Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

well as I could to present objective figures, the results of a national investigation of education.

If you will take the time to study these charts, or the longer report which I have cited, even though you merely glance through it, I think you will come to certain conclusions about what our duties are to the children of the Nation. I am willing to rest on the evidence in this respect.

I thank you very much for your attention.

Senator Hill. Doctor, while you speak of the duties, I wish you would emphasize a little bit what the figures of the Selective Service show. A surprisingly large number of men have to be rejected from service in our armed forces because of mental, physical, or moral deficiencies, is that not true?

Dr. NORTON. Yes; and educational deficiencies.

Senator HILL. I should have said "educational deficiencies.” The fact is that health deficiency and educational deficiency usually go hand in hand.

Dr. NORTON. That is right. In other words, there is no acceptable piecemeal approach to adequate educational opportunity for all. This is not only a National and State but a community problem. If we are going to have the nearest possible to 100 percent of our children intellectually, morally, and physically sound, we will have to look upon this as an over-all problem, in which not only education must do much better and must be better financed in order to do better, but the whole community will have to rally around. This is essential if all American children are to be able to realize the best that is in them intellectually, ethically, and physically. Senator FULBRIGHT. You mentioned being in Japan. Do you

have any ideas as to what Russia has done on education during the past 4 years ás compared with ourselves?

Dr. NORTON. Yes. One of the reasons why Russia was not so quickly defeated in this war

Senator ELLENDER (interposing). Quickly defeated ? It was not defeated at all.

Dr. Norton. You are right. Let me restate it. One of the reasons why Russia was not defeated quickly in this war is that in the last 10 or 20 years the Russians have made very effective use of education in their society. They have not only taken a people who were in the middle of feudalism and mostly illiterate and lifted them to relative literacy, given them vocational and technical training, but they have, from their way of looking at things, showed them what they were fighting for. In that fact I think we have the reason that predictions were repudiated by later events. Russia was not overrun in 6 weeks, or 6 months but, rather, withstood the shock of the world's greatest military power. The Russians have always been a brave people. They marched up in one war after another to be slaughtered by the millions. This is the first war in which they have gone into battle with a little intelligence and, fortunately, with a little technical training, because technical training, the ability to deal with machines, to deal with mathematics, is the very sine qua non of successful war today. If you do not have that back of you it does not matter how brave you are. The braver you are, the faster you are killed.

So those people, whatever else you say about them, did have the wisdom and foresight to use education very effectively. I saw it being used.

Senator FULBRIGHT. In other words, do they manage their schools on a sectional basis, or is it a national concern?

Dr. Norton. They see that every Russian child gets an educational opportunity. No Japanese child can be illiterate unless he is feebleminded, and then they will do the best they can with him. No German child escaped going to school. Every child was looked upon as he should be, as a resource. That is true in the case of some of these societies that used their resources in an attempt to conquer the world. We should look upon every child as a resource for helping the world and helping ourselves.

Senator FULBRIGHT. One more question. If we assume this Nation is to play a part in international society, is that not another reason why, if we are going to be competing with these other nations, we must adopt an efficient method of education?

Dr. Norton. I think it is an additional reason; yes; because we do not fight wars or deal with the world as individual States or localities; we deal with such matters as a Nation. Let me give you one very dramatic fact.

We started out to raise an Army, a Navy, a Marine Corps, and Coast Guard of somewhere between 11,000,000 and 12,000,000 men. We now have approximately that many men under the colors. Now, it is a dramatic fact that there is a larger percentage of servicemen in those 11,000,000 to 12,000,000 from New York State, from Massachusetts, from Connecticut, from California, than there would have been if the Southern States had been able to maintain a good educational system. The Southern States, with poorly financed schools, and in some areas no schools at all, have turned up a much larger percentage of rejectees, IV-F's; illiterates and physical deficients. In order to get 12,000,000 men we have had to take them where they were. New York State, California, Illinois, and States like that have the larger percentage of physically competent and educationally competent youths. We have had to reject larger percentages of youths from States with inadequately maintained schools.

Senator FULBRIGHT. In that connection, those are the ones that will be killed in the greatest percentage, the ones that are best educated, leaving us with a larger percentage of illiterates. Is not that the result?

Dr. NORTON. That is the result. It is probable that more New York youths, more Connecticut, Massachusetts, and California youths, will be killed in this war than would have been true if we had had a reasonable minimum of educational opportunity everywhere.

Senator Walsh. Are youths rejected because they are illiterate?
Dr. NORTON. Yes.

Senator Walsh. I have seen, in camps that I have visited, a collection of illiterates being trained.

Dr. NORTON. There is some of that being done.

Senator WALSH. I saw that being done at Parris Island in the Marines.

73384-45-pt. 1-7

Dr. NORTON. Yes. It is an expensive process in the amount it is costing, and it is a slow process to lift an illiterate adult to the place where he is efficient even in reading and writing. I do not think the Germans are willing to wait until we get that job done. The actual fact is, however, outside of the number you see in camps learning to read at Federal expense today, there are hundreds of thousands of illiterates who were just sent home. Illiteracy is sometimes also complicated by physical deficiency.

