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Mr. BRADEMAS. Mr. Chairman, after having heard the Commissioner speak to Mr. Udall about this whole problem of teacher salaries and after listening to the suggestion of the Commissioner that it would be better for the States and local districts to try to do the job without the Federal Government moving in, I would like to make this observation.
My mother is a schoolteacher and has been a schoolteacher, I suppose for over 35 years, and still is teaching school, and I come from a family of teachers, so I am not unfamiliar with this problem. I hate so often to cite the situation in my State of Indiana, but I am never moved very deeply by this suggestion that the local school districts and States are really likely to do a good job if we place entire reliance on them, because in my own district I know that if you go to the local taxpayers and say, “Now, education needs more money for schoolteachers,” they will say, “Look, we are paying too much money now for taxes, you cannot get blood out of a turnip," and they consistently refuse to vote more taxes. With respect to the State level I think you were not here the other day when I read into the record some of the statements made by Governor Handley of Indiana in his address to the Indiana General Assembly just last month, in which he opposed increased expenditures by the State of Indiana and to local school districts both on the grounds, first, that the State did not have the money to do the job and, second, that increased State aid posed the danger of State control.
Now, these people come and tell us if only the State and local district would do the job there would be no need for the Federal Government to move into the area. This is the line that is taken. At the same time that they say, "We do not want any Federal aid," they fight with every force at their command to prevent any State aid. All I am saying and am concerned to get across is that it is not enough simply to wave the flag of State rights--and I know we are not altogether apart on this matter and I am not being critical of you, sir, in what I say—it is not enough to say, "We States will do the job” when the next move they make after having sent their memoria) to Washington saying "Federal aid is iniquitous," is to turn around and say "So, too, is State aid.”
Do you see what I mean? It leaves the schoolteacher in a bind.
Mr. DERTHICK. I have certainly been in that bind most all my life personally, as well as members of my family who like your family members are teachers.
There are just two things that I would say. One is, of course, in those needy school districts we would expect our bill to relieve pressures to the point where there would be more freedom to do something for teacher salaries because these needy school districts are under pressures both ways if they are building buildings. It is going to take it away from teacher salaries, I am afraid.
The other thing I would say is this. We all come back to our own personal experiences with “in my town." It does deeply disturb me taking the longtime view if something happens to let this city escape meeting its responsibilities.
I repeat, I think it is more than money. I think that the local people have got to feel the responsibility and do their duty in order to bave the kind of interest in their schools and the kind of participation in their school program that will protect some very precious values in education in this country.
Now, I also say that if we can do those things to get the local communities and State systems to do their part, then if the national interest is not met in the matter of teacher salaries, then I think we have got to examine this question again of Federal aid.
Mr. Chairman, may I ask this: Secretary Richardson would like an opportunity to correct a statement he made for the record a few minutes ago about your question on the General Accounting Office. May he do that?
Mr. BAILEY. Yes.
I stated in answer to your question that there was no provision in this bill that raised that question. Mr. Saperstein, who is in the Office of the Assistant General Counsel for Legislation, has pointed out to me that that answer was incorrect. The question did arise in the case of earlier bills in connection with the bond purchase and the school building authority titles where it was important that transactions entered into by the United States should be undisturbed. So here it enters in also in connection with the binding character of a Federal debt service commitment. The provision that touches, then, on the role of the General Accounting Office is in section 14(b) on the bottom of page 18 and top of page 19 of the bill. We did put into this section language adapted from the Public Housing Act and added a clause, "except that all such transactions shall be subject to audit by the General Accounting Office," which is a clause that was added in 1957 at the time the question was raised by the General Acounting Office, and we hope that that added clause will meet the problem then raised, although we have not submitted that specific question to the Office.
Mr. BAILEY. May I say to the witnesses and also the citizens who are attending the hearing that I have coming up, immediately after the assembly of the House, a 2-hour discussion participated in by some 12 or 15 of my colleagues. I would like to get away in order to get the program a little better organized for presentation. Tomorrow at 10 o'clock we will hear Dr. Flemming for a brief time and then we will hear Dr. Edward Fuller.
The subcommittee stands in recess until 10 o'clock tomorrow.
(Whereupon, at 10:40 a.m., Tuesday, February 24, 1959, the subcommittee recessed to reconvene at 10 a.m., Wednesday, February 25, 1959.)
