« PreviousContinue »
(The table referred to follows:)
Allocation of 5 percent of Federal income-tax collections to States according to
56 125 1.153
230 3, 267 1, 172
174 667 169 869
224 89 900 615 565 879 77
1 1950 data, latest available.
Senator MURRAY. We will now hear from Mr. Andrew Biemiller of the AFL-CIO.
MR. ANDREW J. BIEMILLER, DIRECTOR, DEPARTMENT OF
LABOR, AFL-CIO Mr. BIEMILLER. My name is Andrew J. Biemiller. I am director of the department of legislation, AFL-CIO. My office is in the AFL-CIÓ building, 815 16th Street, Washington, D.C.
Mr. Chairman, I want to appear briefly to put into the record a resolution adopted by the AFL-CIO executive council on February 18, 1959, at its meeting in San Juan, Puerto Rico, which strongly endorses the Murray-Metcalf bill as the best of the bills that are now pending in the field of Federal aid for education.
And I would ask unanimous consent that the text of this resolution be incorporated in the record at this point.
Senator MURRAY. It will be carried in the record at this point. (The resolution referred to follows:)
STATEMENT BY THE AFL-CIO EXECUTIVE COUNCIL ON MURRAY-METCALF BILL
One year ago, the AFL-CIO executive council called upon the Congress to move boldly and quickly to meet the crisis in education. Unfortunately, the Congress moved timidly and haltingly. The 86th Congress must not repeat the sad record of the 85th. As last year's council statement pointed out, “The future of our children and the world they inherit is at stake."
Even if we had never heard the word sputnik, our neglect of the Nation's educational system would constitute a national tragedy. In the world in which we live, this neglect could mean national suicide.
Last year, the United States Commissioner of Education, after an on-the-spot study in the Soviet Union, declared :
“We are today in competition with a nation of vast resources, a people of seemingly unbounded enthusiasm for self-development and fired with conviction that future supremacy belongs to those with the best-trained minds, those who will work hard and sacrifice."
It is particularly shocking, after this report from an important administration official, to receive a state of the Union message from the head of the administration that does not contain a single word on the critical classroom shortage in the Nation. And equally shocking is the fact that the President's budget for next year does not contemplate the expenditure of a single dollar to meet this general classroom shortage.
Early this month, the administration finally revealed a so-called Federal aid plan for school construction which has been appropriately described as one “designed not to help education but to help banking." It is a plan which cannot be utilized by precisely those communities suffering the greatest financial difficulties in meeting their classroom shortage. The blind budget-balancing preoccupation of the administration explains its program which will not require a single penny of Federal funds until the middle of 1960 and then would call for the pitifully inadequate sum of $100 million a year.
A Nation which is prepared to spend upward of $40 billion for a national defense today can certainly manage to spend one-fortieth or one-twentieth of that amount for an investment in the most precious of all our national resources our children.
The Nation faces not only the horrifying prospect of a shortage of 250,000 classrooms within the next few years, but a shortage of properly trained, properly remunerated teachers.
To meet the twin deficit of schools and teachers, a comprehensive bill has been introduced in both Houses of Congress and deserves the most enthusiastic support of all friends of education, James Murray in the Senate (S. 2) and Lee Metcalf in the House (H.R. 22) have introduced identical bills which would help communities build schools and pay higher teacher salaries. We are pleased to note the many bills on school construction that have been introduced in both Houses of Congress by members of both parties.
The Murray-Metcalf bill would eventually provide $4.7 billion a year, to be apportioned among the States on the basis of school population. For the first year, each State would receive $25 for each child; each year the amount would be increased by $25. For the fourth and every year thereafter, the Federal grant would be $100 per child.
The clear Federal responsibility for propping up our educational system is frankly and boldly met in the Murray-Metcalf bill. While preserving for the States and local communities full power to run their schools, the proposed legislation contains provisions which would penalize States that spent less than they can afford for public school education and would require that the State spend the Federal money where the need was greatest.
