Page images
PDF
EPUB

At the 1958 National Convention of the American Legion, the accredited delegates representing every State in the Union, our Territories and possessions, unanimously adopted resolution No. 567, containing the following restatement of principles with respect to the relationship of the National Government to public education :

Whereas the Constitution of the United States is a compact between sovereign States joining together for limited purposes, with the predominant intent of reserving unto the several States and to the people thereof all power, save and except those which were expressly granted to the Federal Government; and

Whereas, the American Legion has always strongly adhered to the philosophy of broad, popular education for citizenship and has vigorously supported a universal, publicly supported system of primary, secondary and higher education under the complete control, authority, direction and responsibility of the respective States and school districts therein, so as to insure that every American child has the opportunity for an adequate education; and

Whereas broad, permanent programs of Federal financial appropriations for general educational purposes to State elementary or secondary schools or institutions of higher learning or for their use or benefit would inevitably result in loss of local and State control and the establishment of supervision, direction and control by Federal agencies over the expenditure of such funds; and

Whereas such Federal domination and intervention would make possible centralized thought control, propagandized and collectivized captives of our children, and the ultimate destruction of our constitutional form of government; Now, therefore, be it,

Resolved, by the 40th National Convention of the American Legion, assembled at Chicago, Ill., these 1st to 4th days of September 1958, That it does hereby adopt the following restatement of principles and policies with respect to intervention in or financial assistance to general public education in the elementary or secondary schools or state institutions of higher learning :

1. The State and local governments ought to, can and should assume and adequately take care of all needs of public elementary and secondary schools and State public institutions of higher education.

2. The States and local communities have the financial capacity to meet the proper requirements of general public education in the respective States.

3. The National Government should avoid interference, control, supervision or direction in the educational processes, programs, activities or systems of the respective States or local school districts, either directly or indirectly, by grantsin-aid, appropriations, gifts or loans for construction of schools, buildings or facilities, teachers' salaries, general student scholarships, equipment or other purposes; by curriculum or program control, or by action of any officer, agency, branch or department of the United States Government.

4. Under our Constitution each State is, and should be, vested with complete, sole and final power, authority, direction, supervision and control of every facet of public education within its borders, with the largest possible measure of home rule and autonomy delegated to the local communities.

5. It is recognized that in certain specialized or restricted programs or projects of a temporary duration, or during time of war or grave national emergency, or where it is directly necessary for the support of operational programs of Federal agencies, the Federal Government has the authority to maintain or operate its own educational institutions or programs, to appropriate funds therefor, to use grants-in-aid, or to make contracts with State or private institutions: Provided, however, That no such action should infringe upon the rights or power of the States or local communities, nor should any department, agency, branch, officer or employee of the United States in an official capacity ever exercise any direction, supervision, control or authority over the personnel, curriculum, property, facilities or programs of any State or local school or school system or agency or State institution of higher learning; be it further

Resolved, That the national commander and the national legislative director are hereby mandated to present the position of the American Legion, as above set forth, to the Congress of the United States and to vigorously oppose all legislation which violates these principles.

GENERAL STATEMENT

The American Legion believes that the real vitality of our country lies in decentralization of the powers of government. We have an abiding faith in private enterprise and local initiative. We are convinced of the necessity to allow each community to decide its own educational policies and programs.

SPECIFIC OBJECTION

1. With the Federal budget already heavily burdened, additional appropriations of millions of dollars for services, which are the responsibility of States and local communities, cannot be justified.

2. Dr. James B. Conant, one of America's best informed authorities in the field of education, concluded from a recent personal survey made on educational needs, that a large number of secondary schools should be consolidated to provide better educational facilities and opportunities for our youth. At the same time this would reduce costs of operation thereby eliminating any need for Federal funds. In a recent address before the National School Board Association in San Francisco, Dr. Conant stated that he favors leaving it up to each community to determine what it is willing to expend for public schools.

3. In view of the many and varied educational bills introduced for consideration in the 86th Congress, it seems evident that the proponents of Federal aid to education are more concerned with obtaining large sums of money to spend indiscriminately rather than to first determine need and value of the grants provided by the 85th Congress.

