AUGUST 23, 1949
HYDE PARK, Monday—Now I want to continue discussing the subject of Federal aid to education. If the three objectives (1-Safe public school buildings. 2-Equalized school year. 3-Uniform teachers' salaries) which I named in my previous column are the most important things for us to achieve, then a bill designed to help our public schools reach these standards should be easy to write.
When we come to the "auxiliary services" we find a different situation in different states. Certain states have decided that some of these services, which vary in the different states, shall be given to private schools as well as to public schools.
The Supreme Court has ruled that a state has a right to allocate its funds for these purposes to both private and public schools if it so desires.
Some private schools are asking that if federal funds are given for these auxiliary services anywhere in the country they shall be given to both public and private schools. This is a question which it may not be necessary to decide for some time to come if we make up our minds that federal funds shall go first toward equalizing the opportunities for education throughout the nation in the three most important ways which I have mentioned.
When it comes to the auxiliary services, it seems to me that if we want the health services to amount to anything, they should be taken out of the actual school jurisdiction and put under the hospital or public health services of the area.
It is not possible for a doctor to go into a school and give each child a really thorough examination. It should be done in clinics and hospitals, where equipment and specialists are available. It is important today that the examinations not only be physical, but that mental health should be included.
I know only too well, from long experience, that the present system as it is carried out in many places means very little to the health of children. The brief examination and suggestions taken home to parents that certain things need be done does not always mean they are done.
Money may be lacking or there may not be sufficient understanding on the part of the parents to make them realize a follow-up is essential. That very often means real trouble when the youngsters reach the adolescent years. So the sooner we look upon this phase of the auxiliary services as a thing by itself, which every child in our country should receive, the better it will be for the health of our nation.
I think a good argument can be made for transportation where any free schools are concerned, whether they are public or private. Books I am doubtful about. But so far these are all services which have come up for consideration in the various states. It seems to me important now to consider only the need for federal aid to do a primary job—a job that will benefit every child in public schools throughout our country and in doing so the nation will be benefitted in the long run.