« PreviousContinue »
ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION
MONDAY, MARCHI 20, 1967
House of REPRESENTATIVEs. CoMMITTEE ON EDUCATION AND LABOR, Washington, D.C.
The committee met at 9:30 a.m., pursuant to recess, in room 2175, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Carl D. Perkins (chairman of the committee) presiding.
Present: Representatives Perkins, Carey, Meeds, Burton, Scherle, and Steiger.
Staff members present: Robert E. McCord, senior specialist; H. D. Reed, Jr., general counsel; William D. Gaul, associate general counsel; Benjamin F. Reeves, editor; and Louise M. Dargans, research assistant.
Chairman PERRINs. The committee will come to order. A quorum is present. Do you have any questions, Mr. Steiger?
r. STEIGER. I do not have a date but Commissioner Howe wrote a
letter to the superintendent of schools in Chicago, Mr. Rieman, to quote from the letter he said:
We ask that the board provide a progress report on the resolution of these problems by April 11, 1967.
Have you received from the schools in Chicago a progress report?
STATEMENT OF PETER LIBASSI, SPECIAL ASSISTANT TO THE SECRETARY OF HEALTH, EDUCATION, AND WELFARE FOR CIVIL RIGHTS
Mr. LIBAssi. We have not had the final progress report but I would like to ask Mrs. Martin to report to you on the meetings we have had with the Chicago people since that letter was written.
STATEMENT OF MRS. RUBY MARTIN, STAFF ASSISTANT, OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY, HEW
Mrs. MARTIN. About a month ago we had a meeting with Mr. Redman and the top school officials from the Chicago school system. They indicated that they were interested in a title IV grant from the Office of Education in addition to another kind of grant, which I cannot recall, to do some planning to meet the problems that were raised by our report.
We have had discussions with the school board since they were down here officially. We have had discussions with the complainants,
the people who were responsible for us getting into the Chicago school situation and I think we were all in agreement that we are going to provide them with some kind of grant so they can do some plan: ning and talk to the complainants and decide exactly what kind of planning they are going to then do to meet this problem. So the report in effect is their visit down here with us to tell us what they would do if we would provide them with some funds and they would use some of their own. - Mr. STEIGER. Issue 24 called integrated education prompted all this. It quotes at some length and I think completely as I understand what they have here the complete report of your January 6, 1967, Office of Education analysis of the Chicago public schools. Mr. LIBAssi. May I ask who puts out that publication? Unfortunately it came on Saturday. Mr. STEIGER. It is published by Integrated Education Associates. The board of directors is a very distinguished group including Kenneth Clark, Charles Cogen, and G. W. Foster, Jr. In the report that they quote in here, and I do not want to read all of this but in the third section regarding boundaries and student assignment policies it says: In the basis of our analysis thus far, we share the conclusion reached by the Board's Advisory Panel on Integration of the Public Schools and other observers that by far the greatest part of the segregation in Chicago's public schools results from residential segregation combined with the board's neighborhood school policy. “We recommend that the board engage competent specialists to assist them in preparing a plan appropriate to Chicago, drawing on the wide range of administrative remedies which have been adopted by other school districts to lessen segregated education and indeed, to reverse trends of increasing segregation here where possible. As the board is aware number of different steps are being proposed to deal with this problem. But no particular action is alone sufficient for a metropolitan center. A combination of actions over time is needed; commitment in fact by school authorities to the goal of reducing segregation in education is fundamental. The U.S. Office of Education will provide all possible assistance and support in this matter, but we reiterate our recommendation that specialist services are necessary to work on this problem. This is where you are now in trying to provide grant money to the Chicago school system to hire specialists to prepare a plan. Mr. LIBAssi. That is right. Mr. STEIGER. If the problem results from residential segregation combined with the board's neighborhood school policy, what you are really saying is that you are trying to find a way to break the neighboorhood school policy. Is that appropriate? Mr. LIBAssi. No, there was evidence that the research and part of the report to the Chicago school authorities noted that while to a substantial extent the . was due to residential housing conditions, the report discussed other action of the board which could not have been explained other than by the fact of race in the assignment of children to schools. I don’t know if that document quotes the full report but there was some rather strong language used in the report to indicate while residential housing was part of the problem it was not the total ex
planation for the racial concentration in the Chicago schools and while there was not a proven, deliberate segregation by the school officials, there was reasonable question on it. The object here is to afford the school officials as much assistance as is possible in redesigning the attendance areas. This may result in simply enlarging attendance areas and not necessarily in the abolition of the neighborhood school but enlarging the neighborhood served by particular schools. The problem of feeder patterns may change. Children instead of traveling 15 minutes to a junior high school may travel 20 minutes to a different junior high school and, therefore, decrease the segregation of the school system, so the abolition of the neighborhood school is not the single means by which you can reduce racial concentrations. In some cases it is necessary to do that but in others it is not. Mr. STEIGER. One of the other points that is touched on in the report is the question of faculty assignments patterns. In here there are quoted four principles—four principal actions which the Office of Education felt were needed to modify the faculty assignment pattern. ey make the point obviously that there is a very real problem here in terms of the concentration of Negro teaching in Negro schools and whites in white schools without much interchange. One of the sections here indicates that the board should— 1. Assume much greater responsibility regarding teacher assignment. 