CONCLUSION

Any objective analysis of the educational system in the United States will inevitably lead to the conclusion that the pending proposals for Federal aid to education are unnecessary, unreasonable, unsound and dangerous to the preservation of local initiative and vitality. The ultimate net result of Federal aid to education is to transfer a portion of the total educational costs to the Federal budget, and to restrict local freedom of decision and action. This the American Legion definitely opposes.

STATEMENT OF DR. MAL RUMPH, PRESIDENT, ASSOCIATION OF AMERICAN PHYSICIANS

AND SURGEONS, INC. We oppose the Federal aid to education bills (S. 2, H.R. 22 and H.R. 965) and all similar legislation proposing Federal intervention in the conduct of schools because

1. Federal aid in any form and for any purpose will lead to Federal control. "It is hardly lack of due process for the Government to regulate that which it subsidizes” (317 U.S., p. 131, last sentence of first paragraph decision by Justice Jackson in case of Wickard vs. Filburn, 1942).

2. If the 10th amendment to the Constitution is to be upheld, as Congressmen pledge to do when they take their oath of office, Federal aid to the schools for construction, for teachers' salaries, and for any other purpose, is unconstitutional.

3. There is no demonstrated need for Federal aid to education. According to information supplied by the Investment Bankers Association, more than 82 percent of the dollar value of bond issues proposed were approved by U.S. voters in the November 4 elections. This is indisputable evidence that local areas are willing to provide for public education needs.

According to the Chamber of Commerce of the United States, total classrooms increased from 700,000 to 1,200,000 in the past 11 years; more than 25 percent of all classrooms now in use were built in the past 5 years, and more than 40 percent were built in the past 10 years; the average salary of teachers increased from $3,010 to $4,650 in the past 7 years, a period during which the number of teachers employed increased by 37 percent. Thus, the Nation's teaching force went up by one-third, in a period when the average salary went up more than 50 percent.

These are facts. They show conclusively that localities and States are assuming their responsibility for education, and doing it more efficiently and economically than the Federal Government would or could do, because they are close to local problems. Cities and States are not handicapped by the inevitable waste of funds always prevalent when the Federal Government compulsorily takes tax money away from citizens and only returns a portion of the forced collections to the localities and States.

4. It is morally wrong for Congress to appropriate taxpayers' money for any purpose (except for defense of the Nation) when there is no real money to anpropriate. The Federal Government has a national debt hovering around $300 billion. The Government has no real or honest money to spend unless it proposes to saddle the children of this generation and future generations with the enormous responsibility of paying for the financial follies of irresponsible Gov. ernment of this generation. And these are some of the very children that the proponents of Federal aid to education fallaciously believe they will be helping.

5. There is no accepted standard of what constitutes educational needs. As Roger A. Freeman, a distinguished educational authority, points out in his study of “School Needs in the Decade Ahead" local school authorities have vastly different estimates on so-called adequate school needs. For instance, one high school principal concludes that with a little classroom readjustment he can get by for another year. Another principal would like to add four more music rooms, a solarium and teachers' lounge and, therefore, reports a shortage of six classrooms.

6. Education has been and should be the responsibility of localities and States under the close supervision of parents—not the Federal Government. As pointed out above, every dollar of Federal aid carries with it a large degree of Federal control. In 1916 Congress passed the Smith-Hughes Act providing financial aid for local vocational educational systems. Its proponents at the time of passage said that the measure would not bring about Federal controls. Exactly the reverse has happened. Federal regulations have been expanded over the years and are now printed in a 108-page book—"Administration of Vocational Education” (published by the Government Printing Office). Only one sentence on page 4 is necessary to prove that the Federal Government controls vocational education. It reads: "Each State is required to submit a plan which must meet with the approval of the Federal Office of Education."

7. Finally, we believe that the proposal for Federal aid to schools is one of the greatest threats to our free society in the history of the Nation. Our constitutional form of government is endangered by the continuing advance of Federal powers and the usurpation of State and local responsibilities. We believe that if Federal aid to education is enacted into law, it eventually will achieve the breakdown of constitutional government, remove educational responsibilities from parents, where it belongs, make collectivized captives of our children, and bring about an educational system of mediocrity.

