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the Budget said this morning. I understood him to say it was a Federal function. We are quick to resent any statement or implication that education is a Federal function, as stated this morning by Mr. Lawton.
It is the voice of a United States Commissioner of Education free to speak that we want to have heard in the Government, not the voice of some other officer speaking for its professional education agency.
Proponents of plan 27 sometimes claim that it would enable the Office of Education to get more in the scramble by Federal agencies for Federal funds. There is no evidence in the experience for many years previous to 1939, when the Office was in a department, to uphold this.
Some say a national board of education or other independent agency is impracticable. The National Science Foundation law, which became effective only a few weeks ago, is almost exactly what we want for education. It is practicable to believe education should have and can get the protection Congress has given science.
Independent boards like that we want for the Federal Government have made their way well in many States, and some State departments of education under them are much larger than the United States Office of Education in terms of personnel, funds, grants-in-aid, professional activities, or any other measure of operation.
And I am thinking, Senator Ives, of the New York State Department of Education, which operates with a board of regents, with an appointed commissioner. It is several times as large in every respect as the Office of Education and has the same structure which we hope to attain. We do not want a department for education; almost no educators favor a department. Mr. Ewing misrepresents the educators when he keeps inferring they want a department of education. Senator IVES. You do not want Federal control?
Mr. FULLER. We do not; that is our No. 1 consideration in opposing plan No. 27.
Reorganization Plan No. 1 of 1949 would have sunk the Office of Education without a trace in a department of welfare; plan 27 of 1950 makes minor but unimportant concessions to the independence of our profession only when compared with the highly objectionable plan No. 1 of 1949. There are no concessions when compared with the present situation in the Federal Security Agency.
For instance, the Commissioner of Education would retain the right to report directly to the Secretary of the Department, as at present; the President would appoint the Commissioner, presumably after nomination by the Secretary, as now; the Commissioner would retain the specific statutory authority he now has. In other words, the widely advertised concessions of plan 27 are not concessions at all but would merely embalm the status quo. Our position is that the status quo is not satisfactory, in spite of the best efforts of the large number of exceptionally competent educators in the Office of Education, so we do not want that Office embalmed in its present form in a welfare-dominated department.
The CHAIRMAN. May I ask you a question as to the unsatisfactory situation that obtains?
You think this plan would simply embalm it perpetually in its present situation?
Mr. FULLER. This plan would do three things: It would embalm the status quo; it would add considerably more authority, under section 6, to accumulate the educational functions in the Office of the Secretary, which I wish to discuss a little later; and it would set back at least a decade, we are certain, the consideration of a better structure for education in the Federal Government.
The CHAIRMAN. You prefer to leave it where it is?
Mr. FULLER. We prefer it where it is.
The CHAIRMAN. Rather than to take this action?
Mr. FULLER. And to get something better rather than embalm it in a situation where it is inevitably to be less well served.
The CHAIRMAN. Very well; proceed.
Mr. FULLER. But plan 27 would do much more than embalm the status quo, and we object most strenuously to its additional effects. A major reason for opposition to plan 27 is that it legalizes and encourages the exact situation in the office of the proposed Secretary which is almost universally criticised by educators in the office of the present Federal Security Administrator.
Section 6 of plan 27 provides-and I want to read it with the emphasis that we see in it, Mr. Chairman:
In the interest of economy and efficiency, the Secretary may from time to time establish central administrative services in the fields of procurement, budgeting, accounting, library, legal, and other services and activities common to the several agencies of the Department
The CHAIRMAN. May I ask you at that point, Do you construe that to mean that the Secretary of this proposed Department could put through any changes in budget requirements the Commissioner of Education might submit, and therefore, when he presented them to the Bureau of the Budget and the Office of the President, he would be speaking for himself and not for the Commissioner?
Mr. FULLER. I served for a short priod as Director of the Division of School Administration there, and my answer is "Yes." I could illustrate.
