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boards in Pennsylvania that have been federated now and joined together under the department of public instruction. It is just one little section of my work, to look after these examining boards, the fourteen of them. But now, over and beyond our own sovereign power in this matter, because of our very frequent contacts with New York and New Jersey we find it necessary to get into relationship with those States.
Now, my point is here that under a secretary of education, authorized by this act to make researches into the matter of professional education, we could get together all over this country, advantageously, without a single bit of injury to anybody whatsoever, and to the great benefit of all of those who are affected in any way by these practitioners of that profession. Do I make my point clear?
Mr. Douglass. But, having got together, what are you going to do about it?
Doctor KEITH. We are going to let light in, and let the facts and the relationship of facts lead these men in the right way, because they are right-minded. We don't want domination, but we want to organize this in such a way that leadership becomes possible.
There is no need to go through with all these items specially set forth here in which this department is to engage in research, but our position in this matter ought to be clear. This is not a position on our part of seeking to dominate; it is not a position of seeking to set up standards and then impose them upon people and make progress by fiat and law. But it is a position of setting up an organization by means of which the facts can be gathered and analyzed and brought forcibly to the attention of those whose responsibility it is, under our form of government, to act in regard to them.
Mr. Douglass. That is just one of my difficulties. I can see, with a board of education, with the end you have in view, you are going to come to the time when you are going to give to that board these powers to create these standards and enforce them. We might as well be frank about it. That is one of the objections to your bill.
Doctor KEITH. Now, how can you be sure that that is going to happen?
Mr. Douglass. But we have a good suspicion about it, a tendency toward suspicion about it.
Doctor KEITH. I don't see, through all these years, that the Department of Agriculture has been functioning, barring one or two little instances of misunderstanding and disagreement that there has been the slightest tendency
Mr. Douglass. Oh, but there is a good deal of difference between the subject of agriculture as such, and this particularly big questiou of education, involving the individual's life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness. We are not talking about animals, or how to care for animals, or how to produce foods and the best foods in the largest quantity. We are talking about a human being, a human soul; his development,
a his character, his knowledge.
Mr. Sears. I suppose the great question is as to whether or not the relations that would be influenced by a department of this kind would be rendered more efficient. I suppose that is the great question.
Doctor KEITH. That is the question; to bring about greater efficiency without marring at all this great fundamental ideal that Mr. Douglass has stressed.
Mr. Douglass. That is the real object of education, to improve the individual; isn't it?
Doctor KEITH. Certainly it is; and, through the improvement of the individual, to improve society.
Mr. Douglass. Absolutely-improve society, through the individual. We do that through the individual.
Doctor KEITH. Yes. But you affect your individual through your type of organization, and you have a mutual relationship there between the individual and society and the organizations and society. Now, one is in the lead and now another is in the lead, but they work together.
Now, will you please note in section 8 (b) of the bill:
may make available, shall make availableto the educational officers in the several States and to other persons interested in education the results of research and investigation conducted by it, and the funds appropriated for printing and binding shall be available for the printing and binding of the results of such investigations and research.
Now, we try to tie our hands, if it is possible to tie the hands. I think we do it somewhere in this bill by implying that the newly created department of education shall not interfere with the organization in charge of education in the several States. So far as possible we tie our hands, and if you know of any stronger language with which to tie our hands than we have used here, propose it, and I think we will be glad to accept it.
Mr. Douglass. Well, every board that is created always increases its powers as time goes on.
Doctor KEITH. Now, regarding the constitutionality of this thing; if the proposals contained in this bill are unconstitutional, then you certainly have a very great lot of unconstitutional legislation relative to public education on the books and statutes of the United States.
Mr. SEARS. Let me suggest-it may be that this is a line of thought that is entirely new to me, but I haven't heard the constitutionality question raised.
Mr. Douglass. Our friend, Judge Baker, has raised it.
Mr. SEARS. But I haven't been present. The application I have heard questioned but the constitutionality itself I have not heard questioned.
Doctor KEITH. Now, with all the various educational activities that the Federal Government has set on foot, and from the first, even antedating the Constitution, the Federal Government has sought to promote and encourage education, there is not one adverse court decision hung up anywhere on this whole line.
Mr. Douglass. You made a statement that was interesting to me. Or, perhaps it wasn't you, but you are familiar with the subject. Some one said education in this country was started by the Federal Government. That isn't so, is it?
