National Science Foundation research grants program

Research grants are awarded to highly experienced investigators, principally in public and private institutions of higher education, whose programs of research show promise of extending the frontiers of knowledge. The total obligations for this program in 1957–58 were $16,262,692. The Foundation estimates that 73 percent of grants is for salaries and that 32.4 percent of this sum is for salaries of research assistants which include graduate assistants enrolled in the grantee institution working toward a master's degree or a doctorate.27 Other research programs in educational institutions

The following programs appear to operate in the same manner as the National Science Foundation Research Grants Program described above:

Research Assistantships under research and development contracts: 10,000 to 15,000 persons, a substantial number of whom are graduate students. No itemized figure available. Department of Defense 28

Contract Research, Fellowships and Other Training: Atomic Energy Commission. $26,620,000 (1956–57).20

Aeronautical Research: National Advisory Committee foi

Aeronautics. $580,000 (1956–57).30 Medical education for national defense

The objective of this program initiated in 1952 is to improve medical school curricula in areas of importance to military medicine and surgery, and medical aspects of civil defense. The program costs $11,000 per school plus certain costs for the Office of the National Coordinator. Expansion is planned at the rate of ten new schools per year until all medical schools desiring participation are included. Fully implemented, the program would cost $750,000 per year. $405,000 was budgeted for 1958-59 for 55 medical schools 31 This program is administered by the Department of Defense.

27 Op cit. supra note 1, at 195. * Op. cit. supra note 1, at 109. * Op. cit, aupra note 1, at 19 and 175. * Op. cit. supro note 1, at 19 and 190. a Op. cit. supra note 6, at 109.



In 1954, the Supreme Court of the United States held that compulsory racial segregation in public schools is a denial of the equal protection of the laws under the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and of the due process of law required by the Fifth Amendment. In so 'holding, the Court did not require racial integration in the schools. What the Court did hold is that publicly supported schools must be opened to all races on a nonsegregated basis.

The requirements of this declaration of constitutional principle have been stated clearly by the late Judge John J. Parker of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in the case of Briggs v. Eliott:

What it (the Supreme Court) has decided, and all that it has decided, is that a State may not deny to any person on account of race the right to attend any school that it maintains. This, under the decision of the Supreme Court, the State may not do directly or indirectly; but if the schools which it maintains are open to children of all races, no violation of the Constitution is involved even though the children of different races voluntarily attend different schools, as they attend different churches (132 F. Supp. 776 (1955).).

The Commission based its study of legal developments constituting a denial of the equal protection of the laws in the field of public education upon two fundamental premises :

(1) The American system of public education must be preserved without impairment because an educated citizenry is the mainstay of the Republic and full educational opportunity for each and every citizen is America's major defense against the world threat to freedom.

(2) The constitutional right to be free from compulsory segregation in public education can be and must be realized, for this is a government of law, and the Constitution as interpreted by the Supreme Court is the supreme law of the land.

The problem, therefore, is how to comply with the Supreme Court decision while preserving and even improving public education. The ultimate choice of each State is between finding reasonable ways of ending compulsory segregation in its schools or abandoning its system of free public education.



The Commission's studies, and particularly its conference with school officials from districts in border States and a few in the South

that have in some measure desegregated since 1954, demonstrate that when local school officials are permitted to act responsibly in adopting plans that fit local conditions the difficulties of desegregation can be minimized. A variety of plans have proved to be successful, ranging from the merger of the former Negro and white school systems into one integrated system (particularly in communities where the Negro population was small and the cost of maintaining separate systems considerable) to the gradual Nashville plan that began in the first grade and is proceeding at the rate of one grade a year, with voluntary transfer permitted to any child assigned to a school where his race is in the minority.

In Shuttlesworth v. Birmingham Board of Education, 358 U.S. 101 (1958), the U.S. Supreme Court upheld as valid on its face the Alabama pupil placement law on the assumption that the law would be administered in a constitutional manner. Eight Southern States have adopted pupil-placement laws as a means of meeting the test of nondiscrimination. This is another possible method by which compliance may be achieved.