The CHAIRMAN. In other words, we have been hearing about the voice of education and the voice of health and the voice of so-and-so at the Cabinet level. Now, is there anything in the plan-and you read this provision that is pertinent-that would require the Secretary of the Department to actually speak the mind of the head of the department of education or speak the mind and judgment of the Public Health Service at the Cabinet meetings?
Mr. FULLER. I am certain there is not, Senator; just as I am certain there is nothing in the present operation which requires that the voice of education after it leaves the fourth floor of the building where the Office of Education is will come out of the fifth floor offices in the same form. I could cite instances where they have not and where the professional educators have not been consulted concerning the changes which were made in the office of the Secretary. In other words, it does not do much good to work there and express a professional educational viewpoint if, as it moves up, it is changed without notice and changed without consultation and without an opportunity even to know what the changes might have been.
The CHAIRMAN. Does that occur with the present administration? Mr. FULLER. It did occur when I was Director of the Division of Administration of the Office of Education.
The CHAIRMAN. Do you think this plan then would only afford better opportunities to veto, so to speak, or disregard the opinions of the heads of these two agencies?
Mr. FULLER. I think there is no doubt that section 6 would encourage the centralized services, and centralized services under that section are left to be defined by the Administrator and his legal advisers in the Department.
Now, they say what a centralized service is and then the rest of section 6 which I have not yet read authorizes, as the Secretary deems desirable, the transfer of funds, personnel, records, and all of the administrative resources.
The CHAIRMAN. That is, only those with the administrative services.
Mr. FULLER. As the Secretary has defined those services, which can be a very comprehensive definition, I think, Senator.
The CHAIRMAN. Very well.
Senator IVES. May I raise a question before he gets back to his statement?
The CHAIRMAN. Yes.
Senator IVES. Do you anticipate that this proposed set-up might serve as a medium for propagandizing from the standpoint of a Secretary, where the field of education is concerned?
Mr. FULLER. I would like to preface my answer with this--
Mr. FULLER. I am sure it could do that.
Senator IVES. You think it could?
Mr. FULLER. It could. And it would be easier to use it for that purpose if plan 27 is made effective.
Senator IVES. Through the informal educational program, is that what you mean?
Mr. FULLER. Not only that.
Senator IVES. If you do not do much by formal process you would have to do it through the informal approach.
Mr. FULLER. I think undoubtedly that the centralization of power over the Office of Education in the Office of the Secretary under section 6 would make it possible. I would like to say that our position is taken on the basis of principle; it is not taken out of any feeling of opposition whatever, to Mr. Ewing, or any other official of the Federal Security Agency.
Senator IVES. I want it understood definitely that I am not referring to Mr. Ewing in my question. I am referring to potentialities here. Mr. FULLER. That is what we are interested in too. We have testified in the last month in favor of things that Mr. Ewing was very much in favor of, and we are trying to be entirely objective. Because there is some personal opposition entering into this, I would like to stress that point.
Senator IVES. Before you go ahead there, you are speaking for the NEA?
Mr. FULLER. I am speaking for the State school officers, and for the American Association of School Administrators, which includes more than 7,500 local superintendents of schools.
Senator IVES. You said you had just been to the NEA convention? Mr. FULLER. I have been to the NEA convention and the resolutions committee when I left last night had reapproved and strengthened its resolution in favor of a National Board of Education.
Senator IVES. And not in favor of plan 27?
Mr. FULLER. They could not be.
Senator IVES. Have they taken any action on plan 27?
Mr. FULLER. No action one way or the other, except that it is perfectly clear that if you want a National Board of Education within a decade you cannot favor plan 27.
Senator IVES. All right.
Mr. FULLER. In the rest of section 6 there is a proviso there which says:
That nothing contained in this section shall be deemed to authorize the Secretary to transfer or remove from the control of the Surgeon General, the Commissioner of Education or the Commissioner of Social Security any professional or substantive functions vested in them respectively under the provisions of this reorganization plan or of law hereafter enacted.
