Survey Associates.

Survey midmonthly : journal of social work (Volume 74) online

. (page 56 of 109)
Online LibrarySurvey AssociatesSurvey midmonthly : journal of social work (Volume 74) → online text (page 56 of 109)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


total wealth in real estate and personal property of less
than $500. The homes of the youth of the state average
1 1/5 rooms per member of the family for the state as a'
whole, less than one room per person in the cities. Fewer
than 50 percent of all homes have modern conveniences; ;



206



SURVEY MIDMONTHLYi



30 percent (nearly 150,000) have no conveniences at all.
Nearly 4000 families with young people were found to
live in log cabins, and about 5000 such families in trailers.

The CCC appeared as "the greatest provider of work for
unemployed youth in Minnesota," with NYA projects
reaching many young people and WPA aiding married
youths or those with dependents.

Of all these young people, the survey found, less than
2 percent have graduated from college; 97 percent have
no vocational training or job preparation of any kind.

Beauty Shop Wages

A MINIMUM weekly wage of $16.50 for women in
the beauty parlor industry, which now pays from
"nothing in cash" to more than $60 a week, is the recom-
mendation of the Beauty Shop Wage Board, reporting
under the New York minimum wage law for women and
minors. The board's report shows that beauty shops today
are one of the important women-employing industries in
the state, with 8000 shops, to be found in every city and
practically every town and village, employing nearly 16,000
workers and meeting an annual payroll of $14,472,000.
Though they vary greatly in size, the smaller shops pre-
dominate.

More than 5200 beauty shop workers were interviewed
in the course of the wage board's study. Their median wage
>ts $13.47. While in many shops wages, hours and working
conditions are excellent, almost one third of the workers
interviewed earn less than $10 a week, and only 15 percent,
$20 or more. In many cases tips augment the wages of
beauty shop workers, though opportunity for tips is least
in "cut rate" shops which cater to a low paid clientele and
pay substandard wages to their operators.

Two percent of the women interviewed worked fewer
than thirty hours a week, while 5 percent worked over
sixty hours. The average full time operator was found to
work forty-nine hours, though 24 percent worked fifty-
four hours or longer. The wage board recommended a
forty-five-hour week, with time and a half up to forty-
eight hours, and double rates beyond forty-eight.

At this writing, hearings on the wage board's recom-
mendation are being held in Buffalo, Syracuse and New
York City.

So What?

IT all began in Richmond, Va. when the Travelers Aid
j Society agreed to the fingerprinting by the police of
some 321 transient unattached men, the "intake" of two
weeks. As a matter of routine the records were cleared at
the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Washington, and
then the fireworks started.

Of the 321 men fingerprinted 229, it was found, were
known to the FBI for one or more of practically all the
sin>, hig and little, of human flesh. Some had served prison
sentences, some had been accused of serious offenses, some
of drunkenness and vagrancy. But there were the figures,
startling enough to enable J. Edgar Hoover, chief of the
FBI to point a moral. Said he:

No honest law-abiding person should object to being finger-
printed as a requisite to receiving relief. Society is furnishing
these individuals with assistance and it has the right to demand
knowledge of their past activities.

Before Mr. Hoover's pronouncement had cooled, the Na-



tional Committee on Care of Transient and Homeless
and the National Association for Travelers Aid and Trrn-
sient Service began to get protests. Disapproval was the
mildest of the sentiments expressed by social agencies and
social workers of a procedure which, they held, violated
social work ethics and practice. At a meeting of its board
of directors the NATATS came out flatly against the
whole business as "undesirable and unsound," emphasizing
that "travelers aid societies are not designed to act as crime
detection agencies," and concluding that "unless finger-
printing is made a universal requirement for all groups in
the United States it tends to isolate and discriminate against
the particular group upon which it is practiced."

It is dubious if a proposal so contrary to every American
tradition of decency and fairness will get anywhere. But
we wish that Mr. Hoover would tell us what he would
do with the "knowledge of their past activities" after he
got it.