In many instances desegregation has been used by the local community as the occasion to raise its educational standards. In many instances remedial programs have been adopted for the handicapped, and advanced programs established for gifted students. Such programs were described to the Commission at its Nashville conference by the superintendents from Wilmington, Del., Washington, D.C., and San Angelo, Tex. St. Louis, Mo., has adopted a similar program. It is important that any transition should not result in the lowering of educational standards for either the white or Negro student. If possible, it should result in an improvement of educational standards for both; a number of school officials report that this has already happened in their communities.

In the transition to a nondiscriminatory school system, a carefully developed State or local plan is better than a plan imposed by a court for the immediate admission of certain litigants, or a plan imposed by any outside agency. The Supreme Court and the Federal lower courts have made it clear that they will consider sympathetically any reasonable plan proposed in good faith. This seems to be an area in which the principle of States rights can most effectively express itself through local option in meeting this problem. If State governments do not permit local school officials to develop such plans for good-faith compliance, the effectiveness of the school system in the State as a whole will be impaired. By permitting such local option a variety of methods of transition can be developed that take into account the varying circumstances in different areas of the State.

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1. The ease of adjustment of a school system to desegregation is influenced by many factors, including the relative size and location of the white and Negro population, the extent to which the Negro children are culturally handicapped, segregation practices in other areas of community life, the presence or absence of democratic participation in the planning of the program used or preparation of the community for its acceptance, and the character of the leadership in the community and State.

2. Many factors must be considered and weighed in determining what constitutes a prompt and reasonable start toward full compliance and the means by which and the rate at which desegregation should be accomplished.

3. Desegregation by court order has been notably more difficult than desegregation by voluntary action wherein the method and timing have been locally determined.

4. Many school districts in attempting to evolve a desegregation plan have had no established and qualified source to which to turn for information and advice. Furthermore, many of these districts have been confused and frustrated by apparent inconsistencies in decisions of lower Federal courts. Recommendations No.1(a) and 1(3)

Therefore, the Commission recommends :

1(a). That the President propose and the Congress enact legislation to authorize the Commission on Civil Rights, if extended, to serve as a clearinghouse to collect and make available to States and to local communities information concerning programs and procedures used by school districts to comply with the Supreme Court mandate, either voluntarily or by court order, including data as to the known effects of the programs on the quality of education and the cost thereof.

1(). That the Commission on Civil Rights be authorized to establish an advisory and conciliation service to assist local school officials in developing plans designed to meet constitutional requirements and local conditions, and to mediate and conciliate, upon request, disputes as to proposed plans and their implementation.

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The primary problem of equal protection of the laws in the field of public education is desegregation of public school systems in which separate schools for white and Negro children have been maintained by compulsion of State law. The Commission's study of this problem necessarily required public school enrollment figures, by race of

students and type of school attended, for all school districts in the 17 States and the District of Columbia where compulsory segregation had been the rule.

The Commission found that the U.S. Office of Education of the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, which formerly collected and published such information, ceased doing so with the school year 1953–54. It was necessary, therefore, to secure such data directly from State and local officials or from secondary sources. As a matter of policy, the keeping of records by race has been discontinued in the States of Kentucky, Missouri, Oklahoma, West Virginia, and in some parts of Maryland.

A study such as that of the Commission requires complete and authoritative factual data. But, because there is a possibility that school records of the race of students might be used in a discriminatory manner in recommendations to colleges and universities and to prospective employers, the Commission cannot request the maintenance of permanent school records by race. Findings

1. No agency of the U.S. Government, other than this Commission, has collected data either on public school enrollment by race since the school year 1953–54 or on the existence of segregation or nonsegregation by policy or practice in the public schools of the nation.

2. The public school study of the Commission has been rendered difficult by the lack of such information within the Federal Government and by the policy, adopted by some States and school districts that maintained racially segregated schools immediately prior to May 17, 1954, to discontinue recording the race of pupils. Recommendation No. 2

Therefore, the Commission recommends that the Office of Education of the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, in cooperation with the Bureau of the Census of the Department of Commerce, conduct an annual school census that will show the number and race of all students enrolled in all public educational institutions in the United States, and compile such data by States, by school districts, and by individual institutions of higher education within each State. Further, that initially this data be collected at the time of the taking of the next decennial census, and thereafter from official State sources insofar as possible.*


I have agreed to this recommendation with the understanding that it does not suggest or require that public educational institutions maintain school records by race and that the recommended school census can be undertaken without maintenance of such records.

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