« PreviousContinue »
any kind are involved. The difficulties that have taught the lessons to the Chief State School Officers are found in Public Law 864 itself and in legal interpretations of it.
Special aids which must be followed by Federal officials to the point of expenditure in local school districts in order to keep them special, or which preserve the special character of the Federal funds so that Federal officials may legally police their local expenditures, are generally detrimental to State and local autonomy in education.
We believe the principles of the proposed amendment are necessary for the best welfare of the public schools. The council's board of directors accepts and supports all the other parts of H.R. 22, provided the suggested protections against Federal control of education and for continued State and local control of education are included. If other language is needed to insure that the States are to be solely responsible to the Federal Government for funds distributed under this act, or are necessary to insure that Federal employees shall not supervise the expenditures or reporting of expenditures in local school districts, we hope you will add such language. We have no vested interest in the forms of words of the amendment, nor for that matter in the form of words of any part of any bill before you, but we believe that the policy of State and local control of public education should be preserved in the practical effects of any new legislation.
With your permission, Mr. Chairman, I shall end my formal statement at this point with an expression of great appreciation for the privilege of appearing here.
Mr. BAILEY. Mr. Udall, do you have some questions?
Dr. Fuller, let me say, first, I consider this a most constructive statement. Last year when you and I collaborated on the bill that I introduced last year, the idea of language such as you have suggested here today was based in part on a borrowing of what has been the historical and very successful practice under the land-grant college program, and I know that you have had occasion to inquire into the working of that sucessful and long-term program. On the basis of your study of that program and your inquires do you consider this to be a workable proposal as it is embodied in the bills before the committee and in your suggestions?
Mr. FULLER. I am glad you asked that because I welcome the opportunity to explain the analogy or the similarity between the two approaches.
The first approach is under the Second Morrell Act of 1890, in which since 1890 cash funds have been distributed from the Office of Education through the Secretary of the Treasury and then directly from there to the land-grant colleges and universities. It has long been known in educational circles that even those educators and especially the administrators that have responsibility for the administration of educational funds, have had no complaint whatever about any Federal interference of any kind in the administration of the funds under the Second Morrell Act of 1890. It has operated 69 years successfully, and for that reason it seemed to some of us that it might afford some lessons for the Congress, for the committees of the Congress, and for the educational organizations which are supporting Federal support, Federal funds for education, to look into that.
I did that, Mr. Udall, very carefully. For instance, I got all of the reports that are made by the public elementary and secondary schools to the Office of Education, to the other areas in the Federal Government. Then I got all the reports that are made by the landgrant colleges and universities which receive these funds and I laid them down side by side and compared them and studied them very carefully. I found upon this comparison that the public elementary and secondary schools without any connection with Federal funds at all and without the compulsion of any Federal law of any kind whatever already make more complete reports on a professional basis to the Office of Education than the land-grant colleges and universities do in consideration of receiving these funds under the Second Morrell Act of 1890.
Well, that was a little surprising because I found that under very broad categories of authority for expenditure the land-grant colleges were receiving these funds, reporting on them after they were spent, and that the fiscal report covered one page.
That means that these colleges and universities have been trusted to expend these funds for 69 years and that apparently during those 69 years there has been no complaint whatever either about Federal interference or about an inadequate or imprudent expenditure of the funds by the land-grant colleges and universities.
Mr. UDALL. In other words, this practice upon which both of the new approaches to this problem, the new bills, are predicated, is based on what has been a sound working practice under this existing program?
Mr. FULLER. That is right.
Mr. UDALL. It seems to me that to have made a big step forward because the previous school construction bills that have been before the committee, the Public Law 815 and 874 bills embodied a field service, which is set up to supervise expenditure of funds and so on, and now we have come finally to the place where we are going to leave the decision on the expenditure of the funds under very broad general guidelines to local officials. And the thing that fascinates me about the amendment that you propose and about the language in some of the bills is that the only relationship between the recipients of the funds and the Federal officials is from the State level and that there is no lingering control of any kind, nor is there any attempt made to require local supervision or surveillance or reports of any kind at the local level where the moneys will actually be spent.
