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probes deeply into the causes for the lack of educational achievement uncovered in the first study. Together they offer a sound foundation for improving the total educational system of a specific State-Alaska-and should provide invaluable insights for other States faced with the education of similar native groups in public schools.
Additional studies, completed and in progress, are concerned with the high dropout rate among such other disadvantaged groups as migrant laborers, Negroes, and Spanish-speaking people in the United States. Others are probing into pupil-teacher relationships, the development of concepts of democracy and freedom, the relationship between school experiences and juvenile delinquency, the motivations of youth for leaving school, the financing of education in urban areas, the effects of various teaching methods on the achievement of elementary school children, the teaching of spatial concepts to blind children, the language achievement of the mentally retarded, and improving the effectiveness of college teaching. Although many more are in progress, we are really just beginning to strike fertile soil. Much remains to be done.
Senator MORSE. Gentlemen, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
You have been very helpful to us with your statements, and don't be surprised if you find me plagiarizing them, and reading from them on the floor of the Senate.
We will recess until 10 o'clock tomorrow morning.
(Whereupon, at 4:20 p.m., the subcommittee recessed, to resume Tuesday, May 28, 1963, at 10 a.m.)
TUESDAY, MAY 28, 1963
SUBCOMMITTEE ON EDUCATION OF THE
COMMITTEE ON LABOR AND PUBLIC WELFARE,
Washington, D.C. The subcommittee met, pursuant to recess, at 10:10 a.m., in room 4232, New Senate Office Building, Senator Ralph W. Yarborough presiding.
Present: Senators Yarborough (presiding) and Javits.
Also present: Hon. John Brademas, a U.S. Representative from the Third District of the State of Indiana.
Committee staff members present: Stewart E. McClure, chief clerk; Charles Lee, professional staff member of the subcommittee. Michael J. Bernstein, minority counsel; and Ray D. Hurley, associate minority
Senator YARBOROUGH. The Subcommittee on Education of the Senate Labor and Public Welfare Committee will resume hearings on S. 580 and related bills on the National Education Improvement Act of 1963, or bills covering some one facet of this national education improvement question.
The first witness to be heard is Mr. Andrew Biemiller, legislative director of AFL-CIO.
I believe you will be accompanied by your representatives. Will you, Mr. Biemiller, identify your associates for the record? We know your former service in the House of Representatives as a Member of Congress, and your long support in the Congress and presently of the educational measures. You have long been an advocate for improvement of educational opportunities for the youth of America. We welcome you back to this subcommittee.
You have long been on the side of better opportunities for boys and girls of America.
STATEMENT OF ANDREW J. BIEMILLER, LEGISLATIVE DIRECTOR, AFL-CIO, ACCOMPANIED BY THOMAS HARRIS, ASSOCIATE GENERAL COUNSEL, AND LARRY ROGAN, DIRECTOR, DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION, AFL-CIO
Mr. BIEMILLER. Mr. Chairman, my name is Andrew J. Biemiller. I am director of the department of legislation of the AFL-CIO, and I appear before you on behalf of that organization.
I am accompanied by Mr. Thomas Harris, associate general counsel of the AFL-CIO, and Mr. Larry Rogan, director of the department of education of the AFL-CIO.
Let me say at the start that we are aware of the published reports that the bill before you-S. 580, the National Education Improvement Act is about to be separated into four or more parts, each of which will deal with a different aspect of our national educational problem.
This prospect does not disturb us in the least. It does not, in any way, affect our position. For, as a general proposition, I can tell you that we are in support of the President's proposals, whether taken together or one at a time. Except for details that I will mention later, our only dissent is that the administration program is too modest.
We believe it would take at least twice as much money to achieve the stated objectives of S. 580 as the bill itself contemplates. In our view it is high time that this country stopped shopping around for a bargain basement or discount house solution to the educational crisis. Adequate schools cost money, and we might as well accept this as a fact.
Even though its financial terms are unrealistic, and even though its format has been-or is about to be-altered by legislative realities, the omnibus bill submitted by President Kennedy has already contributed to public understanding of the scope of the problem. As the AFL-CIO executive council said last February:
Whether the omnibus pattern survives in Congress is not important; it has already served its purpose by stressing the unbreakable interrelationship of elementary, secondary, undergraduate, postgraduate, vocational, and adult education.
We think that is true. And therefore it is our conviction that the Congress would be gravely mistaken if it looked upon Federal aid to education as a phantom issue, an exercise in parliamentary maneuver, a matter better left to the campaign in 1964.
We say that progress is needed now and that there will be no political advantage to either party in further delay.
Mr. Chairman, we say this is realists. We recognize that this whole matter, which otherwise would long ago have been resolved, has been enmeshed in religious controversy.
As an organization whose membership includes those of all religions it might be the better part of valor for us to sidestep this unpleasant fact. But if we did so we would not do justice to our members and we would not keep faith with our obligation to the Nation.
