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Now, these figures constitute a dark picture. They tell their own story, and I hope, Mr. Chairman, and gentlemen of the committee, when you see figures and statistics, that you see human beings, that you see school teachers, and that back of those school teachers you see some 26,000,000 school children. Some 280,000 teachers have left the schools. Of course, there are always teachers leaving—they die and marry and go into other work—but in this particular emergency one-fourth of them have left to go into the armed services, and onefourth have left because of greater opportunity afforded by war production.
I hope that you will not forget that back of all these figures, which, as I say, constitute a terrific national emergency to the present and future quality of this Republic, are things which have to do with over 26,000,000 school children.
Now, as we look at the recent teachers entering the profession and emergency certificates issued and as we look at the generation coming on, we find that our best young men and women are not now going into the teaching profession because of this situation. They do not go into the teaching profession to make a lot of money, but they are human beings, and they at least want a chance to a decent standard of living so that they can be efficient in their work.
When you look at the enrollments in teacher-training institutions what do you find? You find those enrollments have dropped during this emergency—that is, the number of young men and women going into training colleges to be teachers in public schools has decreased. Enrollments in teacher-training institutions have dropped from 50 to 60 percent.
Now, that is a terrible fact, and it needs action now. I take it all of us, whatever may be our differences in opinion, are deeply concerned as to the quality of our American democracy. Not only is quality of opportunity, which is the heart of democracy, involved in this bill but the very quality of our American education, and, therefore, the quality of our democracy is deeply involved in this bill—that is to say, not only equality but quality.
The teacher's salary has an influence on the teacher's performance in the classroom because of its relationship to his or her caliber, his or her efficiency, his or her ability, through a decent minimum salary to keep strong and healthy, to pay her bills, to attend professional institutions and buy books, and keep up with the best in her profession. It is not because somebody is trying to grab some more money, but because we want to see the teacher fortified in her own physical and spiritual resources so that she can give the best to those children whom she meets every day and because the way she meets them determines a good deal of what we call the American way.
Therefore, these things have a lot to do with the sort of democracy we have in America.
Now, we see that. according to the Federal structure of the people and the States, that this bill is rooted in the very depths of this Republic. It is not only a State question in nature but it is also of a national character-that is, $2,000,000,000 from the States and $300,000,000 from the Federal Government-a procedure that is in line with our best traditions in providing Federal aid for everything under the sun except public schools.
How long is this democracy going to continue to fail to provide Federal aid for the most fundamental institution we have? I am all for highways. Nobody even objects to providing Federal aid for highways through the States or for agricultural research or for landgrant colleges or for public health or for social security. The public school is the most fundamental of our institutions. Of course, in rating institutions-human and divine- I would take time here to acknowledge the place of the church, but in our American system church and state are separate, and we are talking here about public institutions, and the most fundamental such institution is the public school.
We started giving Federal aid for public education in the Northwest Ordinance of 1787, and there is nothing historically more fundamentally American than the Northwest Ordinance of 1787. For Heaven's sake, let's go back and catch up with 1787.
I am for Federal aid for health and roads and agricultural research. It is, therefore, logical and under a democracy a necessity that we provide Federal aid
to the public schools not in contravention of or in violation of but in fulfillment of the very nature and purpose of what we call America,
Mr. Chairman, $200,000,000, which is a part of the $300,000,000 provided in the bill, is because of the national emergency. The $100,000,000 provision is for equalization and the democratic logic there is, I think clear and imperative.
First, let us take the rural situation, and it will take just two or three sentences to emphasize that situation.
The rural people of America receive 9 percent of the national income and yet those rural people who receive 9 percent of the national income educate 31 percent of the Nation's children. If you go into the rural South this case becomes even more intensified. The southern people, and when I say southern people here I speak not only of the Southeast but the Southwest, the southern people constitute 28 percent of the population of this country and receive about 8 percent of the national income and educate 32 percent of the Nation's children.
