RELIABLE REAL ESTATE SERVICE Arthur Hajecate METROPOLITAN REALTY CO. 4340 Telephone Road HOUSTON, TEXAS Teacher Bill Stirs Keen Swordplay House Approves Old Age Proposal AUSTIN Rep. Henry Grover, ex-history teacher of Houston, and L. P. Sturgeon, director of public relations for the powerful Texas State Teachers Association, clashed face to face this week in debate over Grover’s bill to cut in half the number of courses required for teacher certification. Said Sturgeon: “I have heard it stated that teachers are for this bill . . . I think I can say with confidence 95 percent are against it. During the last three weeks our 13 districts have held conventions and all have gone on record against the bill. The 800 members of our house of delegates went on record against the bill.” Responded Grover: “One member of the state board of education came to me and said they had passed a resolution against the bill and that he would like to see a copy of the bill they were against. He said the board had spent only 15 minutes discussing it, and that they hadn’t read it. “Mr. Sturgeon used the figure 800. I sent out 800 questionnaire cards to every part of the state except Houston and El Paso, because I’m from Houston and Miss Maude Isaacks, who introduced a bill last session similar to this one, is from El Paso, and I didn’t want anyone to feel there was pressure. I got back nearly 300 cards. Of these, 195all but 16 of whom belong to TSTA favored my bill. Eighty-six were against it. “When the classroom teacher gets to speak on these things without pressure from administrators or pressure from conventipns, they speak their true feelings.” Thanks, TSTA Rep. Jack Woods, Waco, put in: “Two years ago on the Maude Isaacks’ bill, I testified that I knew of 200 teachers in my district who favored it. Well, when I went home, the teachers descended on me. They had been told a lot of things about that bill. I sat down with 40 of them and all but one * * Compromise Taken On Safety Measure AUSTIN Rep. Charles Hughes steered a watered-down industrial safety law through the House Thursday on a voice vote. It now goes to the Senate. would have given an occupational board power to make investigations and fix safety rules. “It’s a drastic compromise,” the veteran liberal from Sherman said. “We cut out the right of entry and the rule-making power and made it strictly an educational measure.” The safety agency under the House bill would only advise and educate. “We took the compromise because we’ve got to stop killing these one thousand people a year,” Hughes said. “This is a small step forward. “The original bill could have passed the House probably,” as it did in the last session, “but it got the deep-freeze in the Senate then and I knew it would this time.” came around to approving it. You say that 95 percent oppose this bill. That means five percent of Texas’ teachers don’t oppose it. I want to congratulate you on letting 4,000 teachers disagree with the TSTA.” Sturgeon: “I have heard it said that the bill would attract high caliber people into the profession who otherwise would not teach. I was talking to a master teacher the other day and she said that if the state thought so little of the teaching profession as to pass this bill, she might leave the state. “There you are, gentlemen. No teacher will ever get rich teaching. Prestige is part of their compensation. This bill says that teaching is not a profession. Under this bill, a person could get lifetime certification by taking six hours of education courses by correspondence, or on Saturdays for four months, or in a junior college.” \(Under Grover’s bill, the 12 hours for a secondary credential includes six hours of practice Grover: “The practical application of this bill would require 18 hours of education courses for a secondary credential and 30 hours for an elementary credential, because our bill does not make psychology the same as an education course.” \(A course in psychology is also required for the Rep. Maco Stewart, Galveston: “On this prestige thing, it occurs building this up in their minds. When you sit down and talk with them and get away from the panicky presentation that we are trying to destroy their prestige, they don’t feel that way.” There were three hearings on the bitterly contested bill. It is now in sub-committee. Grover has a few more educational ideas on tap. He also has a bill to abolish the Harris County School Board, the one-cent tax used to support the county school office, and finally to abolish the county school superintendency itself. Another Houston representative, Charles Whitfield, lost his fight to keep alive House Bill 126, which would have given teachers a public hearing based on written charges if they were threatened with dismissal. Typical opposition came from Jack Woods of Waco and Scott Bailey of Cisco, both of whom contended the bill would result in airing matters that they felt should be covered up for the sake of the community. After being knocked down in committee by a vote of 9-8, Whitfield asked the House to let him bring the bill to the floor on a minority committee report, but the House refused the plea 100-41, and Whitfield acknowledged that the bill is dead. The Senate this week approved the measure sponsored by Sen. Hubert Hudson, Brownsville, that allows the State Board of Education to invest the first $400 million of the permanent school funds in corporate bonds, and to invest funds above that amount in corporate stocks as well as corporate and government bonds. At present, the school board is required to invest the first $400 million in government bonds alone. Interest from the permanent school fund, which now totals about $430 million, is distributed to the school districts on a per capita basis. THE TEXAS OBSERVER Page 5 April 1, 1961 Oath Measure Gets to Floor In Close Vote stayed in subcommittee.” Voting on the favorable report were chairman Bill Hollowell of Grand Saline, W. T. Dungan of McKinney, Murray Watson of Mart, Ben Lewis of Dallas, Bill Pieratt of Giddings, C. W. Pearcy of Temple, and Jim Markgraf of Scurry. Voting no were Criss Cole of Houston, Charles Sandahl of Austin, Granger Mcllhany of Wheeler, DeWitt Hale of Corpus Christi, and George Richardson of Fort Worth. “The subcommittee report was pending,” Mcllhany said. “If a person wants to vote for or against a particular bill, it’s his responsibility to be at the hearing. The same boys criticizing it might use the same methods on another bill. “I’m against teaching