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This service can, in my judgment, be rendered most efficiently by a Federal department of education which shall include the work now done by the board of education and by the Federal Board for Vocational Education with the provision that the Federal Board for Vocational Education shall operate as a division of the department of education, and that the secretary of education shall be a member of this board and ex officio chairman of it.
There are those who propose that all of the functions of a department of education could be exercised by the bureau of education if the bureau were adequately supported. There are several reasons why it is desirable to create the department rather than to hope for adequate development through the bureau of education. First of all, it is important to bring about the consolidation of Federal agencies concerned with education. No one would seriously propose that this could be accomplished through the development of the Bureau of Education. The undertaking is of greater importance than that associated with the status of a bureau in the Department of the Interior. If educational research is to be adequately supported, it will be necessary that this function of the Federal Government be presented for the consideration of those who make the budget by one of no less rank than a Cabinet officer. All matters of national concern involve education. It is of the utmost importance that the representative of this most important governmental service sit at the council table of the Nation.
We have two sorts of executive departments in the Federal Governmentthose charged with administrative responsibility such as War, Post Office, Treasury, and those that have been organized for the promotion of the general welfare, Agriculture, Commerce, and Labor. It is not exaggeration to propose that the welfare of all of the people of the United States is more certainly determined by the progress which we make in education than by our economic well-being as promoted by the Departments of Agriculture or Commerce, or by the social adjustments which may be made by the Department of Labor.
The Federal Government has promoted education from the earliest days of the Republic. By grants of land and of money from the Federal Government our school system was first established. The Federal Government is now spending approximately $40,000,000 annually for the support of education, other than that involved in the rehabilitation of the veterans of the World War. The creation of a department of education, the primary function of which is to carry on research and to disseminate useful information, has nothing in common with the administration and control of education. Those who have supported the creation of a Federal department are unalterably opposed to the centralization of the control of education in the Federal Government. It is just as certainly possible to promote education through reporting experiments which are undertaken, through informing people throughout the country of the adaptation of education to the needs of particular communities, as it has been to promote agriculture through the distribution of the results of experiments in that field.
Progress in education is dependent upon the scientific evaluation of current practices and upon the dissemination of the results of such inquiries to all interested in education. The Federal Department of Education should have on its staff a group of the most competent scientific workers in the field of education, These men and women will have as their primary object the assembling of facts and their interpretation. Wherever unusual progress is made or a worth-while experiment carried on, the Federal department of education will be in position to make available for the whole country the results of these undertakings. It is through scientific investigation, and in this way only, that we may be confident of making progress in the development of our school system. It is absurd to propose that we may not cooperate in such an important undertaking because this cooperation in order to be most effective must be carried on by a Federal agency.
The establishment of a Federal department of education is distinct from the issue of further Federal support. The increase in efficiency and the economy that can be effected by the consolidation of those agencies, now operating in the Federal Government, looks in the opposite direction. The support of research in a Federal department of education returns in increased efficiency and in actual savings which will amount to many times the cost of the researches undertaken. In a single field, like that of developing more adequate and more economical plans for school buildings, it is possible to save to the States and to the localities within the States millions of dollars. Every improvement in methods of teaching, in the adaptation of schools to the needs and capacities of individual children, in the development of more adequate course of study will add untold millions to the wealth of the country and will promote the happiness of our people.
Doctor DAVIDSON. I wish also to present a statement from Hon. Francis G. Blair, who last year was president of the National Education Association, and who is now its first vice president. Doctor Blair is State Superintendent of Public Instruction of the State of Illinois.
The CHAIRMAN. If there is no objection it will be included.
Doctor DAVIDSON. I will ask Dr. John K. Norton, director of research of the National Education Association to read Doctor Blair's statement and also statements from Dr. Frank D. Boynton, superintendent of schools at Ithaca, N. Y., and president of the department of superintendence of the National Education Association, and from two former presidents of the department of superintendence, Dr. J. M. Gwinn, superintendent of schools of San Francisco, and Dr. Randall J. Condon, superintendent of schools at Cincinnati, Ohio, and conclude with a statement from Miss Cornelia Adair, president of the National Education Association, Washington, D. C. Miss Adair is a teacher in the public schools of Richmond, Va.
