OCTOBER 29, 1943
WASHINGTON, Thursday—I was discussing federal aid the other day and I began to wonder whether we citizens of this country really know that we have had federal aid for education for a long time. It began first under the Morrill Act of 1862, which gave grants of land to the states and started our first land-grant colleges.
The second act was also a Morrill Act in 1890. This granted funds to the colleges and was supplemented by additional funds authorized by the Nelson Amendment of 1907 and the Bankhead-Jones Act of 1935. Under these acts, the Office of Education gives $5,030,000 annually to the land-grant colleges of the nation.
Vocational education was first aided by the Smith-Hughes Act of 1917, which gives $7,000,000 annually for this purpose. This act was later supplemented on a permanent basis by the George-Reed Act of 1936, which gave an additional $14,200,000, making a total of $21,200,000 annually.
Of course, these are not very large sums, but they do affect a great many states. Yet I have never heard the slightest complaint that they were used to force unwelcome restrictions or changes in programs on the various colleges.
Many states, particularly the poorer ones, spend a very much greater proportion of their incomes on education that do our richer states, and yet, per capita, less is spent on the education of young people. Population trends shows us that we move about more and more in this country, and a child educated in one place may spend his working life in another part of the country.
Poor education received in one place does not, of necessity, affect the place where the child is born and educated it affects the well-being of the entire nation. Then our nation as a whole should be interested in equalizing educational opportunity through our whole country.
Yesterday I spoke at the lunch of the Soroptimists Club. The national president, Mrs. Harriet Tyler, was there, as well as the delegates from eight clubs in this area.
Afterwards, I went to the Capitol Park Hotel, which has been taken over by Recreation Services, Inc., as the United Nations Service Center, where men and women of the armed forces and their families may obtain accommodations for a few hours, or for a few nights. This hotel has certain unique features, such as a nursery for young children, so if a young couple is ordered to Washington and has to find a place to live, the mother can check her child while she goes house hunting.
There is also a room where children who are ill can be kept in bed under supervision, if the mother has to go out. There are very pleasant lounges and small rooms in which little groups may meet. There are cafeterias and recreation rooms and I think everything has been thought of which will add to the comfort of both officers and men.