« ZurückWeiter »
Senator, and then use the Federal money from S. 181 in place of State money for educational purposes. You see, by having the Federal contribution reduced, the State's income is reduced.
Senator JOHNSTON. All of it comes out of the taxpayer; does it not!
Miss BORCHARDT. Yes, Senator; but what I am saying is that the State budget would be reduced by the reduction of the Federal grant to the State and that would automatically relieve the State of the responsibility of maintaining its educational budget.
Senator CHAVEZ. You mean it would be reduced by the contribution of the Federal Government?
Miss BORCHARDT. Yes, Senator. Actually it was a distinguished member of this body who pointed this out to me and I do not question the soundness of his judgment. The facts are implicit on the face of the bill.
But to return to the history of the bill. I was in Boston as the proceedings of the Boston A. F. of L. convention show, until the day before the vote on S. 637 on the floor of the Senate. We wanted to protect the teachers' interest in that bill. I gave material embodying the principles adopted by the A. F. of L. convention action to a number of the Senators and I found two attitudes among them. They were divided; those who opposed Federal aid in general said they did not want to offer any amendments for the offering of amendments implied support of the principle and those who favored Federal aid said, “We are not going to get action on this bill by this Congress but let us keep as many votes as possible just on the general theory."
One of the Senators inserted in the record material which I gave him and as the record shows, he said, “This is the material which a representative of the A. F. of L. brought to me.” That material was inserted in the record. Then, as the record shows, he said he was putting in also "other material which my office has sent to me."
As you know when the Langer amendment was offered the bill was resubmitted to the committee. The American Federation of Labor,
the American Federation of Teachers, had nothing to do with that | amendment. They did not ask for its introduction and did not ask
for its support. I state that categorically because there has been so much misinformation sent out by the supporters of S. 637 on that point also. I do not question either the wisdom, the judgment, or the high-mindedness of anyone who offered the amendment and supported it. I am simply stating our position. However, after the defeat of S. 637, the A. F. of L. and the A. F. of T. realized that a bill like S. 637 could not pass and plans were made to have a bill prepared, which we felt could be passed. A set of principles was restated by the A. F. of L. and these were adopted at the New Orleans convention. I think Mr. Woll or Mr. Googe, one or the other, has put in this action of the convention into these proceedings. The action of the A. F. of L. was to ask for Federal aid for education for every child regardless of race, creed, or color. The delegates, I believe, took those words literally and seriously. The convention instructed the committee on education to prepare a bill embodying these principles and press for its adoption.
The drafting of a bill in a democratic organization is a slow and involved process. The A. F. of L. has a cumbersome machinery of committee referals. Votes must be taken all along the line. The machinery of democracy is complex. It meant that the principles
went first to the convention. They were unanimously adopted by the convention after they had been very thoroughly discussed by a convention committee composed of at least 50 delegates from all parts of the United States.
The convention instructed its legislative committee to proceed to have a bill introduced. Consultations were held with many people. A tentative draft was prepared. I want to say quite frankly, Senator, because you have asked this question, that I saw this bill in its typed form at every stage before it was introduced. After the final draft of the bill had been endorsed by the A. F. of L., their leaders decided to ask two outstanding leaders in the Senate to sponsor it: Senator Mead and Senator Aiken; a Democrat and a Republican. Both of these men have fine records of constructive, liberal leadership; both are determined to do everything possible for the American child. Both received the formal written request, from the A. F. of L. to introduce the bill.
Senator Smith. When you speak of the principles being adopted by the A. F. of L., does that include every principle involved in this, including the nonpublic schools, or does that come later?
Miss BORCHARDT. No, that does not come later, that principle was adopted by the A. F. of L. Senator. That principle was first adopted by the A. F. of L., in the twenties. It may have been earlier but I know that in the late twenties that principle was adopted. The A. F. of L. is very zealous in guarding the ideal of free practice of religion.
Senator SMITH. Was that the chief difference between your labor group and the NEA?
Miss BORCHARDT. The NEA bill does not have any safeguards for teachers' salaries. It provides no educational standards. It provides no services for the child. It does not take care of the individual student in need. It does not recognize that the Federal Government's educational building program, coming from whatever funds it may, should be administered by State authority. It hasn't the over-all features of which Dr. Zook spoke, as essential in any program for educational reconstruction. And it has none of the safeguards which we hold essential.
