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shall be used for payment of salaries of teachers. As we understand it, this bars the payment for teachers in sectarian or private schools. We have no objection to this feature of the bill.
We sincerely hope that it will be the action of your honorable committee to confine the appropriations which are proposed to be made under S. 717 to the support of the American public free schools. If this is done your action will go a long way toward the accomplishment of the noble objects and purposes set forth in the preamble to this bill as recited at the beginning of this letter.
By direction and authority of the national board of officers this letter is respectfully submitted. Your obedient servant,
National Secretary. Senator Johnson. If there is nothing further, the hearings are closed.
(Whereupon, at 12:10 p. m., the hearings were closed.)
New York, N. Y., May 6, 1945. Hon. JAMES E. MURRAY, Chairman, Senate Committee on Education,
United States Senate, Washington, D. C. DEAR SIR: The press has reported some of the arguments that the proponents of the Mead-Aiken bill (S. 717) have advanced before your committee. I anticipated some of these arguments when I appeared before your committee on February 2, 1945, in behalf of the Hill-Thomas bill (S. 181). I now submit an additional brief which I hope your committee will consider and add to the record of its hearings.
To grant public funds for the support of parochial schools would be a definite, radical violation of the various State and the Federal constitutions, and a reversal of American policy on religious freedom which has been thoroughly vindicated by 300 years of our history.
Every one of the State constitutions contains a bill of rights, and every one of these bills contains a clause guaranteeing religious freedom. All the constitutions are very definite and eloquent on that subject. The proponents of the bill S. 717 ignore the fundamental fact that the freedom of religion not only means the right to worship as one's faith directs, but also means that the authority of government shall not be used to impose any particular religious creed upon citizens. It means that no tax or tithe shall be collected for the purpose of propagating any denomination's doctrines. That is just what the appropriation of public funds to help maintain parochial schools means. For the prime reason for the existence of the parochial schools is the propagation of certain creeds and dogmas of one faith or another.
Nearly all the State constitutions contain specific provisions forbidding the appropriation of State or local funds for the support of sectarian institutions. Bill S. 717 was deliberately designed to circumvent these State constitutions. What a flagrant misuse of Federal power is here proposed. What a glaring contradiction there is in the arguments of the proponents of this measure who have heretofore appeared at congressional hearings to oppose Federal aid for schools because Federal aid would inevitably, they said, lead to Federal control of the State's schools. They are now saying, in effect, "We do not mind Federal control, if we can have a goodly share of Federal funds." They are saying, too, "We will oppose Federal aid for public schools if we cannot have a proportionate share of the funds for our schools." This calls to mind the fable of the dog in the manger.
The argument has been advanced that to grant Federal aid for public schools without a corresponding subsidy to private schools would be unfair to citizens who support and patronize parochial schools containing over 2,000,000 children. This argument is intenable. It opposes the public school against the parochial school as if they were in competition with each other. In our democratic system public and private schools are not in competitive conflict but complementary to one another. The people of the whole Nation have conceived of free public education as an absolutely necessary foundation of our democratic system. It is a contradiction of our democracy to curtail the maintenance of public education because many citizens prefer to send their children to private schools. The public schools are in dire need of greater support. It is a national need, and only the National Government has the authority and the resources for equalizing the educational opportunity of the children of the various parts of the Nation.
Free public schools, freedom of religion, separation of church and state, are all fundamental in our democratic system. The tithe is illegal. It is the use of governmental power of taxation for the establishment of religion, a contradiction of a most vital part of our bill of rights.
At least one proponent of this bill has advanced the argument to you that the denial of public funds to parochial schools is based on the concepts that the state should monopolize all educational endeavor and that governmental agencies alone can develop worthy citizens. That is not the American concept of education. All our States allow perfect freedom of choice of attendance at public or private schools, provided the private schools maintain certain minimum standards of academic instruction. In no other country have private schools, religious and secular, prospered more and been freer from interference with their policies and methods than in America. That fact apparently is not properly appreciated by those who claim that Federal aid for schools is unfair if it does not include a subsidy for private schools. The patrons and supporters of parochial schools should more fully appreciate the fact that guarantys of their freedom are written into both our Federal and our State constitutions.