We ask your committee and the Congress to reject Federal aid to education in any form and for any purpose.

PENNSYLVANIA STATE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE,

Harrisburg, February 19, 1959. Hon. JAMES E. MURRAY, Chairman, Subcommittee on Education, Committee on Public Welfare, Senate Office Building, Washington, D.O.

DEAR SENATOR MURRAY: We wish to record the opposition of the Pennsylvania State Chamber of Commerce to S. 2, which proposes the extension of Federal aid for education on a permanent, large-scale basis.

We oppose any general program of Federal grants for education to State or local governmental units for elementary or secondary schools as we believe such grants would permit and promote Federal control of our schools. If the responsibility and control over education is to remain independent of centralized supervision, we believe it essential that Federal financing on a permanent basis should be avoided.

Pennsylvania is proud of its public school system and supports measures to steadily improve its programs and facilities. Over the past 9 years, our average teachers' salaries have increased over $2,200, and new schools have been constructed more rapidly than enrollments have increased.

We believe that Pennsylvania, like most other States, will continue to support and improve its school programs if the Federal Government will not further dissipate their sources of support and will not undermine State and local initiative.

A measure which contemplates the expenditure of $275 million a year in Federal money for Pennsylvania's public schools would, we believe, tend to destroy local and State initiative to take care of our own school problems. A measure which would cost Pennsylvania taxpayers $325 million a year would certainly aid materially in dissipating our State and local governmental sources of support for education. We respectfully recommend that S. 2 be rejected by your committee. Yours very truly,

ARNOLD L. EDMONDS, Executive Director.

STATEMENT BY GERMAINE KRETTEK, DIRECTOR, WASHINGTON OFFICE, AMERICAN

LIBRARY ASSOCIATION This statement has been prepared by Germaine Krettek, director of the Washington office of the American Library Association. This organization is a nonprofit, professional association of more than 22,000 members, consisting of librarians, trustees, and friends of libraries interested in the development, extension, and improvement of libraries as essential factors in the educational program of the Nation. Of the association's total membership, school librarians form a substantial proportion—4,500 members.

The American Library Association registers its support for legislation such as S. 2, being considered by this subcommittee to provide ample and more thorough educational resources at the elementary and secondary level. The association believes in the urgent need for Federal aid “to provide financial assistance for the support of public schools by appropriating funds to the States to be used for constructing school facilities and for teachers' salaries.”

Surveys in this country have shown vividly the great lag in school construction and in teachers' salaries. International events of recent months have pointed up still further the immediate necessity of an adequate school plant and competent school personnel.

The concern of the American Library Association in this problem is not new. In 1950, the council, our governing body, took formal action in support of Federal aid to public education, without Federal control, including the use of Federal funds for the construction of school buildings.

In 1957, the council stated further that it believes that our children need these buildings now and that nothing should be allowed to interfere with this construction program.

At its meeting in January of this year (1959), the ALA council approved this policy statement: "Federal aid to public education is needed to assist the States and their local subdivisions in establishing and maintaining adequate educational services and facilities and in equalizing educational opportunity. This assistance should also include school and library construction.”

We endorse the provision of S. 2 (sec. 8) which insures that State and local efforts in support of education shall not be reduced. We also approve the requirement (sec. 11) that there shall be no Federal control over policy determination, personnel, curriculum, program of instruction, or the administration of any school or school system.

The American Library Association is interested especially in the effect which the bill will have on school libraries and school librarians. As Benjamin C. Willis, general superintendent, Chicago Public Schools, wrote in the Nation's Schools for December 1955 : "Schools have come a long way from the concept of a library as a storehouse to the present-day concept of it as a materials center and coordinating agency of the curriculum serving the entire school. But we should not rest until this concept has universal acceptance, until every school has a library and a librarian * * * and until the existing standards for school library service are brought into line with the demands of present-day education.”

The American Library Association assumes that the reference in this bill to the provision permitting States to expend funds for construction of classrooms and related facilities would include centralized libraries in elementary and secondary schools and that the term “equipment” would include library books and related materials. If this is not the case, the bill should be so amended.

