DECEMBER 2, 1955
BALTIMORE—I hope the delegates in attendance at the White House Conference on Education were encouraged by the speeches made by the President and the Vice-President. I confess I found very little that was new in these speeches.
Both of them said that where there were communities unable to meet obligations for adequate education they should have Federal aid. That leaves me rather cold because we have known that fact for the past three years and more, and no Federal aid has been forthcoming.
When they warn against control by the Federal government, that is a subject that has been covered over and over and over again.
I can remember years ago the suggestion that the Federal government should simply set some very limited standards in return for the aid given. Under the standards the school must run so many weeks in the year, teachers must have certain academic standards, and the standards of education must be agreed upon at different levels, but the content of the curriculum was always to be controlled by the state, never by the Federal government.
It seems to me that with a little real effort the proper safeguards could be agreed upon and we could begin to meet the crisis that faces us in every part of the country.
I hope that out of the meetings in Washington there will come some definite action that will lead to encouraging legislation in Congress. We have discussed Federal aid too long and done too little, and our children are the ones who are suffering in too many areas of the country.
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I was shocked to read the other day the revelation by Mr. Philip Young, chairman of the Civil Service Commission in Washington, that the commission maintained a card index file with names of two million persons "allegedly affiliated with some sort of subversive organization or activity."
He went on to explain that they did not even try to substantiate any of the accusations which they took from many different sources, and he said that perhaps three-fourths of the people dismissed from government service never had the least idea they were dismissed because of security questions. The official reason given might have been something like "excessive drinking."
It seems to me that the Civil Service has a very grave responsibility when it lists against a name the word "subversive" without verifying the information that has brought about the accusation.
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Last week I saw a play called "No Time For Sergeants," and I recommend it to anyone wanting to spend an enjoyable evening. It pokes a good deal of fun at some of our service customs, which was evidently enjoyed by the audience.
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On Monday night I went out to Roslyn, Long Island, to speak for a forum. On the way I passed through Westbury. None of these communities seems to me to have any resemblance any more to the countryside I remember as a child. Some areas are built up almost like cities and all of them seem crowded. The suburbs of New York are becoming very urban indeed!