I personally think we have come a long way in simply saying that we are going to trust the State officials to make proper decisions and allocations, and that Congress is willing, at least until experience proves that we are wrong, to accept their certifications on the expenditure of these funds.
Mr. FULLER. I was asked that same question in what I understand Representatives call the other body last Friday by Senator Clark of Pennsylvania, and he wanted to know why that sort of trust, that sort of arrangement would be suitable and would still insure complete prudence in the handling of the Federal funds. The explanation, of course, is to me relatively simple. It is that there are between $4 billion and $5 billion each year of State aid funds already distributed
through these same State agencies through local school districts for public school purposes, elementary and secondary. And that, in addition to these 4 or 5 billions of dollars that have a State source, another $8 or $9 billion, some such amount as that-it depends on what you count and what you leave out as to the exact amount-of local funds are really a responsibility of the State. Each local school board is legally speaking in a technical sense a State agency, locally appointed. This State has accounting procedures for these local funds and receives reports and makes those reports every year available to the Office of Education and to anyone who wants them.
In other words, in spending $12 or $13 or $14 billion of State and local funds for education, the educators and the administrators of education have set up systems of prudence which I make bold to say are the least criticized of all of the systems of financial prudence in local and State governments, taking the States as a whole. We seldom have any complaint about those systems of accounting and auditing and reporting.
Mr. Upall. Dr. Fuller, the people that you represent would be the people under H.R. 22 and most of the other bills pending before the committee that would actually handle and disburse and allocate the funds. These are the people whose position it is your job to represent here and to look out for.
Am I correct in assuming that in no instance would there have to be authorizing legislation by legislatures to authorize these people to disburse and allocate the funds? This is a question that interests me that you did not cover in your statement.
Mr. FULLER. I believe that under H.R. 22 with the Udall amendments in it, that there would not be any authorizing legislation necessary in a large majority of the States and that in the others it would never go as far down into fundamental law as the State constitution but would always be merely legislative and in most instances only a resolution of the State board of education.
Mr. Udall. One other point, too, and it seems to me the idea you are espousing here has made the major contribution to the present form of H.R. 22 because I notice it is now a 10-page bill and last year I think it was some 40-odd pages, largely because it included a State plan and controls, if I might be candid.
Is it your feeling, with regard to the pending legislation, that it could be said, which I do not think we could say of previous bills that we have considered, that this type of legislation would not require a single additional employee at the State level or at the Federal level other than perhaps a clerical assistant simply to file reports, that the simplicity of system is such that we are getting now to a form of handling the funds where the charge, for instance that we are pyramiding bureaucracy, we are having larger and larger numbers of people oversee these programs, that this meets the charge?
Mr. FULLER. Yes. I think it does almost entirely insure that additional employees would not be needed at least not in any great numbers. I think under the Udall bill as once written, which would merely have added the Federal funds to the State aid funds, the funds in the State aid system, that under that bill not a single Federal employee, not a single State employee, not a single local employee in addition to those already employed, would be needed for the simple reason that the funds would be intermingled at the State level. If you had $100 million in State aid distributed as the State cares to distribute it, and you added $25 million of Federal funds to that State aid, it would still require not an extra form at all, but when you report it on an item, say from a local district to the State that used to be $100, it would be $125 presumably. But the larger numbers do not take any longer to write than the smaller ones. There would be no additional forms. It would be a part of the State aid system of each State and would benefit from the experience of the States over many years, which now has resulted in handling between $4 and $5 billion each year of State funds. So that would require none at all.
Now in the arrangement for putting H.R. 22 and the Udall bill together, the original Udall bill, a few additional employees might be required, but nowhere in the same scale of numbers that are required, for instance, by the National Defense Education Act of 1958 or by the administration's bill that has been testified on here this morning, or any other bill that has special aids that go far beyond these very broad categories of teachers' salaries and construction that are in H.R. 22.