As long as I have an additional 2 or 3 minutes here I would like to emphasize the fact that the South, particularly the rural South, is under a great handicap. The southern people through a great struggle have, in my opinion, risen heroically from the ruins of the War Between the States and from the tragedies of reconstruction. Yet, with all that heroic struggle to carry a tremendous load in spite of that poverty, they are under a great economic handicap which has caused the President of the United States to say, "The South is the Nation's economic problem No. 1."
Now, the southerners got furious about that, as well you know, Mr. Chairman, but that was said not by way of depreciation of the South, but by way of an appreciation of the great handicaps, economic handicaps, under which the southern people were carrying on their great struggle to provide equal opportunity for their children.
Let us acknowledge four things here. I do not bring any documents in support of this, in fact, I have not brought any documents at all. The tariff structure of commercial America lifts wealth out of the South, out of the rural America, as a matter of fact, but I say now particularly out of the South.
The freight-rate discrimination keeps wealth away from the South, some of which rightfully should be there.
Our great financial structure is one of the wonders of the modern world and has been brought about through the cooperation of management and labor, mainly patriotic. The Senator from Oregon has so eloquently said many times when he castigated the pattern makers of disunity and the disrupters of production, even in his fierce and fearless words of denunciation, that management and labor overwhelmingly have been patriotic in this war.
What I am saying here is in no way in depreciation of management or business enterprise or finance. I am just pointing out the fact that the financial structure of this country which draws forth its strength and power and wealth from the great resources, the raw materials, and raw labor of all America, that these great peaks, mountain peaks of financial power rise far beyond the southern regions. The West and South and rural America as a whole and the mining fields contribute to those great peaks of power. However, that wealth fundamentally comes from the West and the South and the farms and mines of America, but it gathers up in the great centers of finance and industry.
I say that the tariff structure takes wealth out of the South, the freight discrimination keeps wealth away from the South, and our great financial and industrial structures draw wealth from the South.
The southern people produce more children than any other people in the United States of America. They not only give birth to those children, but they educate those children, they feed them, and they clothe them at a time of life of these children and young people of the South when they are in their nonproductive years. They carry the load in training these children of the South who, when they become producers, go to the East and Middle West in the great migration from the South.
You know, the great net migration figures of America come from the southern rural areas. After the children have been educated and clothed and fed during a period in life when they do not produce and are an economic load, they go away and become producers in other areas.
It is only a matter, Mr. Chairman, of simple justice that there should be a little aid given to the southern rural areas, and not by way of charity, Mr. Chairman. Insofar as I have any voice for the southern people, and I can speak for rural America, they come here not for any hand-out, but as a matter of simple justice. And I might say justice is not our plea altogether, because if that were so these figures would be much bigger than they are. It is just simple justice that some of this wealth which is drawn off in the four ways I have enumerated should come back to these areas to help carry the load.
Not only in the interest of the South, not only in the interest of the West, not only in the interest of rural America, but in the interest of the great eastern industrial or financial centers themselves is this necessary, because it is very important to these great centers of finance and industry that the youths that come to them from rural America should be well trained. Some of that wealth which is created partly by this fund of raw material should come back to rural America, and I stand here and say to come back to the rural South.
It is a simple matter of justice and a matter of value to the great metropolitan, industrial, financial centers.
I was a member of a committee some years ago appointed to study this question and there was a very fine businessman on that committee_I am not going to give any names here—and he said:
I get the logic of this, but the southern people are lazy people and until they start doing something about their own schools I will not vote for any proposition involving Federal aid to aid what you call the rural South and rural America. Let them do something themselves. The are not doing anything.
He pointed a finger at two or three Southern States. He was a fine man, a patriotic American, and a reasonable man. All we had to do was show him the facts and when he found out the truth he said, “That is astounding to me.
When he learned that the southern people were putting more in proportion to their economic ability into public schools than any people in the United States, he began to see the picture differently,
I might say that the report become a unanimous report representing every cross section of American labor and management, from the North, South, East, and West.
