JANUARY 4, 1958
WARM SPRINGS, Ga.—At the year's end our metropolitan newspapers, and, I imagine, other newspapers of the country, dealt with a number of questions of vital interest to the people of this country. One of them was the question of money to be appropriated for school aid.
I believe that the kind of scholarships proposed by the Administration for college graduate and undergraduate work does not offer the most sensible solution for the maximum use of our manpower.
We should provide scholarships, I think, on the basis of tests of ability, making sure that every child with the necessary ability gets the fullest education possible in the field for which he is best fitted. I do not believe that every child can become a scientist or an engineer, and we need the gifts of all young people.
We cannot be sure that all children with ability will either try for a scholarship or receive one, and that is why I think this method of using to the maximum our human material is not the wisest one.
The cost of the Administration's plan was put at $1,000,000,000 for four years. This seems to me to be very inadequate. The primary question we face is the need to use all available human material. The cost is secondary, because today education is a necessity, not a luxury.
There are other phases of our national life in which we can well afford to reconsider how we spend our money, but not in the realm of education. The waste of our young people's brains is the most dangerous one we face in this country.
Since the Soviets launched their sputnik and we came to realize what basic research is accomplishing in the Soviet Union, there has been an increase of interest in education. Therefore, we have been provided with the opportunity to get what we want in this field. So the responsible officials of the Administration should not stop until they are satisfied that the needs are being met.
It is not enough to ask Congress for what you think it will give. Rather, the actual need should be set forth so that the people of the country will tell their representatives in Congress whether or not they want these needs to be met.
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One of the maids who works for me in New York City greeted me last Tuesday by jubiliantly announcing that there would not be a subway strike, and I think most everyone in New York who travels some distance to work felt the same way. So it seemed that the calling off of the strike by the Transit Workers Union was a wise move.