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CHARGES AGAINST THE FEDERAL BOARD FOR VOCATIONAL

EDUCATION.

COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION,

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,

Washington, Tuesday, March 30, 1920. The committee met at 10 o'clock a. m., Hon. Simeon D. Fess (chairman) presiding.

The CHAIRMAN. The committee will resume its investigation. Is Mr. Wright present?

Mr. WRIGHT. Yes.

STATEMENT OF MR. GILBERT E. WRIGHT.

The CHAIRMAN. Give your full name and address to the stenographer.

Mr. Wright. Gilbert E. Wright, 155 West Forty-second Street, New York City.

The CHAIRMAN. Are you a service man, Mr. Wright?
Mr. WRIGHT. Yes, sir.

The CHAIRMAN. You have had some experience with the Federal board as an applicant for training?

Mr. WRIGHT. Yes, sir.

The CHAIRMAN. You may proceed to tell the committee your experience. Proceed in your own way, unless some one interrupts you with questions.

Mr. WRIGHT. While at the general hospital No. 38, Eastview, N. Y., a vocational officer came to me and filled out my papers. He asked me what kind of a course I would like to take there, and we had a talk, and he finally decided that I should take a wireless operating course. So he filled out my papers and said, “While you are here you can go right into training.” They had aids there to give you this training, so I started to learn how to become a wireless operator. About a month later I was discharged. When I was having this talk with him he told me as soon as I got discharged to come down to the Federal board and they would put me right into training. A week after discharge I reported to the Federal board and they took out my case and he said, “ Where is your discharge?” I showed him my discharge, and he marked me down, cutting from my discharge 50 per cent disability. That was marked on my discharge. He never examined me at all. He told me, “ Now, you go down to 280 Broadway, and you will hear from us in a couple of weeks.” I never heard anything from that at all until I got so sick and tired of waiting around and being sent out in the country, and I did not have any money. The war camp community would send me to those people who were willing to take in disabled soldiers for a couple of weeks at a time. I did that from 4661-20-VOL 1--9

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May until August. Never a word from the Federal board. So I got restless and nervous and disgusted, and I went to the Red Cross, the Home Service, and stated my case. They had never bothered me at all, never sent me any notices or anything or taken up my case at all, as far as I know. She said, “I will get right in touch with the Federal board.” She went down to the Federal board and stated my case and told them I had an offer of going into the automobile business as an executive in charge of a big garage and I would like to give this boy a training in that line. So he said, “ We will see what we can do for him.” So that went over again, and he said, “ You will have to come down to 280 Broadway and be examined again.” I do not know why they sent me down there.

The CHAIRMAN. Was that the second time? Mr. WRIGHT. That was another time, the second time. The CHAIRMAN. Was it the same officer who told you that? Mr. WRIGHT. No. The first officer; I do not know his name; that is, the first doctor.

The CHAIRMAN. Was it at the same office ? Mr. WRIGHT. It is on Fifth Avenue. He sent me down to the War Risk Insurance and tells them they sent me down for an examination and Dr. King said, “His case was all gone over months ago. We have nothing to do with you any more. Your case has been settled." So I went back to the Red Cross and told them what they told me, and did not get any satisfaction, so they called up the Federal board again and they said, “ Send him over," and I went over again a couple of days afterwards, or the next day. He started to talk it over and I told him I had an offer to go into the automobile business, and he said, “ All right; we will fix you up," so he put me down for a course as a private secretary. About two weeks later the case came back approved and I was notified to report to the office and start in training.

The CHAIRMAN. That was the third time. Mr. WRIGHT. That was the latter part of August, the last of the month. I went down there and they sent me to the Merchants and Bankers School to take a course as a private secretary. While there I could not get interested in it. They gave you a bunch of books. I knew nothing about bookkeeping or anything else. They said the lesson will be on page so and so. I looked at the lesson. I did not know what a piece of ledger paper was even and they had about 40 people in the class. He said, “If there are any questions when you copy this ledger business on a piece of paper, raise your hand and we will answer them."

