MAY 20, 1947
HYDE PARK, Monday—Some people do read my column, since I am told by a correspondent that, the other day, I referred to the National School Health Services Bill as the National School and Health Bill, which was wrong! I apologize for this mistake and I make amends by mentioning here that the bill has now been introduced in the Senate by six senators.
This bill would authorize $10,000,000 in Federal grants to the States for the first year, and $15,000,000 thereafter, to promote school health programs—such things, for instance, as more thorough examinations of the children to detect faulty teeth, eyes, heart, etc. Under this bill, treatment may be provided for such defects when there is severe economic distress in the child's home. And special attention would be paid to rural areas. It would also be possible to give demonstrations of the proper training of personnel for health services in the schools.
Various other provisions in the bill seem to me excellent, since they draw together various departments of the government in a joint effort to do a good job in the matter of our school children's health. Without good health, a child cannot fully profit from his schooling, so these efforts are genuinely a part of education.
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I spent a great deal of time yesterday celebrating I Am an American Day. Under heavy gray skies, we drove slowly through the streets of Poughkeepsie and then reviewed the parade from a stand erected near the Nelson House. In the morning, I met with a small group of people for a short ceremony at my husband's grave.
It seems to me that making this an important day in every community is well worthwhile. Among the young men who are coming to their first vote, there must be many who fought in the war and so, in a real way, have already experienced the heavy responsibility of citizenship. Men and women must realize that this is a very responsible time to assume citizenship in our great democracy. And it must seem to the young men particularly that one of the most important things they can do, with this new participation in civilian life, is to make of their own community the best model of real democracy that they can possibly create.
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I spoke at noon at Vassar College where, over every weekend in May, they are holding reunions of the various classes. They had already had panel discussions on the family, the community, education, the arts and sciences, and finally, on the last day, they discussed our relation to the rest of the world. I think they have done a wise thing in bringing together classes of varied vintage, so that the young, the middle-aged and the near-old all contribute something to the discussions. We should get more of this rounded point of view. It would help us all to maturer thinking.