I would like to illustrate that point in this way: If the State of South Carolina were to put all its general fund revenues into public schools alone and forget, God forbid, the insane, public welfare, and public health and other enterprises, South Carolina's public schools and I can say this about many other States—would not then, even then, come up to the national average.
Remember, South Carolina's tax rate is just as vigorous as the tax rates in the great financial industrial areas. Therefore, if this bill fails it means that children in America, even with the utmost that these localities and States can do, cannot even come up to the national average.
Now, let us look at the tax structure just a minute and see what the logic is there. Taxation on agricultural property is largely taxation on land and the property where the farmer is, and the farmer does not very easily shift that taxation from the land and that particular local property, whereas in our increasingly integrated industrial financial society taxes, in the final analysis, are on the consumers because the tax load can be shifted.
What I am trying to say here is that all sections, all people, help produce the Nation's wealth and, therefore, should share in this fundamental institution, that is, in the support of public schools. Since more people, as consumers, help to pay the taxes, then by a double reason of logic, there should be Federal aid to rural America and the States for public schools.
Now, I see people here today who remind me of the part that the West has played in this Republic. What used to be the source of American individualism and American democracy was land to the West. The influence of the frontier in American life was perhaps the most fundamental democratic influence that came upon the American scene, that is, that ever moving to the West. Lands were kept open and lands were kept equally open, equality and openness. Then something happened in America when we reached the Pacific and filled in the gaps between. That great influence for the equality of opportunity and the open freedom of our life disappeared.
What is the great institution that we have in America today that keeps opportunity, or at least should keep opportunity, open and equal? That is the public school. Just as young America in Massachusetts or the Old South or the Middle Štates could say there is always a door open to the West for freedom and equality of opportunity, today, the child of the humblest immigrant can say the door of the school is open, and I think we would like to say equally, and that is the purpose of this bill, to make that school door open and equally open to all children.
The people in Mississippi who have to struggle with a tremendous tax rate, comparatively speaking, to provide let us say $50 a year per child for education, have a far harder struggle than the child whose parents live in New Rochelle, N. Y., who have to struggle, perhaps, to provide more than $140 a year. Yet, all those children are American children, citizens of the States and citizens of the United States.
While we are in the midst of this war, which is fought for the freedom of the mind and equality of opportunity of all people, regardless of race, color, or creed, let us take into account the national emergency here at home that the schools are falling back.
As our boys this morning moved forward from Guadalcanal and Tarawa and Saipan and Guam and Leyte and Luzon, carrying the American flag with all its meaning for freedom and equality of opportunity for Americans and all mankind, can't we give them an assurance that the things they are fighting for are not falling back at home as they move forward for freedom and democracy?
I think I can hear voices this morning coming across the plains and the hills and from the sand dunes from schoolrooms without teachers, from schoolrooms with substandard teachers, voices of children, voices heard and voices too long unheard.
As I look into your faces this morning and think of the context of your own lives and your struggles to do your best for America, I believe that this presents one way to do a little more for some 26,000,000 school children in the United States.
After all, we are fighting this war for freedom of the mind, equality of opportunity, and that great humane tradition which comes across 2,000 years which the Nazi parties have tried to throw in reverse. The world revolution of the people is in head-on collision with the Fascist counter revolution, and that battleground is not only through the plains of Brandenburg this morning and over toward Bataan, but that battleground is also in the schoolrooms of America where the quality of the teacher is based on her opportunity to have a decent standard of living so that she can do her best work in the schoolroom to the end of preserving the freedom of mind and the great intellectual and spiritual human tradition of our race so that we not only can intellectually understand our problems and wisely plan and think ahead, but can organize in America a place where there can be work for everybody, equality for everybody.
Out of the humane impulses which have been communicated to us in our churches and in our schools we can organize a world with freedom, democracy, plenty, and peace, in a world of human brotherhood.
Senator MORSE. There are some questions I would like to ask.
Senator FULBRIGHT. Thank you, Dr. Graham. Some of the members would like to ask you a few questions.
Senator MORSE. Before I ask these questions, Dr. Graham, I think perhaps I ought to confess some responsibility for your being here,