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FEDERAL GRANTS TO STATES FOR ELEMENTARY AND
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 4, 1959
SUBCOMMITTEE ON EDUCATION OF THE
COMMITTEE ON LABOR AND PUBLIC WELFARE,
The subcommittee met, pursuant to call, at 10:30 a.m., in room 4232, New Senate Office Building, Senator James E. Murray (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.
Present: Senators Murray (presiding), McNamara, Yarborough, Cooper, and Javits.
Committee staff members present: William G. Reidy, Frederick R. Blackwell, and Raymond Hurley, professional staff members.
Senator MURRAY. The subcommittee will come to order, please. Today we begin hearings on legislation authorizing Federal grants to the States for elementary and secondary schools. We will take testimony today, tomorrow, and Friday morning, beginning at 10 a.m., and plan to resume the latter part of February and continue into March.
I wish to make only a few brief remarks before we get underway. In the first place, I am proud to serve as chairman of a subcommittee which consists of men with deep understanding of the educational crisis facing this country, and the desire to act constructively and affirmatively.
The National Defense Education Act is but the latest in a long series of advances obtained through the leadership of the senior Senator from Alabama. I count the ranking minority member of this subcommittee, the senior Senator from Kentucky, as one of the most effective champions which the cause of education has ever had in the Senate, and I value greatly the counsel and contributions made to education by the other minority members of the subcommittee, the Senator from New Jersey and the Senator from New York, and the members of the majority, the Senator from Michigan and the Senator from Texas.
While it is important to nurture the flower of our educational plant, it is vital that we water the roots. That is the purpose of this hearing, as I see it.
Out West, on the irrigated farms, when a stream threatens to run dry the smart farmer brings in water from a new source, and saves his crop. The fellow who stands idly by while his crops deteriorate is a poor manager. Yet, although the Federal Government is in much better financial condition than many local school districts, the ad
ministration has turned its back on these struggling districts which are trying to provide a decent and adequate education for our children or grandchildren.
I sincerely regret the administration's present attitude. When the President took office he recognized the responsibility of the Federal Government to help elementary and secondary education.
In 1954 he said:
The Federal Government should stand ready to assist States which demonstrably cannot provide sufficient school buildings.
In 1956 he urged the Congress to
move promptly to enact an effective program of Federal assistance to help erase the existing deficit of school classrooms.
In January 1957, he said that
high priority should be given the school construction bill.
Thereupon the House of Representatives proceeded to pass a bill, but without administration support it was narrowly defeated. Last year, and this year, no recommendations for Federal action in this field came down from the White House.
As late as October 1956, the President considered Federal aid to schools
essential if we are realistically to take up the critical lag already existing. Yet this winter we took the position that
it is only remotely, or at least indirectly, the responsibility of the Federal Government to concern itself
with this aspect of education.
Certainly the classroom shortage has not disappeared, or even substantially diminished, during this period. The States reported a classroom shortage of 159,000 in 1956. A year later they reported a shortage of 142,300. And last fall the shortage was 140,500. So we gained only 1,800 classrooms during the year, a mere 1.3 percent of the national deficit.
In the President's state of the Union message this year it was recommended that education should be studied by some committee, like the Committee on Recent Social Trends which was appointed in 1931 by President Hoover. This committee would come up with some national goals.
I took the trouble to find out what that Commission, established 28 years ago, had recommended. I found that it termed as "indispensable" to progress a―
willingness and determination to undertake important integral changes in the reorganization of social life, including the economic and the political orders, rather than the pursuance of a policy of drift.
It is time to halt that drift, and I believe we can start right now, today, at these hearings. I don't see the need for yet another commission which could merely conclude that we are still adrift.
The national goal should be provision of safe, suitable, and adequate education for every American child. To provide this we need tens of thousands of new classrooms and teachers. We need better teachers, and we need to keep the many good ones who are teaching
There are several bills before this subcommittee, S. 2, S. 8, S. 631, S. 816, S. 863, and S. 877. They will all be introduced into the hearing record immediately following these opening remarks.
