JULY 1, 1939
WASHINGTON, Friday—We had a very jolly evening last night eating supper on my cottage porch. I was glad that our son Franklin, Jr., who is gaining a little experience in Judge John Mack's law office, is finding actual contact with realities more interesting than studying theories out of books. We all know one needs theory, but it is a help to obtain an actual contact that proves the value of putting in several years of study. It gives one a feeling that some day one will enjoy working on real problems and handling human beings and that the years of preparation were not wasted.
Mr. Adrian J. Dornbush, from Washington, spent the night with us. Two friends of mine, Mr. Roger Brett and Miss Jane Brett, had come up from Beacon for supper, as had the two Morgenthau boys. Everyone intended to have a swim before supper but only two of us succeeded, for rain was threatening by the time all the boys had arrived. After supper, Mr. Dornbush played us the records which he has had made of some of the music given at the White House the night the King and Queen were with us. We all enjoyed the music, especially the ballad of the soldier and the lady, and Mr. Alan Lomax's rendering of a cowboy song which tells of "winning his true love across the Red River."
Miss Thompson and I left fairly early this morning for New York City, stopped to do some errands, and came down to our little apartment. There two gentlemen from Harding College, in Arkansas, came in to see me at the request of their Congressman. I think I will tell you a little more about this college some day in the future, for it seems to me to promise a real solution to some of the educational difficulties which beset a great number of the younger generation today.
I am very much interested to see by the morning press that Assemblyman Moffat has served notice that he will introduce a bill when the special session of the New York State Legislature reconvenes tomorrow, to prevent, the threatened closing of kindergartens and night schools in New York City. This is much to be desired, but to do this he proposes that the City Board of Education suspend salary increments and impose payless furloughs for necessary economies. The representatives of local boards of education, including James Marshall, President of the New York City Board of Education, and some others from upstate, promptly turned the proposal down, and that does not surprise me greatly.
We have, of course, for a long time in New York state felt that we were paying a great deal for education and in consequence we patted ourselves on the back for being far in advance of many other States. I question if today we spend more in proportion to our state income and give our children much better opportunities than do some other States. I am perfectly sure, however, that curtailing educational opportunities is not wise economy, nor should the salaries of teachers be lowered. Economies may be needed, but for a long time I have felt that we should stress better teachers and higher salaries and economize in other ways.