The CHAIRMAN. If there is no objection they may be read.
STATEMENT OF DR. FRANCIS G. BLAIR, STATE SUPERINTENDENT OF PUBLIC
INSTRUCTION, SPRINGFIELD, ILL. I have opposed all of the bills which have appeared before the Federal Congress seeking to project the national government into the states along educational lines. I took this position against the National Education Association, of which I am a member. All of the bills presented from 1917 down to the present bill had in them the possibilities of an invasion by the national government into the State authority for establishing and maintaining a system of common schools. If I felt that this proposal to establish a secretary of education in the Cabinet of the President meant any dictation on the part of the Federal Government to the several States in the organization, administration and instruction of their schools, I should oppose it.
My reasons for supporting this bill are as follows:
1. Whether we want the Federal Government in the education business or not, it is already there. It has connections with education
(a) In Alaska, Hawaiian Islands, and the Philippines.
(6) It is influencing agriculture education in the States through the landgrant colleges, the county agricultural advisors, boys and girls agricultural clubs.
(c) It is very directly affecting vocational education in the various States through the Federal Board for Vocational Education and the large bonuses given to each State which meets the conditions of this Federal board.
(d) In a less direct way through industrial rehabilitation under the Federal Vocational Board.
(e) Under the Bureau of Education through the collection of statistics and surveys, all the State systems are annually reporting to the Department of the Interior.
I believe that these various education and quasi education functions now being performed by the Federal Government should be consolidated under one secretary in the Cabinet. So long as they are distributed through the various departments, it means waste and conflict. During the war we had one representative of the Department of Agriculture and one of the Department of the Interior in Illinois, both claiming the authority to perform a given kind of club work with boys and girls.
2. While education is a function of the State and not of the Federal Government, the Federal Government can not avoid a certain kind of recognition of education and a certain position of leadership in that great field. A Cabinet officer would sit about the table with the President and the other secretaries and have a voice and an influence that the Commissioner of Education does not at the present time have. Education is the largest single public activity within the several States of the Nation. While it should not be, and can not be directed from Wash
ington, there should be an intelligent understanding and an intelligent eadership for this great work in the President's Cabinet.
3. I have hoped through the years that the Bureau of Education with its commissioner might be so enlarged and so empowered by Congress that it could perform all the functions which are to be performed by the secretary of education. I have become convinced that it will never be possible to consolidate all the education activities of the government under the commissioner of education. Each one of the secretaries will resist the giving over of any of the functions which his department performs to a mere bureau in another department. If I could be convinced that the secretary of education would not mean a putting together of all of these education functions now performed by the Federal Government under one head, I should lose my interest in the bill.
4. The minute I become convinced that the creation of a department of education means greater interference on the part of the Federal Government with State systems of education than we now have, I shall withdraw my support from the bill.
STATEMENT OF DR. FRANK D. Boynton, PRESIDENT, THE DEPARTMENT OF SUPERINTENDENCE OF THE NATIONAL EDUCATION ASSOCIATION, AND SUPERINTENDENT OF SCHOOLS, ITHACA, N. Y.
At the meeting of the department of superintendence at Atlantic City, March, 1921, Congressman Horace Mann Towner, now Governor of Porto Rico, said that the United States Government was then engaged in education through its different bureaus, divisions and sections in the executive departments at a expenditure approximating $65,000,000 annually. The Curtis-Reed bill undertakes to center this work in a Cabinet department, to pull it out where the public can see what is being done and definitely place responsibility. There is absolutely nothing new in the idea that the Federal Government should be actively interested in public education.
Before we had a Constitution, what Federal Government we had was definitely interested in public education. The land act of 1785 set aside section 16, 640 acres, in each township in the Northwest Territory for the purposes of public education. Out of this vast territory have been carved the States of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin. Before these States could be admitted into the union, 'it was necessary for each to write this provision for free public education into its constitution. This practice was continued until 1848 when Congress required the setting aside of lots 16 and 32, or 1,280 acres, in each township of the public lands for public education; it required of Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico the setting aside of four sections, or 2,560 acres. The Federal Government has always shown an intelligent interest in the education of its citizens.
