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TO ESTABLISH A NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF EDUCATION
MONDAY, JUNE 14, 1971
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
Chicago, ini. The Select Subcommittee on Education met, pursuant to call, at 10 a.m., in room 204-A, Everett McKinley Dirksen Building, 219 South Dearborn, Chicago, Ill., Hon. John Brademas presiding.
Present: Representatives Brademas (presiding) and Hansen.
Also present : Jack Duncan, counsel; David Lloyd-Jones, subcommittee professional staff'; Martin LaVor, subcommittee minority legislative coordinator.
Mr. BRADEMAS. The Select Subcommittee on Education will come to order for the purpose of further consideration of bills H.R. 33 and H.R. 3606 to establish a National Institute of Education.
The Chair would like to observe at the outset of these hearings, I am very pleased my distinguished colleague, a gentleman from Idaho, Mr. Hansen, and I are to be in Chicago today for the purpose of hearing the viewpoints of expert witnesses on the legislation under consideration.
The Chair might also observe, for the benefit of those in the Chicago area that the Committee on Education and Labor of the House of Representatives is divided into seven subcommittees, three of which deal with education.
The chairman of one of the three Education Subcommittees is Mrs. Edith Green, of Oregon, a subcommittee which handles higher education legislation.
The chairman of the second subcommittee, which handles elementary and secondary education and vocational education, is an outstanding Member of the House from Chicago, Congressman Roman Pucinski.
The third Education Subcommittee, the Select Subcommittee on Education, the one which I have the honor to chair which is here today has within its jurisdiction a variety of educational and other measures.
This subcommittee has jurisdiction over the Library Services and Construction Act, the Environmental Education Act, the Drug Abuse Education Act, the National Center on Educational Media and Materials for the Handicapped and the Vocational Rehabilitation Act, the Commission on Libraries and Information Sciences Act, the Older Americans Act, and the National Commission for the Arts and Humanities Act.
We are considering as well the two pieces of legislation this year in addition to the ones I have just enumerated. These are all bills which emanated from this subcommittee in the last Congress and have been enacted into law.
The subcommittee has before it two very important bills. The Chair would like to take advantage of the fact we find ourselves in Chicago to say a word about one, a bill which is the subject of a very lengthy article in this morning's New York Times. It is a bill on which this subcommittee will be meeting tomorrow afternoon in Washington, for the purpose of continuing what in the legislation process we call marking up the bills. Marking up the bill is the stage of the legislative process, which follows the hearings and which represents the actual writing and amending of the bill.
The bill to which the Chair is now making reference is the Comprehensive Child Development Act. The purpose of this bill is to provide educational help, instructional and related services for the very young children in the United States, regardless of their family income.
If one were to put it in oversimplified shorthand one might describe it as Headstart for all children.
There are very many cosponsors in the House of Representatives, and about a third of the Members of the Senate are sponsors of similar legislation.
This is a measure on which the subcommittee conducted hearings last year, in Chicago, in this building.
The Chair invites the attention of witnesses and members of the media to this legislation because it has enormous longrun significance for the people of a great industrial State like this.
Now, the legislation to which we are giving our attention today to establish a National Institute of Education grew out of a message on educational reform, sent to Congress in March of 1970 by President Nixon in which among other measures, the President proposed the establishment of a National Institute of Education. Its purpose would be the support of research and development with respect to all levels of American education from preschool through graduate school including both formal institutions of learning and extra formal institutions of learning.
This subcommittee has heard a number of witnesses in Washington, D.C., beginning with Daniel Patrick Moynihan.
We have in the last month or so visited educational research centers in Paris, Oslo, and Great Britain. It is our hope later this year to visit Poland and the Soviet Union for the purpose of learning how, in that part of the world, change and innovation are built into their educational systems
Here in Chicago today we are looking forward to hearing from a variety of witnesses, including Dr. Michael Bakalis, superintendent of public instruction for Illinois; Dr. Theodore W. Schultz, professor of economics, University of Chicago; Mr. Sam Mercantini, representing the Indiana superintendent of public instruction, Mr. John Loughlin.
We are looking forward to hearing our first witness today, Mr. James Parton, president of Encyclopaedia Britannica Educational Corp., who I believe will be presenting a statement on behalf of former Senator William Benton, publisher and chairman of Encyclopaedia Britannica and the Encyclopaedia Britannica Educational Corp.
Mr. Parton, we are looking forward with great interest to hearing what
say because we are well aware of the contributions that Senator Benton and Encyclopaedia Britannica and its associated enterprises have made to education in the United States, and indeed, throughout the world.
