John Kenneth Galbraith, Paul M. Warburg Professor of Economics, yesterday urged the creation of a 10,000-member federal teaching corps as a part of the Johnson Administration's "war on poverty." Galbraith served as an advisor to Sargent Shriver's group, which outlined the Economic Opportonity Bill now awaiting Congressional action.
In an interview last night, Galbraith explained that the teaching corps is not included in this anti-poverty program out of fear that "such a radically now idea" might jeopardize passage of the entire bill. He expressed hope that provisions for the corps would be included in some future legislation.
The teaching corps is needed, Galbraith said, because the poorest communities almost always have the worst teachers. His plan would provide a core of teachers, counselors, and administrators to work through the public school systems in these communities. Their example presumably would draw more high-quality personnel to the schools.
Finances for the corps would come from the federal government. Its members should be paid very good salaries, Galbraith emphasized, and their contracts should stipulate that they would go wherever the government chose to send them. The teaching corps would be coordinated with the community action programs of the current anti-poverty bill. Commenting on the size of the funds proposed for the "war on poverty." Galbraith said, "the important thing this year is to get started, and the direction is right." The amounts that have been allotted are small, he went on, and will have to be expanded in future years.
The passage of anti-poverty measures will be held up in the Senate, he said, by the consideration of civil rights legisation. Such legislation is important to the "war on poverty" because the unemployed are most often held down by race and by lack of education, he said.
Galbraith predicted that the main opposition to the anti-poverty proposals will come from Republicans and Southern Democrats who consider "poverty a minor evil compared to spending money."
The basic idea of the "war on poverty," he concluded, is "training for participation." Whether there is automation or not, educated people will get jobs. There is especially a great need for trained personnel to fill hospital jobs and clerical positions. "Diplomats are usually easier to get than secretaries," he said.
The bilion-dollar "war on poverty" program, now before the House Education and Labor Committee, focuses on two approaches to lessening unemployment: helping underprivileged youth, and stimulating community action against poverty