For and Against Federal Funds

THE use of federal funds for adult education (specified
in the pending Harrison-Fletcher bill, see page 209)
was the issue raised in the annual report of Morse Cart-
wright, director of the American Association for Adult
Education, and the focus of heated debate at the annual
meeting of the association at Asbury Park, N.J. last month.
In his report, Mr. Cartwright emphasizes the tradition
of education in this country as "a local matter with which
each community is rightfully empowered to proceed in its
own way," and sees in a federal subsidy the danger of
"bureaucratic interference":

If non-interference with the local control of general child
education is important, is not a policy of hands off local control
of general adult education doubly so? Facing a growing and
almost a dominating interest in the social sciences, adult educa-
tion must deal with current issues involving governmental
policy. ... If demagogues should seize the reins of a Wash-
ington bureaucracy and should wish to direct the content of
educational discussion by pressure upon the purse strings . . .
would they not find a federally supported program of educa-
tion a perfect tool for fascism, communism, or any extremism,
or a perfect support for any sorely tried political party in
power seeking to perpetuate itself?

A resolution embodying this point of view was presented
to the annual meeting, but was withdrawn by the resolu-
tions committee in the face of opposition from the floor
led by Carl Milam, secretary of the American Library As-
sociation. Later, however, a resolution was adopted expres-
sing "hearty approval" of the director's report. The in-
consistency showed that adult educators are of at least two
minds on the issue.

Court Ruling

CIVIL service scored in Arkansas recently when the
state supreme court ruled that county welfare person-
nel must be appointed from the eligible list maintained by
the state personnel department. The case arose as a result
of a ruling by the attorney general that even though county
workers were paid by the state they were not employes of
the state, subject to state civil service standards. This ruling
was challenged in a friendly suit strongly backed by the
Arkansas State Chapter of the American Association of
Social Workers. The high court decision assures a county
personnel with standards established and tenure protected
by state civil service regulations.



JUNE 1938



207



The Social Front



Relief



TN late April when relief crises were
rearing their heads in various cities
of the country, when the American Asso-
ciation of Social Workers had made pub-
lic its conclusion, based on a survey of
actual conditions in twenty-eight states,
that relief allowances in many areas are
"shockingly low," the American Insti-
tute of Public Opinion polled a carefully
selected cross section of voters with the
question, "Do you think that people on
relief in your community are getting as
much as they should?" The inquiry
reached into all sections of the country
to people in all income levels, including
those on relief, in proportion to their
numbers in the population in each state.
The tabulation of answers showed that,
the country over, nearly three voters out
of four 71 percent to be exact believe
that people on relief are getting enough.
The political complexion of the voters
had little to do, it seems, with their opin-
ions. Of the "reliefers" interviewed 27
percent thought the allowances as large
as they should be; 73 percent thought
they should be increased. Says George
Gallup, director of the institute, "The
survey underlines the long tug-of-war be-
tween the advocates of higher relief
standards and the general public, and it
demonstrates clearly that while relief has
been accepted in principle the public has
not been sold on the idea of a better
standard of living for the unemployed."

News Briefs When general state as-
sistance succeeded local outdoor poor
relief in Pennsylvania the first of the year
all cases under local poor boards were
required to make a new application and
were investigated for eligibility and need
by the new county boards. Of the 20,191
cases under the old boards, 536 were
already receiving general assistance and
were continued; 2722 did not apply; 790
withdrew their applications and 5010
were rejected. In all 11,133 survived the
test and were certified for aid.

The Municipal Bureau of Social Service
of Louisville, Ky. has barred from sup-
plementary assistance a family "enjoying"
an income equal to $14 or more a month.
This affects all families regardless of
size or source of income families with
a son in the CCC for example, or with a
child receiving as much as $15 a month
from the NYA. In a shake-up of the
bureau last winter and spring following
a change in the city administration, Eliza-
beth M. Fike, who had directed it for
four years, was unceremoniously shaken
out with the official reason that she was



running the public agency by private
agency standards.

After much huffing and puffing New
York City got itself some new relief
taxes and rescinded the 10 percent cut
which, as it turned out, was imposed for
only two weeks. By means of a new tax
of a cent a package on cigarettes and in-
creased taxes on restaurant checks and
certain businesses the city expects to raise
the $10 million it lacked to meet a relief
budget estimated at a minimum $71 mil-
lion. Relief applications in the city 'are
41 percent above last year, with the rate
of acceptance remaining at about 55 per-
cent.