The interests that are asking you to divert public funds to the support of parochial schools are asking you to revive ancient contentions, quarrels, and strife that we experienced in the earlier history of our country, and which we settled in one State after another by adopting religious freedom as a fundamental right and by a complete separation of church and state. They would have us bring on the dissensions, division, and disruptions that we have witnessed in France, in Mexico, and in other countries in recent years when those countries undertook to effect a separation of church and state. Happily Americans of our generation know little of the bitterness of the old religious quarrels.
Perhaps those who seek to reestablish tax support for religious institutions hope that present-day Americans are unaware of their own history and that we will inadvertently undo the work of our forefathers. But I think they will be disappointed. I think Americans will not at this late date attempt to reverse the course of history and reestablish state authority in matters of conscience.
A compilation of the clauses in the constitutions of the 48 States and of the Federal Government bearing on the subject of religious freedom would make a very impressive historical document. Utah's entrance into the Union was challenged on the ground that the major religious institution within its borders was incompatible with American institutions generally. So in writing the constitution for the proposed new State the authors of the document had to set forth clearly the principles of religious freedom. In one section of their constitution they wrote a very good epitome of the principles of religious freedom which the older States had already adopted. Section IV of Utah's bill of rights reads as follows:
“The rights of conscience shall never be infringed. The State shall make no law prohibiting the free exercise thereof; no religious test shall be required as a qualification for any office of public trust or for any vote at any election; nor shall any person be incompetent as a witness or juror on account of religious belief or the absence thereof. There shall be no union of church and State, nor shall any church dominate the State or interfere with its functions. No public money or property shall be appropriated to any religious worship, exercise, or instruction, or for the support of any ecclesiastical establishment." (Constitution of Utah, Declaration of Rights, sec. IV.)
In the same constitution the article on the free public-school system contains a section for bidding the State or any subdivision of it from appropriating any public funds for the support of sectarian schools or other sectarian institutions. Nearly 40 of the State constitutions contain very specific provisions against the expenditure of any public funds for the support of religious schools and other religious institutions. It is not necessary to quote all of them here. The following are typical: New York:
"Neither the State nor any subdivision thereof, shall use its property or credit or any public money, or authorize or permit either to be used, directly or indirectly, in aid or maintenance, other than for examination or inspection, of any school or institution of learning wholly or in part under control or direction of any religious denomination, or in which any denominational tenet or doctrine is taught.” (Constitution of New York, Art. LX, Sec. 4.)
This has been modified by constitutional amendment to permit the publicschool busses to carry children to parochial schools. Massachusetts:
no grant, appropriation, or use of public money or property or loan of public credit shall be made or authorized by the Commonwealth or any political division thereof for the purpose of founding, maintaining, or aiding any school or institution of learning, whether under public control or otherwise, wherein any denominational doctrine is inculcated,
." (Constitution of Massachusetts, amendment XLVI, sec. 2.)
In the beginning of its history, Massachusetts undertook to make Puritans out of all of its inhabitants, but by experience it learned that State authority should not be employed to inculcate denominational doctrines.
The Constitution of Montana is very specific on this subject :
"Neither the legislative assembly, nor any county, city, town, or school district, or other public corporations, shall ever make directly, or indirectly, any appropriation, or pay from any public fund or moneys whatever or mak any grant of lands or other property in aid of any church, or for any sectarian purpose, or to aid in the support of any school, academy, or seminary, college, university, or other literary, scientific institution, controlled in whole or in part by any church, sect, or denomination whatever," (Constitution of Montana, Art. XI, sec. 8.)
The authors of that section seemed determined not to leave any loophole whatsoever for granting aid to sectarian institutions.
Thirty-nine of the State constitutions contain specific provisions against the use of public funds for sectarian schools. The following States do not have such express provisions but their sections on religious freedom would preclude the use of taxes for the propagation of any particular faith : Connecticut, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont.
The constitutional provisions of the 48 States, plainly expressed deep convictions and the strong determinations of the American people on religious freedom. They are not to be ignored or circumvented by Congress. Yours truly,
CHARLES J. HENDLEY, President, Teachers Union, Local 555 State, County, and Municipal
Workers of America.
