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: We pride ourselves, and I presume we contribute probably as much in per capita income to educational benefits as any nation on the face of the earth.
Is that substantially correct?
Mr. HALEY. What are we doing here, then, that is wrong! And there must be something wrong, and many people I might say think that just the expenditure of money is the way to cure everything
There must be somewhere in our educational setup a weakness if, first, we say we have the best educational system in the world; second, we have poured more into that educational system, more per capita than any other nation in the world, and yet suddenly we find ourselves in a situation where what we thought was a backward nation in many instances has excelled and exceeded the progress that we have made. What is the answer to that?
Mr. Harey. Mr. Chairman, certainly I am not prepared today to give you a definite studied answer to that question. I think that Russia has entered upon a tremendous program. We want to progress, but progress in the normal way, without depriving our people of those things that are important in every day living.
Perhaps-and this is my own view-we should have been more serious about our approach to this problem years ago. But I think that we are finally stepping up our programs, and properly so.
Mr. HALEY. Of course probably this question should be directed more to an educator-you are not an educator
Mr. HAFEY. No, sir.
Mr. Haley. I am wondering, we have a great many people in this Nation today, people who have traditionally and throughout their public career been friendly to education. We have been willing to give them anything that they asked for. I don't know whether we are spreading, so to speak, in too many different facets of education, that we are not sticking to the basic principles of education or not.
It seems to me that an education, in order to be beneficial to the student, must give him the basic things that are required. Not a lot of stuff on the outside, easy courses, but to equip that youngster with the basic things that he needs. After all, an education in my opinion is not only supposed to educate but to equip the man to study and to make progress in the world. I am afraid that in my own experience we don't have a very good record in that respect. I don't ask you to answer that. That is merely an observation on my part.
I am all for education. I think that every youngster is entitled to the best education that we are capable of giving. But on the other hand, I wonder, with all the moneys that we are pouring out, why, in certain fields that are absolutely necessary for our survival, we are not apparently equipping the students to meet that threat.
I don't mean to say by that we should limit it to just the things that we need. But certainly the educational system of this Nation should be directed along the lines that would help to provide for its survival. You would agree with that, wouldn't
t you? Mr. HAFEY. I certainly would, Mr. Haley.
I think, if I might make one observation on that, that basically our educational system has always been directed toward teaching a person how to live, how to be a part of the community, how to make a contribution to our country.
I think that, Russia approached education differently. I don't believe that they are concerned so much about an education that will make a person a good citizen. They are more interested in teaching him technical skills. We have not approached it that way.
Now, I think we are more concerned about our supply of scientists and are anxious to make scholarships available to those interested in the sciences.
Originally I think we were more interested in a liberal arts education, as opposed to an education in the sciences.
Mr. HALEY. I think we had this morning a statement from the distinguished gentleman from Pennsylvania, the educator from Pennsylvania, that would bear out some of the observations that I have made, when he said this, and I quote, speaking of one particular case:
Originally he had done very poor work on nonscientific courses. He did well in the service schools. He applied for readmission to be an electrical engineer in one of our very hardest fields. And apparently he is doing very well there.
Without being too critical, somewhere along the line somebody had failed this young fellow.
Where was it? Was it after he got into the service and got more maturity, or what? This is just one illustration. But if that young man had been directed along the lines that he was capable of, and wanted to go, he would not have lost all this time.
Mr. HAFEY. That is very true, sir.
Mr. Haley. I had a young man in my office the other day, the first youngster that I have ever appointed to the Academy-any Academy-and he is falling behind in one subject : Mathmatics. Yet when this youngster took an examination that we gave, he made one of the highest percentage scores that I have ever had a youngster make in the examination. He came in to me the other day, just absolutely beaten down, so to speak, and told me that he has an opportunity to take additional work and make up what he lacks in mathematics; and he is doing that. But he told me, he said, “Mr. Congressman, if I had had just a little guidance in this matter”—he knew, at least he thought he knew, that to make the grade, that he was going to one of the biggest military schools, that was his ambition, stated years back. Yet somewhere along the line somebody said, “Get out of this algebra and so forth because there is an easier course. Somebody discouraged that young man. There is something wrong with an educational system that cannot direct that mind, that boy who knows what he wants to do, and not encourage him. There is something wrong. Somebody had better begin to look into that.