The New York Association for Im-
proving the Condition of the Poor re-
ports that more than a fourth of the
19,147 families it aided last year 28.7
percent to be exact were receiving as-
sistance from public relief agencies. This
was in no sense a duplication of effort,
however, since the AICP supplied health
care, psychiatric treatment and special
services which the public agencies could
not supply. The A'lCP'S expenditures for
relief dropped sharply last year but the
"saving" was taken up by increases for
health, fresh air and old age activities.

Worried Washington Among the
various current relief crises, that in the
national capitol has escaped general no-
tice. For two years the congressional
appropriation for relief in the District
of Columbia has been so limited that the
public assistance division of the Board
of Public Welfare has been forced to
reject the applications of all employable
cases. Moreover, the appropriation for
the fiscal year beginning July 1 has been
cut $400,000 below the appropriation for
the current fiscal year. This will necessi-
tate dropping from the rolls about 900
unemployable cases.

Meantime, at the request of agencies
which favored and others which opposed
additional relief funds, "an investigation
of public relief in the district" was au-
thorized by Congress under the super-
vision of Representative Ross Collins of
Mississippi and Senator Elmer Thomas
of Oklahoma, chairmen of subcommittees
of the Senate and House Committees on
Appropriations. These gentlemen dele-
gated responsibility to an unpaid commit-
tee of three Washington citizens, who
have employed Burdette G. Lewis, at
one time with the American Public Wel-
fare Association, to do the investigation.
The report must be completed by August
1, by which time Congress presumably
will have adjourned. Thus, should the
findings favor increased appropriations,
no action is possible until after Congress



reconvenes in January. The investigation
is to cover "the extent of unemployment;
the need for all types of relief ; the extent
to which existing agencies are meeting
both the unemployment and relief situa-
tions; the adequacy or inadequacy of in-
dividual grants; the characteristics of
cases receiving assistance from public
agencies; the policies and procedures of
public administrative organizations, in-
cluding the adequacy, qualification and
competency of personnel. . . ."

Compensation and Relief Little
by little an outline is beginning to emerge
of the effect of unemployment compensa-
tion on the relief rolls. In Philadelphia,
Saya S. Schwartz of the County Board
of Public Assistance has made an analysis
of the closing in March of some 3200 re-
lief cases due to receipt of unemployment
benefits. This was the second month of
the operation of the compensation pro-
gram. In addition to the 3200 cases closed
there were over 500 additional relief cases
where the compensation was so small
that it had to be supplemented with re-
lief. The average weekly relief grant to
the cases closed during March was $8.21 ;
the average weekly unemployment com-
pensation, $11.24. About two thirds of
the cases had gone on the relief rolls
after January 1 when the filing of com-
pensation claims began, indicating that
assistance had become necessary during
the waiting period. By the end of March
400 cases closed in January and February
had exhausted their benefits and returned
to relief. About 25 percent of this group
had had benefits for only one to two
weeks, 40 percent for three to four weeks
and the remaining third for five to six
weeks. This short duration of benefits,
says Mr. Schwartz, "is obviously a re-
sult of short term jobs or low weekly
wages in 1937." .

The Pennsylvania Department of Pub-
lic Assistance reports that during the sec-
ond week in May, 4042 cases were opened
throughout the state on account of cessa-
tion of benefits. Of these 1797 had not
been on relief rolls when benefits began.
During the same week 1596 cases were
closed on account of benefits beginning.

In New York City welfare officials
report that in the first two months 3500
cases left the relief rolls because of com-
pensation payments but that in the in-
stance of 1500 additional cases the bene-
fits had to be supplemented with relief.
The cases dropped represented about the
number added weekly to home relief.
Officials believe, however, that compensa-
tion payments have warded off a pre-
cipitous rise in applications, though they
fear that most of the cases closed on



208



SURVEY MIDMONTHLY



.m i unit of such payments will have to be
reopened after the relatively short period
of benefits is exhausted.