NATIONAL LAYMEN'S COUNCIL,
Chicago, April 28, 1945.
Senate Office Building, Washington, D. C. DEAR SENATOR MURRAY: I am enclosing testimony I wish to file into the record as relating to Senate bill 717.
I appeared before your committee and testified on Senate bill 181-and will appreciate it if you will place this material in the record for me.
Thank you. Yours truly,
GEO. W. ROBNETT, Executive Secretary.
TESTIMONY IN OPPOSITION TO S. 717, TENDERED FOR THE RECORD BY GEORGE W.
ROBNETT, CHICAGO, ILL., REPRESENTING THE NATIONAL LAYMEN'S COUNCIL AND THE CHURCH LEAGUE OF AMERICA, OF THE SAME ADDRESS
The Church League of America is a national organization serving in the capacity of better understanding between clergy and laymen in matters of common interest. Our committee of clergy consists of nearly 1,000 clergymen of essentially all denominations and widely scattered throughout the United States. The National Laymen's Council is essentially the laymen's committee of the Church League of America and is sponsored by hundreds of leading businessmen who are in the main active churchmen. Our work also embraces education as a closely related field.
There are many reasons why S. 717 is an objectionable bill which are of such interwoven character as to make the bill objectionable as a whole.
1. The bill is full of political-control potentials.
2. The passage would open the gateway to ever-increasing demands for more and more funds until the whole decentralized system of public education would be destroyed and replaced by centralized-federalized direction with all of the dangers that such education control has demonstrated in other lands.
3. The bill is fantastic in many respects and therefore deceptive in the light of the purposes set forth in the introduction. To accomplish the objectives proposed would require an appropriation many times the size of the amounts called for in this bill. The introduction says one objective is to eradicate illiteracy. That is fantastic. It makes about as much sense as would a bill written to eradicate unemployment. Just as there are always people who do not wish to work and will not work so there are people who do not wish to study and learn, and will not do so. Besides such an over-all objective would require billions instead of millions.
4. This bill is put forth as a means of equalizing educational opportunities but it proceeds to violate that noble sentiment by establishing in the main what amounts to a teacher's salary subsidy. Why would not policemen, firemen, park employees, and other community servants be able to demand a Federal salary subsidy with equal propriety?
5. This bill is drawn to establish an over-all distribution of funds among all of the States. What possible justification is there for distributing Federal funds in New York, Illinois, and all of those States which now show huge treasury surpluses? Illinois, for instance, has recently reported a surplus of between six hundred and seven hundred million dollars. I have recently received reports from the treasurers of a majority of the States and most of them show surpluses. According to Senators with whom I have talked there has been no official request for such Federal aid from the States themselves. This is a gratuitious proposition conceived and sponsored by a small professional group with special interests involved.
6. Supplementing the objection just stated I should like to emphasize that this bill is sponsored by a group that is not at all representative of the parents and the taxpayers. It was not even representative of the school teachers until the interests of the teachers was aroused by the introduction of this salary subsidy. Using this as bait paid officials of NEA and their affiliated State organizations have put on a membership drive soliciting members on the basis of this proposed salary increase. Consequently this proffered inducement has developed wide support among the teachers—but it came only after this strategy was adopted. Further, it has been my observation, that those who testified for this bill were in the main groups who have supported the pump priming policies of the “new order” and who have been corralled for this purpose through the efforts of the small paid group of professionals who are turning heaven and earth to get a Federal aid bill passed. Many of those who have been brought to Washington to testify for this Federal aid to education proposal are Government employees whose salaries and expenses are paid by the Government-others are CIO groups whose large income is derived largely through a Government-sponsored check-off-and others have undoubtedly been provided expense arrangements by the NEA or its affiliates. In brief, if an investigation were made, it would probably be found that there has been very little support for this bill that did not derive from such related sources as I have mentioned.
7. The National Board set up by this bill is clearly intended to be a smoke screen for the real source of power that would be made effective through this act. The National Board would serve not to exceed 60 days in any one fiscal year. Now how could any such Board members acquire sufficient familiarity in that time with the issues and problems involved to be able to use good judgment in reaching independent decisions in the vast and complex matters involved? It simply couldn't be done nor do the proponents of the bill expect that it will for the bill goes on to say, “The United States Commissioner of Education shall serve as Secretary of the National Board and as administrative officer, and through the United States Office of Education shall administer the several programs authorized by this act." That lets the cat out of the bag. That explains everything.
