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State-aid systems of the 49 States. I almost said 48. I may have to say 50 soon.
Mr. UDALL. I have no further questions, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. Mr. Chairman, as usual I found Dr. Fuller's testimony stimulating.
I would like to begin by asking a specific question and then maybe we could get off into the philosophy of your approach, Dr. Fuller.
Your major point, as I understand it, with respect to the legislation that we are discussing, is that there should be an amendment to section 7 of H.R. 22. In spite of listening closely, I have no idea what the point of that amendment is. Part of it is identical in language with the present section 7 and there is an additional section.
I wonder if you could tell us again what that sentence would protect us from or what protection it would provide. I assume it must have some connection.
Mr. FULLER. I would be very glad to discuss that, Mr. Frelinghuysen. It is a pleasure to look up and see you there once again. I have been here a good many times and I think that on this issue you and I will be in entire agreement.
The sentence that makes the difference is the very first part of the proposed amendment which says, “Upon receipt by the State, funds allocated under this act shall thereafter be deemed to be State funds to be distributed” and so forth, and then taken in connection with one word change in the present section 7 of the Murray-Metcalf bill, which instead of using the word "verify," which according to the dice tionary means to establish by facts, and goes down into the very specific of local expenditure by implication and I am sure would go down into them by regulations insisted upon by the Bureau of the Budget, that is changed to "certify."
Now, the certifications of the State agencies are accepted at face value by the Federal Government in a good many ways in education. Let us take the other situation. Suppose there were not that amendment. Suppose that the section 7 were left the same as it is in the original draft. There the reporting is to vertify and under that bill as it is written in the original draft the separate Federal character of the Federal funds is maintained through the State agency to the local agency and they are kept separate for separate purposes.
The experience that we have had with the National Defense Education Act of 1958 makes it entirely clear to me-I am morally certainthat the regulations written on the basis of that word "verify" and without providing that legally under Federal law that these shall be State-controlled funds after they arrive at the State level, that you would not be able to get the results. The reason of course is legally clear, I think.
You have in the Murray-Metcalf bill and the Udall bill and all the other bills that have been proposed a no-Federal-control clause, a general provision that there shall not be interference and the like. And that is in the National Defense Education Act, too.
But when you have a specific requirement in the Federal law, it takes precedence over any such general provision against Federal control of education and more than that, when you have in there a word or a clause or phrase, and I could illustrate for several hours, I am
sure, from the National Defense Education Act how this works, which requires a Federal regulation in the opinion of the attorneys and the Bureau of the Budget, then that Federal regulation has not only the power of Federal law, but it prevails over this general no-Federalcontrol clause which renders this general provisions which is a sort of hope and prayer against Federal control if there are provisions in the act itself which call for regulations which have the strength of law and which take precedence over the general no-Federal-control clause, so I think we do protect ourselves a very great deal by these amendments.
I can't understand why anyone would oppose them who want to maintain State and local autonomy in education.
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. There are some who feel it is vital if have a Federal program to have reasonable control and oversight over the Federal dollar.
As I understand it, what you suggested is that you want to weaken by charging vertification to certification and by adding the first sentence, weaken whatever Federal interest there may still be in those dollars after they are allocated to the States.
Mr. FULLER. There would not be any weakening of it, in fact.
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. In effect it seems to me you can strike section 7 altogether, if all you are requiring is a certification by the States and there is not anyway in which the Federal Government could take a look even as to what is involved in that statement as to what they have done with the funds.
If it requires an intermingling of the Federal funds and it spells them out, "funds shall be deemed to be State funds," you might just as well say that that is a provision that the Federal Government will wash its hands completely, and that is what we are trying to impress on it by that language, wash its hands completely over any responsibility for the funds once the allocation has been made. Is that not so?
Mr. FULLER. You are using very strong words which I do not think are accurate and I go back to the second Morrell Act of 1890 to show that there the same system has been in effect 69 years without any such Federal controls.
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. Again we can argue indefinitely about what constitutes Federal controls. I happen to be a proponent, as I am sure you know, of Federal action in this field. It seems to me unless we develop an intelligent program, not a shotgun approach saying, “Trust the State school officers, they will do a job”—of course they have done a fine job—but I do not necessarily fall into line with that thinking.
You may have a local school officer say, "For heaven's sake don't trust the State level; trust our local people; we know where the problems are. We put the Federal money to good work. Don't ask us to account for it." In any case, I think we have responsibility to have some kind of accounting.
You in effect, as I understand it, are not going so completely in opposition to any kind of Federal supervision over these funds as to oppose certain provisions in H.R. 22 which would see to it at least that there would be some oversight as to what happens to the money after the allocation is made.
For instance, there is section 6(2) that says 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 its allotment specified for teacher salaries as the number its teachers bears to the number of teachers of all the State school districts.
You are certainly not suggesting that that is not a reasonable provision and yet that is a kind of control. It will not allow more than a certain amount and will require that a certain amount must be allocated, comparing the number of schoolteachers in that particular district to the number of school districts in the whole State. So that is a control in a sense, is it not?
Mr. FULLER. I recognize that, Mr. Frelinghuysen. And I would like to use an illustration from another field to show what I mean.
Back in 1933 a school lunch program of sorts was begun under the relief agencies of that day. This program was administered directly from the Department of Agriculture to the local schools in States and then beginning July 1, 1946, there was passed a permanent school lunch law which placed the administration of those programs in the State Departments of Education except in those States where for the nonpublic schools they could not legally be handled by those departments.
