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Mrs. MEYER. I think the social-work program in Sweden and Denmark is extraordinarily well thought out and well coordinated. Mr. RICH. Does that include their educational system : Mrs. MEYER. Yes. Of, course, they are small countries, but they have given the deepest thought to those things. They have known of the abject poverty that we have over here. Mr. RICH. They are in better condition, then? Mrs. MEYER. Their whole social system is stronger than ours as a whole. Mr. RICH. Do you advise us patterning after their system? Mrs. MEYER. Certainly not. Every country has to work out its own system that grows out of its own needs. Mr. RICH. If they are so much better than ours, why not pattern after something that is better? Mrs. MEYER. Because you can never take an idea from another country without adapting it to your own circumstances. Mr. RICH. Isn’t it a fact that this country of ours is trying to tell all the countries of the world how they should operate their government and what kind of government they should have? Mrs. MEYER. I hope we are not trying to do it as drastically as that. In fact, the Educational Commission came back from Japan and found so many good things in the educational system of Japan that they recommended that we go ahead very carefully in trying to improve their methods. Mr. RICH. The point I am trying to get out now is this: Your indictment of our educational system in America and standards is about the most drastic that I have ever had presented to me in any . committee. I am wondering just how we can go ahead and improve that, outside of the suggestions you make, unless we follow some plan of some other system that might be better than ours. Mrs. MEYER. In a great many of our States, we have probably the best schools in the whole world. All I am trying to do is give those children who have not been given the same educational opportunities an equal opportunity, because I think if we are a democracy, every child in this country should be able to grow up a healthy educated human being. The point I am making is that I want the same stand§: for our underprivileged areas that already existin our prosperous tates. Mr. RICH. You speak about the fact that we set up this Bureau of Education and then you work through the States and the local communities? Mrs. MEYER. Yes. Mr. RICH. You said “both can be brought to the people if our Federal and State Governments could collaborate in a well-rounded program of community organization;” then you made the statement: “supported by Federal aid.” In order to realize your ambition and standards that you would set up, have you ever figured on what amount of money the Federal Government would have to appropriate for this work? Mrs. MEYER. The total, no, sir, because it would take very careful study to determine the sums. I pointed out to the chairman only a little while ago, that they have to be computed very carefully in relationship to the needs of the State.
Besides, the States do not have to come in. Supposing we do have such a system of Federal aid, no State can be forced to take it. It is only there if they want it. It is optional. Mr. RICH. If you make the law and require certain things from the States Mrs. MEYER. I am not requiring anything. What I said was that we should have a system by which Federal aid could be effectively administered. Of course, that depends upon the Congress. If we are not going to have Federal aid, it is up to Congress. This does not institute Federal aid. It simply improves the administrative proci. o if Federal aid is voted by the Congress, it can be effectively andled. Mr. RICH. We are trying to aid and assist the States in vocational education and have appropriated quite a sum of money. The thought expressed here was that we expected the States to handle this vocational education, but we find out that the Federal Government is in it so deep that the States cannot hanle it only as directed by the bureaucrats here in Washington. Mrs. MEYER. To begin with, it was a matching problem, and the result was that the States that could put the most in the kitty got the most from the Federal Government. My point is that Federal aid should be adminisered in such a way that it is in relationship to need. Mr. RICH. You want the Federal Government to do it all and States not do anything? Mrs. No. Excuse me, I said nothing of the sort. My whole argument is against that. Mr. RICH. Then I misunderstood you. I thought anything that is worth while is worth working for. Mrs. MEYER. To begin with, the States would have to request the Federal aid. Nobody can force the State to take Federal aid if they do not want it. Mr. RICH. We are forcing on the States a lot of things they do not like. We have been working up on that. Mrs. MEYER. I am trying to fight that trend. Mr. RICH. You say now you do not want the States to support this educational system, but you want the Federal Government to do it. Mrs. MEYER. Excuse me, my argument is totally against that. I think if you will read my testimony again, you will see that I am out and out States’ rights person. Mr. RICH. Then suppose we have the States cooperate. Do you believe that we should in any sense of politics enter into our educational system in this country? Mrs. MEYER. I think that there should always be a complete absence, ideally speaking, in education, health, and welfare. At present, you have got politics in education up to your ears in lots of States. I think the improvement of our administrative machinery would help to eliminate it. Mr. RICH. I am trying to get your thought so we in no sense can have politics. Mrs. MEYER. I think, sir, you and I agree absolutely on methods and on administrative processes. Mr. Rich. I do not know that I agree altogether with you on this, although I am for education. I am trying to get your views on it. That is why I am asking these questions. I think the greatest thing
for any people is to have them well educated. I believe that will do more to have them acquire responsibility of their own to try to get themselves out of one condition which is not good.
Mrs. MEYER. Yes, sir.
Mr. Rich. The more money you give people, the more they will spend it having a good time, and they will not do the things good for them,
What we want to do is give them an opportunity to go out and work and earn and save and to teach them that they ought to save some of that for their own family benefits, and for their own education instead of trying to give them a hand-out. That is what I want to try to do.
Mrs. MEYER. I agree with you entirely, but people will never save unless they have some sort of educational training. That was the great catastrophe about some of these poor ignorant people who came into the war centers and earned large salaries. I saw them throwing their money around. It is the same with these poor miners. They have got wages; they have not improved their standards one bit, because they are so uneducated, so ignorant, that they do not know better. _ Saving is a matter of training.
Mr. Rich. Do you belong to any welfare societies?
Mrs. MEYER. I have gotten out of all of them except the Child Welfare League of America, and I think I had better get out of that.
Mr. Rich. You had better try to get back into them and try to rectify them.
Mrs. MEYER. I am trying to rectify it by holding up the bad conditions of the country.
Mr. Rich. I hope you can. Your coming here and asking us to put a proposal in without knowing just what it is going to cost this country to start it; and then do not know
Mrs. MEYER. What it costs the country will depend entirely on the Congress. This does not spend a nickel. This simply improves the machinery. So, by chance you wish to spend some money, it will be well spent. What happens about Federal aid after that is entirely up to Congress?
Mr. Rich. We have had a pretty good spending Congress. We are about on the rocks now. I do not know how much further you can go.
Mrs. MEYER. Sir, if you have a department of this sort, you can even administer more effectively the money that you are spending now without voting another cent.
Mr. RICH. There is no mistake about that.
Mr. BENDER. Regarding this business of education-I read your statement rather hastily-what do we do when we educate people and then we give them jobs wholly out of line with their educational training and their cultural development?
For example, in a good many of our cities, we educate a lot of people, even give them a college education at taxpayer's expense, and then we give them a job as street cleaner. Do you think we are making him happy?
Mrs. MEYER. I think that happens largely to people who are at: disadvantage for other reasons.
Mr. BENDER. Do you not think we are putting the cart before the horse here? Do you not think we should start at the other end, first?
Mr. MEYER. I think you have to start at both ends. I think you have to make your economics and your educational progress go hand in hand. But, as I said, I think the greatest way to produce more wealth is to have people who can produce it. As it is, we are carrying these people without an education. I do not want everyone to have a college education. I think there are tremendous reforms necessary in our educational system. That is another question of a very large nature. What they want for the South now, for the veteran, very badly are vocational schools for the boy, for the veteran who did not finish his grammar school. They want to fit him either for industry or for agriculture. They haven't got the schools to do it. These men are hanging around with semiskills with which they have come back from the war that do not fit in our civilian production. They have the feeling that they should be able to do something better than dig ditches, which is all that is being offered them, but they have no chance to develop skills.
Mr. BENDER. You know in many of our Northern States, we are providing an education for all of our citizens irrespective of race, color or creed.
Mrs. MEYER. I come from the North too.