2. Increase the proportion of experienced teachers in disadvantaged schools. This could include limiting, more than is done under current board policy, the transfer of experienced teachers to those schools already having a high proportion of experienced teachers. I wonder if you want to just develop this a little bit. The point here is again made, of course, that really it is the teacher policy or the education association policy perhaps which says that a more experienced teacher has the ability to transfer to a more desirable school. When you get into this area you are really striking at what the teacher can and cannot do a little bit. What I would really like to know is what kind of work your office has done and the Office of Education in working with either the Chicago Federation of Teachers or the Chicago Education Association in attempting to try to reverse its transfer policy or urging them to not transfer out of the less desirable schools into the more desirable schools. Have you spent time with the teachers organizations on this problem? Mr. LIBAssi. I am not too familiar with that respect. Mrs. MARTIN. One of the items in the planning grant was funds to arrange for the Chicago school o to sit down with the Chicago teachers union to discuss their ideas, the teachers union ideas about how they could help to encourage new teachers, experienced teachers to go into the ghetto schools and how their suggestions as to how the school system encouraged experienced teachers to move from the better schools into the ghetto type schools. I think a substantial amount of time and money will be spent in this grant which is forthcoming with just meeting and discussing this problem with the teachers union, which of course is a very powerful organization in Chicago. r. STEIGER. There is also the basic problem not only were there more Negro teachers in the Negro schools but those teachers white and Negro in the Negro schools were generally, less qualified or less exrienced by the board's own standards than were the white and Negro teachers in the more desirable schools. So it was not iust a problem of racial segregation of teachers as it was a problem of the experience and competence and background of the teachers. Is the policy in Chicago at this point, do you know, to allow rather complete freedom of the teacher to transfer where he wants to go? rs. MARTIN. It is based on experience. A teacher with experience has the right to a vacancy in a prestige-type school as opposed to someone newly coming into the school system. It is really very complicated. Just take the examination itself, the national teacher exam. If you place very high on that in Chicago you have first chance at choosing which school you want to go to. The people with the lowest score on the exam or the people who are going into the worst type teaching situations, that is just a brandnew teacher, so you can imagine what rights teachers already in the system have. If you have a year's experience you have rights, over and beyond people new coming in to get reassigned to a prestige-type school. Mr. STEIGER. Is the policy at this point of the Chicago school system to make an arbitrary assignment of those who do not score as well or who do not have the background and experience to assign them to a Negro school? Mrs. MARTIN. That is usually all that is left. The people who score highest have the first choice of where they want to go and they usually go to the best teaching situations, which is usually the prestige school or the predominantly white school. As you go down the list with the people with lower scores, their selection is limited by what has already gone ahead of them so usually the only thing left for them would be the school in the ghetto-type school, the predominantly Negro, or all Negro school. Mr. STEIGER. In your judgment is there a method by which we can attack this problem of faculty assignments? Do you foresee that it is possible to overcome this? Mrs. MARTIN. Certainly the assignment of faculty or teachers is a responsibility of the school board. The fact, that there is a strong teachers association in Chicago certainly complicates the problem. In the South we have encouraged school districts to make racial assignments—nonracial assignments and we have encouraged them to have combat pay, for example. You might want to pay these teachers $200 extra, or you might want to give them some additional credits, whatever it is, some incentives for going into a different kind of situation. If there was not a teachers union in Chicago, a strong one which we do not have in the South generally—we don't have a strong teachers union—if there was not one in Chicago then the school board could do pretty much what it wanted to do in assigning teachers. The fact that there is a teachers union complicates the problem but the school board cannot abdicate its responsibility by assigning teachers to schools by saying what we can do. I believe they have a responsibility to work it out and let them suggest to the school board the kind of incentives or encouragements that teachers would have to have in order to go into a different kind of teaching situation. Mr. STEIGER. While it is true that the school board cannot abdicate its responsibility, neither can the teachers union abdicate its responsibility. You have a two-way street here. Mrs. MARTIN. They have to work together and a part of the planning grant that Chicago wants to . going is for the personnel people from the school district to sit down with the union people to try to work out some ideas and plans for encouraging good teachers, the experienced teachers to go into the ghetto-type school. Mr. LIBAssi. I might add, if I may, the heart of the problem is how do we communicate to the teachers that these schools are desirable status schools where if they had the feeling with higher educational standards, if they had the feeling that it was going to be major educational effort made in the school then they would become desirable experiences. But as long as they are overcrowded, the inadequate educational program, disciplinary problems, shortage of remedial aids for the children, lack of equipment, you are really asking a teacher to take on a situation where it is going to be almost impossible for a good teacher to work creatively, so I think we both have to develop incentives but we also have to get at the school itself and inviting educational challenge for the teacher rather than a nightmare of discipline. Mr. STEIGER. May I touch on the on what the gentleman from New York, Mr. Scheuer, mentioned to you and encourage you to provide for the committee what you are doing in the quiet persuasion process. I think this is very important. He mentioned what the New York human relations group is doing. In Wisconsin we have our governors on human rights operating on this same kind of a basis. I think this would be beneficial and useful from our standpoint as well as from yours, to have this kind of information. Also I asked on Saturday whether or not you had any indication as to the number of complaints that you have received. Do you have that information this morning? Mr. LIBAssi. No, I am sorry I do not have the number of comlaints we received but I did find out that we do visit all school superintendents in all cases of the nature of the complaints that have been filed against them and we do contact them first when we go into a community so that they are aware of the nature of the complaints that have been filed both North and South. You pressed the point that you felt it important that we communicate with them and that is the policy and that is being followed by the staff. I don’t have the o: of complaints by State today but we will get that up and we will have it, I would hope, by tomorrow or the-for the record. Chairman PERKINs. Without objection the data will be inserted in the record.