thumbnail of NER Washington forum; Impact of the draft on colleges
Hide -
If this transcript has significant errors that should be corrected, let us know, so we can add it to FIX IT+
Many very knowledgeable people feel that unless there is a change in the current draft policy it will be catastrophic to graduate schools of education. The voice you just heard was that of Congresswoman Edith Green Democratic representative from Oregon and our guest on this edition of NE our Washington forum a weekly program concerned with significant issues in the news. I'm ne our public affairs director Vic Sussman this week a look at education in America. Representative Green is well qualified to discuss American education. She is a member of the House Education and Labor Committee Chairman of a special subcommittee on education for the House committee. She is author of the higher education facilities Act of 1963 the Higher Education Act of 1965 and other pieces of legislation too numerous to mention. Lately Mrs. Greene has been an outspoken critic of the draft laws and their effect on colleges and universities. Mrs. Greene give us your thoughts about the draft laws. Well it seems to me that unless there is a change made before July
1st 1068 that the situation as far as our graduate schools of education are concerned will will really be catastrophic. Why do you put this deadline of July 1st. Because this is when the new policy goes into effect and it's at that moment that all of the college graduates and the first in the second year graduate students will lose their deferment. I think that it should be made abundantly clear there's not a member of my committee including myself who wants any blanket deferment for college graduates or for graduate students. We do not and we deplore the. Procedure which has been followed at some time by some people to use the graduate schools as a draft haven. We think this is been the exception and not the rule. So we're not asking for that but we do say that now it seems that the current draft policy will make the college graduates and the graduate students the most vulnerable to the draft. Even the Department of Defense is quoted as
having said that over 55 percent of next year's draft call will be comprised of college graduates and graduate students. We simply are asking that the graduate students be treated the same as any other young man and that they that there be some kind of a system that would be equitable and fair. Now this is a spar as the individual is concerned going beyond that. Most of the deans of the graduate schools and the presidents of universities and colleges advise the committee that their enrollment in the graduate schools will be cut from anywhere 40 to 60 percent of the enrollments that they had anticipated in the fall of 968 in 1969. Are you speaking when you used to talk about a more equitable way of handling this. Are you talking about a draft lottery. Well I think that I personally would prefer the random system if we're going to have the draft that's my personal choice. However the present law does
not allow this. But the act which was passed by Congress last year does give the administration the administrative authority to change so that there would be this or there would be more equity. One suggestion that has been made by those people who have studied it a great deal is that all of the college graduates and graduate students be placed in the 19 year old class be called what they term a constructive 19 year old. And then they would take a. A sample or they would cut across all of the 19 year olds and all of the people who have had deferments up to this time so that you would have part of the graduate students going into the draft and you would have part of the other young people going into the draft. This certainly would bring about more fairness than the proposal that is now before us. College presidents and the American Council on Education that appeared before our committee have
said to us that there is almost 100 percent certainty that any college graduate or any graduate student who has not performed his military service who is not physically disqualified. Almost 100 percent certainty that he will be drafted. Now this just doesn't seem to me the kind of system that we should have general Hershey has said in effect that the the order to end graduate school deferments and the order to end occupational deferments came right from President Johnson. Yet the Army has made it clear in the past that it would rather have 19 year olds than the older woman's Overman apparently a harder and more expensive to train. So what do you think the president's reasoning was in altering this regulation. Well I am not really sure that this is a completely accurate statement from the hearings which we had General Hershey and others who were very knowledgeable of the National Scientific manpower commission representatives from that group indicated that within the law now if the department of
defense requested the Selective Service system to provide 19 year olds that the law allows this. And is the Department of Defense that could change the present policy. Now one of the things that has bothered the committee you mentioned occupational deferments. Under the law or under the not a under the procedure at the present time the occupational deferments have been done away with except the students will be allowed to continue in medicine and dentistry related health fields. But there will be no occupational deferments as a matter of national policy. But General Hershey has sent out a word to the. 4000 independent autonomous draft boards that they can defer on the basis of community needs if there is some particular need for the community then that person can be deferred he gave the example of teachers and he indicated that this would be much broader than that if the local
draft board decided that this person was needed in the community. Then they could be deferring his induction. So it seems to me that the current policy is substituting a national policy based on a study of future manpower needs to one of a community policy not how each community can make the determination of what is in the best interests of this country in terms of occupational deferments. I do not know. Well this raises the question this has been raised by many educators especially those in the humanities that generally these deferments are made on the basis of community need which lets teachers of art for instance or teachers of English for instance. How do you feel about this the way it usually happens. Well I don't know that I could answer that I just don't have enough information. I suppose that those rumors or those statements have been made on the basis of individual cases how general of they are I don't know.