The CHAIRMAN. What had been your training before? Had you had high-school work? How much school work had you? Mr. WRIGHT. I had one more year to go in the grammar school.

The CHAIRMAN. You mean by that you did not get into the high school?

Mr. Wright. No; I never got into high school. I have been chauffeur most of the time and I had this offer to go into it. A lady offered to put me up in business as an automobile manager.

The CHAIRMAN. If I understand your story, you first wanted to go into wireless?

Mr. Wright. I did not want to, but the Federal board advised me to take that up.

The CHAIRMAN. Why did you not take it up? Mr. WRIGHT. When I went to the Federal board they said to me that I could not take wireless because my physical condition would not permit it.

The CHAIRMAN. Then you made an application for automobile training?

Mr. Wright. Yes, sir; training in some kind of line where I could take charge of a garage, but they thought it was best for me to take a private-secretary course.

The CHAIRMAX. The board did not agree with your application and directed you to take some clerical work?

Mr. W'RIGHT. Yes, sir. They said that would fit right into my automobile business.

The CHAIRMAN. This was the latter part of August ? Mr. Wright. Yes, sir. The CHAIRMAN. What else? Mr. WRIGHT. So I went about four times anil sitting in a classroom, nobody giving instruction. The teacher never gave out instructions.

The CHAIRMAN. What school was this? Mr. WRIGHT. The Merchants and Bankers School, Madison Avenue. I think it is Forty-ninth Street or Fiftieth Street, right on the corner. I went there five times and got in such a tiresome condition I did not feel like taking it up any more. I was not learning anything. The teacher did not instruct in anything and I had taken up all of her time. I had to have a private instructor under this man's instructions. There were 40 in the class and I never knew anything about bookkeeping. They were halfway through the book and all he said was, “ Copy this off on that paper and if you have any questions, just ask them.” I could have been asking questions all day.

The CHAIRMAN. Your preparation was in grammar school and you think you were not prepared to go into this school conducted by that business association ?

Mr. WRIGHT. No, sir. It was in 1906 when I left school and that has been so long ago that I have forgotten half I ever knew.

The CHAIRMAN. What was your service?
Mr. WRIGHT. I was in the provisional ammunition train No. 1.
The CHAIRMAN. Were you injured?
Mr. WRIGHT. No, sir. I was taken sick January 6.
The CHAIRMAN. How long were you in the hospital?
Mr. WRIGHT. From January until May, 1919.

The CHAIRMAN. Upon what grounds did you base your claim for
training under the Vocational Board ?
Mr. Wright. On my 50 per cent disability.
The CHAIRMAN. You were discharged with 50 per cent disability ?
Mr. WRIGHT, Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. What are you doing now?
Mr. WRIGHT. Nothing.
The CHAIRMAN. How long since did you give up that training?
Mr. WRIGHT. Well, I gave it up in September. I never bothered.
I said I just as leave get along without it.

The CHAIRMAN. What is your specific charge against the board ? Mr. WRIGHT. My specific charge is that they neglected me from the time I was discharged up to the time I took my training and then

I would not have got any training unless I got so disgusted I had to get the Red Cross to get after them. Also the schools where they send you to are not the proper schools to send a man because they are not schools where they give you instructions.

The CHAIRMAN. The board has not denied training to you?
Mr. WRIGHT, No.

The CHAIRMAN. Your contention is that they sent you where you were not fitted to go and wanted you to do a kind of work that you could not do?

Mr. WRIGHT. I was not interested in that kind of work. I wanted to learn something pertaining to automobiles, something where I could be put in charge of a garage. I would be willing to even go to work in a garage.

The CHAIRMAN. Would you hold the board responsible for your dissatisfaction in attempting to do what you claim you can not do? Is it the board's fault or is it yours?

Mr. WRIGHT. I think it is the board's fault.

The CHAIRMAN. Your complaint is that if you could have prepared to do the work with automobiles, that you could have done it all right.

