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Mrs. Bull. No, sir; I live in Maryland.
Mrs. Bull. That is in Prince Georges County, the home of the university.
Mr. BAILEY. I think your Congressman went along with us.
Will you come forward, Mr. Weitzer? Let us have your viewpoints on this legislation.
We will accept your formal statement and you may summarize it, Mr. Weitzer, for the saving of time.
If there is no objection it will be accepted for the record at this point.
Mr. WEITZER. Thank you, sir.
STATEMENT BY BERNARD WETTZER, NATIONAL LEGISLATIVE DIRECTOR OF THE JEWISH
WAR VETERANS OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
The privilege and honor of testifying before your committee is highly appreciated by me in behalf of the Jewish War Veterans of the United States of America. Our organization has regularly, during the past 10 years, supported Federal aid to education before your committee. This has been done in accordance with resolutions passed, unanimously, at our annual national conventions. The objectives of such resolutions are in harmony with one of the basic premises expressed in the preamble to our constitution, namely: “To instill love of country and flag and to promote sound minds and bodies in the youth of our country.”
At the 63d annual national convention of the Jewish War Veterans of the United States of America, two resolutions were passed, again, unanimously, todeal with the shortage of schoolrooms and teachers. Copies of the resolutions are attached to this statement for your information.
Perhaps it is worth while to elaborate, briefly, on the great interest which our organization has in promoting better educational facilities and programs throughout our country.
The tempo of our modern life has resulted in more population movement than we ever had before. The spread of our industry and its decentralization has augmented this movement. We can no longer afford to have any weak spots in any part of our country.
Furthermore, our membership is composed of men who fonght in wartime for the defense of our country. Our organization was founded by men who fought in the War Between the States. It has grown as we have enrolled members among the veterans who fought in the war with Spain, World War I and II and in Korea. All of these men, as did all other veterans, fought not only to keep our country whole and safe but also to provide for their children, a better country in which to live. Everyone will agree that the major factor to that end is a constantly improving educational system. This is accented by the fact that the current improving of schoolchildren in our free public schools is made up, very largely, of the progeny of the veterans of World War II and the Korean war who therefore have a special interest in education.
Your committee has held lengthy hearings. The problems which confront our public schools have been detailed to you by experts--the officials of the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, the administrators, State and local, of the public schools systems, the school superintendents, representative teachers and school principals as well as the able leaders of the National Education Association. In addition, you have heard from many public groups. As I have sat in the audience in many of your hearings and as I read the newspaper re
ports, I have come to the conclusion that there is practically universal agreement on two points.
One is that there is a shortage of approximately 140,000 schoolrooms in the country which shortage is being diminished at such a slow rate that we will be overwhelmed by the tremendous numbers of pupils who will soon be entering the secondary schools to say nothing of the increasing number of children entering the primary schools as our population expands.
Two is that the shortage of teachers, especially adequately trained teachers, runs in the neighborhood of 100,000 even at the present overly large class size. The Commissioner of Education, Dr. Derthick, and his superior officer, Secretary Fleming, agree that to overcome this teacher shortage and to recruit sufficient additional teachers, competently trained to teach the added number of smaller sized classes, teachers' salaries should, in a reasonably limited time, be doubled.
The major point of difference appears to be where will the money required to meet these shortages come from. During the years since the end of World War II, the States and the local school districts have made increasingly greater and greater dolar expenditures to meet the situation. The Federal Govern. ment has given some dollar help in federally impacted areas. The two accepted problems which I have just stated continue almost static. A large number of school districts and many of the States have come to the barricade of their debt limit. The States are desperately seeking new tax revenues and the school districts are only too often stymied in their fund raising to continue their current rate of school expenditures. The State of New York where I was born, has a new Governor whose troubles in raising State funds fill the newspapers. The Governor of Michigan, in testimony before the Labor and Welfare Committee, told of his State's harrowing financial problems.
In the light of this situation, I respectfully 'urge your committee to report, favorably, H.R. 22 which provides a financial aid program by the Federal Government under terms which leave the State free to decide how to apportion the Federal funds it receives. The State decides whether to spend the money io meet the teacher shortage or the class room shortage or to expend the funds in meeting both shortages to a certain degree.
We can no longer afford not to spend this money. This subject has been before the Congress in one form or another for more than 10 years. By and large, the policy has been one of delay, linger and wait. The need to meet the shortages of the public school educational system is urgent. If the budget agreed upon by the bookkeepers, statisticians and accountants in the Budget Bureau must be balanced, that task must be dealt with by the Ways and Means Committee by providing increased Federal revenues. I believe the people of our country are willing to pay added taxes to make sure that all children of our country get the full education they deserve and need to be good productive citizens. The responsibility of your Committee is to provide the legislation which will produce such an end result.
SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION Whereas the House of Representatives, in the 1st session of the 85th Congress, by a close vote, defeated H.R. 1, a bill providing for Federal aid to school construction which was supported by our organization in accordance with the resolutions on that subject passed at our 61st annual national convention; and
Whereas substantially, the situation in regard to the shortage of classrooms has been very little improved; and
Whereas the school district resources plus State aid are even more stringently limited by the increase in interest rates on school district bonds thereby in.creasing the difficulties of providing adequate numbers of school rooms for the growing size of the school population: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That the Jewish War Veterans of the United States of America in 63d annual national convention assembled in Los Angeles, Calif., August 3–10, 1958, do continue to support a bill similar to H.R. 1 in order to provide the school room facilities which are essential to the functioning of the educational system,
AID TO EDUCATION Whereas the Jewish War Veterans of the United States of America has consistently supported every possible means to improve education in the primary and the secondary schools as a fundamental step in training our youths for the obligation and privileges of American citizenship; and
Whereas the rapidly increasing number of children in the school age, somany of which are the offspring of veterans, has resulted in an acute shortage of schoolroom facilities and teaching personnel which will continue for years to come; and
Whereas States and localities are unable to shoulder the full burden of providing the needed school facilities in their areas: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That the Jewish War Veterans of the United States of America in 63d annual national convention assembled in Los Angeles, Calif., August 3–10, 1958, do urge all members and all echelons of our organization to make every effort in their communities to see that more funds are devoted by the local school districts and by State aid to catch up with the galloping increase in the needs of a public school system and to acquaint their representatives and prospective representatives in the Congress and the Senate with the importance of voting funds for Federal aid to supplement the efforts of the school districts and the States.
STATEMENT OF BERNARD WEITZER, NATIONAL LEGISLATIVE
DIRECTOR, THE JEWISH WAR VETERANS OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Mr. WEITZER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I do want to say that I consider it a privilege and an honor to testify before your committee because our organization has been consistently in support of the efforts you have been making to provide Federal aid for education.
I think it is to be expected of a veterans organization whose membership in our organization, as in all the other veterans organizations, is made up largely now of World War II and Korean veterans, mentbers like myself who served in World War I may not have the same direct interest except as grandparents of the present school generation, but I think the current school generation is largely the product, you might say, of the veterans of World War II and the Korean veterans.
As I say, this is one of the reasons why veterans generally, I believe, are in support of Federal aid to education because it is their children who are going to suffer if the school system of our country fails to get what legislation you are considering here provides and I am speaking of course, specially of H.R. 22.
There are a couple of things I did want to emphasize. One is that I would like to congratulate the members of the committee who queried the witness who appeared here, a very erudite gentleman, about the efforts that were being made by the local chambers of commerce.
The national chamber, the U.S. Chamber, of course, has opposed Federal aid to education, saying it was a local problem. Apparently a substantial number of the State chambers of commerce opposed Federal aid to education.
I notice that of about 28 or 29 States or local chambers, four of them are located in the State of Texas. I suppose they can afford to be represented by more than one organization in a State of that size.
But the thing that surprises me here is that I never hear about any local chamber of commerce or any State chamber of commerce pushing their legislatures or pushing their legislative bodies in the municipalities or in the counties to do the job that needs to be done by way of correcting the shortage of classrooms and the shortage of teachers.
I have read a good deal in the papers about your hearings. I have.. been here on many occasions and listened to the witnesses.
It appears to me that there are two things on which opponents and proponents are pretty well agreed. I was surprised to hear the disagreement this morning, but there does seem to be a general agreement and I read the U.S. Chamber of Commerce publication pretty regularly as a part of my job, it seems to me that they have agreed with the Commissioner of Éducation and the Secretaries of Health, Education, and Welfare have agreed that there are shortages amounting to 140,000 classrooms and that there are shortages of teachers to the extent of 100,000.
And where have these local entities, members of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, been in not fighting for getting the job done in their own communities which they say is no business of the Federal Government.
You have pointed out that that was well covered in the Constitution, in the welfare clause of the Constitution.
If education is not an activity of the welfare of the United States I do not know what is.
In the preamble to our own Constitution, one of the basic premises stated there is: “To instill love of country and flag and to promote sound minds and bodies in the youth of our country.”