I think again that most college at least from the testimony that we've had in the conversations we've had with various people who are well informed would indicate that none of the colleges and universities feel that you should so lacks certain occupations and give them a blanket deferment privilege I think you could have a real argument as to the greatest need for is it for a physicist. Or is it for someone who is majoring in the humanities. Ten years from now. What's going to be the most important thing for our country. Then maybe it's not who can build a bigger and better H-bomb but maybe it's someone who can wisely find some other answer than the H-bomb to our world problems. Let's try and get into specifics and we can for a moment talk about the specific effect the new ruling will have on graduate schools and we've heard
terms like disaster the sort of thing but specifically what's going to happen. You mentioned before 40 to 50 or 60 percent being taken. Yes well let me give you an example that I can recall from the testimony of I think it's a University of Indiana and a graduate school. They were anticipating an enrollment in The Graduate School of the night. Eighty six hundred. They have cut this figure down now 240 900. As a result of the change in the draft policy it. In the schools where the enrollment is largely the male population and the reduction would be even much sharper than that in certain law schools. It enrollment may be reduced 80 percent. Now this is one result of it and the scientific manpower Commission has presented a very persuasive testimony that we
just simply are not considering the needs of this country 10 and 15 years from now. Statistics have been given as to the number of scientists and engineers and others that the Russians are training. And if we fall way down in this area where will we be 10 years from now in our competitive position in the world. This is one specific result of the current policy. A second specific result is what it will do in terms of the teaching personnel lots of the graduate students act as teachers for undergraduate students. If there is no deferment for these graduate students any longer then what will it do to the faculty. Another specific result is in terms of the supply of future teachers. Where are the community colleges. Where are our other institutions going to recruit their teachers. If we ended the
deferment for all of the graduate students. So there are at well another specific and this is what you're asking for is in terms of the chaos which will result because students will not know whether they're going to be deferred or whether they could continue or whether they are going to be drafted. The Office of Education announces the awards in terms of fellowships in March or April. Mr X has applied for a fellowship to continue a study at some graduate school. He is given the stipend he unrolls he's admitted he unrolls at the graduate school in September then in October of the 1st of November he receives his greetings from Uncle Sam. Under the current policy he can't even finish out that academic semester. Always before we at least have had that much stability that if a student has started the year he can finish it out. But now he can't even finish the academic semester. Then what happens to this
Fellowship Award is this has been promised to Mr. X. He has accepted it. Those funds are going to be frozen and they aren't going to be available to somebody else. So there are lots of specific results that are going to be very very bad unless there's a change. If you could change the draft laws tomorrow what would you propose. Well I would propose one thing immediately that a directive go out to every local draft board that anybody who has enrolled in school be allowed to at least finish that academic semester. Then the other thing that could be done by administrative act is to have the prime age group say the 19 year olds and all of the graduate college graduates in the graduate students would automatically be placed in the 1000 year old class they'd be called constructive 19 year olds and then have some kind of a random sampling would in that 19 year old the law says the
oldest have to be taken first. This is the reason we're in trouble because obviously college graduates and graduate students are the oldest in the draft pool so that if they are constructive 19 year olds and this can be done by administrative act then the oldest in this total pool would be taken first I think that this would bring about greater fairness and it wouldn't have such disastrous effects. The colleges and universities this is green This may sound like a silly question but it's often raised. You think women should be drafted. I am not necessarily for combat but yes I do think in terms of the kinds of war that we have in these days that consideration ought to be given to this matter I think that there are many of the positions that could be filled by women a lot of them of course are desk the majority of the people who are in the military service are never engaged in combat duty anyhow.
