Speeches delivered by Pat M. Neff, Governor of Texas, discussing certain phases of contemplated legislation Page: 10 of 61
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PERISH FOR LACK OF KNOWLEDGE."
AN ADDRESS DELIVERED BY PAT M. NEFF, GOVERNOR OF TEXAs, BEFORE
THE ANNUAL MEETING OF THE STATE TEACHERS' ASSOTION
IN HOUSTON, TEXAS, PRESENTING AN EDUCATIONAL
PROGRAM FOR TEXAS.
Teachers and Friends of Education:
In the preparation of this address I selected both a text and a subject.
The text is found in the Book of Books, and is couched in
these few words: "People perish for lack of knowledge." My subject
is found in my own earnest desire to know the truth, and is expressed
in this query: "Is Texas really in the market for an adequate
educational system?" It is as true now as in Biblical days that
people perish for lack of knowledge. The Bible at no time or place
commends ignorance. It says knowledge is "better than rubies,"
"better than gold," "better than choice silver," and finally declares
that "those who have knowledge inherit substance, and have their treasuries
filled." Ignorance is dangerous, damaging and deadening. There
can be no tomorrow of greatness to any people unless the builders of
today provide for the education of the youth of the land. The world
is replete with statistics by which the truth of that statement can be
proven with mathematical accuracy. I shall not reflect on this intelligent
audience by presenting these statistics.
EARLY EDUCATIONAL IDEALS.
As a native son of Texas, I am happy in the thought that our forefathers
wrote into the Declaration of their Independence that they
would not live under a government that did not make ample provision
for the education of its boys and girls. They declared that, "the cultivated
mind was the guardian genius of democracy, and that knowledge
was the only security that freeman desired." Sam Houston said,
"The diffusion of knowledge among the people is essential for the
preservation of a free government." "The wealth of this country shall
educate the children of this country," proclaimed even the fathers
of the Texas Republic. In the dream of our early civilization, farvisioned
patriots not only made generous provision for the support of
the public schools, but projected the foundation for a "university of
the first class."
EDUCATION A FUNCTION OF STATE GOVERNMENT.
It is clearly seen that the early pioneer of our statehood recognized
public education as a vital function of the State government. With
the development of modern democracy, consciousness of the obligation
on the part of the State to maintain and develop. education, has been
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Neff, Pat M. Speeches delivered by Pat M. Neff, Governor of Texas, discussing certain phases of contemplated legislation, book, 1923; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth5835/m1/10/: accessed February 17, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .