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Grace Carlson

Education vs. Armaments

(22 March 1948)

From The Militant, Vol. XII No. 12, 22 March 1948, p. 4.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Readin’, ’Ritin’ and ’Rithmetic are the much-talked-about and much-sung-about three R’s. To hear American politicians talk – especially in election years – one would be led to believe that every American child had an equal opportunity to master not only the three R’s but also any other subject in which he was interested. The facts, of course, are quite the opposite.

In their recent study, Unfinished Business in American Education, Professors John Norton and Eugene Lawler point out that:

  1. Three million adults living in the United States have never attended any kind of school.
  2. Ten million adult Americans have had so little real schooling that they are actually illiterate.
  3. Half of the brightest and most talented youth in the country leave school prematurely – before they have had the kind and amount of schooling which would train them to make full use of their talents.
  4. Two million children, aged 6 to 15, were not in any kind of school in 1940 and this number was substantially increased during and after the war.
  5. Underpaid, overworked teachers are unable to provide decent schooling to other millions of American children because they are handicapped by inadequate instructional supplies, ancient textbooks and crowded classrooms.

These tragic conditions exist because the capitalist politicians are not willing to spend enough money for the education of the country’s children. Only three billion dollars a year is appropriated by all public agencies – state, federal and city – for the operation of the schools in 1948. But 23 billion dollars will be spent for militarism in the United States this year (over 62% of the total budget).

And the proposal is now being made that another 3 to 5 billion be added to the military budget each year in order to finance Universal Military Training! In the January issue of Economic Outlook, the CIO Educational Department tells working class parents just what this 3 billion could buy for the school children of the United States. It would be possible to:

  1. Construct a 10-room modern school building in every county in the United States each year.
  2. Construct a $50,000 library in every county in the United States each year.
  3. Employ 10 doctors and 10 nurses full-time for schools in each county.
  4. Purchase 10 new school buses in each county in the United States every year.
  5. Erect a $750,000 trade and technical school in each congressional district each year.
  6. Provide free education for the 3 million children now under 18 who are not now attending school.
  7. Bring all schools of the country up to a reasonable standard of efficiency.

And there would still be millions left over!

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