We are looking forward to hearing from you, sir. STATEMENT OF JAMES PARTON AND A. N. FELDZAMEN, PRESIDENT,
ENCYCLOPAEDIA BRITANNICA EDUCATIONAL CORP., CHICAGO, ILL.
Mr. Parton. Thank you very much for the very gracious introduction, Congressman Brademas. It is an honor to be here with you and Mr. Hansen and the staff on this extremely important measure.
I have with me Dr. Alvin N. Feldzamen, who is vice president and editorial director for films and publications, and, therefore, the creative head of our enterprise and in the best position to answer subsequent questions.
Senator Benton asked me to apologize profusely for not being here himself. He is on his way to Europe, but he was here last week and the paper we are submitting on his behalf runs to 22 pages. I can assure you that he sweated over every word of it, and is wholeheartedly behind it.
Since it is so long, it seemed to me that to be courteous I would excerpt it and summarize it, rather than read the whole document which can be digested at leisure.
Mr. BRADEMAS. Without objection, the entire statement of Senator Benton will be included at this point in the record and I hope you will feel free to excerpt it, Mr. Parton.
(The statement referred to follows:)
STATEMENT OF WILLIAM BENTON, CHAIRMAN AND PUBLISHER, ENCYCLOPAEDIA
BRITANNICA, INC., AND THE ENCYCLOPAEDIA BRITANNICA EDUCATIONAL CORP., CHICAGO, ILL.
Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee, my name is William Benton, I am Publisher and Board Chairman of Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc., and of the Encyclopaedia Britannica Educational Corporation.
Among the subsidiaries of the former are the G. & C. Merriam Company, the nation's largest dictionary publisher, and Library Resources, Inc., a new ultramicrofiche publisher specializing in reference collections for libraries.
The Britannica companies produce basic reference works, including encyclopedias, dictionaries, and atlases, which appear in virtually every school and library--and are found in the homes of millions of families.
In addition, the Encyclopaedia Britannica Educational Corporation has the specific purpose of producing innovative educational materials for use in the nation's schools; in addition to books and book collections, these include educational motion pictures, filmstrips, transparencies, multimedia programs, and other audio-visual instructional aids in the “software” category which are being increasingly used in schools both here and abroad.
Thus, the primary business of all the Britannica companies is education across a broad spectrum of school and home application, and an equally broad range of meclia and methods.
For this reason we have the greatest interest in the proposed National Institute of Education, and are grateful for the opportunity to testify in these important hea rings.
Moreover, my own personal lifelong interest in education, and attention to its needs and progress, may also be measured by the fact that I am a trustee of six colleges and universities, served as vice-president of the University of Chicago for eight years, and for six years as the United States Ambassador to UNESCO.
In fact, my mother and father were professors, as were my wife and my uncles and aunts.
So, my entire life has been spent in the vineyards of education, and this has been a dominant theme of much of my own labor and thought.
First, let me begin by heartily commending the wisdom and thoroughness of the Subcommittee in holding hearings on this subject in Chicago. For this city is truly the center of a major segment of the industry that produces and distributes the educational materials used by the American child in school, and his teacher.
Many of the foremost textbook companies, the leading producer-distributors of educational classroom films and filmstrips, distinguished reference book companies, important private proprietary and correspondence schools, manufacturers of “hardware" such as motion picture projectors and educational tele vision equipment-all are located within the greater Chicago region to such an extent of educational product diversity and quantity, and of depth of usage in the schools, that this area probably rightly considers itself the “capital" of educational materials production in the United States.
Furthermore, the American Medical Association, American Bar Association, American Dental Association, the National Congress of Parents and Teacher (The National PTA), and other associations with a vital interest in Amer. ican education make their national headquarters in Chicago.
The Britannica companies, then, are proud to join our distinguished colleagues in these organizations in welcoming your Subcommittee to Chicago!
A large number of able and knowledgeable witnesses have already testified before this Subcommittee in support of the proposed National Institute of Education. This is my intention as well.
I hope to keep my statement brief—but also to raise a few points that may have been insufficiently stressed in earlier testimony, or that may be new matters for consideration. There are some important respects in which we disagree with other witnesses and spokesmen for this legislation, despite our basic agreement with its purpose.
1. ENTHUSIASTIC ENDORSEMENT OF THE IDEA OF THE NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF
EDUCATION Rarely has a proposed new federal agency received such unanimous, whole hearted, and bipartisan support as the proposed National Institute of Education.
