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bureaus of our governments, whether they be municipal, State, or Federal, let us establish as a monument to their glory and practical ideals of government, a Department of Education with a secretary in the President's Cabinet.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the committee for the opportunity which has been afforded me to present this statement to you.
Doctor DAVIDSON. I would now like to introduce Mrs. Arthur C. Watkins, Executive Secretary of the National Congress of Parents and Teachers.
STATEMENT OF MRS. ARTHUR C. WATKINS, EXECUTIVE SECRE
TARY, NATIONAL CONGRESS OF PARENTS AND TEACHERS, WASHINGTON, D. C.
Mrs. WATKINS. Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, may I read first a statement from our National President, Mrs. A. H. Reeve, of Ambler, Pa., and then one from one national legislative chairman, Mrs. William Tilton?
STATEMENT OF Mrs. A. H. REEVE, PRESIDENT NATIONAL CONGRESS OF PARENTS
AND TEACHERS, AMBLER, PA. The National Congress of Parents and Teachers, an organization of more than 1,250,000 men and women in every State in the Union, has as two of its major objectives “to bring into closer relation the home and the school, that parents and teachers may cooperate intelligently in the training of the child; and to develop between educators and the general public such united efforts aś will secure to every child the highest advantages in physical, mental, moral, and spiritual education.”
After more than 30 years of careful study and observation, this organization is convinced that it is impossible to place education too high in the public regard, and that the failure of the people as a whole to appreciate adequately the great opportunities offered by our free public schools, as well as those offered by the private educational systems, is partly if not entirely due to the fact that our Government itself does not appear to value them fully or to give them sufficient recognition.
While labor, commerce, and agriculture, have representation directly in the President's Cabinet and an honored position in the official world, the great force of education, to which these other national activities must look for intelligent support, is but one of eight issues in a department concerned also with territorial administration, the conservation of our national resources, the development of our public parks and other matters which, while ess tial to public welfare, are certainly unrelated to the schools and to the children of the Nation.
Believing that the United States should stand second to no other nation in its care for and development of its future citizens, we urge that the recognition given by other nations to education be given also by this country, and that the CurtisReed bill which provides for the creation of a department of education with a secretary in the President's Cabinet be favorably reported and passed with the least possible delay.
This bill has been considered by our State branches for several years, and this action is requested, not by a small executive group speaking for a vast organization, but by the members in each State in convention assembled, as well as by State delegates in our national convention, as one which will serve to coordinate the educational activities already existing in the Federal Government, to make available to State and local officials the findings on much needed, extended educational research, and to give to education the official recognition demanded by & fundamental activity of Federal and State administration.
The bill before you for consideration is so carefully drawn that it leaves the control of education entirely in the States, where it rightfully belongs; does not in any way interfere with the conduct of private or sectarian schools, and offers no Federal aid to the States, thus absolutely avoiding all the objections which in the past have been raised to the creation of such a department.
STATEMENT OF MRS. WILLIAM TILTON, NATIONAL CHAIRMAN OF LEGISLATION,
NATIONAL CONGRESS OF PARENTS AND TEACHERS, CAMBRIDGE, Mass. The National Congress of Parents and Teachers stands, as it always has, solidly for the education bill. It is not necessary to discuss its merits for I take it for granted that this committee knows the merits of this education bill. A Harvard professor has computed that 98 per cent of the work done by Congress relates purely to business. According to this estimate, therefore, 98 per cent of the work done by Congress has behind it the persistent push of men who wish to make money;
The education bill lacks this particular push. It gives no jobs to the many hungry applicants out over the country. Therefore, it is in the class of the 2 per cent of the bills that move hard, because they do not carry behind them the pounding urge of business.
However, a good thing does come to its own in time. This bill is a good thing. I appeal to your sense of fair play to give it a chance to come out of committee and be voted on in the House. I ask you, gentlemen, if you had been in com, mittee as long as this bill has, don't you think it would be only fair play to send you out into the House for a little airing and a little change of scene?
In short, we ask you to let this bill come out of committee and go on the floor of the House. We do not feel that this is asking very much and we expect you to grant our very modest request.
Doctor DAVIDSON. At this point I would like to have appear in the record some statements approving the creation of a department of education, with a secretary in the President's Cabinet, from a number of State Superintendents or State Commissioners of Education in the United States, and also similar statements from some of the leading educators of the country:
OF R. E. TIDWELL, STATE SUPERINTENDENT
I favor the bill providing for a department of education with a secretary in the President's Cabinet. Briefly stated, my reasons for favoring this measure are As follows:
1. There is great and pressing need of a central agency of research, information, and cooperation to serve as an educational clearing house for the several States and Territories in gathering and disseminating valuable information. Such an agency would prevent or materially minimize unnecessary and costly duplication in educational administration throughout the country.
2. The numerous educational activities of the various departments, boards, and bureaus at Washington should be placed under one responsible directing head whose authority, rank, and prestige are on a par with those of the heads of the other departments. In no other way can those activities of the several executive branches of the Government be effectively coordinated and administered.
