FEBRUARY 21, 1945
WASHINGTON, Tuesday—Yesterday afternoon I had the pleasure of welcoming the new Canadian Ambassador, Mr. L. B. Pearson, and Mrs. Pearson at tea. At luncheon we had a chance to discuss some of Miss Katherine Lenroot's concerns, and today she is off to join the others attending the conference in Mexico City.
This should prove a most interesting and important conference for all of us who are anxious to see the nations in this hemisphere walk hand in hand toward greater development and understanding.
There is shortly going to be held in Washington, under the auspices of the National Education Association, a conference on veterans' education. So I have been seeking some information which would help me to attend this conference, when I am able to do so, with greater knowledge. I find that the less education a boy now in service has had in the past, the less he plans to obtain in the future.
From surveys which have been made, the boys who have had some college are the ones planning in the greatest numbers to go on. The fact that stands out is that we must prepare, first of all, to give great numbers of these boys the incentive to take advantage of the GI Bill of Rights in order to upgrade themselves on leaving the service. Next we must prepare to educate them on the grammar and high school levels in far greater numbers than on the college level.
This is an important fact for any group to bear in mind in planning to offer educational facilities to returning veterans.
This teaching, which must be done in many cases, is far more closely allied to adult education than to the usual education offered to young people, since these young men will be mature in many ways. They will have carried responsibility—some of them will have had authority over other men—yet their tools for acquiring knowledge must be obtained at the level where they left off going to school and, frequently, at a younger level, since they have probably forgotten many things in the academic field. They will have the power, however, to learn far more quickly and on a much more mature level.
Special teachers will be needed for this work and should be preparing themselves. Here we come up against one of our very serious problems today, already felt, which is the lack of teachers, particularly in the rural schools of the country. This is partly a question of salary, but many other factors enter into it.
More honor is due in every community to the teachers to whom we entrust so many hours of our children's companionship every day. The dictum on which I was brought up should have a place in the choosing of teaching as a vocation—namely, "Teachers are born, not made." They must love their work.