Article X of the Federal Constitution makes education a State function. No law which Congress might pass will in any manner alter or abridge this amendment. Under present laws, the Federal Government might by declaring the streets of our cities post roads seriously interfere with city traffic—but it never has and there is no possible likelihood that it ever will. The Federal Government's interest in good roads, in rivers and harbors, in flood control, and in other lines has improved these activities and stimulated local initiative. It is quite conceivable that the few remaining opponents to this bill may fear that dignifying education by giving it a voice at the council table of the Nation will serve to have the same stimulating effect and in this respect I have no doubt but that they are right.
The opponents of this bill raise the question as to whether the Bureau of Education can not render the research service in this and in foreign countries which the educational interests of this country demand, and all of the other services specified in the measure? The answer is that it has been demonstrated that a bureau of a department failed to do this for agriculture, for commerce, and for labor. In order that the work in these great activities might be centralized and done in a sufficiently satisfactory and efficient manner it was necessary to have a separate and responsible organization specifically charged with these responsibilities. The same is true of education. Our bureau is a bureau and pothing more. It is undoubtedly as efficient as any bureau and, with its limited funds and its rank, as efficient as one can expect it to be. The reports of the Bureau of Education are a part of the voluminous report of the Secretary of the Department of the Interior, buried under the mass of detail with which school people have nothing to do. For the present they are also published in pamphlet form, a practice that is at this moment under debate as to whether it will be continued.
Public education in this nation employs a million people and 27,000,000, approximately one-fifth of the population, is housed in the schoolrooms of this Republic. Aside from the three major wants of man-namely, clothing, food, and shelter—there is not a single activity outranking education in importance. Our first line of defense is not the Navy nor the Army. The public schools of America constitute the Nation's strong tower of defense. It was the American school boys with comparatively no military training that defeated the seasoned troops of Europe. Behold this Grand Army of the Republic, this army of 27,000,000 children marching against the citadels of ignorance and superstition and race hatreds, upholding the traditions and defending the ideals of the Republic-justice, equality, tranquility, defense, life, liberty, happiness, and welfare ideals never before set up by any government since the world began, ideals incorporated as a definite part of the teaching of the public schools; an army assembling from hill and dale, from city, and village, from the farm, the workshop, the mine, from industry and commerce, from the homes of the rich and of the poor, with the blood of the Occident and Orient coursing in their veins, destined in each of the 48 States of this great American League of Nations to become citizens, not subjects, masters, nor servants. No other educational system anywhere ever presented any such picture-never had any such objective.
In his farewell address Washington, after discussing the value of religion and morals in government culminated his argument in the following climax: “Promote, then, as an object of primary importance, institutions for the general diffusion of knowledge. In proportion as the structure of government gives force to public opinion it is essential that public opinion be enlightened. Mr. Roger Babson says that the public school made possible the absorption of the vast emigration from foreign countries. It was the public school that made it possible for the humblest citizen in the remotest cabin to participate in the political, religious, and economic thinking of the nation; it made it possible to swear in a president by the light of a kerosene lamp in a farm house among the mountains after the Chief Executive who has presided over the destinies of the Nation at sundown had answered the great summons while the nation slept. It is this activity of all the people, this fundamental industry, which makes for increased production through raising the level of the intelligence of the workman, which increases consumption and makes a more stable home market through a higher purchasing power of the individual, which makes property more secure through teaching the rights of property; it is this basal industry of the Nation that is asking through its workers and numerous allied organizations for just and equal representation and for a voice at the council table of the Nation.
STATEMENT OF DR. J. M. GWINN, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE DEPARTMENT OF
SUPERENTENDENCE OF THE NATIONAL EDUCATION ASSOCIATION, AND SUPERINTENDENT OF SCHOOLS, SAN FRANCISCO, CALIF.
That education is for citizenship with all that the full meaning of citizenship in this country implies is accepted by all of us. Citizenship expresses itself in the individual's relationship to his community, his State, and his Nation. It must therefore be the responsibility and duty of each of these units—the local community, the State, and the Nation—to participate in an appropriate manner and to a proper degree in the education of the individual.