Doctor Keith. Well, I think not. Mr. Douglass. The States have done great work in this matter of education, haven't they?
Doctor KEITH. They have, and it has been their responsibility primarily.
Mr. Douglass. It has been their responsibility and they have been successful at it, except with those exceptions you spoke of. With those exceptions the States have done great work, haven't they?
Doctor KEITH. Yes.
The CHAIRMAN. Doctor, would you say that the States had given sufficient study to this question of why the boy leaves the farm? Doctor KEITH. No, the States have not.
The CHAIRMAN. And don't you think, when we know there are localities that have been successful in keeping the boys on the farm, that we have failed woefully in disseminating that information to the rest of the country?
Doctor KEITH. We have failed, and what we should strive to do is to make the idea contagious.
The CHAIRMAN. We are paying a very great sum for that failure now, aren't we?
Doctor KEITH. We are, and we will continue to pay it until we rectify the mistake.
The history of Federal aid to education is most interesting. It began back in 1787 while the Constitutional Convention was in session in Philadelphia. Congress up in New York sold land to the Ohio company, a New England company, a Massachusetts company, to settle and develop in southeastern Ohio. About 3,000,000 acres of land were sold, and a condition was that the sixteenth section in every township should be set aside for the support and maintenance of public schools, and not only that, but two townships were given by the Federal Government for the founding of a university. From that time on the Federal Government has been aiding and encouraging education in the States, and I understand that your committee only a little while ago further encouraged education of a certain type by recommending an additional appropriation of $6,000,000 for education of the vocational type.
Now, with all that record, with all these interests, even down to direct payments from the Federal Treasury year by year to the extent of $80,000 to each State, you can't find a single adverse court decision. Now that the Federal Government should aid and encourage education, that it should collect and disseminate information with regard to public education, clearly would have, sometime or other in all this span of years, had a court case that would declare it unconstitutional if it were unconstitutional.
Mr. DOUGLASS. Personally I think it is constitutional.
Doctor KEITH. Then, if that is out of the way, it is solely & question of whether or not it is wise and expedient to do it.
Mr. DOUGLASS. That is the story.
Doctor KEITH. And I have tried to talk to that thing as best I can do it. I should be glad to answer any questions any member of the committee desires to ask, but I feel that I should take no more time.
Doctor DAVIDSON. Mr. Chairman, I would next like to introduce Mr. Edwin Smith. Mr. Smith is the representative of Mr. A. Lincoln Filene, a merchant known to you all as an outstanding business man in the city of Boston. Since 1918 he has been a
staunch supporter of this movement. He would have been here to-day, but he is presiding at a big business convention. He has sent his secretary, Mr. Smith, to represent him at this time.
STATEMENT OF EDWIN SMITH, SECRETARY TO MR. A. LINCOLN
FILENE, BOSTON, MASS.
Mr. SMITH. As the gentleman explained, Mr. Filene has been an advocate for many years of a bill to create a Federal department of education. He has appeared at previous hearings for bills having this object, and he would have been present to-day, except he is presiding over a meeting of 18 stores, with which Mr. Filene is affiliated, and it was quite impossible for him to get away. In order that I may present thoroughly and briefly his point of view, he asked me to read the following statement:
STATEMENT OF A, LINCOLN FILENE, TREASURER, GENERAL MANAGER, WILLIAM
FILENE's Sons Co., BOSTON, Mass.
My advocacy of the Curtis-Reed bill creating a department of education in the President's Cabinet grows both out of my contact with education and my contact with research as it has been applied to business.
As a member for many years of the Advisory Board of Education of the State of Massachusetts and from contacts with other educational groups, I have been frequently impressed with the great need for more facts as a basis for educational practice. Education is one of the great enterprises of this country. The present value of school property is $4,676,603,539.
In 1926 the Nation expended $411,037,774 for public school buildings and sites. Much of this money was wasted, because local boards did not have the latest information on the proper construction and utilization of school plants.
Research would allow the school committee (or board of education) of each individual city to reduce expenses and carry out a far more efficient plan of school construction. Through information given by a Federal department of education it could profit by the examples, good and bad, of what other communities with similar problems had done.
