Page images

from the fact that the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 has brought to millions of America's children and young people, and to discuss the various amendments to that act proposed in H.R. 6230. We feel that the Congress, if it were to appropriate less than the full authorization under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, would do an injustice to the wisdom and vision of this committee. This committee carefully studied the needs of our Nation's schools and based the authorizations in the act upon those needs. We congratulate the committee for the excellent job it did. The F. authorization for fiscal year 1968 is more than $1.5 billion under the present authorization. The requested appropriation for title I is only 49 percent of the full authorization and for title III, which has done so much to stimulate new and innovative educational programs, the proposed appropriation is only 47 percent of the full authorization. There are also substantial differences between the fiscal year 1968 authorizations and appropriation uests under titles II, school library resources and textbooks, and W, strengthening State departments of education. The AFL–CIO is deeply concerned over the clear possibility that the Elementary and Secondary Education Act will not be adequately funded. Any congressional action appropriating funds below the authorized amounts will severely damage State and local programs now underway or just getting out of the planning We are convinced that the great breakthrough in the educational field accomplished by the 89th Congress received overwhelming suprt from the American people. The enactment of Public Law 89–10 rought with it the promise of new educational opportunities for our youth. For the 90th Congress to appropriate less than half of authorized ESEA funds is to make a mockery of this promise and to destroy the hopes of those seeking to solve the complex problems in our present school system. The AFL–CIO is not impressed with the argument, involving title I, that under the fiscal year 1968 appropriation request, no State will receive less money than it received in }. year 1967. First of all, this Nation cannot afford to stand still on the educational front. Secondly, under this suggestion, States will be penalized for not using their full 1967 entitlement even though they are now prepared to utilize such funds. Finally and perhaps most important, while the States themselves may not receive cuts, the same cannot be said for local school districts. Application of the 1966 title I formula will require a reallocation within the States which, it appears to us, will necessitate fund cutbacks to fast-growing and already crowded suburban school districts. For all of these compelling reasons, the AFL–CIO cannot overemphasize its conviction that the Elementary and Secondary Education Act must be fully funded. While we recognize that this committee does not have jurisdiction in this area, the AFL–CIO strongly recommends that the House Education and Labor Committee past a resolution calling upon the House Appropriations Committee to provide Federal funding to the full authorization permitted. We turn now to the specific amendments included in H.R. 6230. Title I of H.R. 6230 moves the National Teacher Corps from the Higher Education Act of 1965 wherein it is presently authorized to the Elementary and Secondary Act of 1965. We feel that the change is an appropriate one considering the central purpose of the legislation. The AFL–CIO was enthusiastic in its support of the legislation which originally created the Teacher Corps. Now that we have seen the program in operation, even on a somewhat limited basis, we have every reason to reaffirm our original support. The Teacher Corps has been able to recruit able young people and to train them in techniques of reaching children in slum schools and poverty stricken rural areas. It has brought into the inner city schools something of the same spirit that the Peace Corps previously brought to underdeveloped areas in other parts of the ...}} The Teacher Corps has made these inner city schools a teaching challenge, rather than an ordeal to be avoided. To say this is in no way to reflect discredit upon the teachers who have long been working in the slum schools. Reports from many communities tell of the enthusiasm with which teachers have received the Teacher Corps interns. The problem which these teachers have wrestled with for so long have often seemed frustrating and hopeless. The Teacher Corps interns to bring to these situations a spirit of challenge and adventure and in most instances this spirit has proved so contagious as to infect the teachers around them with new hope and determination. Because the Teacher Corps program includes special teacher traini in the colleges and universities near their assignment, an additiona result of the program has been to stimulate these institutions of higher education to turn their attention with new vigor to the problems of training teachers in the special problems of inner city schools and imoverished rural areas. This effect has already i.7 an influence far eyond the Teacher Corps interns themselves. e Teacher Corps gives promise of injecting new vitality into the schools and at the same time maintaining the important principle of local control of education. The program is available only in those school systems which have specifically asked for it; the interns are assigned only subject to the approval of the specific individual by the school system; and the institutions of higher education which provide the training have the right to turn down individual interns. The school system has the right to make all assignments of interns, to make transfers, and to determine the subject matter to be taught. This is all in accord with local control of the school system. We therefore welcome the proposal in H.R. 6230 to place the Teacher Corps under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and to provide it with adequate financing. Also included in title I is a provision which would add to title V of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act funds for statewide educational planning. We believe that in this proposal there is identified an important educational need. In a sense Congress has helped to create that need by the very actions which it has undertaken

to improve the educational opportunities of our Nation's children and young people. After years of stalemate on the issue of Federal aid to education, Congress began to meet the problem by passing legislation designed to meet

specific and identifiable needs. The National Defense Education Act as first passed recognized a special national interest in the quality of teaching in science, mathematics, and foreign languages. As other national interests in specific subjects were identified, these subjects were added by amendments to the original act. Public Law 874 recognized the impact of federally affected areas and provided Federal assistance for the operation of schools in these areas. Public Law 815, dealing with the same type of problems, provided Federal funds for school construction.

Provisions of the Civil Rights Act provide Federal assistance to schools attempting to eliminate segregation and its related problems. Many of the provisions of the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 bear upon educational needs. Special legislation has been enacted to improve educational opportunity available to handicapped children. The Vocational Education Act of 1963 provides substantial Federal support in a field of major educational importance. We could go on at length extending the list, because recent Congresses have been extraordinarily productive in the field of educational legislation.

We believe that in adopting this categorical approach, Congress made a wise decision. Yet in so doing Congress created a new need. If school systems are to make the best possible use of the funds available to them under this wide variety of programs, they must undertake far more comprehensive planning than any in which they have previously engaged. They must systematically identify their needs, organize them into a coherent pattern, and relate them to all of the available funds under existing Federal programs.