It is in the consonance with that phrase that our organization has for the last 12 years, to my knowledge, regularly passed resolutions unanimously approving legislation such as I am here to favor today.
I appreciate very much this opportunity to appear before you.
Mr. BAILEY. We deeply appreciate the knowledge that we have the support of your group and of other veterans groups in this legislation.
Mr. WEITZER. I cannot speak, of course, for the other veteran groups, but I know that I have talked to them and I think some of them have appeared before your committee. Each organization, of course, is autonomous. While we have some common interests, I would not attempt to speak for any of them.
Mr. BAILEY. Thank you very much, Mr. Weitzer. We again thank you for making this appearance. We appreciate it very much.
Mr. WEITZER. Thank you.
Mr. BAILEY. As our final witness we have Mr. Carl J. Megel, president of the American Federation of Teachers, who will be accompanied by Miss Borchardt, of the same organization.
STATEMENT OF CARL J. MEGEL, PRESIDENT, AMERICAN FEDERA
TION OF TEACHERS, AFI-CIO, ACCOMPANIED BY SELMA M. BORCHARDT
Mr. MEGEL. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Chairman, I am the national president of the American Federation of Teachers, an AFL-CIO affiliate. I am representative of 450 locals of the American Federation of Teachers in 42 States, including Alaska, Hawaii, and the Canal Zone. I
appreciate this opportunity to be here. I want to concur wholeheartedly in the statement just made by the delegate from the Parent-Teachers Association.
In the interest of brevity, Mr. Chairman, I would just like to introduce my prepared statement to you, which is a repetition of many of the things I know you have heard during the past week that you have been holding these hearings.
Mr. BAILEY. If there is no objection it will be accepted and printed in the record of the hearings. (The statement referred to follows:)
STATEMENT OF CARL J. MEGEL, PRESIDENT, AMERICAN FEDERATION OF TEACHERS,
AFL-CIO My name is Carl J. Megel. I am national president of the American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO. · The American Federation of Teachers represents organized teachers of America with locals in 42 States, including Alaska, Hawaii, and the Canal Zone.
The American Federation of Teachers, for more than 40 years, has fought for Federal assistance in financing the Nation's public school system. The convention of the American Federation of Teachers in 1919 passed a resolution outlining future educational needs in an expanded society. The resolution further pointed out that such a program would require financial assistance from our National Government.
During these 40 years, American education has gone through many changes. Laws have been passed, making it mandatory for all children to be in school to age 16. The population of the Nation has grown by leaps and bounds. College education, which 40 years ago was available only for the few, is now considered
a necessary part of the complete training of America's students. Many industries and corporations require a college diploma as a condition of employment. During this period of phenomenal growth percentagewise, the financial support of our school system has steadily declined.
Indeed, with a school population today of 38 million, at a time when the future of the Nation depends upon the intelligence of all of its people, we are spending a meager $9 billion-less than 3 percent of our national income for education.
While Russia, considered only a few short years ago as an underprivileged and illiterate nation, spends great sums of money to educate its people and has made forward strides in this area almost beyond human comprehension, we as a nation, continue to study educational needs, and find new shortcuts for larger classes, fewer classrooms, and fewer teachers.
American education is being retarded by four major shortages. Because of inadequate salaries and employment insecurity, there is a shortage of some 250,000 qualified teachers—with a minimum education of a bachelor's degree more than 400,000 adequate, modern, and suitable classrooms are needed to replace those now obsolete and to augment those overcrowded and on double shift, and to serve the oncoming school population,
More than half the public schools are lacking in modern teaching equipment and up-to-date textbooks.
These shortages exist because more and more school districts are reaching their taxing, borrowing, and bonding limits. Legislatures are reluctant to increase State aid, and local school boards are hesitant to ask for increases.
In these days of material things, more and more funds are being spent for building highways and bridges and waterways than for building the intellectual abilities of our citizens for the future.
State and local financing cannot possibly meet the need of education if we are to maintain our leadership. The Federal Government is the only agency with the ability to spread school costs among all the people and thus adequately finance public education. Federal aid for education is the only complete answer and it is all the more indicated and essential since the Nation-its States and localities—have become one community where more and more people educated in one State or city grow up to live and work in another. Over 20 million Americans have crossed State lines during 1958.
A national budget which provides billions for roads, for business and industry, can provide for the educational needs of its schools. It is not possible for one to expect the property tax to continue, as it has in the past, to carry the major financial burden for the schools. It is interesting to note that in 1940 the