My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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CASTINE, Maine , Friday—We left Campobello Island with great gratitude to our charming hosts, Mr. and Mrs. Victor Hammer, who gave us such a pleasant time. This little town of Castine is not a very long drive from Lubec, Maine, to which the ferry crosses from Campobello Island. Here, we are staying with Bishop and Mrs. Scarlett.

I am speaking one night in Castine and one night in Bangor for the American Association for the United Nations. I have had a chance to see Dr. Sills on this trip and to talk over what we can do to organize more actively for the AAUN in Maine. And so I feel that I have accomplished a considerable amount for one of my main interests during these very pleasant days.

I was very much interested in the recent proposal of the President for a very great program of highways across the country. This was one of my husband's dreams and I know he felt an expanded highway system would have great advantages and would benefit the people of every state.

I notice that there seems to be great interest in Congress in this project, which has such evident economic advantages, but apparently there is much less interest in the Cooper-Frelinghuysen bill for emergency school construction. I have seen it casually said in some newspaper that the Department of Health, Education and Welfare does not seem to be very enthusiastic in its support of this bill. It must be evident to the President and to any thinking person that, valuable as it may be to us to have 50 billion dollars worth of roads built across this country, it will be of very little use to us unless the children of our country grow into well-educated citizens.

This cannot be accomplished without adequate schools and adequate teachers. We must have enough classrooms and enough teachers. Teachers must work under good conditions. They must be given the best opportunities for preparation for their work and for continuing education throughout the years. Today, there are too few classrooms, and our classes are too big because we lack adequate space and teachers.

I can never understand how anyone can be unenthusiastic about creating school facilities for children in a democracy. This is a form of government to which we are committed. Technically, we call it a representative republic. We mean by that that every citizen has a share in choosing his representatives and that he is responsible for understanding what the issues are and how his representatives act. Without adequate education of the citizens, a government of this kind cannot operate.

Hence, schools and teachers are two subjects in which no citizen and no responsible government official can help being deeply interested.

E. R.


Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • Maine (United States) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, July 31, 1954

Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962
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Digital edition created by The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project The George Washington University 312 Academic Building 2100 Foxhall Road, NW Washington, DC 20007

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Digital edition published 2008, 2017 by
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MEP edition publlished on 2008-06-30

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Transcription created from a photocopy of a UFS wire copy of a My Day column instance archived at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library.