JULY 8, 1957
HYDE PARK—I was sorry to read of the poll taken among the Republican members of the House of Representatives which showed that the bill for Federal aid to school construction is dead for this session. Speaker Rayburn said it would be brought up in the House this year, but if the Republicans are opposed to it there is of course no chance of its passage.
It has taken years of determination and patience for the educators of this country to fight for the bill, and I suppose another defeat will make it more imperative that they continue to fight. For when the future of our children is at stake we cannot afford to give up in any fight. Anyone who lives in an area where there is overcrowding and two sessions a day in the schools will soon discover that the children who go to the afternoon session are not getting as much out of their school hours as they would if they went fresh in the morning. Neither is it possible for the teaching to be as good under these conditions. Teachers are human beings, and if they have to teach two sessions they are going to be more tired, the whole atmosphere of the school will be more tense, and no one will be as well able either to impart or to receive instruction. We are not doing such a remarkably good job in education as to assume that we have done all that can be done for our young people.
To jump from our young to our older people, I have just been told about an organization called "Manpower, Inc.," which has 117 offices from coast to coast and places mature women on temporary jobs. In a letter to me the president, Mr. Elmer L. Winter, says: "We are not interested in age but rather look to the skills of people whom we employ." I understand that women with office skills are especially in demand. The organization emphasizes that "we are not employment agencies. We are labor rental services."
This looks like a real opening for older women. Some may prefer a permanent job. But if you are connected with Manpower, Inc., I imagine the temporary jobs can keep you going most of the time.
There comes to me also a release from the National Association for Mental Health, Inc., which carries some information that will be welcome to both young and old in this country. In its annual report, the association finds that in 1956, state and county mental hospitals (which care for about 90 percent of all the nation's mental patients) actually had a reduction in their number of patients.
They hope that this means a real turning point in the continuous rise that has taken place in the past. The assumption is that the reduction is due to the increase in real treatment, where formerly people felt that once you were in a mental hospital you were there to be kept in custody rather than to be treated in the hope of returning to a normal life. Mr. F. Barry Ryan, Jr., president of the association, feels that interest is growing and that more local and state associations are being set up. The extra money raised in this way is responsible for making it possible to do the kind of work that reduces the mental hospital population.