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At the present time, these controls over education are lodged with State governments. This arrangement is traditional. It is a satisfactory arrangement. It should be continued.
This is precisely what S. 181 guarantees. There is not a single provision in the pending bill that in the slightest degree impairs the existing authority of the States and localities to select necessary personnel for administration, instruction, and maintenance services; to determine what shall be taught and how it shall be taught; to fix the objectives of the schools; or to do any of the other things that are educational in nature. Furthermore, there is not a single provision in the pending bill which in any degree or manner whatever limits or restricts the States or their political subdivisions in building better schools. No ceiling on improvements in the educational programs operated by the States is in any sense implied or imposed by the pending legislation.
Not only is S. 181 free of any grants of educational control to the Federal Government at the expense of State and local agencies, but the bill, in its initial provisions, prohibits Federal control over the educational aspects of our public schools.
Beginning on page 1, line 5, and ending with line 14, page 2, we find a definitely clear and unmistakable denial to the Federal Government of any and all educational controls now lodged with State governments.
In this respect S. 181 is unique in the long history of Federal-aidto-education legislation. It plays doubly safe in protecting State control over our schools. It does this first of all by refusing to subtract in any degree whatever from the States their existing educational controls. This, in itself is, or should be, an adequate safeguard for State control.
As though it were not, however, the bill in its earliest provisions proceeds to double-lock the door against Federal control by denying in clear and undebatable language the right of any Federal “department, agency, officer, or employee of the United States” to exercise any kind of "direction, supervision, or control over
the administration, the personnel, the curriculum, the instruction, the methods of instruction, or the materials of instruction."
Attention is also invited to the fact that the pending bill lodges no discretionary authority whatever with any Federal department, agency, officer, or other employee of the United States. S. 181 is clearcut and precise in all these respects. No new agency or bureau is created. No new administrative machinery is called for. No new jobs are authorized. Only those things can be done that are specifically authorized in the bill as far as the Federal Government is concerned. No educational controls are delegated to the Federal Government and it is correct to say that all fiscal controls are so arranged as to avoid conflict with the States in their exercise of controls over the educational process.
It is to be doubted whether any Federal-aid-to-education bill in the history of our country has ever been drawn with equal or greater regard and respect for the rights of the States to control public education.
In closing the doors of State control to Federal encroachment, S. 181 follows in the long-established tradition of Federal aid to the
States and localities for school support without Federal invasion of the power
of the States to direct their own school programs. It is a fact that has too frequently been overlooked, or forgotten, that the Congress of the United States has, in its many years of service, enacted numerous Federal-aid-to-education bills. This aid has been extended in the form of land grants, outright money grants, and subventions-i. e., money grants that are annually recurring.
The extent of these grants has been tremendous. The amount of land the Federal Government granted to the States for educational purposes since 1802 is equivalent in area to 25 States the size of Connecticut or to 10 States the size of Maryland. One authority in this field, placing a value of $10 per acre on land grants for education, estimates the total value of such grants to have been in excess of $1,275,000,000.
While the exact total amount of money grants by the Federal Government for school support to the States is not known, it is believed to be a conservative figure when such grants are estimated in excess of $1,000,000,000. For example, for the fiscal year ending June 30. 1942, Federal grants, regular and recurring, to the States and Territories amounted to $55,711,217.
Of this amount $5,030,000 was granted for the more complete endowment and support of land-grant colleges; $6,926,207 for agricultural experiment stations; $18,956,918 for cooperative agricultural extension service; $21,768,122 for vocational education below college grade, and $3,030,000 for vocational rehabilitation.
These Federal funds were allotted to the States under authority contained in numerous acts of the Congress of the United States. It is, it seems to me, of far more than usual significance that at this moment, with the pending bill under consideration, Federal funds are being expended to assist the States in the operation of their schools, although in distressingly small and inadequate amounts.
The chief pertinent fact in this connection is that despite these extensive Federal investments in public education the States have retained control over the educational programs which they are charged to administer. There can, for example, be found in no States of the Nation, as far as I have been able to discovery-any public-school system in which the local school superintendent, the school principals, the classroom teachers, and other board of education employees are chosen by a Federal agency; where teachers are certificated by other than a State or local board or commission or department; where the school curriculum is mandated by the Federal Government; where textbooks and instructional materials are forced upon the States whether or not the States want them; where any authority, other than State authority, fixes both general and specific objectives for the schools.
In its wisdom-and for this fact all citizens should be gratefulthe Congress has not, over the past century and a half, conditioned its assistance to the States in support of education upon the principle of State surrender of sovereignty in the management of the public schools.
What Congress has done in the past, Congress, can, if it so decides, do again. The power of this great lawmaking body is of such exten
sive character that the Congress can enact whatever kind of Federalaid-to-education bill it may desire. It can enact a bill in keeping with our traditions and the pending bill, I wish to repeat, qualifies in this respect. S. 181 provides Federal aid for schools without accompanying Federal control over the educational programs of the States.
Or, the Congress can enact a bill which carries, with the assistance the Federal Government extends, some degree of Federal control over education. Or, it can enact a bill which sets up complete federalization of the public schools of this Nation.
The recommendation here advanced for consideration is that legislation of the first type-Federal aid without Federal control of the educative process and materials—be enacted. This is in fact the great American tradition in the field of Federal participation in helping finance public education. The pending legislation respects this tradition and conforms to all of its important requirements.
It is finally to be noted that no State in the Nation is required to qualify for the benefits provided by the pending legislation. Each State will determine for itself whether it wishes to share such benefits or pass them by.