atheism,” Mcllhany said, “but I don’t think this bill accomplishes the , same purpose.” Bill Hollowell, chairman of the committee, said he does not believe the tactics used to report out the bill were irregular. “We’ve accepted subcommittee reports when they’ve been offered this session,” he said, adding that two other subcomfinttee reports were brought out with the supreme being bill, “It’s incumbent on all of us to be at committee hearings as much as possible,” he said. “There were several for the bill who weren’t there, too. Mr. Dungan, I expect, chose the most opportune time and you can’t blame him for that.” What does he think of the bill? “I’m generally for the principle,” Hollowell said, although amendments may make it a better piece of legislation. “I personally don’t feel we should have atheists propounding their philosophy in the public schools of this stateand being paid by the state to do so.” Ben Lewis, a member of the subcommittee along with Dungan and Watson, argued that the bill “was not brought out in any irregular manner. A quorum was present,” he said, “and they voted it out. “Of the members who are complaining,” he said, “I think you’ll find they weren’t there! We couldn’t make ’em attend.” Is it a good bill? “It follows the constitution directly,” Lewis said. “There’s probably part of it that should be worked on. But we left it the way it was because if we changed a lot of it, that might make it unconstitutional.” W. T. Dungan, a sponsor of the bill and one of the three representatives who testified in its favor at the hearings \(Obs., March the Monday session. “Evidently there weren’t enough of ’em there,” he said. What are the chances of passage in the House? “I think that anybody who votes against it on the floor,” Dungan said, “would be in trouble. It has an excellent chance of passing.” W.M. Subscribe to The Texas Observer Name Address City State Send $5 to The Texas Observer, 504 W. 24, Austin, Texas. AUSTIN A resolution which would place a constitutional amendment on the 1962 election ballot giving old people over 65 a $1,500 exemption on local homestead taxation barely failed to get the 100 necessary votes in the House this week. But it was engrossed, 90-51, and will come back to the floor again later. “We allow depletion allowances on oil,” Rep. Roy Harrington, Port Arthur liberal and main sponsor, argued in successfully parrying two amendments. “We don’t realize people depreciate, too. “To me this is such needed legislation it speaks for itself,” Harrington said. “We’re speaking about a group of people who’ve worked all their lives., paid their taxes, raised their children. They now have a tax burden” on reduced incomes after they reach “Many other states go farther than this,” he said. “This measure has been amended and compromised down so that it’s just a token of what these people deserve.” An amendment by Kika de La Garza, conservative from Mission would have excluded old peoplc with incomes over $1500 a yea:, each, or $3,000 for a man and wife together, from the tax exemption If a person over 18 and in gooe health lived on the premises, the homeowner would also be disqualified. De La Garza argued that the question was whether “to limit the exemption to those who need it or give it to everyone.” Paul Floyd, Houston, defending “the idea of equality under the law, said de La Garza’s amendment “would discriminate against a person who might have more than $1,500 a year.” Bob Eckhardt, Houston, attacking the amendment from another direction, contended the provision for showing need would require an old person to “show a kind of pauper status. You might get those willing to beg, but not those who are proud.” De La Garza’s amendment was tabled , by a close 73-70 vote. An amendment by Ben Jarvis, Tyler conservative, which would base the $1,500 exemption on market value rather than the value of tax assessment, was tabled, 114-27. Tom James, Dallas conservative and principal spokesman for the opposition, said there was a “growing concern” for old people in our state. Since he had come to the legislature, he said, he had frequently heard “glowing terms of admiration for the old folks.” He argued that the proposed amendment should be evaluated on its own merits, however. James said the measure would jeopardize funding bonds outstanding and future bond issues in localities. “Not only do we have a deep-rooted state financial problem,” he said, “but counties and cities are also faced with needs for additional taxation.” He said he remembered a conversation with an elderly citizen, who told him, ” ‘Haven’t we been downgraded long enough? We can pay our taxes. We don’t ask for discrimination there. “Old people, James argued, “don’t wish to be second class citizens.” What they want “is an opportunity to continue to produce in this country of ours. I don’t think this is what the old folks want.” In rebuttal, Harrington countered that taxes on most old-age pensioners “amounts almost to one-third of their annual income. “In Texas we’ve done very little for our old people,” he said. “We’re running far behind the average state in the nation. We haven’t assumed our responsibility. “Rep. James said the old people didn’t want a measure like this. I challenge Rep. James and the members of this House just to submit this to the people for a vote.” It was a green board, 90-51. The 51 who voted against the measure: Adams of Lubbock, Adams of Mt. Pleasant, Allen of Longview, Atwell of Dallas, Banfield of Rosenberg, Barnes of DeLeon, Bell of San Antonio, Blaine of El Paso, ,Boysen of Loakum, Buchanan of Dumas, Butler of Kenedy, Chapman of Sulphur Springs, Cole of Greenville,’ Cook of Odessa, Cotten of Weatherford,. Crain of Ringgold, Crews of Conroe, Curington of Corsicana, Fairchild of Center, Gibbens of Brackenridge, Glusing of Kingsville, Harding of San Angelo, Hughes of Dallas, Isaacks of El Paso, James of Dallas, Jamison of Denton, Jarvis of Tyler, Johnson of Dallas, Johnson of Temple, Jones of Dallas, Latimer of Abilene, Lewis of Dallas, Martin of Normangee, Moore of Ballinger, Mutscher of Brenham, Nugent of Kerrville, Osborn of Muleshoe, Peeler of Corpus Christi, Price of Frankston, Ratcliff of Dallas, Read of Big Spring, Richards of Huntsville, Roberts of Lamesa, Schram of Taylor, Slider of Naples, Snelson of Midland, Spilman of McAllen, Thurmond of Del Rio, Tunnell of Tyler, Walker of Cleveland, Wilson of Amarillo. PATRONIZE YOUR ADVERTISERS
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