Speeches delivered by Pat M. Neff, Governor of Texas, discussing certain phases of contemplated legislation Page: 11 of 61
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steadily growing. Educational thinkers and philosophic statesmen have
long since agreed that education is not only a function of the government,
but its most important constitutional obligation. No government
is safe whose people are uneducated. Education is an investment
that builds up the State; ignorance is a tax that destroys it.
Ignorance is the prolific mother of crime. Criminals come mostly
from the ranks of the uneducated. In a democracy all things wait
Every child in Texas, from the poorest to the richest, is entitled to
a fair educational opportunity. Not only is the child entitled to it,
but the State must see that the child has it. The cost of this education
is a proper and legitimate charge against the public treasury.
It will cost the State more to let the child alone than it will cost to
educate it. This responsibility cannot be left solely to local communities.
Some localities are poor in purse and some are poor in educational
environments; to each of these, as well as to all others; the
strong and far-reaching arm of the State should lend a helping hand.
With the conviction that the State is primarily responsible for the
education of the youth of the land, I come on this occasion to this
great gathering of teachers, the vanguard in the battles of peace, to
think out loud with you in an earnest effort to ascertain whether or
not Texas is really in the market to purchase for this State an adequate
AN ADEQUATE SCHOOL SYSTEM.
As to what is an adequate school system, many suggestions can be
easily made and theories advanced. Certainly, at this time Texas
has no such system. We are graded in school efficiency, thirty-fourth
from the top among the States of the Union. This being true, whatever
may be our merit, it is plain that we have many weak points.
The first thing to do, it seems to me, would be to determine what are
our elements of strength and what are our elements of weakness. To
ascertain this it will be necessary to have a thorough, scientific, impartial
survey made of our entire educational life. In advance of this
information a discussion of defects must necessarily be of a general
nature. Some of our defects, however, are fundamental. That our
system of financial support should be altered and strengthened, is
clear. That we should have, to represent the State as a big unit in
the administration of our educational system, a strong State Board
of Education, comprised of men and women representing our best
educational thought and highest business ability, there can be no
question. With the information furnished to this board by the survey
committee, the entire educational life of Texas should be studied to
the one high end that the administration of education in our State
may be simplified, unified, harmonized, and invigorated from top to
bottom. This State Board of Education ought to be able to take up
the slack, stop the leaks, and eliminate the waste and duplication in
our entire educational system. They should be able to put on the
market in this State an adequate educational system. By an adequate
school system is neant a high-grade school teacher in a comfortable,
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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/m1/11/: accessed April 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .