Imágenes de páginas


great dignity, will be in and of itself sufficient reason to cause it to command from the whole Nation a larger respect for the business of education than it now commands in its present subordinated and handicapped position.

Mr. BLACK. Facts are facts irrespective of the dignity of the explorer. The President gets his facts from other members of the Cabinet. Give them the money and you will get the facts. You take away from his fact-finding ability by requiring the educational head to attend all the political discussions of the Cabinet.

The CHAIRMAN. It will be utterly impossible under the practice of the Government for the head of a bureau to have any initiative whatever. He must clear all his ideas and all his activities through the chief, for instance, the Secretary of the Interior; he would not dare to go over the head of the Department of the Interior. The head of the Department of the Interior has a multitude of activities. He could not possibly give very much interest to the one subject of education, could he?

Doctor DAVIDSON. No, sir.

Mr. Douglass. What are these facts that you want to find out that you have not now in the matter of education?

Doctor DAVIDSON. The fact is that education in this country has just arrived at a point where the demand on the part of the laity and on the part of the educational workers themselves is that what we do shall be done scientifically, and hence these facts are the scientific facts that are possible of development provided an agency big anough and large enough to gather them throughout the Nation is set up in Washington for that purpose. Hence our plea for a department of education.

Mr. Douglass. Regardless of the bigness of the institution to gather the facts, what we are driving at—and I have been listening to these essays with interest, where you talk about facts-is, what are the facts about education that are not being found to-day by the different educational institutions of this country?

Doctor DAVIDSON. The question of retardation in the schools, and its causes and remedies still need serious study to enable us to discover the facts which control ou improvement in this matter.

Mr. Douglass. Do you claim that our whole public school system of education is so much retarded that the Government must step in and make an improvement? Is that the contention of the association?

Doctor DAVIDSON. The contention is that the Department of Education properly organized would gather the facts from the several organizations represented in the educational establishments of America and draw proper conclusions from these facts gathered together.

Mr. Douglass. You do not answer my question, which is the nub of this whole question.

Doctor DAVIDSON. State it again.

Mr. DOUGLASS. Does your association feel that the educational systems of this country, elementary public schools, colleges, and universities, have so far fallen down that now the United States Government must step in to rectify the situation in the interests of education? | Doctor DAVIDSON. We do not. We feel that we have made untold progress, but that does not mean that we are content with that progress. Indeed the progress we have made has led us to face the fact

that we would have made far greater progress still had all education proceeded on a sound scientific basis in the past. Just as business needs the aid of research so does education. Research has sent the business of the world spinning forward. It will do the same for education.

Mr. DOUGLASS. Then we come to the facts. What line of facts is it that have not been developed by education of this country that you want to develop now by government supervision? That is the nub of this whole question.

Doctor DAVIDSON. For one example we want facts that will enable us to build schoolhouses, both wisely and economically.

Mr. Douglass. Is that problem so large that the State can not determine it, the mere construction and cost of public schools?

Doctor DAVIDSON. It is so large that millions upon millions of dollars are spent upon it every year, and millions wasted, due to a lack of proper information on the part of those who build. The question of building is not only a matter of concern to each school district, it is not only a matter of concern to each State-it is a matter of concern to all the States. And in this matter the Federal government can assist in unmeasured ways by gathering the needed and necessary facts on schoolhouse construction and schoolhouse planning, and by broadcasting this information to the several States, and the school districts therein. This service could properly be done by a Department of Education, to the end that millions of dollars would be saved to the taxpayers.

Mr. DOUGLASS. The cost of building public schools is not an educational question.

Doctor DAVIDSON. It is related so closely to education that you can not properly separate the school plant from school instruction.

Mr. Douglass. It is not strictly an educational question.

Doctor DAVIDSON. I think it is strictly an educational question. The school plant bears the same relation to education that a department store bears to the business conducted under its roof.

Mr. DOUGLASS. It is not a matter of instruction.

Doctor DAVIDSON. But it is so related to instruction that the two are inseparable.

Mr. DOUGLASS. It is not a matter which in the language of your essays will fit the students to be better citizens of the country, is it?

Doctor DAVIDSON. My feeling is that it is so wrapped up and so intimately related to the problem of instruction that schoolhouse construction constitutes one of the essential features of educational procedure in this country I think a good schoolhouse promotes good citizenship, both among children and among parents.

Mr. Douglass. Many a bright student of this country has been educated in the little red schoolhouse.

Doctor DAVIDSON. Yes; I concede that.

Mr. LOWERY. You say the cost of raising a school building. judge that the cost is possibly one of the smaller questions the doctor refers to. I would say the efficiency and healthfulness and accommodation of the buildings in every way to the education work are probably larger than the question of cost.

Mr. DOUGLASS. I know that.

Mr. Fenn. It really depends on the financial ability of the district in which the school is located—that is, the construction of schoolhouses.

Doctor DAVIDSON. Yes, sir.

Mr. FENN. How could the Government spread that over this country and tell one community the sort of schoolhouse it should build and go down into another community where the costs are changed, the land and the ability to pay, and arrive at a conclusion with regard to it? It is an individual proposition.

Mr. BLACK. The secretary of education will bring in pictures of different types of schoolhouses and ask the President's advice on them.

Mr. DOUGLASS. What other facts do you want determined besides construction of schools?

Doctor DAVIDSON. Facts on retardation to which I have just referred. It is estimated that from a million to a million and a half children every year fail in the public schools of America. Why do they fail? As I have already tried to say,—that is entirely discoverable by the proper scientific studies. Many cities are making such studies and many States are making such studies at the present time, but obviously the study of any one State or of any given city loses its largest value if a clearing house is not established through which these facts can be gathered together and disseminated throughout the nation.

Mr. Douglass. If there is retardation that is an individual failing, is it not?

Doctor DAVIDSON. Yes, Sir.

Mr. DOUGLASS. Why can not the reason for that individual failing be determined by the teacher or institution in which the retardation is found? Are they not the first primary authorities to determine it?

Doctor. DAVIDSON. It might have relation to the curriculum.
Mr. DOUGLASS. Of that particular school or college?

Doctor. DAVIDSON. Yes; and hence the question of the curriculum is involved.

The CHAIRMAN. The retardation may be due to inefficient teaching, that the persons are not able to discover themselves. Is that true?

Doctor DAVIDSON. Yes; that is very true.

Mr. Douglass. How is the Government going to determine the status of a pupil in a school in Ohio and rectify the matter for him?

Doctor DAVIDSON. Through its research work the Government will discover the general facts controlling retardation, and then through the publication of the research studies of its experts these facts will be distributed to the school authorities in Ohio, to use or leave alone as they see fit. If the facts are passed on to the teacher in charge of a given pupil in Ohio, it will be within the province of that teacher to attempt to rectify the retardation of the pupil by trying out the method as proposed.

Mr. DOUGLASS. Then do I understand that after you have gotten facts that you seek under this department, you are not going to establish any standards upon which to fix education?

Doctor DAVIDSON. The purpose of these research studies will be to establish with as scientific accuracy as possible the facts, through nation-wide studies made on a given subject and to make these studies available for all who may wish to use them, without any thought of enforcing standards.

[ocr errors]

Mr. Douglass. Those facts having been obtained and standards fixed by a department, is that agency not to have any authority to establish those standards?

Doctor DAVIDSON. If the question means that the department shall have any control or any authority whatsoever to compel the adoption of those standards, the answer is, "No." Under our system of State school control the authority to establish standards rest solely with the State and the local school district, and not with the Federal Government. And there it will remain forever.

Mr. DOUGLASS. Then having found those standards they simply disseminate that information and those to whom it is disseminated can follow the standards or not as they please.

Doctor DAVIDSON. Precisely.
Mr. DOUGLASS. Then, what is the value of the act?

Doctor Davidson. The department we ask for would be, as a factgathering agency and, as a fact--distributing agency, precisely on all fours with the Department of Agriculture or with the Department of Commerce, or with the Department of Labor, or with any other of the departments now occupying places in the President's Cabinet. Just in proportion as the acts creating these departments were valuable, so would this act creating a department of education be valuable.

Mr. DOUGLASS. That does not answer my question. Under thus bill how could the facts or conditions you want be found?

The CHAIRMAN. We have some very eminent people here who want to be heard this morning, and some of them could answer the same questions you are now asking.

Mr. Douglass. He represents a large body of educators.

Mr. BLACK. Can you put your right hand up before God and say you have abandoned the theory of Federal aid?

Doctor Davidson. That question at the present time has nearly reached the vanishing point in the National Education Association. Personally, if I were to answer it, I would say, yes, we have. There are some members in our group who have not.

Mr. LEATHERWOOD. Sponsoring the bill as you are, I would like for you or some person to explain what guarantee we have under the act before us that there will be consolidation of all the various educational activities under one head?

Doctor DAVIDSON. I think the answer would be that would depend altogether on the will of the Congress of the United States and that no man could foretell what might be transferred to this department.

Mr. LEATHERWOOD. I assume that the will of the Congress of the United States will be expressed in this act if it is enacted into law, and I can not look into the future; I think none of us can. What guarantee have we in this act as written that there will be consolidation of the varied activities under one head?

Doctor DAVIDSON. We believe if this department is set up as outlined in the bill with the activities named therein as a nucleus, that there will gradually be gathered into the department many other of the educational activities that are now scattered through other departments of the government. * Mr. LEATHERWOOD. Then you do not contend that the present bill would bring together all of the various activities that are carried on?

[ocr errors]

Doctor DAVIDSON. It would not.

Mr. LEATHERWOOD. Then I think that we are correct in assuming that if this bill is passed as a nucleus, it will be followed by supplemental legislation along many different lines in the immediate future?

Doctor DAVIDSON. Yes, that is correct. The inclusion in such department of education of any of the present governmental educational activities not included in this bill could be brought about only by further action of the Congress.

Mr. LEATHERWOOD. Am I correct in assuming that you and the great association you représent do not contend that the present bill would bring various activities under one supervisory head, the secretary of education? You do not make that contention now?

Doctor DAVIDSON. We do not make that contention. We hold that specific acts of Congress would be necessary if the department should be expanded beyond the activities named in the bill.

Mr. LEATHERWOOD. To be later enacted by Congress.
Doctor DAVIDSON. Yes.

Mr. BLACK. Is this bill a companion bill to one that has just passed coordinating the public health activities of the government in one bureau?

Doctor DAVIDSON. We have had no contact with that at all. Mr. Fenn. Why should not the suggestion made by Mr. Leatherwood be enacted in this bill? Why wait?

The CHAIRMAN. The committee has authority to do that after we finish the hearings.

Mr. FENN. You must have given that consideration.

Doctor Davidson. We have given that consideration and recognized it.

Mr. FENN. Why make this bill a nucleus when it is possible to perfect it?

Doctor DAVIDSON. Our answer to that is that if the bill were made to include all the educational activities now scattered through the various departments of the Government that we would immediately create such an impossible situation that any hope of favorable action on this bill would be certain of defeat. We feel that the Federal Conference of Education which we propose in section 7 of the bill is the wise and proper approach to this question at this time. But, Mr. Chairman, may I not ask that the witnesses who have been invited to take part in the hearing be heard now?

The CHAIRMAN. I see on this list that you have the name of Doctor MacCracken.

Doctor DavidsOn. Doctor MacCracken was for many years president of Lafayette College at Easton, Pa. He speaks to-day as the chairman of the committee on Federal legislation of the American Council on Education.



Doctor MacCRACKEN. Mr. Chairman, ladies and gentlemen of the committee; The case for a department of education can not be stated more clearly or convincingly than has been done by Mr.



« AnteriorContinuar »