Page images
PDF
EPUB

COUNTY PROGRAMS

County-wide programs were reported for Shelby, Bartholomew, and Rush Counties. Some of the activities undertaken were plays in the rural schools and churches and women's clubs and at Farm Bureau meetings. These programs were attended by 811 persons.

OTHERS

Child examinations were conducted at Brookville and at Noblesville, the latter sponsored by the Tri Kappa Sorority Health examination of 4-H Club girls and boys were a feature of the annual round-up at Purdue University, Lafayette, Ind.

Many towns and communities have not yet reported their activities in detail but it is certain that interest was more widespread than in former years.

The CHAIRMAN. If there is no further business in connection with this resolution at this time, let us go into executive session.

(Thereupon at 10.55 o'clock a. m., Friday, April 13, 1928, the committee went into executive session.)

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION,

Friday, April 20, 1928. The committee this day met, Hon. Daniel A. Reed (chairman) presiding.

The CHAIRMAN. The committee will come to order. This is a continuation of the hearings on House Joint Resolution 184, designating May 1 as child health day. We have with us some witnesses who will state whether or not there is anything about this resolution that conflicts with the program of the schools either in the District of Columbia or elsewhere as far as they are able to say.

STATEMENT OF JOHN J. TIGERT, UNITED STATES COMMIS

SIONER OF EDUCATION, DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Mr. TIGERT. I am heartily in favor of setting aside this day for observance because I believe it will synchronize and unify the efforts that are being made by a great many organizations that are working somewhat apart and working in a more or less sporadic manner for the same thing We have had enough experience to know that if we can get a coordinated effort we will accomplish a great deal more. The Congress of Mothers and Parent-Teacher Associations have been trying for a number of years to promote what they call a summer round-up, to take one day in every community on which they try to get all the children who are going to begin school and give them physical and mental examinations and get them as nearly 100 per cent physically and mentally perfect before they enter school as possible.

The CHAIRMAN. That is, they have that in the spring, and in the summer put them into camps if they need that treatment.

Mr. TIGERT. It is mostly a clinical thing. Children are brought in and examined in a scientific way to find out for example if they have defective teeth or defective tonsils, and steps are taken to correct those defects before they enter school. Leaders are ready to cooperate and concentrate this work on this day. There are a num

ber of other national organizations that have movements of different kinds that relate to this and they would be all concentrated in a very effective way on that day. I do not think there would be any conflict with any program of education or with schools anywhere in the country. It would be a constructive thing looking toward a unified attack on problems for better citizenship. I do not think there is any opposition to it anywhere. If there is I have not heard of it. Al the organizations that are interested in better child life should be interested in this.

Mr. FLETCHER. Would this duplicate any days that we now have, such as the education-week day of health in November?

Mr. FENN. And fire prevention week.

Mr. TIGERT. I do not think it would conflict with any other observance.

Mr. FENN. Would it be a duplication of any other days?

Mr. TIGERT. The national education week, which comes usually in November has tried to call attention not only to the need of schooling but the betterment of everything relating to schools and child life. To some extent they might duplicate.

Mr. FENN. They have one day set apart for health in education week.

Mr. TIGERT. That movement was inaugurated by the Bureau of Education in 1920, and at my request the President issued five consecutive proclamations. President Harding issued two, and President Coolidge issued three. The Bureau of Education does not participate now and the President has not issued a proclamation since 1925.

Mr. FENN. What is the effect of the reaction when you did issue them?

Mr. TIGERT. That week, I think, has been more generally observed than any of the weeks. The National Education Association, the American Legion, and a number of other national organizations have taken hold of it very actively.

Mr. FLETCHER. Could not the President do the same with this?

Mr. TIGERT. They make a program from year to year, as Mr. Morgan will be able to tell you, and they emphasize the things that seem to be most essential at the time. I think, as a rule, they have something with reference to health in the program.