For too many years now there has been much talk and much hair-splitting over just what kind of Federal aid-to-education bill should be enacted. But there has been too little action to match the talk. Another year must not be permitted to pass without bold action. The Murray-Metcalf bill is simple in concept, bold in its dimensions, and clear in its goals. It deserves quick enactment.
In every State and in every congressional district, the school crisis was an important issue in the 1958 elections. Many of the new members, as well as the old, of the 86th Congress campaigned actively on an aid-to-education program. The people voted for, and expect, action by the 86th Congress. The AFL-CIO calls upon the Congress to pass the Murray-Metcalf bill.
Mr. BIEMILLER. Now, Mr. Chairman, to present a statement on behalf of our organization, it is my pleasure to present to the committee a distinguished citizen of Wisconsin, a man who has long played an active role in the civil life as well as the labor movement of that city. Among his other accomplishments he has been a member of the school board of that city for two decades and twice served as president of that body. He is a vice president of the AFL-CIO, president of the United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipefitting Trades of the United States and Canada, and is also chairman of the Standing Committee on Education of the AFL-CIO.
Mr. Peter Schoemann. Senator MURRAY. Thank you. We welcome you here this morning, Mr. Schoemann.
STATEMENT OF PETER T. SCHOEMANN, CHAIRMAN, STANDING
COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION, AFL-CIO Mr. SCHOEMANN. My name is Peter T. Schoemann. I am vice president of the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations. I am also chairman of the Committee on Education, AFL-CIO. In this capacity, I am appearing today in behalf of that organization.
I am also general president of the United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry.
Before my present position I was for many years president of the Building and Construction Trades Council of the City of Milwaukee, Wis. and I had the honor and privilege of being elected by the people of that city on several occasions as a member of the board of education. I served as a member of our school board for better than 20 years, until as late as 1952, and for two terms I was president of the board.
I am adding these few facts on my background and experience so that you may properly weigh my testimony as the statement of one who has been exposed to the practical problems of public school administration over a long period of time.
I believe it is no secret to you gentlemen, familiar, as you are, with the growth of our public education system, that trade unions have always been in the forefront among those urging the creation and improvement of equal public education for all.
The concern of American labor for the schools has been, and is, based on the belief that the opportunity for free and universal education is essential to democracy. In fact, it goes to the heart of democracy because only an informed and enlightened people can govern themselves wisely.
Legislation to provide Federal financial aid to education is required to fullfill one of the chief purposes of the National Government—the promotion of the general welfare. Few if any other domestic problems are more general or more closely related to the people's welfare than is education.
Nothing is closer to the public welfare than survival. Today, I submit, we must come to the rescue of our educational system as a simple matter of survival. Right now we are failing to train and stockpile our greatest natural resource—the human intellect. We are falling behind in our production of trained and educated minds. These minds are needed for survival in what looks like an unending struggle with Soviet Russia to preserve the free world from imperialistic Communism, from tyranny over mind and body and soul.
I don't intend to labor this point, but I believe it has been stated truthfully by others very often and very clearly that education was the key which unlocked the door to Russia's treasurehouse of talent and enabled the tremendous scientific advances that country has so dramatically displayed.
But even if the Soviet Union, as a nation, disappeared from the earth tomorrow morning, the need for Federal aid to education would still remain great. Even if there were no Soviet Russia our concern in the labor movement for the future of our educational system would not be lessened in any degree whatsoever.
And we have many concerns about our educational system. We are deeply concerned about the thousands of American children who are denied their constitutional right to equal education. We are appalled by the proposals from the administration that Federal aid to vocational education be curtailed, at a time when we need to train and retrain more highly skilled workers on an increasing scale and with greater effectiveness.
We of the AFL-CIO have urged and will continue to urge a broad scholarship program to provide our most able youngsters a college education in whatever field of study they choose and at whatever accredited institutions they select; to delay here is to continue a waste of talent which all too obviously we cannot afford. These are only some of the problems of American education.