Senator SMITH. Am I correct that the NEA opposes the inclusion of the nonpublic school?
Miss BORCHARDT. That the NEA will have to testify to. I will testify for my own group but I cannot te stify for an organization of which I am not a member.
Senator MORSE. Later, I would like to have you, if you will, tell me why you think S. 181 makes it possible for the State to reduce its budget the amount of the Federal appropriation.
Miss BORCHARDF, Well, it simply says, that the excuses under which the State may reduce its budget, and still get Federal funds are: "Act of God or through no act of the State legislature or failure of the State legislature to act,” and there cannot be an act of omission or commission by the State legislature in reducing the State's educational budget, when the Federal Government reduces its wartime contribution to the State. That is not an act of a State legislature or a failure of the State legislature to act. It is an act of the Federal Congress.
Senator JOHNSTON. So you think the State ought to reduce its budget?
Miss BORCHARDT. On the contrary, Senator. The fact is that S. 181 would permit the State to get the Federal funds even if it cut teachers' salaries. That is what we do not like in S. 181. You see we definitely do not have the loophole in our bill.
Senator JOHNSTON. There is no need for the appropriation if the State is going to cut its budget.
Miss BORCHARDT. Exactly, Senator. It would be very poor government not to prevent it. We certainly believe that and I am so grateful to you for pointing that out.
Now gentlemen I should like, if I may, to discuss the provision for the trusteeship, in S. 717.
Senator Donnell, your question of the propriety of a trusteeship is a question I simply cannot understand. As an attorney, Senator, I do not think the word "trustee" is a bad word. On the contrary, it has a highly honorable connotation to every attorney.
Senator CHAVEZ. It expresses faith.
Miss BORCHARDT. Yes, I cannot quite understand why the word “trustee" should be regarded as highly objectionable. However, we are not wed to the word. We are not in any way insisting that that be the language but only that the purpose for which it is provided shall be met. As one of the labor leaders has expressed the thought :
We have to find a legal means through which the child who is trudging in the mud to go to the school that his parents selected for him may get to that school; that the child who goes to a school that his parents selected for him may have, if the school is poor and many of these private schools are very poor, may have the money to have the roof fixed; that the child who is hungry in any school may be fed.
We think that is sound. You may differ. We may be too zealous in our concern for every child but, Senator, we would rather err in protecting every child than sin in neglecting one.
Senator Smith. You are taking the position there that the Federal Government should assume responsibility which heretofore we have considered the States were happy to assume in taking care of their own children and you are going to judge whether the State has done that adequately and if you say it has not you will do it?
Miss BORCHARDT. I do not quite agree with you.
Miss BORCHARDT. All right. Let us get the issue clear. Heretofore the Federal Government has, in many, many instances, granted aid to individuals within a State, afforded protection to individuals within a State when the State has not done so and we, in the labor movement, have fought for a recognition on the part of the Federal Government of its responsibilities for the general welfare and its concern for the protection of the rights of the individual citizen. I think you will find the labor movement united in saying the individual child is a very, very rich heritage, the richest
Senator SMITH. We all agree with that. There is no question about it. It is the question of the right way to deal with it.
Miss BORCHARDT. That is right. Our position is that when a State passes a law or fails to pass a law which permits of the exploitation of any child, that the Federal Government has not only a right but a
sacred duty to concern itself with the welfare of the child, while protecting and maintaining the State government.
Senator SMITH. I do not know what you mean by exploitation. I would agree if there were an exploitation of the child that protection of the child is sacred to our whole set-up but we have a difference of opinion between the Federal responsibility and the State responsibility.
Miss BORCHARDT. Do you not wholeheartedly favor the social principles of the social security law? Under this law there is a FederalState cooperative program for the common welfare.
Senator SMITH. I do not feel this is the place to discuss that. We have taken the position right along we are not the witnesses. We are trying to get in the record what your philosophy is and I am not trying to embarrass you.