This country is committed by a long and widely followed practice and through implied, if not expressly stated, provisions of our Federal Constitution to a program whereby the States and the local communities within each State supply the funds for establishing, operating, maintaining, and administering free public schools and also provide the educational ways and means in courses of studies, teaching and supervision for giving each child his chance and the community, State, and Nation properly trained citizens.
We believe the Nation has failed to discharge its duty to the individual citizen and to itself as a nation needing good citizens for its preservation and progress. While you join with us in being proud of the achievements of public education in the several States, you must recognize as do we, when we think of the citizens as they are in contrast as to what they ought to be, that the several States and local communities have not provided the kind and amount of education needed in this country where the level of the requirements of citizenship are higher than in any other country, past and present, in the history of the world.
When the family physician finds the condition of his patient dangerous beyond the reach of his skill he calls in a consulting specialist. The consusting specialist does not take charge of the case; the family physician still retains control of the case, but the consulting specialist contributes from his greater knowledge the advice that is needed. Now the proper part which the Federal Government should have in this enormously important service of training for citizenship is that of consulting specialist to the States and local communities. There is not & week that I, in seeking to discharge the duties of superintendent of schools in my community, do not need facts and methods which are not now available. I turn to the sources available and am often disappointed. I attempt through research to get what I need with unsatisfactory results. My board of education is spending each year a good many hundred dollars in order to find a better way of educating the children and of conserving the funds of the taxpayer. The taxpayers are entitled to the greatest possible return in education for every dollar of his tax money. There are tremendous possibilities for economy in education, if not through decreased money costs then through greater educational returns. Someone should find out the way. The Federal Government is the only agency that can command the resources and the ability and skill needed for supplying the States and local communities with the help they now so greatly need.
The States and local communities will continue to do their parts in providing ways and means for building the citizens needed, not only for themselves but for the Nation. We believe the education bill now before you provides just the expert assistance needed by the States and local communities in making each dollar spent on the schools more effective and in providing the children the kind and amount of education they need.
STATEMENT OF RANDALL J. CONDON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE DEPARTMENT
OF SUPERINTENDENCE OF THE NATIONAL EDUCATION ASSOCIATION, NOW SUPERINTENDENT OF SCHOOLS, CINCINNATI, OHIO, AND DIRECTOR OF THE DEPART. MENT OF EDUCAIOTN OF THE NATIONAL CONGRESS OF PARENTS AND TEACHERS
As the director of the department of education of the National Congress of Parents and Teachers, I ask, in behalf of that great national organization representing every State in the Union, that you report this bill to the House with a recommendation for its passage, and ask the House and Senate to enact it into law.
We do not ask or desire any centralized national control of education, nor do we desire any formal standardized pattern of education for this country, The control must rest where it belongs—with the the State and local units of government-and the standards must ever be the ones built up by those who are close to local needs and local problems. But there is a great service that the Nation can and should give.
This bill does not provide for either standardization or national control in educational matters. Its very terms expressly disavow any such intentions, and there is no danger that under our form of government and from the genius of our people any such results will follow. But we do ask—and we shalì keep on asking until our request is granted—that education be given the recognition by the National Government that its importance deserves. We ask that education be given a seat in the President's Cabinet; that the department of education be given an opportunity for national leadership and service; that the many educational resources of the National Government, now scattered throughout many different departments and bureaus, be united and be made effective through unity of plan and purpose for national service in such ways as the States and local units may desire to use those resources; that the department be authorized to engage in educational research, that the local units may have the benefit of nation-wide studies and investigations that the best may be made available for all; we ask for leadership, and we ask that, when the welfare of the Nation is being considered by the President and his advisers, education shall not be left out of their deliberations.
We ask that the childrens' interests be placed first; that the children be represented in the President's Cabinet; for, as parents and teachers, we know that they come first in matters of national welfare, and we ask that they be given such consideration.
We ask that this bill which is now before you be enacted into law, and that you take the first step necessary for its passage by reporting it to the House and Senate at this session.