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president from among the lowliest, presumably on the theory that large numbers of new members would be drawn into the organization if an elementary teacher were honored.

But what use has a purely professional society for mere members? Obviously, no use at all. It is the political organization that needs votes. It is as a political organization that the National Education Association now functions most importantly, and the movement to create a Federal department of education is its pet project.

This project is supported by President Coolidge in his reference in the message by one argument--namely, that since education is one of the most important problems confronting the Nation, therefore its dignity demands recognition by the Federal Government.

But the argument is essentially hollow. Health is as important as education, but it does not follow that it is necessary to put a doctor in the Cabinet in order to recognize the importance of health. Religion is an important element in the lives of millions of Americans, but shall we on that account have a secretary of religion and an established church?

It is true that we have a Secretary of Agriculture and a Secretary of Commerce; but he who thinks that the successes of American agriculture and American commerce are due to the Cabinet ministers delegated to watch over those interests is not well acquainted with American history.

The fact that education is important is no reason at all for organizing a Federal department to control it.

On the other hand it is no reason for opposing such a department. The opponents of the move are certainly under the obligation of giving good reasons for their opposition; otherwise the mere fact that this organization of school teachers has asked for it might be considered sufficient reason for granting their request.

But reasons for opposing the creation of a department of education are not far to seek. In the first place, there is a wide divergence of opinion as to what constitutes education, and a department at Washington would necessarily have to adopt a single standard to be maintained by all schools under its control. It may be argued that such radical experiments as Mieklejohn's college in the University of Wisconsin and the new Johns Hopkins plan are confined to institutions of higher learning, which would not be affected by a Federal department. But the differences in educational methods and educational needs are not confined to secondary education. There is a wide divergence in the work required of the lower schools between such communities as, for example, Rhode Island and Mississippi. One is an urban, industrial civilization; the other is as distinctively rural and agrarian. A man trained to fit himself to one environment is hopelessly out of place in the other.

In theory a Federal department of education would recognize these differences and adapt itself to them. But in practice would it do anything of the kind? Certainly not. It would become a bureaucracy, manned and operated by bureaucrats for bureaucrats.

The assumption that a Federal department would do anything to improve educational methods in the United States is discredited by a moment's reflection upon the personnel of such a department. The Secretary would be a teacher, of course; but he would be that teacher who had done most to accomplish the election of the President who appointed him. That is to say, he would be 10 per cent teacher and 90 per cent politican.

The policies of such a man are easily visualized. They would be the policies of any other politican. He would naturally accept the politican's theory that a great deal is being accomplished when much noise is made. He would be sincerely convinced that he was doing wonders for education by promoting such futilities as the late “education week.” He would be strong for all sorts of clubs, societies, and associations, because all sorts of organizations can be used for political purposes,

He might begin in a relatively modest way, but ere long he would be demanding of Congress enormous appropriations to be distributed among such State departments as gained his approval by doing his will. By the power of Federal pap he could swiftly eradicate all remaining traces of indidivualism in State school systems. Indeed, the crux of the whole problem is there-a Federal department of education is essentially a step toward raiding the Federal Treasury, ostensibly in behalf of the public schools, but really in behalf of the pedagogues who were shrewd enough to attach themselves to the system as job holders.

Furthermore, the erection of a Federal department of education would tend to increase the influence of the political pedagogue, which, like that of the political parson, is already great enough to be sinister.


The power of the pedagogical lobby is only dimly apprehended by the voters of the country; but only within the last few years has it been apprehended at all. Relatively speaking, there has been a great awakening recently. The enormous and constantly growing expense of the public-school system is bringing home to the voters the fact that the power of the organized teachers is capable of becoming a fearful power for spoliation.

Like the Antisaloon League, it has the advantage of a pseudomoralistic argument. As a man who opposes prohibition is automatically listed as an opponent of temperance, although he may be the reverse, so a man who opposes extravagant expenditures on public schools is listed an an opponent of education, although he may be a better friend of education than is the political pedagogue. Therefore, many respectable men hesitate to oppose anything that the educational societies and the parent-teacher associations may recommend, even when their recommendations are patently mischievous.

The extension into the Federal field of the power of these organizations will increase both their arrogance and their power for evil. They will then have behind them the prestige of the Federal Government to help them override the State authorities. They will be well-nigh irresistible.

This danger is recognized by numbers of thoughtful men in the profession itself. The National Education Association may, and probably does, represent the greater number of teachers, but the claim that it represents the abler teachers is open to question. Too many teachers of indisputable ability are wholly out of sympathy with its aims and its methods.

That, however, may not interfere at all with its success. It has numbers behind it. It is compactly organized. Therefore it has terrorized the politicians to the marrow of their bones. They have swung President Coolidge into line, and, if the example of the Antisaloon League is of any value, they should have no trouble in dragooning Congress into passing their bill.

Then the only hope of the taxpayer will lie in the State legislatures. They answered the purpose in the matter of the child-labor amendment, but that had behind it no such formidable lobby as the teachers constitute.