Mr. Wright. No; I do not want to do anything on automobiles. I wanted to be put in a position of training where I could take charge of a garage, not work in the garage. That was not my idea at all, to work, but to take charge.

The CHAIRMAN. You wanted a business training that would enable you to conduct a garage.

Mr. WRIGHT. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. What would be necessary in order to do that?

Mr. WRIGHT. I do not really know what training would be necessary, but I know that the private secretary course would never fit me as an executive in a garage.

The CHAIRMAN. I should think that such a man ought to have some information as to how to keep books, because he would be responsible for the garage and ought to know what is being done.

Mr. WRIGHT. That was just one of the lessons. I had about 15 and it was a two or three year course. That was bookkeeping, English, and commercial law, and everything, and by the time I qualified for the purpose I would never be in an automobile business, I would be private secretary. They put you into a position you have been training for. I understand you were supposed to get what was best for you, and if you take a course you take it while in training.

The CHAIRMAN. Your idea was that if you had taken the course they had offered you, it would not have fitted you for automobile management ?

Mr. Wright. No, sir; because I would not have an opportunity to be in contact with the automobile business while I was in as private secretary.

The CHAIRMAN. Then your complaint is that the board's direction was not rating you to a kind of work you wanted to do?

Mr. WRIGHT. Yes, sir.

The CHAIRMAN. The board really ought to be more capable of deciding that than you.

Mr. WRIGHT. The board is, but I do not think the men are. The advisors there when advising me told me that I was not fitted for this on account of my disability, and another man came along right behind me and got the same thing that I wanted, to take up wireless operating, and he was worse off than I was.

The CHAIRMAN. Vocational guidance is a profession in itself, and very often a young man wants to do a thing and is anxious to do a thing and is not capable of doing it, and then any authority directing him in line according to their judgment ought to be more capable of deciding it than the individual himself. That seems to be the general experience in the world to-day.

Mr. Wright. That might be all right amongst professional men, I should judge, but as far as some of the advisors that they have got there. I do not think they could become a good chauffeur, even, in my opinion, because even the doctors there, when I put my discharge in—that man never examined me, did not give me a physical examination, but sent me down to 280 Broadway, and I got 100 per cent permanent disability. That is the difference.

Mr. TOWNER. You were given a 50 per cent disability by the war risk?

Mr. Wright. No, sir; I was discharged from the Army with 50 per cent disability.

Mr. TowXER. Have you received any compensation from the War Risk Bureau ?

Mr. Wright. Yes, sir.
Mr. TOWNER. Are you doing so now ?
Mr. Wright. Yes, sir.
Mr. TOWNER. What are you receiving?
Mr. Wright. $100 per month.

Mr. TOWNER. You were given a rating by the War Risk Bureau, or else you could not have had $100 a month.

Mr. WRIGHT. Yes, sir; I do not know what you mean by rating.

Mr. TOWNER. Of course, you understand that the amount you receive is governed by the degree of disability.

Mr. WRIGHT. Yes, sir.

Mr. TOWNER. And they have to determine the degree of disability, and, of course, your disability was fixed at $100. That is, permanent disability, is it not?

Mr. WRIGHT. Yes, sir.

Mr. TOWNER. Permanent disability would disqualify you from doing any manual labor, would it not? Mr. WRIGHT. Yes, sir.

Mr. TOWNER. So that what you wanted to do was to have preparation for taking charge of a garage ?

Mr. WRIGHT. Yes, sir.

Mr. TOWNER. You understood the automobile business pretty well, and thought that if you could learn the necessary office training, that you could prepare yourself to take charge of a garage.

Mr. Wright. Yes, sir.

Mr. TOWNER. What is your idea, Mr. Wright, as to how you could secure this training?

Mr. Wright. By being put into the office of an automobile concern.
Mr. TOWNER. Did you ask them to do it?
Mr. WRIGHT. No, sir.
Mr. Towner. Did you suggest it to them?

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