CONGRESSIONAL RECORD - SENATE
FEBRUARY 4, 1960
FEDERAL AID TO EDUCATION
Mr. MUSKIE. Mr. President, I want to speak out to endorse the principle of Federal aid to education and specifically to endorse the amendment now before us which, in my judgment, is a practical step in the right direction.
In evaluating the problems faced by Americans in the field of education, there are three fundamental points to bear in mind. First, we are 1 country and not 50; second, it is true that our resources, our customs, our practices, and our economies vary -- by States and by regions -- and they should be reflected in our local and State affairs; third, however, as the economic and military power of our potential adversaries grows -- as the world shrinks -- as the time interval between peace and potential total destruction is reduced to minutes, it is clear that national objectives increase in importance, that national responsibilities grow and expand, that our national resources must be geared to an effective national effort because they are no longer so plentiful as to be excess to our national needs.
After all, we long ago accepted the principle that, in the interests of the community, a child's education should not depend upon the varying resources of each child's family. Long ago we accepted the principle that, in the interests of the State, a child's education should not depend upon the varying resources of the communities of the State.
Today we must recognize that, in the national interest, a child's education should not depend upon the varying resources of the 50 States. There are substantial resources for supporting Federal aid to education. Surely all of us are aware of the growing shortages all across the board -- in many fields of special training -- doctors, nurses, psychiatrists, teachers, scientists, and engineers. We need to develop to the maximum every young talent available anywhere in the land. The simple fact is that we are not, that there is a shameful waste and that this weakness will make us increasingly vulnerable in the face of the Soviet threat. Personally, I believe that our education gap is, in the long run, more serious than the so-called missile gap. It is brainpower which is the single, most important key to the longrange victory of freedom, democracy, and peace.
The question is, can the States do the job alone, and here the answer most surely must be no. In the period 1953 to 1958, all State and local governments increased expenditures for education from $9.4 billion to $15.9 billion -- an increase of almost 60 percent. In my own State of Maine the percentage increase is even greater. In the last 2 years, Maine ranked second among 48 States in increased effort, yet in per capita income Maine ranks in the lower three of the States.
This is not simply a Maine problem. It is not simply the problem of many States in a position comparable to Maine. It is a national problem and it begs for a national solution.
In closing, Mr. President, I have only one further thought to add and that is to remind my colleagues that there is one resource which has a greater potential in a free society than in a police state and that resource is the human mind.