3. The bill provides specifically that the proposed department shall so function as not in any way to infringe upon the constitutional rights of the States to control, administer, and supervise their own schools. Hence it is thoroughly American in principle and is in harmony with the historical development of other Federal activities.
STATEMENT OF FRANK W. BALLOU, SUPERINTENDENT OF SCHOOLS, DISTRICT
The need for adequate national recognition of education was early apparent to those who founded this Republic. In 1795, George Washington said, "The time is therefore come, when a plan of universal education ought to be adopted in the United States." 'In the same year, Thomas Jefferson wrote, "I do most anxiously wish to see education given to all so that they may read and understand what is going on in the world, and keep their part of it going on right.”
In 1866, the National Association of School Superintendents appointed a committee to memorialize Congress on the establishment of a national bureau of education. Legislation for this purpose was sponsored by James A. Garfield and resulted in the establishment of the present Bureau of Education.
Since then, the problems of education have materially increased. The World War emphasized them, and made them a matter of national concern. convention since 1918, the department of superintendence has indorsed the education bill, prepared by the commission appointed at that time to consider the emergency in education. Two distinct proposals were included in this bill; One, to establish a department of education with a secretary in the President's Cabinet; the other, to provide appropriations from the Federal Treasury for the support of education. Economic conditions have changed materially since 1918. The new education bill was introduced in the Sixty-ninth Congress, and deals exclusively with the proposal for a department of education.
Education is primarily a responsibility for the several States; nevertheless, the Federal Government already has many activities in the field of education. In addition to the Bureau of Education, which is in the Department of the Interior, there are educational functions in practically every department of the Government, and in at least one independent board. Sound administration suggests that many of these should be consolidated under one department.
Education touches so many interests, that the other executive departments of the Federal Government will undoubtedly still find it wise to retain control over certain educational interests and activities peculiarly associated with the work of these departments. It is easy to assume that the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Labor, War, and Navy might have such interests. A valuable provision of the new bill creates a Federal conference on education, consisting of one representative appointed from each of the executive departments of the Government. This conference is intended to coordinate such educational activities as the several executive departments find it necessary to continue under their jurisdiction, and to devise ways and means of improving the whole educational work of the Federal Government.
In order that education may be given proper recognition, the Federal Government should include a department of education with a secretary in the President's Cabinet. Leading Americans from the founding of the Republic to the present day have emphasized the prime importance of education, and the time has now come when its proper development is of such vital importance to our national well-being that one of the President's official advisers should be an interpreter of its status, manifold services, and possibilities.
American public schools are usually under city or county management. Local taxing units pay most of the cost. State departments of education serve as clearing houses for their, States and determine standards to be maintained by them. With a view to the welfare of the schools, as well as in the interest of economy in the expenditure of school funds, facts of general interest possessed by local and State school organizations should be made available for every school system in the United States. The proposed department of education will collect and distribute facts and statistics which will show the condition and progress of education in the several States as well as in foreign countries.
The collection and tabulation of educational information is coming to be an exact science. The bill provides that research shall be undertaken for the purpose of aiding the people of the several States in establishing and maintaining more efficient schools and school systems; in devising better methods of organization administration, and financing of education; in developing better types of school buildings; in improving methods of teaching; and in developing more adequate curricula and courses of study. Such scientific investigation is strictly a national responsibility. It is the duty of the States to maintain efficient school systems within their own borders. It is the Nation's duty to collect precise information regarding these school systems, and promptly to disseminate it for the benefit of all. It is a further National obligation to promote new lines of research in fields where State departments of education can not work to advantage.
The bill authorizes an annual appropriation of not to exceed $1,500,000 to cover all expenditures of the department of education. This is a small sum of money compared with the importance of public education to the national welfare. Many cities with a population of less than 200,000 have an annual school budget greater than the appropriation authorized in the bill. It is the purpose of this legislation, not so much to secure the expenditure of more money, as to aid States, cities, and counties in spending wisely what they have. The local communities, the States, and the Nation have a part to play in the maintenance and promotion of public education, Let the Nation play the part proposed in this bill.
STATEMENT OF J. P. WOMACK, STATE SUPERINTENDENT OF PUBLIC INSTRUCTION,
It seems to me that the proposed department is little less than a necessity. It is designed to do a piece of work that no other agency is doing or can do so well—the work of collecting and interpreting data for the use of those whose business it is to plan and direct educational programs.
Nor is there, to my mind, any valid objection the tion of such a department. It will interfere in no way with local control of our schools. Its function will be, not to regulate, but to stimulate.
I shall be glad to lend all possible assistance in creating sentiment for the bill.