I am merely making these observations because I am truly alarmed by this situation.
You are not going to make scientists and chemists and so forth in just a day, a week, or month. It is going to take a long period of time. And here we come up to the "lick log” so to speak, and we find that in the finest educational system, supposedly in the world, we haven't been producing the people who are absolutely necessary in this day and age to safeguard the security of this country. There is something wrong somewhere.
Thank you very much. Mr. HAFEY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. HALEY. Mr. James C. Oliver. We are glad to have our colleague here this morning. He is a distinguished member of course of the Congress.
We are always glad to have you before us.
STATEMENT OF HON. JAMES C. OLIVER, REPRESENTATIVE IN THE
CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES, FROM THE FIRST DISTRICT, STATE OF MAINE
Mr. OLIVER. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
First, may I say that I appreciate very much the opportunity to come in here at probably what is the 11th hour and 59th second in the hearings that are being held on this most important subject. My interest has extended over a long time, however, in support of not only what has been done previously, but what might be done in the future with regard to making available to the military personnel of our Nation an opportunity for any educational benefits that we, through the Congress, can make available to them.
I might say aside, Mr. Chairman, without taking too much of your time, because I am going to file a brief prepared statement, that coming here in this committee room brings back some rather fond recollections. I can recall back some 22 years ago, more years than I like to refer to, may I say, having been a member of this committee, and with the chairman at that time, the Honorable John Rankin, who has always evidenced his great interest in veterans' affairs, veterans' benefits. It was a real bit of satisfaction that I got from serving on the committee.
Based on my previous service, I can well appreciate the problems which the members of this committee have to face up to. I know that most members of the Veterans Affairs Committee over the years have been dedicated to what they consider to be the best interests of the veterans.
I certainly want to pay tribute to you, Mr. Chairman, and to the members of this committee for the time and effort that you are putting into this particular subject.
I guess I am probably something of a retread in other respects. Having served in World War I and World War II, I think I have a pretty good appreciation of what this type of legislation means. If we had had it after World War I, for those of us who were in that conflict, I feel sure that perhaps the educational progress of the Nation might have progressed perhaps more than it actually has, because many people getting out of the service at that time had no opportunity to go into colleges or universities.
I think after World War II that this experience which we had, with veterans being given the benefits of the GI education bill of rights, proved beyond any shadow of successful contradiction that this program is the type of program that perhaps isn't to be considered as a cost. Although it is an immediate outlay; I think it has to be considered from the standpoint of a self-liquidating project, whereby it pays for itself in developing to the greatest extent possible the human resources of the Nation. That is my feeling with regard to the pending legislation which you are now considering.
Last year I was one member who introduced a bill tagged as H.R. 6061, which followed the lines, of similar legislation introduced during this session. I want to put myself on record, Mr. Chairman, not in support of any specific bill, but rather on record as being in support of the program in general. Whatever you gentlemen come out with, when you have absorbed all the available information, is going to be satisfactory to me. I only hope that something will come from the committee and that we will have an opportunity to act upon it in the House.
I shall certainly support it with any capacity that I have. I can assure you of that.
Thank you very much for any consideration that you may give to it. Mr. Haley. I might say to the gentleman that if he supports it wth his full capacity, that will be considerable.
Mr. OLIVER. Thank you very much, sir.
I think that money spent in educational projects is money well spent. I recall that while I was not a retread in World War II, I was a veteran of World War I, having served better than 3 years in that war, and the greatest part of it was overseas. I was one of the few men who participated in every major engagement that the American forces participated in in World War I, and later of course was a member of the army of occupation.
I agree with the gentleman that out of the treatment, so to speak, that we received after that war, I think many of the benefits that the World War II and the Korean veterans enjoy today are a direct result of the activities, as the gentleman well knows. Because after those 3 years of service and a great deal of it in the battle zone of the AEF, when I returned home I received $60 in money and a day-coach ticket home and a pat on the back and “God bless you,” and that is about what we got out of that.