Miss BORCHARDT. Our position is that when the State does not provide for the individual child's well being that the Federal Government must make the means available whether those means are negative or positive to protect and promote the welfare of the individual child. We do feel that in preventing child labor, in giving aid to crippled children, and in many other acts, that the Federal Government quite definitely has assumed a proper responsibility:
Senator SMITH. That implies, of course, that the Federal Government must set up some sort of agency to determine whether a given State, in its own sovereign right, has taken care of the child properly and if it has not, then the Federal Government steps in and these funds are passed on to the trustee. I just want to get the issue clear. Is that your position?
Miss BORCHARDT. May I state it as we see it? The Federal Goveernment asks the State to report. It is not investigating. It asks the State to report whether the State can, under its laws, make the benefit from Federal funds available to every child in need of them, and if the State reports that it cannot do so, then the Federal Government supplies the machinery through which that aid may flow for all children which the State cannot or will not help with its own funds. That is our position, Senator.
Senator SMITH. That is a reasonably fair statement, I think. The principle of equalization of educational opportunity I find myself very sympathetic with that. I think there are some very poor sections of our country where I am entirely happy to see the wealthier sections contribute to those areas, but that is a very different matter from that which we are discussing and from some of the other things you have touched on. I think you have made your position clear. I just wanted to bring out what the issue is here.
Miss BORCHARDT. Thank you, Senator.
Now, as to the trustee: In the first place we should note that a trustee is provided in S. 181 also. There must be an officer of trust in every State to receive and disburse Federal funds made available in the act. S. 181 provides for a trustee who shall be a State officer. S. 717 provides for two trustees; one who shall be a State officer and one who shall be a Federal officer. That latter provision was written into the bill to provide a means for channeling Federal funds for children in nonpublic schools who, because of State law, cannot get the benefit from Federal funds once they are mingled with or become
State funds. This provision is no secret. It is openly stated. It is written in the bill, that means are provided for taking care of the child whose needs are not met by the State. We do hope that, above all else, that the child's well being is protected. I know, Senator Smith, of your knowledge as a student of political science and of your interest in seeking to find a means through which the individual human being may be served. We just plead with you to find a means to make this possible, in a bill for Federal aid for education.
The question has been raised here several times as to whether our membership was informed as to what is in the bill. They have been kept informed continually. In the first place, the report restating our principles was read to our convention in 1943. I am not going to read this report to you now, but I do want to state that not only was it read to our convention, it was placed in the hands of every delegate. Furthermore, a representative of the National Education Association was present and took with him a number of copies. I want to quote only one sentence:
We must honestly and openly analyze the question of Federal aid to schools supported by religious organizations. Shibboleths should not replace critical thinking.
The CHAIRMAN. Miss Borchardt, do you wish to have that made a part of the record ?
Miss BORCHARDT. I should like to have the part of the report dealing with the Federal-aid bill, if I may, inserted in the record, because there has been a question as to whether our organization had been informed about this bill.
The CHAIRMAN. Very well, it will be placed in the record. (The material referred to is as follows:)
[For immediate release Wednesday, a. m., August 18, 1943]
REPORT OF THE WASHINGTON REPRESENTATIVE
(By Şelma M. Borchardt) No bill, now before Congress, providing general Federal aid for education will become a law. This is a fact in spite of the other fact that there is urgent need for immediate aid if our schools are to be maintained at this time.
Teachers of America have been reading reports and expounding theories on the need of Federal aid for education and on the absolute justice inherent in their appeals for such aid. It is time we stopped simply talking about the needs of our schools and accept the fact as proved that many State simply cannot raise the funds to finance education in the State, and that we start directing our attention to a critcal evaluation of the proposed means and methods through which the program of Federal aid is to be financed and administered. We must stop believing that the legislation is around the corner simply because someone says so, and start asking ourselves, quite seriously, why the legislation has not been enacted when the need for it is so glaringly apparent.
The record shows that for the last 25 years the American Federation of Teachers and the other teacher organizations have pleaded for Federal aid for education. Yet, actually, we are no closer to the enactment of this legislation than we were 25 years ago. We should frankly face the facts as to why this program has made no progress.
In 1918, when the first proposal for such legislation was made, the record shows that the A. F. of L. the A. F. of T., the NEA, and the General Federation of Women's Clubs were asking for a law which would create a Federal Depart. ment of Education and would give Federal funds which would grant aid on a State-matching basis. The reason then given was that the World War had shown that a large number of illiterates in this country need education, and that many foreign born here needed to be Americanized. This was the basis of the