Mr. FLETCHER. A whole day is devoted to health?
Mr. TIGERT. Usually.
Mr. FLETCHER. That is often the first day.

Mr. TIGERT. That has been health day. For the first three or four years we used to make the first day Constitution day. We tried to call attention to the need of studying the Constitution. Monday, the first day, was for several years Constitution day. This last year I think they changed it.

Mr. FENN. Are you speaking for the States and the District of Columbia?

Mr. TIGERT. I am speaking for the Federal Government.

Mr. FENN. The Federal Government has no control over the States in this matter. What I meant to say was, Did you have some information in regard to the States?

Mr. TIGERT. We have information with reference to the States. I think this resolution should be amended to express, perhaps, a

little bit more clearly what is intended. Some get the impression from the resolution that the main purpose is to display the flag, That was not the intention. That is one of the incidental parts of the movement. The main thing is to set aside a day when all organizations that are interested shall concentrate on the betterment of child welfare and child life, and the request with reference to the flag is just one of the ways of bringing that about and calling attention to it. I think those organizations are all prepared and have programs to enter into a very active participation.

Mr. FLETCHER. Why not have this amended so as to include one week? Why specify just one day as health day?

Mr. TIGERT. There are now 250 such weeks being observed, as I get it. There are only 52 weeks in the year and every one of those weeks now is observed in two or three different ways. The same week is often apple week, pick-up-cans week, and paint-the-shingles week. They have duplicated them to such an extent that they become meaningless and do not have much force. That is one reason I favor this May day. You ask if there is any duplication? If we can take a number of weeks that are scattered out over the

year

and concentrate all these movements into one day, it will be more effective, in my judgment.

Mr. FENN. What is proposed to be done when you have concentrated all these organizations? What will be done for the child when you have this day? I may say this, that in the little town I live in they do have a similar practice to this, when the children in the schools are examined by the town physician or somebody who assists him to ascertain whether they have adenoids or other troubles. That used to be done and I think it is now. Does this take into consideration that feature?

Mr. TIGERT. Yes.

Mr. FENN. How would it be carried into effect, by means of physicians, etc.? This is a general proposition stated in the bill.

Mr. Robsion. You ought to have something at the beginning of the school year rather than the end of the school year.

. Mr. FENN. It is a practical thing.

Mr. TIGERT. This kind of thing is done at the present time in large cities; for example, Doctor Ballou can tell you what they have in the District of Columbia. But it is not done as effectively over the country as we would like to see it done.

Mr. FENN. Is not that carried on through the schools in the District of Columbia? It is with us. Physicians visit the schools, I do not know how many times a week or month. The physician is always watching the children to see if they have any trouble and they are sent home if it is a contagious disease. If the trouble is with the tonsils, for instance, he tells them and it is attended to. I presume that is done in the District of Columbia.

Mr. TIGERT. In the United States, according to the data and figures we have in the Bureau of Education, there are only 53 per cent, approximately, of school children in the country that get that kind of attention.

Mr. FENN. Would a measure of this sort induce the other 47 per cent to have that? Mr. TIGERT. It would go a long way toward it.

101332-28- 2

Mr. Robsion. Returning to my question, of course this is not directed alone to those who are in the schools, but to all the children of the country, and unless there is something peculiarly appealing about this May day, which in fact is the end of most of the school years, why should we not have it in August or September before the schools start? In other words, would it not mean more to a child if he is going to be examined for his eyes, tonsils, etc., to have that examination before he goes into school rather than at the end of the school?

Mr. TIGERT. I think this is intended to take children before they enter school. I spoke a moment ago of this summer round-up that is conducted by the Parent-Teacher Association, which is an effort to get every community to take stock of all the children that are expected to enter school that year for the first time and bring them into these clinics, look into their physical condition, and to get them into 100 per cent perfect condition, physically and mentally.

Mr. Robsion. Why have it in May instead of August or September?

Mr. TIGERT. Any other day would do just as well if there is a preference. They agreed on this day.

