« PreviousContinue »
school board members statements to the effect that they want to have as little to do with programs involving Federal support as possible. If corrections of arbitrary and discriminatory practices are not made, the installation of worth while vocational programs in new schools is certain to be retarded.
We believe our cause is just. Congressmen that we have contacted have expressed a sympathetic interest in our problems. These problems are not Missouri's alone. They are problems of schools in every State.
Can we count on your active support and the support of your organization to make a vigorous fight to eliminate the present discriminatory and unfair practices of the Veterans' Administration, and to secure equitable new legislation pertaining to veterans of present and future wars?
Yours very truly,
COMMITTEE ON VETERANS' TRAINING CONTRACTS,
MISSOURI ASSOCIATION OF SCHOOLS ADMINISTRATORS,
Mr. EDGAR FULLER,'
National Council of Chief State School Officers,
Washington, D. C.
DEAR MR. FULLER: Superintendents in the Midwest area are interested in the terms of contracts which will be made between State departments of education and the Veterans' Administration concerning payments for institutional on-thefarm training classes for veterans. Missouri has 232 schools now conducting institutional on-the-farm training classes for veterans. The officers of our State association and a special committee studying this problem met with officials of the State department of education and decided to ask the the Veterans' Administration to consider three changes in making their new contracts. These changes are:
1. To raise the amount allowed for each student for building operation, maintenance, depreciation, and rent from the present $1.25 to $2.50 per month. believe that this can be justified by checking actual costs for the past 6 months. Also two other factors, inflation and decreased enrollments make the $1.25 inadequate.
2. Payment to school districts for the breakage of power machinery and other equipment by veteran classes.
3. Payment to school districts for time spent by the superintendent in the local administration of the program. (The Veterans' Administration has ruled in the past that since the superintendent is a full-time employee and is charged with the general administration of the school program that the district is not entitled to any program for such time as he devotes to the veterans program.)
The Congress of the United States and the Veterans' Administration are to be congratulated for the general provisions and regulations concerning these classes. However, the superintendents in Missouri are unanimous in agreement that the superintendents of public schools in the United States should have a greater voice in determining policies and regulations governing veterans' classes which are a part of their school system and for which they have certain responsibilities. We believe that in the enactment of new legislation concerning Korean veterans that the National Association of School Administrators should be consulted. Future support by superintendents for Federal aid for education will be influenced by the nature of their experience in dealing with the Federal Government in the operation of classes for veterans.
We will appreciate your support in bringing about these changes in veteran contracts which are now in the process of being completed.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you.
GEORGE A. RILEY, President.
Our next witness is Mr. Charles A. Parker, executive director of the National Aviation Trades Association.
STATEMENT OF CHARLES A. PARKER, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, NATIONAL AVIATION TRADES ASSOCIATION
Mr. PARKER. We appreciate the opportunity, gentlemen, to be present. I have a particular case to state in connection with the matter of flight training in connection with the GI training activities.
My name is Charles A. Parker. I am serving as executive director of the National Aviation Trades Association representing some 1,000 flying and ground schools engaged in veteran training throughout 36 States.
We do not favor S. 1940. It has been our hope that if any new benefits were extended to future veterans that a completely new version of the World War II law would be written with an effort made to improve the whole base on which such training rests in the light of experience gained during the past 6 years.
The existing law (though some improvement came in Public Law 610 of 1950) has been a constant source of bickering, threats, irregularities, and restrictions with discouragement of veterans possessing entitlement and circumvention by the administrating agency, of the original intent through their own vast and complicated interpretations of the law and all this in the face of the fact that many institutions were originally urged to participate in GI training.
The situation finally became, as you know, the subject of investigation by a special committee now functioning in the House. S. 1940 does not appear to cure the ills of the present law, nor does it lessen domination of the Veterans' Administration over the welfare of the schools. Rather, it represents increased restriction and more control by the Administration.
Actually, our association wonders what business the VA has in the field of education other than to determine the extent of any veteran's entitlement. The framework for complete control, the conduct and the establishment of standards in the field of education already exists in the respective States. Certainly greater cognizance should be taken of this in any new law.
