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Mr. Chairman, Citizens for Educational Freedom is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, and also nonsectarian-I underscore that, nonsectariancorporate association of citizens with 212 chapters and 29 States dedicated to protecting parents' rights of freedom and choice in education.
We respectfully submit that our national educational policy must be determined according to the rights of every American citizen and the needs of every American child.
JUNIOR GI BILL
We recommend if Federal assistance is given for education, and there we do not take a stand on Federal aid or not, but if Federal assistance is given to education that it take the form of the junior GI bill introduced by Congressman James Delaney providing for equal assistance to the parents of all children in all schools which comply with the compulsory educational laws.
Now, this morning you, in a couple of questions, said, in substance, that you were in agreement with much of the position of some of the former witnesses, such as Monsignor Hochwalt, but it was also a question of the form in which this assistance would take.
Well, we have stated that this form of aid, that is, giving aid to the children rather than to the institution, this form of aid protects the civil rights to freedom of choice and equality of opportunity in education for all Americans.
Identical bills have ben introduced by Congressmen Hugh Carey, Seymour Halpern, and Augustus Hawkins, and we are very proud to add that on May 17, just recently, identical bills for direct citizen aid were also introduced in the House by the five Congressmen representing all the Philadelphia districts, namely William Green, Jr., William Barrett, James Byrne, Herman Toll, and Robert N. C. Nix. We appreciate the attempts, as have been recently stated by Congressman A. C. Powell and Senator Ribicoff, of Connecticut, to promote opportunity for all citizens, but we feel that their proposals would leave many needful citizens without the equal benefits and opportunities provided by the junior GI bills Congressmen Delaney and Green and the others only have mentioned.
Mr. Chairman, this, in substance, summarizes what we would say in that supplemental statement.
SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE
If I may, I would just like to add one or two comments. One is that as a Protestant I feel, as a Protestant minister I feel very strongly that we must emphasize this matter of separation of church and
I think that just as the GI bill of rights has never been questioned because of an alleged violation of the principle of separation of church and state, neither would this aid-to-the-individual plan-this junior GI bill of rights-that CEF backs.
I feel, however, that we must also emphasize another aspect; that is an aspect which I have learned myself from being in Holland 4 years where they have a system which I think is an admirable system.
I think we must emphasize this separation of family and state, not only of church and state but I think we must emphasize the fact that many believe that God and nature have given the children to the parents and not to the state.
Therefore, it ought to be left in the hands of the parents, complete freedom, not only legal freedom but an actual freedom, to be able to implement that choice of their conscience to choose the school of their own choice.
In other words, Citizens for Educational Freedom would like to emphasize that the State surely has an interest in education. It is for the welfare of the government that the State demands certain. scholastic standards. But then it feels as though since the children belong to the parents, the parents ought to be allowed complete unhampered freedom in the direction of the choice of their education. and by following such a plan as this junior GI bill of rights, we believe that the parents would have the complete freedom of choice, just as has been observed in New York State where on the university level they receive all sorts of scholarships. Any student can go to any university of his own choice with scholarships, not only because he is a brilliant student, but everyone can receive that aid, and there is no problem of this violation of principle of family and State because he has that choice, and also there is no problem of the violation of the principle of church and state.
That is all that I would simply submit to you today, but I certainly thank you for your kindness and for the opportunity of presenting my views.
(The prepared statement for the Citizens for Educational Freedom follows:)
PREPARED STATEMENT OF CITIZENS FOR EDUCATIONAL FREEDOM PRESENTED BY WILLIAM H. SLAVIC, SOUTH BEND, IND.
The President of the United States has on several occasions clearly expressed the interest of the Federal Government in education. On February 27, 1961, he said, "I am convinced that the national interest requires us to provide every child with an opportunity to develop his talent to the fullest." Again he said: "We should make every effort to see that the intellectual talents of every American child are developed to the fullest." In his state of the Union address this year he said, "The future of any country which is dependent on the will and wisdom of its citizens is damaged, and irreparably damaged, whenever any of its children is not educated to the fullest extent of his capacity, from grade school through graduate school."
In presenting his proposals to this Congress, the President quoted Thomas Jefferson: "Let us keep our eye steadily on the whole system." He added as he has before that greater education advantages must be available to all. "regardless of race, color, or creed." More specifically, the President said the proper role of the Federal Government in education "is to identify national education goals and to help local, State, and private authorities build the necessary roads to reach those goals."
On the level of higher education the administration's program, embodied in H.R. 3000, does for the most part follow these excellent principles. We congratulate the President for his proposals to assist students and institutions of higher learning without discrimination or favoritism. We also commend the President for proposing the elimination of discriminatory provisions in the National Defense Education Act.
