JULY 1, 1938
NEW YORK, Thursday—I left Hyde Park this morning at 7:15 and had a most beautiful drive to New York City. A great many people come into New York at an early hour and even on the Express Highway we were blocked many times, which is most surprising. I stopped to do a few errands and reached my apartment at about 10:30.
It always amuses me when children try to stop me on the street for autographs, but this morning I had a unique experience. As I dashed around the corner from the bank, two apparently grown men approached me with pencil and paper and asked for an autograph. I was obliged to say that I now made it a rule not to stop in public places. One feels ungracious in doing this, but if you stop, people with pencils and papers and autograph books seem to spring out of the ground and in no time you are surrounded and, if you begin, there is no good reason for not going on indefinitely.
I am here today to preside at the National Education Association Meeting, which is held this afternoon at the World's Fair Grounds. It is their International Program and the theme is built around the subject, "What can education do to bring us a more peaceful world?" Because education deals with the training of every individual it has the greatest influence on future civilization. It must be a long-time program, because it takes a generation or more to change the thinking of groups of people.
Of course, we are talking here today about what our own educational system can do to bring this future peace, but we have to realize that it is not our educational system alone that counts, but the educational systems in all the countries of the world. That is why it seems to me so important for our educators to travel and to meet those who are teaching youth in other nations.
The only way that I can see of eventually bringing different groups together, is by having them grow up with the same ideals and standards. Only if our teachers know each other and the problems of their various nations, can this real foundation for future peace be achieved.
I see that Mayor La Guardia in his speech to the teachers, asked them to set uniform educational standards throughout this nation. There is no question in my mind that the teachers would be glad to do this; the difficulty lies with the people in certain parts of the country and their political leaders. Good education costs money; people do not like taxes, and sometimes the political leaders see no connection between education and future prosperity.