institutions. The average beginning salary contained in these offers of employment is $4,637. But the average salary for all public schoolteachers in Iowa this year is only $4,296; and the average service of Iowa teachers is 10 years. Their salary averages nearly $350 less than the starting salary offered to new college graduates in other fields.

On the basis of value rendered to the national welfare, a teacher with 10 years' experience should be receiving a somewhat higher salary than a new college graduate in other fields.

Teaching should be ranked as one of the most important professions in our society. Education should be on such a level that it will attract and hold an ample supply of capable career people. Teaching salaries should be on a level with those of other professions so that the attrition of teachers to other professions would be no higher than the normal switching of individuals from one occupation to another. The wholesale desertions from the ranks of teachers to jobs in other professions are in themselves evidence of the need for sharp improvement in teaching pay.

Concerning the need for new school construction, Iowa again becomes an example. From July 1, 1954, to June 30, 1957, 1,215 new classrooms were constructed in my State, but 1,127 1-room rural schools were closed, leaving a net gain of only 88 classrooms for the 3 years. During the last school year preliminary figures show that 787 rural schools were closed and approximately the same number of new classrooms were built. This means that, despite its conscientious efforts to improve and bring its public school facilities up to modern needs, Iowa during the past 4 years shows a net gain of less than 100 classrooms in the entire State. With its present child population, Iowa will need about 300 more elementary classrooms each year until 1960– 61, and then an average of 240 new high school classrooms each year until 1965. As in other parts of the country, Iowa's birth rate is steadily increasing, indicating a continually growing school-age population in the years ahead.

Many schools in Iowa currently are using churches, auditoriums, and hallways for classrooms. Many of the State's urban centers are undergoing sudden population growths which are resulting in badly congested schools, and these suddenly expanding population centers do not yet have assessed valuations large enough to build or operate the new schools they need so badly. The only place they can obtain adequate funds is from the Federal Government.

Financial aid from the Federal Government to help improve and maintain locally operated public schools is not new. Our Federal Government has been contributing to school operations ever since it was set up. The process began even before our Constitution was adopted, with passage in 1785, under the Articles of Confederation of the Northwest Ordinance which specified that in all of the Nation's new lands “There shall be reserved the Lot No. 16 of every township for the maintenance of public schools within said township.” The process has continued ever since in one way and another. In 1929, for example, Herbert Hoover, as President of the United States, appointed an advisory council on education to study the question of Federal relations to public education. Four years later that council reached the nearly unanimous conclusion that Federal appropriations to the States for assistance in the support of public education was necessary to the maintenance of adequate educational opportunities throughout the Nation.

In conclusion I repeat what I said when I started: I feel it is urgent that S. 2 be enacted into law at the earliest possible date. Its program is one which will produce ultimate benefits far outweighing its immediate cost. It is, I am convinced, the only means by which public schools throughout the United States can be raised to levels which will offer the educational opportunities that all American youngsters deserve. I hope the bill will soon be enacted into law.

Thank you very much for the opportunity to make this statement in support of S. 2.

Senator YARBOROUGH. Thank you, Senator Martin, for that very excellent statement that touched so many facets of this problem and analyzes so many difficult aspects of this bill.

I note that you have stressed in your statement that the local districts, the local States, the local counties would retain control of their schools. Of course, the opponents of these measures have charged widely over the country that this means federalization of the schools and that the Federal Government will reach its fingers down into the school district. You have pointed out that this bill preserves the local control in the local districts and local States.

Senator MARTIN. I think it does, Mr. Chairman, more than many of the bills, and many of the bills that were considered prior to this Congress.

I would not want any system of aid to education that would result in Federal control of the schools. I would not want the Federal Gov. ernment to dictate curricula or any other part of school administration. I feel that we have to guard that. But I believe this bill, S. 2, is about as free from Federal interference with school administration as any bill that I have studied.

Senator YARBOROUGH. Thank you for your analysis and your contributions to these hearings, Senator Martin.

Senator MARTIN. I would like to add informally that part of my increased concern in this field arises from the international situation with which we are faced today. We need to press as hard as we can for the advancement of our defense program.

I have been out in the field recently looking over some of our defense projects. I was down in El Paso just last weekend, at Fort Bliss, looking over the program there.

Senator YARBOROUGH. I envy you. I was not able to get out there. Senator MARTIN. We missed you very much, Senator.

I am very pleased with the progress made in this matter of holding up to our

present increased responsibilities in the world situation today. But I ran into a situation generally throughout the country-I have been clear across the country in this recent observation. In the higher education bracket we run into direct competition between the schools of the country and the defense administration itself, the armed services and the industrial organizations that are doing everything they can to meet this challenge, and still other competition for skills in science particularly, to the point where it is a real problem to retain the best talent in the schools. In other words, school salaries have not been able to keep up with their competition. The facts I set forth in my statement are very pertinent, to the effect that the newly trained, highly trained teacher supply has been diverted into industry at all levels at wages higher than they can get in teaching:

We are in need of a lot of skilled help, professionally and technically, in this modern industrial world and especially in the national defense part of it, and we must be in position to increase the attraction for teaching or we are going to pay dearly for the loss of highly trained teachers. That goes at all levels, too, according to the figures that I have been given from my own State.

We have a challenge internationally today that is beyond anything in my time or even throughout the history of our Nation. We must give emphasis to the early years of his educational program, and then extend our emphasis all the way through his educational program so that he can be better prepared as a citizenn to measure up to the responsibility that is his. In that way we can be better prepared as a Nation to measure up to the responsibility what is now ours. This will require us to keep good teachers in the classrooms, to train more teachers, and to create better prospects of a good, attractive careers ahead.

I am glad to come here to support S. 2, as I think it is a very real step forward in measuring up to the challenge that is ours today.

Senator YARBOROUGH. Thank you, Senator Martin, for giving the subcommittee the benefit of your findings in this trip from coast to coast, in which you made a study of educational needs at the different levels that you have described. Thank you very much. .

The next witness is Mr. G. A. Biggs, president of the Pennsylvania Farmers' Association, and member of the board of directors of the American Farm Bureau Federation.



Mr. Biggs. Mr. Chairman, I think the subcommittee should like to know that I am a dairy and livestock farmer from central Pennsylvania, making a living as a farmer.

I have with me this morning two of the members of the American Farm Bureau staff office, Mr. John Datt on my left here, assistant director of the Washington office, and Mr. Gene Leach, assistant legislative director, of our staff.

I might also say before I present my statement that I was a schoolteacher for a number of years before I started farming.

I have served in our State as a member of the school study committee, the school administrator in recent year, in which a new program was proposed for education in the State of Pennsylvania.

We appreciate the opportunity of presenting the views of the American Farm Bureau Federation on the various legislative proposals for expanded Federal aid to general education, including Fed

« PreviousContinue »