In a published interview in mid-.M n
Harry L. Hopkins, WPA administrator,
was quoted as predicting that a consid-
erable number, if not all, of the 800,000
or so persons now receiving compensation
benefits would be added to the relief rolls
t the expiration of the benefit period of
fourteen weeks or less.

Just a "Local Idea" A flurry of news-
paper headlines told the world recently
that the welfare director of Genessee
County, Mich, was urging the unemployed
of Flint to leave town "if they have any-
place to go," and, in extreme cases was
assisting them to do so. "Deportation"
was implied if not stated. Quick to catch
the significance of such a policy the Com-
mittee on Care of Transient and Home-
less wired state welfare officials, in effect,
"How come?" To which came prompt
reply: "This was idea of local adminis-
trator who will not be able to put it
into effect. State organization does not
approve wholesale deportation."

For Statisticians The fundamental
principles involved in the compilation and
use of cost data in relief administration
were discussed by Anne E. Geddes of the
Social Security Board in a notable paper
given at the Indianapolis meeting of the
National Conference of Social Work.
This has now been expanded and is pub-
lished as No. 2 of a series of papers by
the Joint Committee on Relief Statistics
of the American Public Welfare Associa-
tion and the American Statistical Asso-
ciation, Ralph G. Hurlin, editor.
(Preparation of Valid Statistics of the
Cost of Relief Administration. 12 pp.
Price 10 cents from the APWA, 1313
East 60 Street, Chicago, or the ASA,
722 Woodward Building, Washington.)

Youth and Education

A STUDY of rural young people and
their situation today, covering youth
in 304 counties in 31 states and in 83
New England townships is summarized in
Rural Youth on Relief, by Bruce L. Mel-
vin (WPA Research Monograph XI).
The survey indicates that the plight of
youth in the low income strata of rural
life is largely the result of long time
trends in agriculture, including the de-
pletion of soil fertility, overcrowding of
the land, and in some areas, a system of
farming not adapted to the region. In
the last five years more than two mil-
lion rural young people in this country
are estimated to have received some form
of government aid. This report points out
that national recovery, as reflected in an
upturn in industrial and business activity,
will not necessarily mean "recovery" in
the farming areas. The report holds that



government aid, unrestricted by emer-
gency regulations is needed in solving
the long term problems affecting rural
youth. Even the emergency programs,
limited largely to youth on relief, have
overlooked the needs of a vast number
of young people in marginal families not
on the relief rolls. The report emphasizes
the need for "coordinated planning both
by such permanent rural institutions as
the extension service, the church and the
public schools and by the agencies devel-
oped during the depression."




Summer schools have become an
important feature of the workers' edu-
cation movement in this country. The
pioneer Bryn Mawr School for Women
Workers in Industry will hold its
eighteenth session, July 11 to 31. Both
men and women will attend the
Southern Summer School at Ashe-
ville, N. C., July 21 to September 1;
the Summer School for Office Work-
ers in Chicago, July 3 to 30; the
Pacific Coast School for Workers at
Berkeley, June 25 to July 23; and the
summer session of the Wisconsin
School for Workers.



Wisconsin Apprentices Thirteen
University of Wisconsin students have
thus far been chosen to serve apprentice-
ships in the state service under Governor
Philip La Toilette's student career plan.
They will start work July 1. The first
group of public service apprentices were
chosen by committees representing the
university faculty and state department
heads. The apprentices have been as-
signed to the highway department, agri-
culture and markets, public service com-
mission, mental hygiene division of the
public health service. They will serve an
apprenticeship of two years at the end of
which time, if they desire to continue in
the state service, they must take and pass
a civil service examination for the posi-
tions they hold. Under the plan each ap-



prentice enters into a contract with the
university whereby he borrows a sum not
to exceed $400 and pays this back from
the salary he earns as a public servant.
Salaries will range from $100 a month
upward. A student may leave the service
at any time he wishes after repaying the
loan. While working, the apprentices will
attend certain classes to acquaint them
with the workings of various state de-
partments and give them background for
their jobs.