We note the limitation in age, extent of training and tuition appearing in S. 1940. While we may be accused of selfish interest as a school group, we are still unable to construe this to be either fair or sensible in light of the value of past training that has been acknowledged from time to time by the VA and by national leaders. This training has been an asset to the individual and to the Nation. We should not be too hasty in applying such limitation as S. 1940 proposes.
Regarding the provisions of S. 1940 that impose standards on the schools, some of these we agree are desirable and should be incorporated in any new law. However, they are desirable only insofar as they incorporate certain standards established in Public Law 610 of last year. We do not, however, want further limits now appearing in S. 1940 that hark back to restrictions VA attempted to inject into Public Law 610 and which were proved to the Congress to be undesirable.
In the matter, for example, of raising weekly attendance for those trade and technical courses given on a clock-hour basis, from 30 to 36 hours per week, this again is not in line with the 30-hour standard written into Public Law 610 after much thrashing out by many organi
zations concerned. In fact, Public Law 610 raised this from 25 hours. Thirty-six hours therefore is undesirable to us.
While on the subject of standards let me point out that the flight schools, incidentally, are probably the most regulated group in exist
In addition to the VA and the State board of education requirements, we must prescribe to substantial rules and regulations of the Civil Aeronautics Administration.
I might add, too, the rules of State aviation commissions in addition to all this.
We note that no impartial body has been created in S. 1940 to which veteran or school may turn to assist in solving regulatory interpretations that VA has constantly promulgated and imposed. This is needed if VA continues in the training field. These interpretations have been a current source of trouble between veterans, schools, and VA and has resulted in a constant harassment of Members of Congress by both schools and veterans who, under the present law, could find no other source for help. Some improvement was afforded, however, in the matter of contract problems through Public Law 610, which was desperately needed, but this does not appear in S. 1940.
We are very much concerned over the renewed attempt in S. 1940 to strike at flight training. Some 3 years ago, VA took it upon themselves to belittle and decry this category of activity. Such training was branded among other things as being akin to dancing lessons or bartending. If I recall properly, effort was made to eliminate it entirely as being an avocation or recreation and of no value. This was saved, however, through the Thomas amendment, by considerable work on the part of veterans as well as schools who had geared themselves in good faith to GI training. The result was to permit flight courses to be taken provided the veteran could show intended use through a system of affidavits. This was later written into Public Law 610 and presently exists.
The reinclusion of flight training as an avocation and recreation in S. 1940 and requirement for complete justification is a refusal to admit that such activity exists in our economy as a sound legitimate occupation. It evades the decisions reached after some 2 years of controversy and finally it refuses to recognize the great new demand due to mobilization existing now and lying ahead for many years for trained airmen. The latter is, in effect, a whole new reason why flight training should be placed on a par with other useful occupations and done so without reservation.
A further illustration of the absurdity of classing flight training as a recreation is seen in the following: First, the military has and is steadily decimating the ranks of civil aviation manpower. The need for a civil airman training program is now gaining momentum. New legislation is pending. A report of the Civil Aviation Mobiliza tion Committee by the Under Secretary of Commerce, just released, advocates that the military expand their use of civil aviation schools, An expanded ROTC proposal, calling for flight training with civil schools has no known opposition and is anticipated for the fall of 1952 in several hundred colleges. The Air Force has recently established a new attitude and interest in the prescreening of flying cadet material by civil schools.
In addition, the Army ground forces have recently placed contracts for instrument training with such civilian schools. These fore
going activities all call for instructors on an ever-increasing basis. Such instructors are today a problem. Instrument and multiengine pilots are in demand by a steadily increasing corporation and industrial flying activity and, in particular by the airlines whose advertisements have appeared on airport bulletin boards throughout the country, in leading newspapers, and whose hiring agents are in the field.