I think I'd also bring about a detailed study of universal service so that there would be greater fairness and equity require every young man and every young woman to serve at least one year. And there are so many in the service or no I would not say universal military service I said universal service so that there would be one year when students would give to their country. We desperately need more people in our hospitals both the general hospitals and the mental hospitals. In terms of nurses aids in terms of civil defense is another one and of course the military service in terms of the Peace Corps in terms of help in the ghettos. There are so many areas and I just don't know of any study that has been done recently on the feasibility and the advisability of this kind of a service.
We're talking about the draft Representative Green and I wonder if you'd give us your comments as a member of Congress on your feelings about the war itself. Well I suppose that my feelings. Are those of the vast majority of the American people that. The hope and the prayer that somehow we could start down the road to peace and end this tragedy. It's so much easier to criticize the things that have been done and so much more difficult to. See the road ahead. I have not been one of those who has favored the escalation. It seems to me that every time that there is a crisis we meet that crisis by saying Oh well if we just had 50000 or 100000 more troops why we this time we'd be able to win and we don't win. And then another crisis occurs and the same message comes back from the generals. Well if we
just had another 50000 or 100000 more troops we certainly could win this time. And we don't win. And this constant escalation more and more and more troops over there. One of my friends has referred to it as the Las Vegas syndrome. You know we don't win this time so we'll put more money on and next time we'll win and of course the I think there's general agreement that the corruption in South Vietnam is so great and goes down so deep that that government does not have the confidence of the majority of the people. I would like to see a great deal more effort made in negotiations and less in the military victory and with the events of the last month it seems to me that the pacification program has become a mockery. We really do not have any pacification program. We don't even have security for the the villages the hamlets so thought ought to be given
to another course of action then just continuing down the same path. Let's move on and talk about education in America and one aspect of education that we've seen some evidence of this year has been teacher strikes. We've seen teacher strikes in New York in Florida and the first nonunion strike in the United States occurred in Montgomery County which is the richest county in the United States. What's your opinion of teacher strikes. But I think the teacher strikes have been born out of. A frustrating and almost I don't know whether you'd call the hopelessness on the part of the teachers but it certainly in some areas the strikes have not been just for higher wages they've been for better working conditions the ones the one in New York there was the certainly the feeling that there ought to be physical security or safety for the teacher if she goes to and from her job and if she is in the
classroom. So beyond the salaries and the working conditions. Well I think considering those two factors the American people are going to have to look at the situation and I think do something about it. And if the American people are unwilling to pay teachers more and to provide better classrooms I think we're going to have more and more militancy on the part of teachers and I think we're going to see more and more strikes. The average teacher salary in the United States is less than sixty eight hundred dollars. The average plumber I believe gets ten thousand three hundred dollars. We continue to hire plumbers and we may you know say will plumbing is pretty high. But we pay for it. Well taxes are high too but you know we're going to have to pay teachers to do the job that needs to be done.
Do you think teachers have the right to strike for us. Are they public servants without this right. Well of course in many states it is a violation of the law to strike. Again I I think that the vast majority of teachers would prefer not to settle these arguments are these differences in the strike and I think they've tried everything else and they have not been able to succeed. So when you say do they have the right to strike. In some states they do not have the legal right to strike. And there certainly is. It can be argued whether or not this is a moral position to take. A little more than 10 years ago the Russians launched Sputnik 1 and at that time you'll remember I'm sure it scared the pants off American educators. So what has the government done in the last 10 years to improve American education.