I think that in considering these bills we should think not only of the cost of these proposed Federal programs, but of the cost of not providing adequate, safe, and suitable education. I think we should remember that it will cost approximately $5.6 billion to build 140,500 classrooms needed right now, and that it would cost approximately $6 billion annually to double teacher salaries as suggested by the Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare.
Our first witness is Miss Ruth Stout, of Topeka, Kans., president of the National Education Association.
I know that from your own experience as a classroom teacher and as president of a great educational association, Miss Stout, you will be able to give us sound advice. So please proceed-the members of the subcommittee may have some questions as you go along.
(S. 2, S. 8, S. 631, S. 816, S. 863, and S. 877, and departmental reports thereon are as follows:)
[S. 2, 86th Cong., 1st sess.]
A BILL 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
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. This Act may be cited as the "School Support Act of 1959".
FINDINGS AND PURPOSE OF ACT
SEC. 2. The Congress finds that despite sustained and vigorous efforts by the States and local communities, which have increased current school construction to unprecedented levels and which have increased expenditures for teachers' salaries, there is still a serious shortage of classrooms and of qualified teachers which requires immediate action on the part of the Federal Government. The financial resources available to many communities are inadequate to support construction programs sufficient to eliminate classroom shortages, and practically all communities face the problem of providing compensation to teachers commensurate with the salaries received by persons with comparable education, experience, and responsibilities. These inadequacies are seriously restricting the quality of the educational program of the Nation.
The Congress strongly affirms that the control of the personnel, program of instruction, formulation of policy, and the administration of the Nation's public elementary and secondary schools resides in the States and local communities. The Congress also affirms that a major portion of the responsibility for financing the costs of these schools resides in the States and local communities.
However, the Congress recognizes that without sufficient financial resources at their disposal to provide necessary educational facilities and to employ competent teaching personnel, the control of our Nation's schools is not directed by State and local school boards but is dictated by the harsh demands of privation. Without the means to pay for alternatives, school boards have no freedom of choice.
In order to provide State and local school boards with actual, as well as nominal control of schools, the Congress has the responsibility for appropriately sharing in their financial support. The purpose of this Act, therefore, is to provide Federal financial support to help meet both the immediate and continuing problems of financing adequate school facilities and teachers' salaries and thereby to strengthen the schools of the Nation.
AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS
SEC. 3. There are hereby authorized to be appropriated for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 1959, and for succeeding fiscal years, amounts equal to the product of the estimated number of the school-age population of all the States as of such year and the following amounts: For the fiscal year beginning July 1, 1959, $25; for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 1960, $50; for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 1961, $75; and for each fiscal year thereafter, $100.
ALLOTMENTS TO STATES
SEC. 4. (a) The Commissioner shall allot for each fiscal year to each State, from the total amount appropriated for such year pursuant to section 3, an amount which bears the same ratio to such total as such State's estimated school-age population bears to the total estimated school-age population of all such States, subject to such adjustments, if any, as result from the application of section 8.
(b) The State education agency of each State which desires to receive an allotment under the provisions of this Act shall specify annually to the Commissioner the proportion of its State's allotment that will be expended for each of the two purposes: (1) school construction and (2) teachers' salaries.
SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION PORTION
SEC. 5. The State education agency of each State which desires to use a portion of its allotment under this Act for the construction of school facilities shall certify to the Commissioner that such funds allocated within the State for this purpose will be
(1) expended solely for the construction of school facilities in school districts in accordance with this Act; and
(2) so distributed that priority is given to school districts which have the greatest need for additional school facilities and which in terms of the economic resources available to them are least able to finance the cost of needed school facilities.
TEACHERS' SALARY PORTION
SEC. 6. The State education agency of each State which desires to use a portion of its allotment under this Act for teachers' salaries shall certify to the Commissioner that such funds allocated within the State for this purpose will be
(1) distributed among its school districts to be used solely for teachers' salaries; and
(2) so distributed that each school district in the State will receive at least three-fourths of the amount which bears the same ratio to the total portion of the State's allotment specified for teachers' salaries under section 4(b) as the number of teachers in each school district bears to the number of teachers of all the school districts in the State.