Mr. BENDER. You know too that after we provide that education, we then make it impossible for these educated people to obtain the kind of positions they are qualified to hold. Mrs. MEYER. I think that is because their education is not what it
A lot of our education is very superficial stuff. I think if our education were sounder, we would not have these people with a college degree, but with no real education.
Mr. BENDER. I say job opportunities are not there for many of these people who have gotten an education.
Mrs. MEYER. If we get our production going again, there will be some jobs, there will be so many there will not be enough people to do them unless we educate them.
Mr. BENDER. Mrs. Meyer, do you know what is back of this whole program, that is, the idea of saving money, the idea of cutting people off the pay roll and cutting down the Federal pay roll? Do you feel this plan No. 2 that you are advocating will do exactly that; is that correct?
Mrs. MEYER. Do exactly what?
Mrs. MEYER. I do not see the relationship at all. I am trying to strengthen the community and have it a going concern, with education, health, and welfare.
Mr. BENDER. Do you think we are making for a going concern by bankrupting the Federal Government? Do you think you are improving the condition of the average citizen?
Mrs. MEYER. I am trying to save you money through this improvement.
Mr. BENDER. Have you analyzed to see how much money will be saved and how many jobs will be eliminated ?
Mrs. MEYER. Certainly I have not figured that out in dollars and cents. I know efficient administration is economy.
Mr. BENDER. Do you know that these plans, if they become effective, will cost the taxpayers at least $250,000,000 more?
Mrs. MEYER. I do not know anything about the other two, but it will not cost them a cent as far as organization plan No. 2 is concerned.
Mr. BENDER. You believe this. If your husband provides a thousand dollars a year for the running of your household, and you spend five thousand, you are not creating a happy atmosphere and happy condition at home.
Mrs. MEYER. I do not see what that has to do with the reorganization plan. Mr. BENDER. That is what we are driving
at. You see in this reorganization plan the bill that we passed on December 20, last
Mrs. MEYER. Which bill is that? Mr. BENDER. That is the reorganization bill, Reorganization Act of 1945. It says it is the expectation of the Congress to accomplish an over-all reduction of at least 25 percent. That is what this is all about. The Federal Government has been spending too much money. We have had too many people on the pay roll. The idea is to cut people off the pay roll. We can pray and we can pass resolutions and we can attend social meetings, and we can attend religious services, and so on, but unless we have a sound economy, unless this thing is based on a good foundation, we do not get anywhere. It reminds me of the preacher who was getting $800 a year salary. So they met and they unanimously passed a resolution or one of their church decrees or they acted as a congregation to raise his salary from $800 a year to $1,200 a year. He said, "No, you don't; not until you pay me what you owe me.”
We are not doing the preacher any good by raising his pay when he is not getting the money that is now coming to him. That is exactly what we are driving at here. We are trying to do good, at the same time have a sound economy.
Mrs. MEYER. I beg your pardon. I am not trying to do good.
I am trying to make our Government more efficient. If a greater efficiency of administration does cut some people off the pay roll, I think that is an excellent thing if they are not needed.
Mr. BENDER. This plan increases the pay roll.
Mrs. MEYER. You mean because it suggests a Cabinet officer? If it saves you millions of dollars in the way the money is being administered, it is economy.
Mr. BENDER. That is not all plan No. 2 accomplishes. I cited figures yesterday as to how much more money this plan would cost.
Mrs. MEYER. As I said, I do not know anything about the others. I am willing to have it out with you about plan No. 2 at another time.
Mr. BENDER. I will supply you with the information, Mrs. Meyer. I appreciate the fact that you are interested in doing a good job. Please do not misunderstand me. This is not for the purpose of ridicule, but sometimes we propose a plan-for example, in this morning's mail I received two letters, one from an enterprise in Ohio, in which he raised hell about a particular piece of legislation. In the same mail I got a letter from his wife supporting that legislation, from the same family.