8. S. 717 opens the gate essentially for the distribution of funds to nonpublic schools. Section II (d) says, “In making any such determination the Board shall take into consideration the extent to which the burden of the educational needs of the State are borne by nonpublic schools.” This part of the bill would open up at least three genuine problems. (1) A national program of determination by the Board (which serves for only 60 days out of a year) would by its complex nature and its wide ramifications present an overwhelming job which no 60-day board could handle. (2) This would invite all kinds of political wire-pulling and pressure-group activities. (3) It would also at once create issues involving controversy and bitterness in many communities.
9. Section II (b) would place in the hands of the Commissioner the annual sum of $1,500,000 to be used at his own discretion through State aụthorities for "survey or other studies pertinent to the best use of the funds received under this Act." What does that mean? Could not these reports be used for propaganda in the form of emphasizing greater and greater need for Federal aid? Could not this vast sum in the hands of a politically minded Commissioner be used in many ways to promote schemes and personalities?
10. Section II (C): "The National Board shall cause an audit to be made of the expenditure of the funds under this Act by each State authority." Then it goes on to say that if "l'he National Board finds any such funds have been wrongfully expended certain withholding penalties shall be executed." This places in the hands of the National Board (which we have already seen is in reality the Commissioner) a withholding penalty if, in his discretion, he shall determine that any of the funds have been misused. This, it would seem, places another leverage of political control in the hands of the United States Commissioner. Any such audit should be made by the Treasury Department.
11. Section II (g) says: “The National Board shall publish annually a full and complete report showing the extent to which educational opportunities in the United States have been equalized through the provisions of this Act.” Then it goes on to say that such report shall show “the accomplishments of the respective States through the expenditures of such funds." It requires no stretch of the imagination to understand that here is a powerful instrument of control over the State agencies in the hands of the Commissioner at Washington. An unfavorable report on any State authority's management of the fund would practically ruin him. Naturally he would wish to avoid unfavorable reports and would be amenable to a strong-willed Commissioner under such impending possibilities. This would, therefore, give the Commissioner great political leverage.
12. Section II (h) says: “The National Board is authorized to make such rules and regulations in conformity with the provisions of this Act as may be necessary to facilitate its administration." In connection with that I should like to insert a copy of an opinion that I have received from two leading attorneys in Chicago. It follows:
"Under the provisions of S. 717 the Commissioner of Education acting through the Board is an administrative officer of the Government. He is empowered under its terms to make findings of fact. Under the rulings of the United States Supreme Court the conclusions of fact of an administrative body or officers, when subjected to judicial review, must stand if there is any material evidence tending to support his conclusions, and this even though the court may find that his conclusions are contrary to the weight of the evidence. In support are the following citations from the Supreme Court of the United States :
Helvering v. Strickler (307 U. S. 277, at 299) (review of decision of Board of Tax Appeals).
Kessler v. Strickler (308 U. S. 32, at 34) (review of findings of Directors of Immigration).
Leach v. Carlile (258 U. S. 138, at 139 and 140) (findings of Postmaster General. "Supervision" and "control" will not arise out of the inherent nature of the act itself. The names objects will be brought about more subtly with the bait of Federal largess, such as the prospect of increased funds for the local political authorities to spend, increased salaries of teachers and other employees, and other seductive perquisites. The desire to curry favor with the benefactor is bound to operate on the minds of the beneficiaries. They will serve as the unwritten and sub rosa "control" and "regulation." These untoward pressures will be incapable of proof in proceedings for judicial review, while the conclusions of the Commissioner will be immune from attack, except as above stated."
13. Section 5 provides that: “A State may use not to exceed 1 per centum of the funds received by it under this Act to assist in paying the expenses of the State department of education necessary for the efficient administration of the funds received under this Act: Provided, That such work shall include cooperation with the United States Office of Education in furnishing the Commissioner of Education such factual information as may be useful in the compilation of