"All the Children" The product of
education, rather than the process, is
emphasized in the beautifully illustrated
annual report of Harold G. Campbell,
superintendent of schools, New York
City. The report exhibits the artistry and
handwork of the children themselves,
and aims to show what is being done to
solve the problem of varying the courses
of study, particularly in the secondary
schools, to meet the needs of the vastly
increased number of students. "We be-
lieve," Dr. Campbell states, "that every
child has ability of one kind or another.
We seek to discover that ability and de-
velop it to the fullest extent." The report
includes an original piece of music by a
highschool student; two short stories and
three poems written in English classes;
examples of student work in painting,
sculpture, interior decoration, furniture
design, art metal, rug weaving, dress
design, millinery, journalism and photog-
raphy; work done by children of re-
tarded mental development. These
samples of work represent the city's en-
tire school system from the kindergarten
through secondary school.

Summer Laboratory The fifth an-
nual session of the summer laboratory
on social industrial conditions in Greater
Boston will be held July 4 to July 30.
Sponsored by the Metropolitan Student
YWCA, the laboratory offers a limited
number of college men and women from
all over the country the experience of
making a firsthand study of a typical
urban community. Included in the pro-
gram is opportunity for each student to
do regular supervised field work with a
social agency or labor organization of his
own choosing. A number of social agen-
cies, settlements and trade unions are co-
operating in the program. Details from
the summer laboratory, 410 Stuart Street,
Boston.

Aid to Education A new bill provid-
ing aid to education and based on the
recommendations of the President's Ad-
visory Committee on Education has been
introduced in Congress as a substitute for
the Harrison-Fletcher bill. The new
measure (S.419) differs from the origi-
nal bill in five respects: it begins with
an initial appropriation of $72 million,
increasing to $202 million, as compared
with $100 million to $300 million; instead



JUNE 1938



209



of one lump-sum grant to the states for
educational purposes, it provides for seven
specific grants for public schools, teacher
training, buildings, state departments of
education, adult education, rural library
service, educational research and dem-
onstrations; funds are to go to the states
in inverse proportion to their financial
resources, and in direct relation to the
number of inhabitants to be affected by
the various services; the state superinten-
dent of public instruction or state com-
missioner of education will prepare with
the U. S. Commissioner of Education a
plan for the expenditure of federal funds
within the state; the original bill was a
permanent authorization, while the new
measure would authorize grants only for
the six-year period 1939 to 1945.

N.E.A. Meeting Thousands of teach-
ers and school administrators will gather
in New York City June 26 to 30 for the
seventy-sixth annual convention of the
National Education Association. The gen-
eral theme of this year's meeting will
be "The Responsibility of Education in
Promoting World Citizenship." Conven-
tion headquarters will be in the Pennsyl-
vania Hotel.

Student Health A preliminary report
of a survey of health of college students
by the American Youth Commission calls
for more adequate campus health pro-
grams. The survey, conducted by Dr.
Harold Diehl, dean of medical sciences,
University of Minnesota, and Dr. Charles
E. Shepard, Stanford University, covered
551 colleges and universities throughout
the country. The report defines two gen-
eral classes of student health problems;
those from deficient care and education
in pre-college years; those associated with
the college environment itself. The value
of a complete health examination at the
time of entering college is shown by the
fact that in fifty-six institutions where
tests for tuberculosis have been given as
a matter of routine to all freshmen,
approximately one third (34.5 percent)
are shown to be infected, though only to
a slight degree, with the disease. A health
examination is of little value, the report
points out, unless it is followed up by
correction of faulty health habits and,
where possible, of physical defects re-
vealed. The report stresses the need for
a complete college health program, in-
cluding a student health service for in-
dividuals, a campus public health service
for the student body, classroom instruc-
tion in health matters, physical education
as a health activity.

Compensation

TJNEMPLOYED workers in Con-
necticut receiving compensation bene-
fits are spending the money for necessi-
ties according to Commissioner of Labor
Joseph M. Tone, who had a representa-

210



tive number of cancelled checks scanned.
It was found that 22 out of every 100
checks went to the grocer, 6 out of every
100 to the butcher, 6 to the milkman.



Online LibrarySurvey AssociatesSurvey midmonthly : journal of social work (Volume 74) → online text (page 56 of 109)