Expansion of Federal Educational Program
Drastic curtailment of educational activities in many of the states in the past year as a result of financial stringency has led to an expansion of the federal government's educational program. Under this program, which has thus far been limited to emergency measures, new school buildings have been constructed, old ones repaired, unemployed teachers hired, and needy students kept in college. Loans by the Reconstruction Finance Corporation to school districts to pay back salaries to teachers were authorized by the Loans to Industries Act, signed by the President, June 19, 1934.
Hearings held before the House Committee on Education in February “established beyond all doubt,” the committee reported, that “an emergency situation does exist in education and that federal aid is necessary for the coming fiscal year if the schools of this country arc to remain open and if the children are to be given the instruction to which they are entitled.” The committee agreed with the estimate of George F. Zook, United States commissioner of education, that $75,000,000 would take care of school needs for 1934–35 on the basis of current rates of compensation and normal school terms. There was general agreement, however, that federal financial assistance should be limited to the emergency, and that it should not carry with it any control by the central government.
The House committee in its report declared itself “unalterably opposed to any policy of federal control of education, believing that education is essentially a state and local matter.” The committee likewise declared its opposition to federal assistance to the statefor general educational purposes as a permanent policy.