As for agricultural flying, such as crop dusting, spraying, reforestation, and so forth, there is no foreseeable point where demand for skilled pilot personnel will even begin to level off. This endeavor is hardly scratched. Yet despite all this, the Veterans' Administration, which is undoubtedly behind S. 1940, has the audacity to place flight training in a category with bartending and dancing lessons. This one aspect alone represents the failure of VA to be either realistic or honest or to gear their thinking to the trend of the times and is absolutely unfair to the veteran who aspires to aviation as an occupation and career.
All in all, we feel, therefore, that S. 1940 is undesirable. If educational benefits are to be extended to future veterans, they should be based upon recommendations of the House committee that has been reviewing this subject. Every effort should be made to place any future GI training on a sound basis where clear-cut understandings and minimum controversy will prevail. S. 1940 will not do this and should be discarded.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you for your statement. I think you have made a very effective statement there with reference to the points that you raise. It seems to me that the sponsors of this bill will be very glad to hear from the various Federal agencies if they have any suggestions to make with reference to the provisions of this bill. The committee will be glad to hear from them. Thank you very much for your statement.
Mr. PARKER. Thank you, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. That concludes the list of witnesses. The hearing will now be terminated. Any additional statements that will be filed within a reasonable time will be incorporated in the record.
(Whereupon, at 11:30 a.m., Wednesday, September 19, 1951, the hearing was closed.)
LETTER FROM AERONAUTICAL TRAINING SOCIETY, WASHINGTON, D. C.
Hon. JAMES E. MURRAY,
Chairman, Senate Labor and Public Welfare Committee,
Senate Office Building, Washington, D. C.
DEAR SENATOR MURRAY: In response to the statement made in behalf of your committee welcoming comment on Senate bill S. 1940 dealing with the education and training of veterans in active service on and after June 27, 1950, we would like to submit this report. The comment which we make is in behalf of the group of schools in our membership which trained nearly 250,000 pilots for the Air Force and friendly United Nations plus roundly 150,000 pilots and technicians in the years preceding and following World War II. Our membership includes roundly 130 schools and training bases in 40 States and we believe in sound, honest, aviation instruction where the taxpayer gets utmost value for his dollar and the student is enabled to obtain instruction that will qualify him to earn a better living in aviation or to increase his earning capacity in his present occupation through ability to utilize the rapid transportation service which aviation affords.
It seems to us that some of the principal provisions of S. 1940 are unrealistic and unfair to aviation training. For instance, section (b) page 6 of the bill permits the Administrator to class flight training as "avocational and recreational in character." In places flight and glider training in the same category in this matter with dancing, bartending, and skiing. This definition of flight training is being proposed at a time our Nation is making the greatest effort of its history to build up defense through air power.
There is a shortage of pilots qualified to fly executive-type planes or airline copilots and flight instructors qualified in T-6 aircraft or larger, Informed industry sources, after studying the matter, state there is an immediate shortage of 5,000 pilots in these categories alone in the civil-aviation field. Call up of reservists and draft are further decimating the effective manpower which keeps civil aviation running. There is a real need for thousands more of our pilots to have instrument ratings.
We are aware that the Veterans' Administration takes the position that its mission is not national defense or training for national defense. However, it would appear that this agency ought at least to take official cognizance that Congress and the taxpayer are trying to develop national airpower and at least not formulate legislative proposals of this sort which face the practical effect of cutting down and narrowing the base of civil aviation skills and knowhow on which the armed services must expand in national emergency or during a defense effort.
Section C on page 5 would grant the Administrator the wide discretion in determining whether a given course is a normal progression in the study undertaken by the student. Under a procedure quite similar to this law as presently administered by VA, veterans graduating from commercial flight courses are being denied the right to take more than one advanced course after getting the commercial certificate. They may take a multiengine, a flight instructor, or an instrument course, but the plain fact is any man planning to earn his living as an airline pilot or copilot or as pilot of executive-type aircraft of UC-78, 18S class or larger, needs not only a multiengine rating but an instrument rating, if he is to get a job.
Similarly the boy who aspires to a job as flight instructor in an Air Force basic contract flight school or a school training instrument pilots for the Army needs both the flight instructor and instrument ratings. To deny the student the right to take courses which are logical concomitants in preparation for 125