STATEMENT OF WILLIAM JOHN COOPER, STATE SUPERINTENDENT OF PUBLIC
INSTRUCTION, CALIFORNIA Although educators all over the United States recognize great inequalities in educational opportunity, depending upon the region in which a child happens to be born, nevertheless, they are, as a group, almost unanimously in favor of leaving education to the States rather than intrusting its control to the Federal Government. That this attitude is very confusing to many of our citizens is evidenced by the frequently asked question: “Why do educators so generally favor the passage of the Curtis-Reed education bill now before Congress?”
The answer in brief is that the Curtis-Reed bill makes possible the setting up of a public agency in Washington, D. C., to investigate conditions and evaluate experiments going on in various parts of the country. Without such an agency the education authorities in each State must choose one of the following lines of action:
(a) Act without sufficient information. (6) Depend upon privately endowed foundations for facts. (c) Depend upon teachers' organizations and other volunteer agencies for facts. (d) Set up each in his own State an expensive research department which, while efficient enough, would be unable to gather information outside of the State's boundaries.
A Federal department, properly staffed, could make available to the legislature of each and every State of the Union facts about education in any other State or in all the other States put together.
The situation is somewhat like that of a great oil company having subsidiary companies in many States. It would unquestionably pay this oil company to have its chemical research laboratories centralized and make the findings available to all subsidiary companies.
A Federal department, similarly planned, would have no authority, but would render to education much the same sort of service that the Department of Agriculture has rendered to farming and the Department of Commerce to shipping.
STATEMENT OF H. V. HOLLOWAY, STATE SUPERINTENDENT OF PUBLIC INSTRUC
There are 54 separate educational systems in our country, including the District of Columbia and the Territories. It would seem that the best educational practice in each of these should be made available to all. This, both for its own sake and for the sake of that unity of purpose upon which we must rely for our national existence. It would seem to be peculiarly the function of the National Government to serve as a clearing house in this field; not only to collect statistics, as the Bureau of Education is now authorized to do, but in addition, and this is provided for in the bill, to conduct research in the 10 fields of educational activity which now present the outstanding educational problems of our national life, and to make the results of that research available to the Nation. I feel that this is a service which the National Government should render, and that it in no way infringes upon the educational autonomy of the various States.
Section 10 of the new education bill provides for the calling of a national council of State superintendents, which not only is an additional guaranty of a more unified action among the States, but likewise a guaranty of the rights of the States in the educational councils of the Nation.
STATEMENT OF M. L. DUGGAN, STATE SUPERINTENDENT OF SCHOOLS, GEORGIA
Our Georgia Education Association at the close of its meeting on April 14 1927, passed a strong set of resolutions indorsing the Curtis-Reed Senate bill 1584 and H. R. 7.
The Georgia Education Association is now composed of a paid membership of between 901,000 Georgia teachers, the majority of whom attended this conference. I believe there were only two dissenting voices among them when this resolution was overwhelmingly indorsed.
STATEMENT OF MABELLE M. ALLEN, STATE SUPERINTENDENT OF PUBLIC
INSTRUCTION, IDAHO The education bill now before Congress is a measure looking toward the betterment of 27,000,000 of American youths.
Surely no other measure can be of greater importance to those who are shaping the policies of the schools. The addition of section 10, providing for a national council of State superintendents, tends to bring the responsibility for this important legislation to every State superintendent in the Nation. Many of the school problems are common to all States. Discussion of these problems by the State superintendents will result in an effort to secure better financial support for the schools.
It will bring national educational problems home to the State departments and will stimulate local initiative in educational questions.
STATEMENT OF GEORGE A. ALLEN, Jr., STATE SUPERINTENDENT OF PUBLIC
The creation of a national department of education with a secretary in the President's Cabinet would be such a great benefit to the schools of the United States and would offer so few disadvantages that I consider its creation a onesi led question with no argument against it. Its advantages would be manifold.
For illustration, at this time the Kansas School Code Commission, which was created by the Kansas Legislature of 1927, is endeavoring to prepare a report for the next legislature which is to meet in January, 1929, suggesting such a clarification, revision, and codification of our present school'laws as will enable our schools to improve and develop as much and as fast as possible in the future. What a help it would be if there were now available for the use of this committee information derived from the various lines of research a national department would provide.
I do not see how reports, investigations of actual conditions, and requirements as indicated above would in any way infringe upon the rights of our State or any local school community within it, but would rather make possible the formulation of a school code for Kansas' which would be of inestimable value to us at this time.
Further still, section 10 of the new bill, which provides for a council of State superintendents, would enable me to gather such information and present such recommendations to the commission that in my present capacity I could serve my State much more effectively than I now am able to do. It would also make possible a closer cooperation among the various States of the Union, all of which would operate to the greater advantage of my own State.
You may, therefore, feel free at any time you so desire to quote me as being most heartily in favor of the new education bill, and very desirous of seeing it adopted.
STATEMENT OF T. H. HARRIS, STATE SUPERINTENDENT
I believe that this bill should be enacted into law for the reasons:
1. It puts education in a separate department with a Cabinet member at its head. I think that this will add dignity to the profession of teaching and will give public education a better standing throughout the world.