Mr. UDALL. As a matter of fact, due to this new type of approach to the problem, whereas among the chief State school officers who run the State educational agencies there was formerly in years past a division of opinion, a rather sharp one, the fact that you people have come almost to a unanimous position is largely due to the fact of this new approach.
Is that not correct?
Mr. FULLER. I have talked personally with more than 20 chief State school officers during the past week or 10 days, and I find them enthusiastically for the idea; the State can protect Federal funds and handle Federal funds from the State level downward much more efficiently, much more effectively, much more economically than the Federal Government could possibly do so.
Mr. UDALL. Just one more question: Do you see any danger in this type of approach that the charge might now be leveled, that there are not sufficient controls, and do you see any merit to such a charge because it seems to me that we may see a reversal now and that the opponents of this type of legislation who heretofore have used the noxious Federal control idea as a chief weapon with which to defeat the bill, now we may find the situation where they have said, "Well, you are being improvident, you are not providing surveillance, and there is no guarantee that the funds will go for school purposes”?
Mr. FULLER. We have a small minority of people in this country who are irreconcilably opposed to any Federal support of education. Among these people has been developed in recent years, especially, a two-pronged approach which are contradictory to each other, but each of which is intended to carry out their idea that there should be no Federal support of any kind to education at all.
In the first place, the approach is one of fear of Federal control of education and a wide advertisement of that fear, but these same people testify repeatedly that there must be Federal controls in connection with the use of Federal funds in order to protect the Federal dollar. So while they are promoting and insisting on Federal con
trols on the one hand, they are saying on the other hand that there should not be Federal support of education because there are Federal controls. What has happened here has been that at long last, and I plead guilty right now of negligence and being of somewhat less than normal intelligence in not taking more leadership in working this out years ago, but it may better late than never, but at long last we have worked out a way where the Federal control issue is not available for the irreconcilable opponents of Federal support of education.
Two or three weeks ago in the national meeting of the school boards of the country in San Francisco, I had a conference that might illustrate what I mean. A very prominent member of a State board of education, who served as the president for the first 2 years of the new State Board of Education in Ohio, and is a member of that board now, and another brilliant lawyer and civic-minded citizen from the State Board of Education of Oregon were discussing these issues. We spent 2 or 3 hours discussing them, going to the root of them. One of these gentlemen said as he left the room that he had taken the U.S. Chamber of Commerce line from the beginning, that he had never before supported any Federal bill for funds to education, but that he would support a bill with these principles of the Udall bill in them. He said, "I know we are going to have to tap the larger tax source. We know that we are not going to be able to support the kind of schools that we need in this country in order to compete with the Soviet school system and the uprising zeal of the Chinese and to protect our long-range security by utilizing all our human resources to the ultimate, without a 3-way support, financially of the schools and colleges of the United States." He says, “I will support that bill. It is the first one in my life I ever would have supported."
I think that for people who honestly want more funds for the schools and who honestly have had reservations about Federal control of education, that this sort of provision meets their objections. It is not only these two gentlemen, it is hundreds and even thousands of people who have expressed similar attitudes.
Last Sunday I was with a group down near your home, Representative Udall, down in Albuquerque, with the school boards of New Mexico, the State board and the local school boards, and the sentiment expressed there was overwhelmingly in that direction; and there were people from the east side of New Mexico along the Texas border, whích group has exhibited a great deal of opposition to Federal support of education and yet that satisfies them. They know that their Federal Government is already supporting 40 percent of the total cost of elementary and secondary schools in this country and in the case of New Mexico almost twice that percentage, in the case of Texas next door about 50 percent, and they know that those State-aid systems are working, and they know that they can make changes at Austin or in Santa Fe if they want to. So if there is no more control from a more distant government and there is no more multiplication of administrative agencies one on top of the other than we now have under their State-aid systems, they would be completely happy to share the tax resources and the Federal Government ought to be very happy indeed, it seems to me, to take advantage of the very fine systems of prudence and reporting that have been developed in the