However, on the elementary and secondary levels, legislation proposals to implement these high goals have not been forthcoming. Instead, title IV of the act excludes 7 million American schoolchildren, whose only crime is that their parents have exercised their inalienable and constitutional right to freedom
of choice in education. This is the basic objection: the denial of parents' and ⚫hildren's rights. This is not a church-state matter at all. We do not represent or speak for any religious group or school system. We, the members of Citizensfor Educational Freedom, a nonpartisan, nonsectarian and nonprofit organizaon, protest as citizens on behalf of all excluded children.
We endorse the statement of Representative James Roosevelt to the effect that A method can be found to "reconcile the principle of separation of church and state with the basic right to choose between public and private education." We 2.80 endorse Mr. Roosevelt's further statement: "It's high time that we spend e energy on providing a sound program that will apply across the board to all our children."
It would seem that the President would be in agreement with this proposal and its end, for he said in presenting his program on January 29 that the Nation ean no longer afford the luxury of endless debate over all the complicated and sitive questions raised by each new proposal on Federal participation in education. To be sure, these are all hard problems--but this Nation has not come its present position of leadership by avoiding hard problems. We are at a point in history when we must face and resolve these problems."
Yet, again the fact is that title IV of H.R. 3000 avoids the problem and postpones the solution. For it matters not at all that the aid at the primary and Secondary level is selective rather than inclusive if it is limited to State schoolchildren only. For by any criteria justifying assistance to elementary and secondary education, including impacted areas aid, the most needy single group is the great majority of the 7 million children in independent schools.
There are alternatives to discriminatory forms of aid. Citizens for Educational Freedom, as an organization dedicated to parents' rights and freedom of choice in education, has suggested alternatives in the past and proposes them
Aid can be given on the elementary and secondary level in the form of grants to the parent or student, as in the GI bill, National Defense Education Act scholarships and proposed college scholarship programs, War Orphans Assistance Act, page boy assistance, and other programs, grants such as are embodied in HR. 320 and 2555, called the junior GI bill.
Assistance can also be given in the form of special purpose grants to the institation, such as Senator Edward Kennedy proposed during his recent campaign, though Citizens for Educational Freedom obviously prefers aid to the student, rather than the institution, because it places the exercise of choice more truly the parent-where it belongs.
There is no real doubt that such legislation is possible if Congress has a will. In a March 1, 1961, press conference, the President said, in explaining the conradiction between his college and secondary program: "The aid we have recommended to colleges is in a different form. We are aiding the student in e same way the GI bill of rights aided the student. The scholarships are given to the students who have particular talents and they can go to the college they wish. In that case, it is aid to the student, not the school or college, and, therefore, not to a particular religious group. That is the distinction between
This statement is a perfect exposition of the constitutionality of aid to all college students. It does not explain why the very same approach cannot be ride at the lower levels. It is difficult to understand why some Americans can early see the dangerous consequences of discrimination in higher education, but are blind to these consequences in elementary and secondary education. There are also two unsatisfactory, discriminatory provisions in the President's Lew college aid proposals held over from last year:
(1) The matching feature in proposed grant programs "triggers" discriminatory matching procedures at the State level. Independent school supporters may well have to pay additional taxes to match grants to State institutions and then contribute again to match grants to independent institutions.
(2) Proposed grants for construction of State junior colleges are not only an unprecedented form of discrimination on the college level, but they are a tacit admission that money factors are eliminating independent colleges, present and future, from any significant role in this area of education. It is interesting to note that the American Council on Education, speaking for institutions of higher education, does not endorse this proposed junior cole program. This proposal is in fact the wish only of the National Education Association.
There are, as the President said in presenting this program, hard problems to be resolved in financing American education. But these problems are no harder than those Government faces courageously in attempting to guarantee Negroes' civil rights, despite "public unwillingness"--a phrase Dr. George Shuster used this month in characterizing opposition to a fair share for all children In no other area is public unwillingness a justification for calling off the fight for civil rights. And the "new frontier" in civil rights is not in the area of race, but of education-parents' rights in education. It is no excuse to harken to European religious strife of several centuries ago as a reason for not moving forward on that frontier. Europe has largely resolved its old religious tensions, and every western democracy is committed in greater or lesser degree to economic guarantee of freedom of choice in education. These problems would not be so difficult to solve if serious efforts were made to distinquish the ends of education aid from other ends which the institution may also pursue in the process of satisfying those ends which concern the State.
As Chancellor Robert M. Hutchins said recently: "Federal aid should go to all educational institutions that meet Federal standards. Mr. Justice Jackson
is wrong in saying a school is a church if it is managed by a church and is important to its religious work. A school is an educational institution and not a church if its object is intellectual development and if it is engaged, bona fide. in this task. The fact that it is owned by a church, or that it gives some religious instruction, or that its teaching is 'permeated' by religion, or that aid to it is incidentally of some benefit to the church is immaterial. Aid to all educational institutions that meet Federal standards would promote religious freedom as well as education. The overriding public purpose would be to improve education, including education in institutions under religious auspices. Sup porting them would no more be a violation of the first amendment than it would be to hold institutions under religious auspices to Federal standards as a condition of receiving Federal aid."