The expenditures for public elementary and secondary schools alone for current expenses and building costs in the United States in 1926 were $2,020,812,685. In the conduct of this great enterprise too much waste takes place. We find obsolete and unjust methods of taxation; funds not distributed so as to equalize educational opportunities. Many boards can not tell with accuracy what their own schools cost; it is impossible to obtain accurate figures as to the separate costs of elementary, junior and senior high school education. Careful budgetary procedure is probably the exception rather than the rule in planning school expenditures. Research is needed to work out and popularize the best standardized methods of school accounting and budgetary procedure in order to guard against waste.
These are but two places where the schools could, I am sure, save much money or could at least get much better results for the money spent if they had the kind of information which a Federal department of education would make available. Even in Massachusetts, which has an unusually well developed staff of experts in its state department, we often have to decide school policies on the basis of insufficient facts. I believe Massachusetts is better off in this regard than most States.
Then there are certain types of information which only a Federal agency can collect most effectively. Even if every one of the 48 State departments were well equipped, it would be wasteful for all of them to attempt to get together certain summarizing studies needed by all of these departments. A Federal agency is best suited to do a piece of work like that.
These are some of the considerations which lead me to believe that we need far better facilities for obtaining information to guide our schools than we have at the present time and that we are particularly deficient as regards the type of information which a Federal agency would make available for the use of all.
I see no interference with State rights from such a proposal. The Massachusetts State Board of Education would be under no compulsion to use information issued by a Federal department of education. Such information, however, would often be of very real help in its decisions on larger educational policies affecting the schools of the State.
But there is still another reason growing out of many years' experience in business which causes me to support the bill for a department of education. I happen to be the president of a group composed of 17 leading department stores in this country and one in England which are not connected financially, but which maintain in common a cooperative buying organization and a research organization. These stores do an annual aggregate business of over $350,000,000. Each store is located in a different city and consequently no two stores are competitors. We have set up centralized facilities for studying the functions of each of these corporations and for exchanging comparative figures on every aspect of store operation. Thus each individual store is able to profit from the experience of the other 17 stores.
If one of them is doing something better than the rest, all the other stores automatically know of it, so that each of these 18 organizations is acquainted with the best methods of practice and procedure developed anywhere within the group. All of this research work grew out of a little organization which developed from an original grant of $25 a year in 1916. These stores are now spending over $150,000 a year on research alone. This amount constitutes a very small fraction of 1 per cent of the annual sales of the stores, but it has meant a saving of very many times that in improved methods of functioning in each business. For instance, we made a study in one of our stores not long ago which saved that particular store $40,000 a year on the cost of its delivery department. We have studied the methods of personnel, how to deal with our employees so as to obtain greater efficiency and to improve the conditions under which they work. We have studied the best methods of operation of the departments which receive our merchandise from the shippers and mark it for sale. We have studied scientific control of inventory and a greater variety of other important subjects.
It is worth emphasizing again that these stores are wholly independent financially. No one of them exercises any control over any of the others. Yet they are able to cooperate in studies of the kind I have described. There is no reason why the forty-eight school systems of the country could not similarly cooperate in the study of their common problems, providing an adequate agency existed to assist for this study such as a Federal department of education.
While I am on this topic I would like to say a further word about the charge that the proposed department of education will usurp the rights of the States. It is my belief that nothing would do more to guarantee the continuance of the control of education by the States than the creation of a Federal department of education. The best way to keep the Federal Government out of education is to keep the State governments so well informed of the best current educational practices that there will be no excuse for intervention on the part of the Federal Government. The dissemination of the needed information and the bringing together of the heads of educational departments of the various States for conference and for exchange of information would improve the educational efficiency of all the States and therefore strengthen the wise policy of leaving the control of education to the individual States. The Department of Commerce does not control business, and the Department of Agriculture does not control farming. Yet both of these departments disseminate information that is indispensable to the welfare of these great national interests, and which enables them to preserve more effectively their independence of Federal control. Similarly a department of education is the agency which could properly undertake the exchange of existing information and the general dissemination of additional information which is needed throughout the country if our schools are to be brought to the highest point of efficiency.
Just as study and research are good for business, they are good for education. We have too little information about our schools. That is one reason why our schools do not always get as good results as we would like.
It is self-evident that anything which gets better results from any of our schools is good for the school system of our individual States to know about. I happen to be a citizen of Massachusetts, but as a citizen of the United States and as a business man desirous of the prosperity of our country as a whole, I want to see the continuous, rapid development of the best educational facilities in all the States of the Union.