Such a requirement of evidence would undoubtedly show that, in every case, a small group of officials assumed that their vote committed the entire membership of the organization. This is, unfortunately, a common practice, illustrated very clearly by exactly this action on the part of one of the bodies quoted in the American Educational Digest of December, 1927, as approving this bill-namely, the General Federation of Women's Clubs. Of a group of 155 officials, 120 voted in favor of the child-labor amendment and published the statement that the 11,000,000 members of the federation unanimoulsy favored the amendment.

The journal of the National Education Association in April, 1926, says: “It becomes increasingly evident that educational workers are almost unanimously agreed on the urgent need of a department of education with a secretary in the President's Cabinet.” This would-be Goliath of the National Education Association wishes you to believe that it is gigantic in numbers and influence. It is apparently vulnerable just where the biblical Goliath was—in its foreheadthe seat of reason. An authoritative demand for exact data (the one effective smooth stone slung at the Goliath National Education Association) would expose its pretentious claims.

Speaking of "pretentious” claims, this same National Education Association, in a pamphlet “Why you should support the education bill” (pp. 7, 8, 9), makes the astounding assertion that $117,000,000 a year, or most of it, would be saved by having a department of education. If not feeble in its own reasoning powers, it must be assuming mental weakness in those to whom it appeals in such statements.

This does not seem too severe a judgment when one reads (v. Case for the new education bill, pp. 23 and 25) that the National Education Association attributes the assumed inefficiency of the present bureau to the “inadequate resources” of the bureau—an admission, pure and simple, that adequate financial support would enable the bureau to fill the desired requirements.

Again, while the National Education Association has, for at least seven years (cf. Case for the new education bill, p. 42–3), advocated Federal aid, it now, to attract support, emphasizes the fact that the bill carries no provision for Federal aid (with the significant substitution therefor of an annual appropriation of $100,500,000) and expresses its reluctance in abandoning the Federal aid in these words (cf. A proposal for a bill, etc., p. 4): “It is certainly true that there is little or no prospect of action by the next Congress in support of further Federal aid of education." This reluctance is based upon the regretted loss of a means


through the 50-50 Federal aid proviso of coercing the States to accept educational standards set up by a Cabinet secretary of education.

Hope and expectation of ultimately securing Federal aid is thus expressed (id. p. 10): "If the people of the United States become convinced of the desirability of a larger degree of national support for education, they will secure appropriate legislation." A similar expression showing anticipation of future Federal aid is cautiously worded by Dr. Payson Smith, commissioner of education for Massachusetts.

And yet the National Education Association does not hesitate to say in its journal for April, 1926, “The National Education Association, with a membership of 150,000, stands solidly against Federal control of education.”

I will not, however, enlarge upon this aspect of the question. I am sure that others will be able, better than I, to present evidence that those back of this bill are not sincere in disclaiming Federal aid, but are merely deferring the demand for it until the nose of the camel is under the canvas.

Nor will I take more of your time to show the grounds on which rest the fear of an ultimate Federal dictatorship in education. The grounds are in the combination of the Revised Statutes with the provisions of 11.8 and 9 on page 6 of House Resolution 7, as conveyed in the words:

and (11) such other fields as in the judgment of the secretary of education may require attention and study.

The entire purport of the bill is to “vitally influence educational development” (The case for etc., p. 15), and, as Mr. Cadwalader (joint hearings, February, 26, p. 264) pointed out, the arguments in favor of changing the bureau into a department all boil down to these two things:

One is that a department is more likely to get money from Congress and the other is it is likely to have a greater power and influence-not legal power but influence. In other words, you want to spend a lot of money gathering facts, and you are going out into the public schools of the whole country to get those facts and you are going to send out a horde of Federal inspectors to go into those schools and camp on the heels of the teachers and children and to say that they come directly from the secretary of education in the city of Washington with their credentials to investigate how the school affairs of Pop Squash Center are being carried on, so that they may bring back that information to Washington where it will be duly tabulated. Do you think that that will not have any influence, any effect, on the conduct of the schools? Do you think that that will not give the Federal Government control over education to a great extent? Do you think that the recommendations of the department of education, or the findings of fact that it may make with regard to schools and the school system of any State, will not be such that it will give a very strong measure of coercion to the Federal department of education in the conduct of those schools?

To Coordination' is the word that we have heard ever since this hearing begancoordination of activities. What does 'cordination' mean, if it does not mean control? It is one of those vague phrases that may mean little or may mean much; but a close analysis of the evidence in favor of this bill shows that it is used to conceal the real purpose of the advocates of the bill, which is to control the educational systems of the United States; and, as has been much more ably said by Judge Sutherland than I can say it, the control of education by the Federal Government is contrary to the Constitution of the United States."