Many school systems have had little experience with long-range planning and with the methods of obtaining grants. We are troubled by the extent to which many school systems have turned to private consulting first to help them obtain the grants that Congress meant them to have in the first place.

The addition of Federal funds for educational planning will do much to help to meet this growing need. The proposed amendment involves a rather modest expenditure which will make possible the best use of the very substantial net expenditure which the Federal Government is now making in the field of education.

We would like to suggest, however, that the committee give serious consideration to amending section 523(a) (1) to specifically name the State Departments of Education as the planning agency. It is the AFL-CIO's feeling that these departments are the appropriate agencies for carrying out the comprehensive statewide programs envisioned under this part of the bill. In making this suggestion, the AFL-CIO is not proposing similar changes under other titles of the act, but we do believe this proposal has merit under the "grants for comprehensive educational planning and evaluation” part of title V.

Title I includes also a section providing assistance for the education of handicapped children. We are pleased to give our support to these important measures. The AFL-CIO has played an active part in improving opportunities for the handicapped. We have partici

pated energetically in the President's Committee on Employment of the Handicapped. We have made the resources of our collection of vocational films available to the captioned pictures for the deaf program. We played a leading role in the conference on vocational }. of the deaf which paved the way for the legislation estabishing the National Technical Institute for the Deaf. The regional centers, proposed in the bill, which would diagnose the educational needs of handicapped children and which would assist schools in meeting those needs could do much to help parents find appropriate schooling for handicapped children, a problem which is frustrating in many communities. The severe shortage of special teachers trained in the special needs of physically and mentally handicapped children lends particular importance to the provision in the bill for the recruitment of personnel for this work. And the rapid development of new educational tools and methods makes it especially timely to encourage emphasis upon developing educational media for handicapped children. In most school systems today there are significant gaps. The schools simply cannot meet the needs of certain children because there are no facilities or teachers to deal with their special handicaps. This problem is especially true of children with multiple handicaps. H.R. 6230 promises new hope for those children. Although H.R. 6230, in its present form, does not provide for the outright extension of Public Law 874 and Public Law 815, the impacted aid programs, Public Law 815 will expire on June 30, 1967, and we understand that this committee will be turning its attention to this matter. We urge the committee to propose extension of these laws which have contributed greatly to the improvement of education in many communities. We hope also that this Congress will extend the impacted aid program for a sufficient number of years to enable communities to make long-range plans. We would further urge that Public Law 874 and Public Law 815 be adjusted so that these two closely related laws have a common expiration date. We understand also that the committee is not considering at this time the amendments to the Vocational Education Act of 1963 contained in title II of H.R. 6320. When you do turn to this section of the bill, we will want to share our thinking with you on these matters. We believe that H.R. 6230 continues and extends the important gains which have been made in elementary and secondary education. At its recent meeting on February 23, 1967, the AFL–CIO executive council declared in a statement on “Education and the Federal Government”: The laws which have by now been enacted have contributed significantly to improving educational opportunity and toward achieving the goal of providing quality education for every child, wherever he may live and whatever his family background. From prekindergarten programs through graduate schools and adult education programs, the Federal Government has assumed responsibility for sharing in the costs of education. For the vital role which this committee has played in bringing these things to pass, we express our deepest gratitude. Thank you. Chairman PERKINs. Again let me compliment you, Mr. Biemiller. I have several questions but I feel I should refrain until we hear from the other witnesses who accompany you here today. Mr. Megel, do you want to proceed with your statement?


Mr. MEGEL. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. We are delighted to be here and to have the opportunity to testify in supplementation of the excellent statement already made by the chairman of the legislative committee of the AFL–CIO. I have with me Mr. Herrick S. Roth, vice president of the American Federation of Teachers and the president of the Colorado Labor Council. Mr. Chairman, my name for the record is Carl J. Megel. I am the Washington representative of the American Federation of Teachers, a national, professional teacher's union of more than 130,000 classroom teachers, affiliated with the AFL–CIO. Our organization embraces 660 teacher locals, including locals in Hawaii, Alaska, the Canal Zone, the Department of Defense Overseas Dependents Schools, and in the Department of Interior Indian Schools. Representing the American Federation of Teachers, I am privileged to appear before this committee in support of H.R. 6230, a bill to strengthen and improve programs of assistance for elementary and secondary education by extending authority for allocation of funds in various areas. Principally, these include: 1. Extending and amending the National Teacher Corps; 2. Providing assistance for comprehensive educational planning: 3. Improving programs of education for the handicapped; an 4. Improving programs of vocational education. By the end P this semester the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 will have been in existence for 2 full years. Because of misunderstandings, local prejudicial resistance, and unfamiliarity with procedural requirement, the implementation of the original act lacked immediate full-scale adoption. Today, the reverse is true. According to reports which we have received from our locals, enthusiastic, nationwide support is everywhere in evidence for extension, improvement, and increased revenue allocations. These reports confirm President Johnson's statement, when he said, “I believe that future historians, when they point to the extraordinary changes which have marked the 1960's will identify a major movement forward in American education.” Much credit, Mr. Chairman, belongs to the members of the Education and Labor Committee, but with special commendation to you personally for the leadership which you have exercised and for the years of effort which you have given to advancing our Nation's educational opportunities. Representing the American Federation of Teachers in support of the passage of H.R. 6230, I do so with the approval of the Executive Council of the American Federation of Teachers and with a general mandate from the national convention of our organization. Unfortunately, our enthusiasm for this legislation is diminished because of its limitations, even though we support the general intent.

« PreviousContinue »