One of the important factors which has caused the rejection of 5,000,000 men is lack of educational opportunity. Various estimates have been made, and none of them can be exact, but it has been estimated that at least 2,000,000 of these 5,000,000 men rejected could, if they had had reasonable educational opportunity, have arrived at camp as assets to the military effort.

Two million men. I do not know how many men are involved in this current Russian offensive, but one figure I saw was a little over 2,000,000 men. We have rejected, because of our denial of educational opportunity, nearly enough men to put on this Russian offensive is so crucial in the present struggle.

Are there any other questions?

Senator ELLENDER. Doctor, you made a most excellent witness. I wish every Member in Congress had heard your testimony. In your studies I presume you had in your mind a minimum goal for us to reach. In the bill we are considering section 2 provides for two kinds of appropriation-one, $200,000,000 a year, to be utilized during the emergency, and the other for $100,000,000 a year of a permanent nature. How close to the goal that you have in mind can the amount of money we now are asked to appropriate reach?

Dr. NORTON. If you do not mind, I will refer the detailed answer to that question to later witnesses. I merely will say this: It would provide a substantial first step, and what we need to do, instead of haggling over details and technicalities, is to take one honest and substantial step in the direction of giving every American child an opportunity, and this bill, I am convinced from studying it, would represent such a step.

Senator ELLENDER. Have you any idea how much it would cost! I am sure the question will be asked on the Senate floor. From the fact that you have made a close study of this problem, I wonder if you would be able to tell us what is the amount per year that would have to be appropriated by Congress in order to meet the minimum goal that you have in mind.

Dr. Norton. Yes. Page 178 and following of the study cited earlier gives a table occupying some 8 or 10 pages which tells what it would cost to raise each of the school districts of the country from below any given figure up to that figure.

It would cost $315,000,000 to lift all school districts which are financing their classrooms at less than $1,600 a year up to that figure$315,000,000.

The table referred to tells how much it would cost to raise the classrooms below $100 up to $100. I think we carry it on to about $3,000 or $4,000. Naturally, the further you go the more the cost. But once again, whereas I want to answer your question, if I haven't done so I will come back to it-I think the important thing is not just how we go about doing it now but the direction in which we go. We must recognize the simple principle that every child born in America has a right to an educational opportunity. Equally important, the fulfillment of that right is a matter which affects the well-being of all of us.

So, even though the first step is a small and halting one, let us move toward that goal, so that America, as we go into these peace conferences, will be able to say, "We guarantee all American children at least some kind of educational opportunity.” That is the thing we need to do above all else. The details of method and procedure take care of themselves as we resolutely move toward giving every American child a decent educational opportunity.

Senator Walsh. We appreciate your very able contribution.
Dr. NORTON. Thank you, Senator.
Senator FULBRIGHT. Just one more question.
Dr. NORTON. Yes.

Senator FULBRIGHT. Is there any relation between old-age assistance and the relief problem that we have, and that we have accepted as a pational matter, and between education, in your mind? Do you think if we spend some money in educating the youth that perhaps that might have a beneficial effect on the amount that it is necessary to pay out in old age?

Dr. Norton. I think there is the relationship you have just mentioned. It is far cheaper to prevent physical deficiency, to prevent educational deficiency, than it is to correct them in adulthood. So we would be saving money and saving a lot of social grief if we gave every child at the outset the best opportunity to develop whatever is in him rather than trying to correct defects later.

Senator FULBRIGHT. My point is a purely financial matter. Is it not true that people who have a reasonable education contribute more as taxpayers, and will actually contribute more than those who are illiterate ?

Dr. Norton. That is right.

Senator FULBRIGHT. In other words, this is not a charity, it is an investment.

Dr. NORTON. Exactly. You will find, for example, in these charts that it is the States that spend the most for education that also have the largest income. Now, if you will go into an analysis of that situation–because one has to be careful in dealing with such matters, one may get cause and effect mixed up, but analyses have been made of this matter.

Take the very significant sociological studies of Professor Odum, of North Carolina University; studies of regions in the South. He has gone into a detailed analysis and has asked such questions as this: Why are so many Southern-born men and women relatively poor producers in terms of per capita income?" He gives a number of causes. One of the factors involved is lack of educational opportunity.

So we create a vicious circle. Income is low because educational facilities are poor, and educational facilities are poor because income is low.

Now, the question is, how can we break that vicious circle, not only for the well-being of the people of the South—and we ought to have some consideration for them because they are American citizens-but more broadly from the point of view of the well-being of the people of the whole Nation? After all, can New York City sell anything to poor people? Not very much. It would be fine if Mississippi and Arkansas, and all the other States with low per capita incomes, came into the national market not with a per capita income of $300 or $400 a year, but with a per capita income of $800, $900, and $1,000 a year. It would be to everybody's advantage. New York, California, Massachusetts and similar States could sell more to them and they could buy more. The whole economy is a unit—is interdependent-in many respects. The saying that a chain is no stronger than its weakest link applies in this situation.

Senator Walsh. Thank you, Doctor.

It is getting near the time of convening the Senate. I presume the witnesses who will want to be heard will take considerable time, and therefore I think the best thing to do is to adjourn until 10 o'clock tomorrow morning.

(Whereupon, at 11:50 a. m., the committee adjourned to 10 a. m. of the following day, Tuesday, January 30, 1945.)

« ZurückWeiter »