I sometimes wonder if some of the younger men, so to speak, of World War II realize the terrific struggle that we had in order to set up some of these benefits, not only educational but others. We saw the necessity of that, and of course started it. It was a difficult struggle, as the gentleman well knows.
Mr. OLIVER. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, for those observations. I find that I can agree almost completely with what you have said.
I believe that the veterans of World War II—and my son is one who benefited from this type of legislation-have appreciated the efforts which have been made by the taxpayers of the Nation through the congressional action that made it possible for them to get the benefits of higher education, which under normal circumstances they would not have been able to participate in.
I don't want to belabor the question because I know that you have listened to a lot of evidence and testimony along this same line. I feel, however, that I would like to stress what I consider to be the fact, that we can never go wrong in this country in developing to the utmost capacity possible the human resources we have.
This is a trite statement, of course, but I think we should state it and restate it as many times as we have the opportunity to do so. This is the only way we are going to develop the capacity to meet the challenges of the outside world, the kind of world we are living in.
On the basis of those generalizations, Mr. Chairman, I would ask permission to insert in the record this brief prepared statement which I have made along similar lines.
Thank you very much for the courtesy that you have extended to me.
Mr. HALEY. Without objection, the statement submitted by the distinguished gentleman will be inserted in the record at this point in the proceedings.
Are there any questions?
If not, thank you very much, my colleague, for appearing here this morning
(The statement of Mr. Oliver follows:) Mr. Chairman, I enthusiastically and completely support pending legislation to provide G.I. bill educational benefits for post-Korean war veterans. Legislation which I have introduced to accomplish this objective, H.R. 6061, is one of many bills now under consideration.
Every recognized educational authority has warned that the next decade will be one of soaring tuition costs. This development will force many competent students to abandon their plans for pursuing a college or vocational education. Since the United States is engaged in a worldwide power struggle with the Soviet Union, we can ill afford to abandon a program which has helped literally millions of veterans to obtain an education. How can we afford the elimination of the educational plan which has been of such substantial value not only to our veterans, but to countless institutions of higher learning in America, and consequently to the general welfare of the Nation?
Most of us feel that the United States is already engaged in World War III, the cold war. Many of the men now in our armed services are frequently required to meet dangers not faced by World War II and Korean G.I.'s; for example, those airmen attached to the Strategic Air Command, Navy personnel assigned to nuclear submarine duty, and those who are participating in the current Antarctic polar expedition. It is not facing the facts of life to state arbitrarily that one group of personnel after fulfilling their mission is entitled to benefits while another is not deserving, particularly when these benefits not only increase our Nation's real wealth, but strengthen our country's critical defense position in the cold war, as well.
We continually hear from every walk of life statements of support for programs to accelerate our country's educational development. But for the most part, we have been long on words and short on action. In this instance, the Bureau of the Budget has stated that this legislation would not be in accord with the President's program. Obviously, administration officials are taking the short sighted view, thinking only in terms of the immediate outlay and disregarding the investment in the future which such a program envisions.
For example, the Veterans' Administration, according to my understanding, has estimated that by 1970 participants in the World War II GI educational bill will have paid back the entire $14.5 billion cost of the program in extra income taxes resulting from increased incomes because of their educational advantage. This proposal, Mr. Chairman, is a self-liquidating project.
Here we have an investment-a worthwhile and necessary investment in the human resources of America. This is an investment which will pay off not only through higher income tax receipts, but also in terms of more engineers, lawyers, college professors, doctors, mechanics, and other professions urgently needed now in our complex technical society and more urgently needed for the future.
For the basic interest of our Nation's development, I respectfully urge favorable action on this legislation. Our country will not progress sufficiently to meet the challenges which confront us unless we act now to invest in this wealth-producing and self-liquidating program to strengthen our country not only for our selfish internal welfare, but also to meet our responsibility as the leader of the free world.