VERIFICATION OF EXPENDITURES
SEC. 7. The State education agency shall verify annually to the Commissioner that funds received under this Act were distributed and expended in accordance with the provisions of this Act.
MAINTENANCE OF STATE AND LOCAL FINANCIAL SUPPORT OF SCHOOLS
SEC. 8. (a) The amount allotted to any State under section 4 for any year shall be reduced by the percentage (if any) by which its State school effort index for such year is less than the national school effort index for such year, with the exception that during the first three years that allotments are made this provision shall not be applicable. The total of such reductions shall be reallotted among the remaining States by proportionately increasing the amounts allotted to them under section 4 for such year.
(b) For purposes of subsection (a)
(1) the "State school effort index" for any State for a fiscal year is the quotient obtained by dividing (A) the revenue for schools per public-school child for the State by (B) the personal income per child of school age for
the State; except that the State school effort index shall be deemed to be equal to the national school effort index in the case of Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, Wake Island, American Samoa, and the District of Columbia; and
(2) the "national school effort index" for any fiscal year is the quotient obtained by dividing (A) the revenue for schools per public-school child for the total States of the Union by (B) the personal income per child of school age for the total States of the Union.
(c) (1) The revenue for schools per public-school child for any State for purposes of determining its State school effort index for any fiscal year means the quotient obtained by dividing (A) the total current revenue receipts derived from State and local sources in the State for support of elementary and secondary education, as determined by the Commissioner on the basis of data for the most recent school year for which satisfactory data for the several States are available to him, by (B) the number of children in average daily attendance in public elementary and secondary schools in such State, as determined by the Commissioner for such most recent school year.
(2) The revenue for schools per public-school child for the total States of the Union for purposes of determining the national school effort index for any fiscal year means the quotient obtained by dividing (A) the total current revenues receipts derived from State and local sources for support of elementary and secondary education in the total States of the Union, as determined by the Commissioner for the same school year as is used under paragraph (1), by (B) the number of children in average daily attendance for such year in public elementary and secondary schools in the total States of the Union, determined as provided in paragraph (1).
(3) The income per child of school age for the several States and for the total States of the Union shall for purposes of subsection (b), be determined by the Commissioner on the basis of the personal income per child of school age for the most recent year for which satisfactory data are available from the Department of Commerce.
SEC. 9. (a) The State education agency shall give adequate assurance to the Commissioner that all laborers and mechanics employed by contractors or subcontractors in the performance of work on school construction financed in whole or in part under this act will be paid wages at rates not less than those prevailing on similar construction in the locality as determined by the Davis-Bacon Act, as amended (40 U.S.C. 276a-276a-5).
(b) With respect to the labor standards specified in subsection (a) of this section, the Secretary of Labor shall act in accordance with Reorganization Plan Numbered 14 of 1950 (15 F.R. 3176; 64 Stat. 1267), and section 2 of the Act of June 13, 1934, as amended (40 U.S.C. 276c).
APPROPRIATION FOR ADMINISTRATION
SEC. 10. There are hereby authorized to be appropriated for each fiscal year to the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare such sums as may be necessary for the administration of this Act.
ASSURANCE AGAINST FEDERAL INTERFERENCE IN SCHOOLS
SEC. 11. In the administration of this Act, no department, agency, officer, or employee of the United States shall exercise any direction, supervision, or control over policy determination, personnel, curriculum, program of instruction, or the administration of any school or school system.
SEC. 12. For purposes of this Act
(a) The term "Commissioner" means the United States Commissioner of Education.
(b) The term "State" means a State, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Guam, the Virgin Islands, Wake Island, American Samoa, and the District of Columbia.
(c) The term "State education agency" means the State board of education or other agency or officer primarily responsible for the State supervision of public elementary and secondary schools, or, if there is no such officer or agency, an officer or agency designated by the Governor or by State law.