But there is one great underlying problem and that is improving our basic education. In this respect we must begin where the child begins in the elementary school. The child's secondary education is the foundation for his college education. With this in mind we urge that two broad areas receive immediate action. These are the construction of classrooms and adequate pay for teachers. In addition, there are auxiliary programs which must be given attention.
The urgency of action in support of school construction and teachers' salaries cannot be overstated. It will be many years before action taken now can be reflected in concrete improvement of the graduating student. Thus we will be building for the future—through our children-in providing Federal financial aid to education.
Several bills dealing with education have been introduced into the Congress already and more will probably be introduced as the session progresses. We direct our testimony today to S. 2, the School Support Act of 1959, since it seems to come closest to meeting the most immediate problems. To those of us in the AFL-CIO this is easily one of the most important legislative proposals with which this Congress will deal. It is because of its importance that so much interest has already been aroused in this bill.
While America's classrooms do not need additional chrome or higher fins or a completely new model each year, neither is there advantage in ancient structures. School buildings do not improve with age. One would imagine, however, in visiting some areas, that 1889 must have been a good year for schools.
There has been a lot of talk lately about our being an affluent society. And it is true that, despite the poverty which is always with us in greater or lesser degree, we have achieved an individual well-being and a national wealth which no country, present or past, has ever equaled.
Yet, it is this society that today has children going to school in more or less renovated basements, in buildings so inadequate that thousands of children are on shifts or part-time study, in temporary quarters which serve year after year, in hundreds of buildings that date back to the 19th century, in school that are unfit for human habitation.
Of course, I have no personal knowledge of conditions everywhere throughout the country, but I do know a little something about conditions in the Milwaukee school system. In 1949 we had 68,000 children in our public schools. Today we have 98,000 and in 1963 we will have more than 120,000, estimated on the basis of birth rates and population growth. Mind you, these figures show only 60 percent of our school population. Actually, about 40 percent of the Milwaukee children attend parochial schools, so that today we have more than 163,000 children going to school in Milwaukee.
This tremendous growth has created tremendous problems. Like most other communities in the country, we in Milwaukee believe in solving these problems ourselves if—and this is a big if-if we can possibly do so.
By taking heroic measures we have been able to meet our own problems so far, but I have some doubts whether we can continue to do so in the future. By 1963, we will at least have reduced our debt structure enough, on present estimates, so that we can then go back to the voters, to get authority for new borrowing within our present debt limits set by the legislature.
Now, despite a very ambitious building program-we are opening three new junior high schools in September-nevertheless, we still have any number of buildings going back to the 1890's and earlier. In fact, we have 27 buildings between 60 and 85 years old. As many as 30 buildings are in desperate need of modernization and 20 more must be renovated at an early date.
Right now we are trying to finance 77 percent of our annual school needs by a local property tax. Only 9 percent of our annual needs are met by State aid. By 1964 on building alone we will be running $15 million short even on the basis of our present long-range programs.
Just where this money will be coming from remains to be seen, and I need not remind you gentlemen that there are many communities in the Nation that are a great deal worse off than Milwaukee.
Now, the old building situation which we have been trying so hard to meet in Milwaukee is duplicated all over the country. I am told that a survey by the U.S. Office of Education shows that one out of every five buildings is a potential firetrap. That is 20 percent of the Nation's entire school plant. There are one of two ways
in which we can obtain adequate school buildings for our children. The first is by legislation growing out of disaster. This is how we obtained much of the mine safety legislation in this country. The second is by legislation before the disaster occurs. This takes
. positive Government leadership. The American labor movement looks to the legislative branch of the Federal Government to exercise the leadership necessary to provide an adequate program of Federal financial aid for school construction. We ask this on behalf of
. America's children.
The U.S. Office of Education reported that as of last September, public school enrollment was 1,843,000 over the normal classroom capacity. Of our total enrollment 5.4 percent is in excess of a