I wish, in closing, to reiterate and emphasize the fundamental distinction, already pointed out to your committee, between the departments now in existence, especially those last established-- Agriculture, Commerce, and Labor—and the proposed department of education. In the former the field involved is essentially objective, material, external, tangible; in the last, it is essentially subjective, in the realms of mind and character, intangible (apart from schoolhouses and supplies). The arguments advanced for a department of education would apply with much greater force if advanced for a department of morals, a department of ethics, a department of religion.

Mr. ROBSION. Who is the next witness, Mr. Peckham?

Mr. PECKHAM. The next witness is Miss Agnes G. Regan, executive secretary, National Council of Catholic Women.




Miss REGAN. I represent the National Council of Catholic Women, an affiliation of 14 national, 9 State, and 1,500 local organizations, including approximately 75,000 women. The object of this organization is to affiliate all existing organizations of Catholic women to the end that they may actively cooperate in every movement that tends to the welfare of our country and oppose, when necessary, movements which tend to undermine those principles of morality and those institutions upon which that welfare depends.

I would say that our basis of estimating the opinion of these various groups is as a result of an annual convention at which problems of local and national interest are discussed, information as to the questions that are coming before the convention having been sent out during the preceding year. The action of that convention is then taken as expressing the will of the particular group, and we say

, here, as I would say about the N. E. A., that it does not represent, of course, at any time, the unanimous opinion of any organization, because in questions of this sort people have different opinions. But the representative body of the organization is definitely opposed to this measure, and has been opposed to it during all of the years that it has been before Congress.

Education is undoubtedly one of the greatest problems of any nation. The church, the home, the school—these are the three great influences in national life. In the United States all have prospered because of that freedom which has permitted unhampered development to go hand in hand with protection of individual and group rights. It is only natural that in a country like ours groups with common interests and common aims would seek to impose their ideas on the people as a whole. In many cases thay have, from their point of view, the best interests of their fellow citizens at heart. But those fellow citizens are not willing at all times to accept that point of view, and they are in duty bound to protest against such imposition.

We face such a condition in the present demand for a department of education with a secretary in the President's Cabinet. As a former teacher, principal, and member of the board of education in one of our large American cities, I have been familiar with this movement for many years. For a time, too, I was misled with the specious argument of "dignifying education,” but personal experience with the building up of State bureaus gradually assuming power over local educational activities, the increase in State budgets for education, the enlargement of State bureaus, the growing influence of politics in the whole question, have brought a sense of real danger to education in the establishment of a Federal department which would in time control education throughout the country. We can not close our eyes to the fact that the proponents of the measure have modified it in order that having secured its passage without Federal subsidy for the States they may later include this feature.

I make these statements advisedly, because I have discussed the matter personally with proponents of the measure who frankly say that they reluctantly agreed to withdraw a Federal subsidy from the bill so long as they could retain the department of education



with a secretary in the President's Cabinet, for "given that we will get those things which we can not get through a bureau of education with simply a commissioner of education."

If the proponents of the measure, many of them, were asked to come up here and state whether or not they did not have still in the background the fact that ultimately Federal subsidy would result, I am sure they would all agree to it. The lady who made the argument this morning enumerated all the things that were enumerated in the Smith-Towner bill, reduction of illiteracy, higher wages for teachers, training for teachers. How are they going to do any more under this department of education than they can do under the Bureau of Education without Federal aid?

We are not protesting either as individuals or as groups without study of the problem and all its implications. Were there time I would like to review the arguments presented in favor of this bill; it seems hardly possible that any one of them can stand in the face of the growing recognition of the danger of Federal control over so vital an institution as public education. All of the necessary work outlined for a department of education can be just as effectively carried on by the Bureau of Education provided its appropriation be increased and its powers enlarged.

We beg that this committee do not report favorably on H. R. 7, and that the protest of the National Council of Catholic Women be included in the congressional report of this hearing.

I wish to make just one point that I have not heard yet referred to in any way. There has been reference to the Department of Agriculture and its power. There is no department which would have under its control an organized department consisting of millions of people subject to authority. Farmers are independent individuals. Teachers are not.

Just last week I was interested in the discussion between school teachers in a certain midwest city, and they were talking about membership in the N. E. A., and one lady said: “Well, I have at last declared my independence, and I refused to join." The other lady, a personal friend of mine, who is a member, said: “I demand 100 per cent membership from my teachers.”

Now, given in this country. a department of education, with a secretary in the President's Cabinet and an advisory council consisting of the State superintendents of every State in the United States, the teachers in every State under the control of the State superintendent, you are building up a political machine the effect of which you can not to-day measure; and I do not think there is any question about that proposition. There is no comparison between the relationship existing between the farmer and the Department of Agriculture.

I belonged for many years to the N. E. A., and was glad to belong to it; and I think every teacher should; and I advise every teacher to-day that they should belong to it. The physician has the American Medical Association, lawyers have the American Bar Association; but they are not tied up in any political way as teachers would be with a State or the Federal department of education; and I think that is the most serious danger there is in the whole proposition.

Mr. Robson. I notice that practically every organization of the Catholic Church that appears here appears in opposition to this bill

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