We recognize, further, the serious effect on the child's education of the current shortage of qualified teachers. The shortage of school librarians with full professional training is just as acute and the effect of the shortage of librarians on the child's education is just as serious. For example, an intensive study being carried on at Rutgers University of 44 schools in two Middle Atlantic States reveals that in these school alone 48.5 professional positions are needed to meet reasonable standards of service. At present, the schools are not getting them. This deficit of professional school librarians is likewise to be found generally in most of the other States.

For such reasons as these, the American Library Association is vitally concerned with any legislation which will improve the salaries of teachers, because the term “teacher” as defined in the broad educational sense includes librarians of schools. Confirmation of this statement is found in Bulletin 1958, No. 12, issued by the U.S. Office of Education, which states that "certification require. ments for school librarians reflect a general interpretation by State departments of education that school librarians are teachers, as well as librarians."

We respectfully urge, therefore, that the committee report on this legislation specify that school libraries and school librarians, in view of their instructional functions, are meant to be included in the provisions of this bill. Otherwise, we recommend that the language of the bill be amended to specifically include school libraries and school librarians.

On behalf of the American Library Association, may I urge your favorable consideration of this proposed legislation to correct deficiencies in school construction and in instructional personnel.

STATEMENT OF THE INVESTMENT BANKERS ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA RE FEDERAL

AID FOR THE CONSTRUCTION OF PUBLIC ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY SCHOOLS

INTRODUCTORY COMMENTS

The Investment Bankers Association of America is a voluntary unincorporated trade association of investment banking firms and security dealers who underwrite and deal in all types of securities. Our association has over 800 member firms engaged in one phase or another of the securities business in the United States and Canada, including about 100 commercial banks. Our members have, in addition to their main offices, over 1,300 registered branch offices. Many of these firms underwrite and deal in school bonds and in the aggregate do a large percentage of the underwriting, distribution, and trading of school bonds. (1) Record classroom construction programs are continuing

(a) Record amount of school bonds sold.-In 1957 over $2,360,690,000 of school bonds were sold in 2,898 issues by States and local educational agencies to finance construction of public elementary and secondary schools, which was greater than the amount of such bonds sold in any prior year.

In 1958 over $2,314,458,000 of such school bonds were sold (less than 2 percent below the amount sold in 1957). Appendix A lists the total amount and number of issues of school bonds sold in each State and Hawaii in 1958.

The proceeds from the sale of these bonds will obviously be supplemented by additional funds from other sources in the construction of classrooms.

Since school bonds are ordinarily sold before construction contracts are awarded and around 1 year is required for actual construction, the classrooms financed by the bond sales in 1958 will, in most cases, be reported in the classrooms completed in 1959 and 1960.

(6) Approval of school bonds at bond elections continues at high level.—Some concern was expressed last year in educational circles that voters were unreceptive to school bond proposals. Testimony was presented to the Subcommittee on Education of the Senate Committee on Labor and Public Welfare that an examination of trends in the value of school bonds voted upon in bond referendums showed trends, to disapprove a large percentage of proposed school bond issues. That is not true.

During 1958, voters approved about 78.2 percent by value of the elementary and secondary school bond proposals submitted to them, which compares with about 74 percent by value approval of the school bonds voted upon in 1957. Furthermore, the dollar amount of school bonds approved at bond elections in 1958 was about 28 percent higher than the amount approved in 1957. (2) The rate of growth in public school enrollments is decreasing

It is also encouraging to note that the number of additional classrooms required to meet increased enrollment will be smaller during the coming years, because the school-age population will not be increasing as rapidly as it has been in recent years. The statistics on enrollment in public elementary and secondary schools in past years and the forecast of enrollment in future years, which have been made by the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, clearly show that the rate of growth in school enrollments is declining and will continue to decline through 1970. Looking at the picture in 2-year intervals we find that enrollments increased by 8.6 percent during the 1953–54 school years, 8.1 percent during the school years 1955–56, and 7.5 percent during the school years ending 1957–58. The Department forecasts that the increase during the school years 1959–60 will be 7.4 percent, during 1961-62 will be 5.7 percent, and that the declining trend will continue through 1970. During the school years ending 1969–70 the rate of increase is expected to be only 3.1 percent.

« PreviousContinue »