The CHAIRMAN. I will tell you why they do it in the spring at home, because we are checking over the school year's program and we find large numbers of children who are undernourished and have these various diseases, that have developed-eye troubles, tonsils, and one thing or another. Then they have camps and we raise large sums of money in connection with our county hospital, and these children that are under-nourished are sent to camps and put back into A-1 physical shape before school starts again. That time spent in camps is more or less constructive play, health-development work.

Mr. ROBSION. Of course, the bill would reach a small percentage of the children of the United States.

The CHAIRMAN. That is true, but such a program would appeal to them if presented as I have described.

Mr. FLETCHER. In your position as head of the Bureau of Education are you conscious of any protest on the part of school executives anywhere against an intrusion on the curriculum?

Mr. TIGERT. Yes. There is quite a keen feeling among school executives over the country that they are asked to bring in so many different interests aside from the regular curriculum, so that there is serious interference with the carrying on of the ordinary school work. There is a feeling of that kind.

Mr. FLETCHER. It seems to me rather strange that there is no educational group identified with the promotion of this particular legislation. Have any school executives or school organizations indorsed it?

Mr. TIGERT. I do not think there is any question but what they will when it has been put up to them. Has it been put up to the National Education Association yet?

Mr. MORGAN. No.
Mr. TIGERT. Do you think they would be for it?
Mr. MORGAN. Yes; I do.

Mr. TIGERT. It has not been put up to the department of superintendence?

Mr. BALLOU. No.

Mr. FLETCHER. Do you think it would be a good idea for them to have a chance to discuss it and approve it or not before this committee should decide it?

Mr. TIGERT. I think unless they do approve it, it will not be effectively observed.

Mr. FLETCHER. Do you think the Committee on Education should proceed with a matter of this kind without consulting the group most affected?

Mr. TIGERT. I think it would be a good thing to have an expression of opinion from the National Education Association and the Department of Superintendence. They would be able to give you the right information.

Mr. FLETCHER. It would not take long for them to make a survey and get an expression of that body with respect to their exact views.

Mr. TIGERT. No. I can get that myself in a few days. I can have a letter go to every superintendent in the country and find out their attitude if you need it and want it.

Mrs. Kain. What we are looking for is the educators' point of view on this measure, testimony from educational groups. There is no use of going into this unless we are sure of the active cooperation of the educators.

Mr. TIGERT. Mr. Morgan and Doctor Ballou, who are present, can give you that viewpoint. I speak from the standpoint of a Federal agency

Mrs. Kahn. It was Mr. Fletcher's suggestion that we call on the educators for their point of view, and that is what we want.

Mr. FLETCHER. We are all in favor of the spirit of this legislation, but in my experience with educators all over the country, I find out that they are imposed on so much by organizations that want something done with the schools, to impose their programs upon the schools, that it breaks down their morale.

Mr. TIGERT. You are right in that.

Mr. FLETCHER. If a business were operated and had to make concessions to any outside organization that wanted it to do this, that, and the other, I do not know how they could conduct it. Certainly, education is a business in a way.

Mr. TIGERT. They feel that. There is also a feeling among educational leaders of the country that they do not believe the schools and school children should be used as propaganda agencies.

Mr. FLETCHER. They are used as such in many ways.

The CHAIRMAN. Safety first and fire prevention and innumerable things.

Mr. FLETCHER. All kinds of propaganda.
The CHAIRMAN. All good in a way, locally, State, and nationally.

Mr. FLETCHER. Have you any classification of the types of propaganda in which school children are asked to participate? It would be interesting to have that.

Mr. TIGERT. I have never tried to make a classification of it. It includes practically everything there is.

Mr. FLETCHER. Sometimes it may involve a controversial issue, and so I wondered whether or not this proposal should not first have the approval of educators, at least, an opportunity afforded for them to express their opinions on it.

Mr. TIGERT. I think this proposition should be under local control.

« PreviousContinue »