SCHOOL SUPPORT ACT OF 1959
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 25, 1959
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
Washington, D.C. The subcommittee met at 10:10 a.m., pursuant to recess, in room 429, House Office Building, Hon. Cleveland M. Bailey (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.
Present: Representatives Bailey, Udall, Brademas, Frelinghuysen, and Lafore.
Present also: Representative Dixon.
Staff members present: Fred G. Hussey, clerk, full committee; Melvin W. Sneed, minority clerk; Russell C. Derrickson, investigator, full committee; and Robert E. McCord, clerk, subcommittee.
The CHAIRMAN. The subcommittee will be in order.
When we concluded our hearings yesterday it was announced that Dr. Flemming would return for some added comments and some added discussion on legislation submitted by Mr. Frelinghuysen, of New Jersey
I take it that it does not necessarily need to be confined to that legislation. But the committee was quite anxious to give the Department every possible opportunity to present their case.
At this time we will have Dr. Flemming resume his testimony, which was ended when time ran out on us when he appeared last week.
STATEMENT OF HON. ARTHUR S. FLEMMING, SECRETARY OF
HEALTH, EDUCATION, AND WELFARE; ACCOMPANIED BY ELLIOT RICHARDSON, ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR LEGISLATION; L. G. DERTHICK, COMMISSIONER OF EDUCATION; AND RALPH FLYNT, ASSISTANT COMMISSIONER OF EDUCATIONResumed
Mr. FLEMMING. Mr. Chairman, thank you very much and I certainly appreciate the opportunity of reappearing before the committee regarding this legislation.
But just a few comments that I would like to make throughout of the discussion that we had the other day and also the discussion that you had yesterday with the Commissioner of Education.
These comments have to do with the question that has been raised as to the adequacy of the program that we presented and also as to the way in which the program might actually operate in specific situations.
As I indicated in the testimony that I gave earlier, the program which is embodied in Mr. Frelinghuysen's bill would make possible the construction of about 75,000 additional classrooms over a 5-year period in school districts which could not be expected, even with the exertion of a reasonable tax effort, to finance additional classroom construction.
In this connection, I think it might be worthwhile to take a look at the amount of construction that would have been financed in such school districts by previous construction proposals which have been considered by this committee and on which there was favorable action.
H.R. 7535 as reported out on July 28, 1955, would have provided for 75,000 classrooms over a 5-year period.
H.R. 1 as reported out on May 28, 1957, would have provided for 75,000 classrooms over a 5-year period.
H.R. 3976, the administration's 1957 school construction proposal, would have provided for 65,000 classrooms over a 4-year period.
I think that these comparisons make it perfectly clear that the amount of assistance afforded by the present administration proposal is fully equivalent to that which would have been afforded under these previous proposals.
Mr. BAILEY. Doctor, may I interrupt at that point?
Mr. BAILEY. Would not that entail a continuation of our construction in other districts, other than those needy districts? Is not that based on the assumption that the same ratio of construction would continue in those welfare districts? Are not some of those that have been active in meeting their needs, are not they about up to the point of exhaustion in their bond issues? There is going to be a falling off, is there not?
Mr. FLEMMING. Mr. Chairman, when we estimate that this bill would produce about 75,000 additional classrooms in school districts that otherwise would not construct them, we are not predicating that on the continuation of the present rate of construction on the part of the States and local school districts. When I discussed the last time the question of the 140,000 deficit, I did say that if the States and local school districts continued their construction at approximately the present rate, then if we got the 75,000 additional classrooms, under this proposal that would go a long ways toward wiping out the deficit.
Now, the statement that you make is certainly a correct one, that there are undoubtedly school districts that have made a major contribution to this 70,000 rate, for example, that has been maintained the last 2 years, that are now at the point where they could not make
any additional constructions. Of course those districts
Mr. BAILEY. Many others have met their needs and they may still have a little bonding capacity but they are not going to vote any new bonds.
Mr. FLEMMING. No, if their needs have been met, that is right. In the case of those that have gone as far as they can and still have not met their need, they of course could qualify under this particular bill.
But the 75,000 figure does not rest back on any assumption as far as continued activity on the part of the States and local school district. The contribution that the 75,000 would make to cutting back the backlog does rest back on an assumption of that kind.