Indeed I do remember the Sputnik and I think that Sputnik of the Russian Sputnik accomplished for American education what many Americans were never able to accomplish part of that it jarred us and looking at our competitive situation in the world and the number of people who were being trained in Russia compared to the number that we were training. And as a result of it the first legislation was passed in 1958 it was the National Defense Education Act. It was the first major breakthrough in terms of federal aid to schools. Following that we had the higher education facilities act in 1963 the first major piece of legislation to help the colleges and universities across the country. Then we had the vocational ed act. Federal funds for vocational education and expanded education book ational ed program. Then we had the Higher Education Act of 1965. We had the Elementary and Secondary
Education Act of 1965. So without any hesitancy without any fear of contradiction I would say that in the last seven years we have accomplished more for education in this country in terms of federal concern and the federal responsibility and federal funds than we have seen in the last in the preceding hundred fifty years. And I I I think that this administration is one that is really dedicated to improving the quality and the IE quality of educational opportunity. So I have nothing but just great praise for the leadership that has been taken now and this year we do find budget cuts in the school programs. This is because of the Vietnam situation in fact there's hardly a single piece of legislation before the Congress now this that is not involved in this whole Vietnam program because of the tight budget situation. But on
the whole a tremendous amount of good has been accomplished tremendous progress in the field of education and saying this I also suggest that we have a long long ways to go. That if I had my way I'd put five or six billion dollars additional of federal funds in education each year for the next five or six years in one of your speeches you quote James Conant saying young people out of school and out of work are social dynamite waiting to explode. Then you say it is the duty of our educational system to diffuse that dynamite. So how is this diffusing to be done and by whom. Well one of the specific things that I talked about my believe in that same speech was the. Great need for an expanded vocational ed program. We passed this one as I said a moment ago in 1965 I think was in 1964. But the facts are that we still do not have technical training or vocational
education programs in the majority of high schools today I think it's possible for only about 20 percent of the high school students to take book ational education if they wanted to. So this is one of the ways not to have our high schools geared only for the college bound. I think too much prestige has been placed upon the college diploma. Is this what you mean when you talk about the mystique of the college education. Yes the mystique and the high school principals have too long measure the success of their high school by the percentage of seniors who have gone on to college. Guidance and counseling has been directed primarily to the college bound. So if we're going to defuse the dynamite the first thing we're going to have to do is to retain these students in school and not have them drop out. And this is. CONAN It was referred to as referring to these million dropouts that we have each year that are standing on the street corners out of school and out of
work. There are the social dynamite. And we've seen it exploded in Newark and Cambridge in Detroit in Watts and a dozen other places. And if we can. Somehow appeal to these youngsters and give them the kind of education that they want. The kind to which they can relate. Then it will help a great deal. There is a statement that President Johnson made to the Congress about two years ago I think of the 1965 three years ago in the state of the Union message that has a great deal of meaning to everybody today and especially when we think of these dropouts and the explosions in Cambridge in Detroit and elsewhere. President Johnson said this. Nothing matters more to the future of our country not our military preparedness for armed might is worthless if we lack the brainpower to build a world of peace and not our productive economy for we cannot sustain growth without train
manpower and not our democratic system of government. For freedom is fragile if citizens are ignorant. Now James to me. CONAN So social dynamite has special meaning I think in this context that freedom is fragile if citizens are ignored. Some of the suggestions you've made you complain that schools are only used part of the day and three quarters of the year and one of the suggestions. I know you've made is that the school libraries be kept open at night. I wonder isn't this in many cities isn't this going to be asking for trouble under present conditions. I think we're asking for trouble unless we do provide the places for our young people. Indeed I have recommended that our schools become community centers here in the District of Columbia. I'd have a lot more swimming pools I'd have them open from year round 12 months in the year from morning until late at night I'd have not only the libraries but I'd have the study halls or resource centers whatever they call them open kids that come from