Like President Kennedy we stand on the Constitution of the United States. Yet, as our specific proposals suggest, we believe that within the framework of this basic American charter there lies an area in which seemingly irreconcilable positions can be brought together. Above all I want to stress the deep conviction of the AFL-CIO that Federal aid to education at all levels, can no longer be shunted aside. We are here, not to make a record, but rather in the hope of a prompt legislative result.
I have here, Mr. Chairman, four detailed studies which deal with the major educational divisions I would like to cover. They set forth the positive arguments on the need for Federal aid in each case. In order to save the committee's time I ask leave to have them inserted
in the record as an appendix to my testimony. I shall then concentrate on our proposals for strengthening the bill before you. Now let me take up the various forms of Federal aid envisioned by the bill:
(1) Elementary and secondary education.-Apart from the budgetary reservation made earlier and I might say, Mr. Chairman, that, since I have already noted the inadequacy of the funds asked, I will not repeat it at every point-we endorse the administration proposals with these exceptions:
(a) Raising teachers' salaries to a "State average" is an inadequate goal when the best salary in the State may be meager. Without pretending to have a definitive remedy, we suggest that a better formula could be devised.
(b) Private nonprofit schools are now eligible for National Defense Education Act loans to buy equipment to teach science, mathematics, and foreign languages. Such loans should also be available for the construction of classrooms devoted to these subjects, and English and social studies should be added to the list for which National Defense Education Act loans are permitted.
(c) We have long urged the extension of the forgiveness feature of the National Defense Education Act loans to all teachers—elementary, secondary, college, and university, whether private or public-and we are pleased to see this provision included in the present bill. This is one method by which Federal policy can assist nonpublic education through completely constitutional means. We would also urge that serious consideration be given to including librarians and social workers among those who are eligible for loan forgiveness. These professions, like teaching, require college education, usually at the graduate level, but neither their educational attainment nor their essential public service is reflected in their earnings.
(d) The phasing-out concept of Federal aid is not realistic. The Congress ought not to embark upon a fundamental program of this kind under any illusion that it will soon come to an end. If the principle of Federal aid to primary and secondary education is written into law-as we hope will be the case-it should be done with the full understanding that the obligation will be permanent. The amount of aid may decline after the first crisis is met, but we cannot foresee a time when the need itself will have disappeared.
To put it another way, this whole approach to the educational system is too serious a matter to allow for polite fictions that might be tolerated on lesser issues.
When the Federal Government at long last acknowledges its responsibility for the education of its future citizens it must continue to fulfill that responsibility.
I am reluctant to pass over without comment some features of the administration's proposals which we find especially welcome.
Assistance for emergency school construction is badly needed. It would also have a salutary effect upon the economy. Unemployment among construction workers has run far higher than the national average. The 1962 rate among construction craftsmen other than carpenters average 8.8 percent, among carpenters 9.4 percent, and among construction laborers 20.4 percent. We need the school con
struction for the sake of our children, but the healthy effect in terms of employment is an added benefit which should not be overlooked.
The administration's plan further provides that Federal funds may be used to meet the special needs of children in slum schools, depressed areas, and migratory labor camps. Improving the educational opportunities for such deprived children is an urgent need.
One of the President's recommendations would indirectly be of great benefit to elementary and secondary schools, both public and private, and that is the provision of grants for the improvement of teacher training. The AFL-CIO, in testimony last year, noted the extent to which teachers of social studies are poorly prepared, few States requiring them to have taken even one formal course in college economics. Many union members have expressed dismay at the confused ideas about organized labor that their children develop in school. An important reason is that the teachers who are supposed to educate our young people about economic and social problems are ill equipped to do so. The proposals advanced by the administration could do much to improve the teaching in America's schools.
In requesting a continuation of the existing program of aid to federally impacted areas, the administration has made one specific recommendation which we vigorously support, the inclusion for the first time of the District of Columbia.
We are aware, Mr. Chairman, that opponents of Federal aid to elementary and secondary schools pretend that no need exists. They cite the tremendous strides that have been made by innumerable local school districts in building classrooms and otherwise expanding their facilities.
We in the AFL-CIO are aware of these local efforts and we admire them. But we make these points:
Irrefutable statistics from impartial sources make it clear that, for the Nation as a whole, local efforts have not been enough.
Local property owners, who in most communities carry most of the burden of school costs, are already taxed to the limit of their ability
Sales taxes, adopted by many States as an easy fundraising device, are not only essentially regressive, but in States like Michigan, which exacts a 4-percent tribute even on milk and bread, impose an intolerable burden on those least able to shoulder it.
(2) Vocational education.-Here again we find ourselves in general agreement with the objectives of the administration, but offer the following suggestions:
(a) The law should provide for continuing authorization rather than be limited to a 5-year period. There can be no "phasing out" in this area either.
(b) The 2-year period allowed for the States to convert their present programs of vocational education to the patern suggested by the President should be reduced to 1 year. The immediate need for training in new occupations is too great to permit the luxury of a 2-year lag.
(c) The AFL-CIO has repeatedly pointed out the need for studies to evauate the adequacy of training programs and the quality of curricula and instructors. The bill should require the U.S. Office of Education to do this and to develop experimental and pilot programs