Now, when I say “we,” I am thinking of the State officers, and I am also thinking of personal experience in the middle of this particular development because as a State commissioner of education it was my job to inaugurate the national school lunch program in a State. At that time, all the Federal auditing and reporting was done directly to the local level. I remember distinctly that there was very great resistance in the Federal agency to removing the Federal officers from local school districts and lunchrooms where they were going into such detail they were almost counting calories.
Let me say that in the progress since 1946, and it has been a long conversion, I can assure you, the Department of Agriculture now has a policy that the States shall take the responsibility for the auditing and that is done completely by the States in 22 States.
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. Again no one is arguing that we are going to put a Federal officer in each school district. So I do not think we have to go back to 1933 for our guidelines today. What I would lil to get from you is just how you would feel about the advisability of including in legislation a requirement that a State must submit a plan if it is going to qualify for Federal funds.
Do you think that is an unreasonable thing to require of a State ?
Mr. FULLER. I believe that in view of the experience that we have had since September 3, 1958, that most of the chief State school officers would oppose the provisions for State plans which were common to legislation previously.
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. In addition to what I am trying now, I would like to have your discussion-you have hinted very strongly that there is some kind of unwise Federal control of education resulting from the National Defense Education Act and the way it is being administered and I would like very much to get your views directly on that point. You hinted at it but not spelled out what your views are.
How do you justify, if you think plans essentially are wrong or inadvisable, a statement as you just quoted from your own agency, adopted unanimously and I quote from your statement on page 1:
Federal funds should be apportioned to the State education authorities and the State authorities should apportion such funds in conformity with the basic plan for financing education in the State.
What is that accepted as, at least an indication that a plan by a State is advisable if you are going to be distributing Federal funds?
Mr. FULLER. The basic plan for financing education in the State is the State-aid system, that is that four or five billion dollars a year that I have been mentioning, that does not refer to Federal funds at all.
It says in conformity with the basic plan for financing education in the State which is a Štate-local finance system. This is not talking about any Federal-State plan.
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. It is not a Federal plan in any case. It is a State plan I am talking about. I am not talking about the State accepting a mandate from the Federal Government as to how it should spend its money. I am talking about the advisability of having a clear system of priorities, a determination of need and attempt to see that the Federal money gets to the areas of greatest need and so on.
You also quote, and I will ask you what you mean by this, a statement by your own organization on page 2:
Funds collected at one level of government for expenditure at a different level should be apportioned in accord with an equitable and objective formula,
Well, is it equitable and objective as determined by the lower level and is there no possibility, is it not a reasonable thing for the agency, the level of government that is providing the funds to take a look at that formula to see whether it is equitable and objective?
Do we have to, in other words, give a blank check in order to make it a good Federal program?
Mr. FULLER. It is determined by the law this is
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. That is what I am saying. Is it not a reasonable thing to write into the Federal law a reasonable and objective formula must be developed by the State if you are to ask for Federal assistance ?
Mr. FULLER. And is this to be judged on the basis of discretion by a Federal official?
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. I do not know what that question means. Is it to be judged by discretion.
Mr. FULLER. We do.
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. How else can you judge a plan except by using discretion ?
Mr. FULLER. We do know what it means and I would like to give you the range of viewpoint among our people.
I would like to read first a letter written February 13 to Commissioner Derthick by State Commissioner of Education James E. Allen, Jr., of New York.
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. Are we getting off on the Defense Education Act?
Mr. FULLER. Yes, that is what you are asking about, is it not?
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. Not yet, no. I was asking about the advisability of putting a formula of requiring some State plan or putting some limitations on the way in which the lower level of government, which would be the recipient of Federal bounty, is to handle those funds.
Mr. FULLER. We would favor H.R. 22 as amended under the suggestions made here, utilizing the amendments from the principles of the Udall bill and we think that is as much control as should be put in it. In fact, it is more than we think should be put in it.
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. You would have no reservations about what might happen so far as Federal control of education is concerned if there should be an absolute blank check to use 100 percent of this money for teachers' salaries?
Mr. FULLER. There is not any such thing. Perhaps I would if there were an absolute blank check but there is not under H.R. 22.
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. You would make it mighty blank before we got through if we should weaken what few controls are in H.R. 22 by changing, as an example, "verification” to "certification” so as to see to it that we do not have any responsibility or way of controlling the way the money is spent once it is allocated to the States.
Mr. FULLER. The change there means that it has been our experience in administering numerous federally connected education programs that there is less administrative waste and more efficient administration if it is coordinated with the State systems of finance and operated by the State to the local districts rather than directly by the Federal Government to the local districts so far as prudence is concerned.
Mr. FRELINGHUSEN. Do you think the Federal Government if it should decide to put a billion dollars or $4 billion a year into supplementing teachers salaries would have no responsibility and might not well take an interest in how that money is spent so far as the adequacy of the teachers is concerned ?
Mr. FULLER. I do not think it should control the local school systems in the United States. That is Federal control of education and we are adamantly opposed to it.
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. I did not say you were opposed to it. I take it for granted you were very strongly opposed.
What I asked is if we put in $5 billion worth of funds to support teacher salaries, whether it would not be a logical conclusion to think that we might take an interest in how that money is being spent.
Mr. FULLER. I think you would take an interest and on that point may I say that the relationships which I can say with certainty during the past 25 years at least, between the Commissioner of Education on the one hand and the chief State school officers on the other, is a professional relationship which results in more being done than can possibly be legislated and even more so, results in better prudence than can possibly be obtained under regulations written on the basis of some word such as "verify" which put a dual system of prudence all the way down to the local school system.
We think it is less efficient. Senator Clark suggested last Friday that he thought the State system had a better system of prudence than the Federal Government could possibly have with 50,000 school districts.