There is not a single provision in the bill which forces a State to qualify. In this respect the bill does nothing more than set up an opportunity for the States to provide a better educational opportunity for the children within their borders. The States are perfectly free to accept or to reject that opportunity. In any event, however, one thing is certain; there is not a State in the Nation that can, according to the provisions of the bill as it now stands, refuse to avail itself of the benefits of the bill on the charge such benefits propose or threaten to remove the control of public education from the jurisdiction of the State.
Senator ELLENDER. Any questions?
Senator ELLENDER. Step forward, please, Colonel. I understand that the chairman invited you to make a statement.
Colonel OWENS. Yes, sir.
STATEMENT OF LT. COL. ROBERT H. OWENS, EDUCATIONAL CON
SULTANT, NATIONAL HEADQUARTERS, SELECTIVE SERVICE SYSTEM
Colonel OWENS. My name is Lt. Col. Robert H. Owens. My assignment is that of Educational Consultant, national headquarters, Selective Service System.
Senator Hill. Colonel, will you state what your duties and functions are with the Selective Service System?
Colonel Owens. Yes, sir. If I may, I will quote from a work sheet that I had to prepare last summer for one of the congressional committees.
My assignments are in these fields of activities (reading]:
(a) Study of laws and regulations affecting veterans.
(6) Contacts with social-civic-educational and private organizations which are concerned with the readjustment of veterans.
(1) Review of plans to aid veterans with such groups, making sug. gestions in accordance with laws and regulations, particularly veterans'
educational programs. (c) Assist in planning for liaison between the services, organizations, and Selective Service, relation to men separated from military service. Problems centered around the vocational rehabilitation of physically handicapped registrants and veterans with non-service-connected disabilities.
Problems concerned with the physical rehabilitation of registrants who have correctible physical defects, which, if corrected, would make them eligible for induction.
Liaison with educational systems relative to the administration of the medical survey program, which is a program designed to get information for use by psychiatrists at induction stations.
Problems created because of the illiterate registrant.
Problems concerned with plans for registrants, and for those who will shortly become registrants, to obtain preinduction training in vocational skills and knowledges. Problems relating to certain induction station procedures.
(a) Psychological testing procedures and rejection rates.
Colonel OWENS. The attention of the Selective Service System was first called to the educational levels of registrants when on October 16, 1940, in the first registration, 350,000 registrants signed their registration cards with a mark. Later, of course, when these men received their questionnaires they, plus an unknown number of scores of thousands with but slight literacy skills, had to receive assistance in the completion of these papers.
Between the time the first inductions started in November 1940 and May 1941, the Army accepted illiterates if they could understand simple orders given in the English language. In those days the training processes were at a relatively normal pace, and illiterates could be absorbed without too much difficulty.
However, as the tempo of defense plans speeded up it was found that the illiterate could not absorb the necessary training and was a distinct liability. Therefore, on May 15, 1941, the War Department regulations were changed, and registrants were not acceptable for induction unless they had reading and writing skills comparable to those usually prescribed by the fourth grade of grammar school. They were tested for this level at induction stations.
Between May 15, 1941, and August 1, 1942, 433,000 registrants were rejected becausse they could not perform simple reading and writing skills at a fourth grade level. 186,000 of these were white registrants, and 247,000 were Negro registrants. Of the 433,000 there were 162,000 with no other disqualifying defect except lack of education. Of these 79,000 were white and 83,000 were Negro.
It was during this period, May 1941 and August 1942, that Selective Service felt the impact of the War Department literacy standards. Local boards, fathers and mothers, and brothers and sisters of acceptable inductees were loud in their protests against what they felt was discrimination. Parents whose sons had even a little schooling, saw them going off to face possible death while at the same time illiterates could remain at home in safety. In addition to the protests of fathers and mothers of registrants who had some education, many patriotic illiterate registrants themselves could not understand why there was not a place for them in the services. They had not been responsible for their lack of education.
Involved in this question of inducting men with limited mental abilities or lack of education was the question whether or not through more careful classification and assignment the men in this category could be utilized.
On August 1, 1942, War Department procedures were again modified, and, between this date and June 1, 1943, 10 percent of the men accepted in any one day at any one induction station could be illiterate if they appeared to be of normal mentality. This was 10 percent of each race. In some areas this percentage had to be reduced to 5 percent during this period when more illiterates were inducted than could be absorbed in the training program. It also meant that in areas where rates of illiteracy were low the quota for acceptable illiterates was not reached.
On June 1, 1943, the War Department abolished literacy tests per se and its percentage rates for accepting them, and established psychological testing procedures to determine mental alertness or adaptability. Registrants were accepted or rejected regardless of ability to read and write although all registrants were required to take at least the first of these tests if they could not prove high school graduation. The first of the psychological tests was a written test which required at least fourth grade reading and writing to pass.
Between June 1, 1943, and April 1, 1944, 150,000 registrants were accepted who could not pass the reading and writing test but did pass the nonlanguage tests. While they may have shown some reading and writing skill they are recorded as illiterate if they failed the first test.
All of these men were assigned to special training units by the Army and received instruction in reading and writing as well as some basic training. During the period between June 1943 and April 1944, 87 percent of these men, that is 130,500 successfully passed the requirements of the special training units and were transferred to regular basic training.
On June 1, 1944, an improved series of tests were put into effect at the induction stations. These tests were developed after a year of study with them and others in the field, and it has been determined that if men can pass these tests they likely possess the background or mental capacity or experience which will enable them to absorb the training necessary to become a soldier.
The question arises as to whether or not reading and writing skills would change the circumstances of a man so that his experiences would be such that he could be more able to pass these tests than if he did not have these fundamental tools of communication.
The total experience of the Selective Service System to December 1, 1944, reveals that there are 620,000 registrants who have been rejected by reason of failure to meet the War Department's minimum intelligence standards. All of these are also illiterate according to these standards.