Mr. Hutchins goes on to say: "Since the object of the first amendment is to guarantee and promote religious freedom, including freedom from religion, it is a violation of the amendment to apply pressure, direct or indirect, upon the conscience of any person."
Accordingly he finds the so-called wall of separation an obstacle to freedomand to the realization of national purposes in education:
"The wall has no future. What has a future is the rational, nonmetaphorical discussion, in the light of all the provisions of the first amendment, of the methods by which we may guarantee and promote religious freedom and the methods by which we may obtain an educational system worthy of the potentialities and responsibilities of our people.
"The first amendment is a charter of learning. It confirms empowerments as well as immunities. We are to learn how to use our freedom. If we are to be metaphorical, let us recognize that the first amendment is not intended as a fence, or wall, around a vacant lot. Something is supposed to be going on inside. What is supposed to be going on is learning. A political community is an educational life in process.
"The wall has no future because it cannot help us learn. If taken literally, it is arbitrary and unreasonable, pretending to separate things that are not in all respects separable, thwarting efforts to understand what education and freedom of (and from) religion demand, hampering us in our search for what we need above everything else: a national idea of education and a national program to carry it out.
"If the West has a future, it is as the schoolmaster of the world. If democracy has a future, it lies in struggling to be what no big, advanced, industrial country has succeeded in becoming: a community learning together to govern itself and to achieve the common good. American participation in these great enterprises should not be obstructed by a figure of speech."
Citizens for Educational Freedom asks: Is the United States of America a pluralistic society? Is it not in the public interest to aid all children equally, according to need? Is the common good served by excluding 15 percent of the Nation's children from benefits which their parents help pay for?
If Congress will answer these questions in conformity with the best American tradition and promulgate its answers with courage, rather than evade the issue with timidity, it could face Federal aid to education programs applying just one test: Is this the best way to meet the President's oft-enunciated and noble goals?
Congress certainly has the power to enact general welfare legislation for the benefit of all children. The Supreme Court would not strike down such legislation, because it aids all children to prepare for American citizenship.
Citizens for Educational Freedom endorses the administration's goals; it protests against proposals which discriminate against 7 million American school children and their parents. And its thousands of members and supporters grow weary of being considered second-class citizens who are asked to pay first-class taxes.
A Gallup poll, released for publication on February 12, 1963, reports that 49 percent of persons interviewed expressed the opinion that Federal money to aid education should go to all schools, and not just public schools; 44 percent favored ..id to public schools only, and 7 percent expressed no opinion. In other words, the majority of American citizens interviewed favored assistance for all children in all schools. This is a highly significant shift in American public opinion. We of Citizens for Educational Freedom ask only that this committee and the Congress take a stand which is now desired by the majority of American citizens. The members and supporters of Citizens for Educational Freedom, adherents of Protestant, Catholic and Jewish faiths, call upon the members of this committee to oppose the discriminatory features of the administration's program. We are enfident that you will recognize and follow the basic principle in education, namely, the primary right of parents to choose the kind of education they want for their children. We are also confident that you will recognize and follow the qually great American principles of freedom and justice for all children. In the words of the commission to study American education appointed by President Franklin Roosevelt in 1936: "The dollar should follow the child."
EQUAL TREATMENT OF ALL VIEWPOINTS
Dr. PALMER. Mr. Chairman, with your permission I wish to add the statement that freedom in education requires equal treatment to all religious viewpoints in education, because no education is religiously neutral, not even that of the Government school. To illustrate this point, I quote herewith for the record the following observations of the National Education Association concerning religion and education.
ADDENDUM TO STATEMENT OF CITIZENS FOR EDUCATIONAL FREEDOM
The third aspect of religion which bears upon the school curriculum is, in a way, the most difficult to deal with and speak about intelligently. It is concerned with the reality of religious commitment, in the very broadest sense. Religion, in this sense, is defined as that which is one's "ultimate concern," to use Paul Tillich's phrase, or, according to Erich Fromm, that which is one's "life orientation." The teaching of a religious attitude, from this standpoint, is inescapable in any school. There is no teacher, no school, which can escape the problem of life orientation, the ultimate commitments by which every person must live. Every analysis of life and culture must take account, either implicitly or explicitly, of those fundamental commitments which underlie every human action. This is precisely the domain of religion. Democracy, communism, and the various economic systems cannot be analyzed in their most profound dimensions without getting into the question of ultimate values. This is, finally, a religious question.
Thus, we teach religion in the schools, whether we would or not. It would be better if the teaching of ultimate commitments were done intelligently rather than blindly. It is most important that teachers in preparation be exposed to Some of the best contemporary theological thought, including atheistic, naturalistic, and humanistic beliefs, as well as the more traditional theistic systems.
Philosophy and religion cut across all other fields and provide a context in which the entire educational process may be comprehended.-National Education Association, "The Scholars Look at the School"; a report of the Disciplines Seminar, Washington, D.C., February 1962, pages 17, 18.
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