From the first proposal for this Institute by the President in early 1970_formalizing an idea which had long been gaining support among a broad consensus of educators and social commentators-approval has come from all concerned with education, and from all regions of the nation. It is easy to see why.
The vast public expenditures for education by federal, state, and local Governments—the unea se among many of our minority groups about the education their children are actually receiving-a new, highly articulate and perceptive group of critics of the shortcomings of American education-all add weight to the need for an appropriate mechanism to serve as "a focus for educational research and experimentation in the United States," as the President has proposed.
We do not join those who insinuate such an Institute has been proposed as a means to diminish federal activity in those programs that have proren of such value to American education in recent years.
Such a disingenuous view should not be consonant with the principles of the many members of the Congress, from both parties, who are supporting this legislation.
We do not believe it is the intention of the Administration or the Congress to use the National Institute of Education as a device to reduce federal support for vital educational programs. We know neither the Administration nor the Congress would wish to throw the passengers overboard, while the scientists and designers seek improvements in the functioning of their vessel.
There is no doubt that an adequate focus for educational experimentation, research, development, and information dissemination is long overdue. In many areas especially as applied to those projects funded by the Federal Govern. ment-substantial savings, as well as improved educational effectiveness, may and should result.
For example, one question that has been of particular interest to my companies is concerned with the relationship between motion picture films and learning. Some experiments tend to suggest little relationship and others strongly support our belief in the validity of motion pictures for education.
This should not be a question of merely academic interest to the Federal Government, since tens of millions of dollars of federal funds have been spent to support the production of educational films.
How should such a question be approached? Have some film programs been poorly conceived and executed? When these have been tested, have the experimental design and achievement tests used been valid?
Despite much dedicated labor by psychologists and educators, our knowledge of testing is very rudimentary. This is a point-the validity of educational testing to which I will return in a moment.
The uncertainty surrounding this simple question of educational methodol. ogy is but one example of the many important issues with which the proposed National Institute of Education is to deal. If it is successful, we can certainly anticipate substantial progress towards educational improvement—and not incidentally, the saving of millions of federal dollars that, we are now told, may be misspent in research and development without proper direction.
A susbtantial part of the current research, development, and evaluation of edu. cational materials is, at present, conducted by private, commercial companies, such as ours—another point to which I will later refer. Let me give you one example, a study called Project Discovery.
Here the Encyclopedia Britannica Educational Corporation provided a rich abundance of audi-visual materials, especially films and filmstrips, and the Bell & Howell Company provided appropriate equipment for their use, to schools in California, Ohio, Texas, and Washington, D.C. Here, more than 230 teachers and 5,100 elementary pupils participated.
With Britannica audio-visual materials, more than 75 percent of the teachers reported being able to teach several complex ideas with more success than before, and more than 60 percent reported being able to teach subjects they could not teach before, because formerly they did not have the materials to do the job.
In fact, more than half the teachers admitted that they themselves had gained knowledge of their subjects from these films and filmstrips !
We are pleased by these results, but they are only a tiny step in the need for more knowledge about educational practices.
How should film or other learning materials be created and used for education?
The questions are endless and fascinating. But they are not merely academic. With the current strains on our educational system and the budgets for themthe validity of the proposed National Institute of Education becomes increasingly evident.
2. PROPOSAL FOR A "PRESIDENT'S COUNCIL OF EDUCATIONAL ADVISORS" The National Institute of Education is proposed as an agency of the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare and quite rightly so.
However, as an indication of the importance to our nation of the future of our educational systems, I would like to suggest that consideration be given to angmentation of the President's staff by the creation of a "President's Council of Educational Advisors."
Just as the office of the President is now strengthened by the inclusion within it of the Office of Science and Technology, and by the Council of Economic Advisors, may it not be also strengthened in the area of education by such an educational council?
In fact, just as witnesses have testified that the proposed National Institute of Education is "shamelessly” modeled after the National Institutes of Health, let me suggest that a new "President's Council of Educational Advisors” be modeled after the existing council of economists.
This suggestion was first advanced in the late fifties by a committee, which I (that's Senator Bentor) had the honor to chair, whose members were Senator Harris (then head of the Department of Economics at Harvard), Philip Coombs (then Chairman of the Research Division of the Ford Foundation), Beardsley Ruml, and Walter Heller.
We took as our model the Council of Economic Advisors (which was established by the Full Employment Act of 1946), and recommended that such a