A.J.C. Backs Federal Aid for Schools, but Opposes Grants to Religious Institutions

The American Jewish Congress favers increased federal aid to schools, as a means of combatting intolerance by spreading education, but is opposed to the use of public funds for religious schools, the House Sub-Committee on Education was told today.

Testifying in favor of the McCowen Bill, which would permit the use of federal funds to guarantee an annual expenditure of at least $40 per public school child, Alexander Ginsberg, Congress spokesman pointed out that “anti-Semitism, as well as all other forms of racial prejudice, is the offspring of ignorance and cannot exist where ignorance does not exist. We believe that the harmonious living together of persons of different races and religions is more likely to be secured if opportunity for education is made truly available to all people. Denial of a basic education because of the accident of poverty is as inconsistent with true democracy as denial because of the accident of race,” he added.

Ginsberg said the American Jewish Congress favored the expenditures of a minimum of $100 a year for each school child instead of the $40 floor set by the McCowen Bill. He said the organization “warmly endorses” provisions in the bill requiring “just and equitable apportionment” of funds in states where separate schools are maintained for “minority races.”

He added that the Congress would like to see the bill amended to eliminate a provision permitting the use of federal funds by non-public schools. “Expenditure of public funds for religious education is inconsistent with the American principle of separation of church and state,” he pointed out.

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