places where there are 10 to the room. How can we expect them to do the studying how could we expect them to keep up with other youngsters that have their own rooms and have a library resources in their own homes. So if we have recreation areas open if we'd have the swimming pools open in the evenings if we do have libraries. If we have the vocational ed shops for fathers and mothers if they want to come in the evening under adult supervision repair bill paint furniture. I'd have the sewing machines that the girls use during the daytime I'd have them available to mothers in the evening with adult supervision. I do have the home ec rooms open in the evening so that parents could mothers could come there take cooking lessons nutrition learn about nutrition for their youngsters. I do all of these things this would be a really a good utilization of our schools that in my judgment are underutilized today. But this should be a wonderful idea for the District of Columbia as as as we both residents here we know what what the city is some of the problems the city faces but also Congresses always
seem to be pretty tight fisted when it comes to the District of Columbia so how would you pry the money loose via the Vietnamese war notwithstanding. Well I understand that we are going to start on this program here in the District of Columbia I worked on this a great deal last year with people in getting the cost estimates and making the plans for it. And I think that the the money will be forthcoming again. We better look ahead and prevent disasters instead of having the disasters occur and then pay ten times as much. In a way that is absolutely useless. If people could have spent 500 million dollars to prevent the riots in Detroit how much better it would have been than to have the riot and the destruction of all of the heartaches and all of the things that accompany it.
We have about 30 seconds and one last question. You've called for the creation of a Cabinet level Department of Education and manpower development. Could you briefly explain your idea behind this. In the 30 seconds that the education programs are scattered among the several different agencies and departments and government I think that there needs to be one voice for education at the Cabinet level. After all education is the number one business of the country there are 57 million people in rolled in full time or part time classes. We have two and a half million teachers. If we have a secretary for transportation and labor and all of the other things surely education is important enough in this country to have a cabinet level in charge of education and manpower. Thank you Mrs. Greene. You've been listening to a conversation with Congresswoman Edith Green Democratic representative from Oregon. Our guest on this edition of and he are a Washington for a weekly program concerned with significant issues in the news. I'm national educational radio public affairs director Vic Sussman
inviting you to be with us again next week. This program was produced through the facilities of W am you FM American University Radio in Washington D.C. and the program came to you from the office of Representative Green in the Rayburn Building Washington D.C.. This is the national educational radio network. I.
Please note: This content is only available at GBH and the Library of Congress, either due to copyright restrictions or because this content has not yet been reviewed for copyright or privacy issues. For information about on location research, click here.
NER Washington forum
Impact of the draft on colleges
Producing Organization
WAMU-FM (Radio station : Washington, D.C.)
National Association of Educational Broadcasters, WAMU-FM (Radio station : Washington, D.C.)
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
If you have more information about this item than what is given here, or if you have concerns about this record, we want to know! Contact us, indicating the AAPB ID (cpb-aacip/500-pv6b717h).
Episode Description
Impact of the draft on colleges. The guest for this program is United States Representative Edith Green, D-Oregon.
Series Description
Discussion series featuring a prominent figure affecting federal government policy.
Public Affairs
Media type
Host: Sussman, Vic S.
Producing Organization: WAMU-FM (Radio station : Washington, D.C.)
Producing Organization: National Association of Educational Broadcasters, WAMU-FM (Radio station : Washington, D.C.)
Speaker: Green, Edith, 1910-1987
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 67-24-50 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:26
If you have a copy of this asset and would like us to add it to our catalog, please contact us.
Chicago: “NER Washington forum; Impact of the draft on colleges,” 1968-03-04, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed May 28, 2024,
MLA: “NER Washington forum; Impact of the draft on colleges.” 1968-03-04. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. May 28, 2024. <>.
APA: NER Washington forum; Impact of the draft on colleges. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from