Given a Secretary who desires it, section 6 would legalize virtual disappearance of the Office of Education. The proviso concerning professional or substantive functions is only a misleading and meaningless gesture, a gimmick, Mr. Chairman, toward professional autonomy. The Secretary defines what is a central service and what the "professional or substantive" functions are which must be exercised by the Commissioner of Education. The Secretary could control all functions of the Office of Education under the major provisions of section 6, depending on how thoroughly the Secretary decided to take over the personnel, funds and records of the Office of Education.
The CHAIRMAN. There is no exception? That is an over-all treatment of it?
Mr. FULLER. In the next sentence I say section 6 would definitely authorize reduction of both the authority and the professional autonomy of the Surgeon General and the Commissioner of Education. The CHAIRMAN. Yes. In other words, if you are correct in what you say about education, it would all be affected.
Mr. FULLER. In all instances, I believe.
I would like to say, Mr. Chairman, that although much of the opposition has been based on opposition to the proposed position of the Health Agency, that the danger of thought control or danger of Federal control of education, the directing of the thoughts along partisan lines and for personal and partisan reasons in this country makes it more important to keep education free than it does health. Senator IVES. Your answer is a board of some kind?
Mr. FULLER. Our answer is an independent National Board of Education, along the lines of the National Science Foundation. Later I am going to read resolutions from almost all of the public education groups in the United States favoring it, including the National School Boards Association, representing 400,000 local school board members.
Senator IVES. What you are talking about now is far more important than socialized medicine or anything connected with it.
Mr. FULLER. I am glad you agree, and that we agree that it is more important than that, and more important than any issue of the moment, to keep away from the possibility that the Federal Government will ever exercise influence along lines of education and thought control, and to keep away from that just as far as we can keep away from it.
The supposed right of the Commissioner of Education to report directly to the Secretary, which would remain under plan 27, as it is now in the Federal Security Agency, has meant in practice that the Commissioner of Education reports to assistants to the Administrator, most of whom are inexperienced in education and most of whom are welfare workers. Under plan 27, educational policies can be made and educational budgets, personnel records, and administrative practices are almost certain to be determined in the Secretary's office. We hope you will begin a reversal of this too prevalent practice now by defeating plan 27.
Another reason why we oppose plan 27 is because it would make improvement in the Federal agency for education more difficult to attain. It is obvious that plan 27 is a move away from an independent agency for education. It is entirely clear, we believe, that plan 27 would create a new organization which would wrap so many political tentacles about the Office of Education that it could perhaps not be freed for many years to come.
State and local superintendents of schools also dislike plan 27 because it would set a bad example for State and local educational organizations. In the local communities, most school boards are nonpartisan, and independent of general political government, and there is continuing effort to keep the schools out of partisan politics. In the States a very large amount of educational autonomy is the rule in State departments of education, and the chief State school officer is a State official and a professional person at the same time. Only in very exceptional and deplorable situations is education integrated into partisan politics of municipalities or States in the way that plan 27 would integrate it into the structure of the Federal Government. Nowhere is it so dominated by social welfare organizations which, for all their excellent purposes are, nevertheless, a threat to the nonpartisan freedom education must have in a democracy. Our whole democracy is at stake here, nothing less.
We and most of the medical profession would unscramble the Federal Security Agency. The social welfare units alone are large enough to make a large department. There are 36,000 employees in the agency and only a few hundred in education. If the Federal Security Agency must have Cabinet status, let health and education first be set free from it.
Senator IVES. You would then have them as an independent agency? Mr. FULLER. I would. The United Medical Administration is an excellent suggestion, and along the lines of the National Science Foundation you would satisfy most educators except some in higher education, particularly those in privately controlled institutions.
Setting education and health free would eliminate any possibility that these professional agencies of the Federal Government may ever be used for partisan purposes. We know that under plan 27 the Secretary would, in time, through complete control of personnel, budgets, records, and et cetera, completely control the Office of Education and be in an improved position to use it for his own purposes. That, Mr. Chairman, we do not want. That, Mr. Chairman, we think is contrary to American traditions of education and to the protections education must have in a democracy.
Since 1947 the chief State school officers have sponsored through Senator Morse, and more recently several additional Senators and