After six months as U.S. Commissioner of Education, Francis E. Keppel '38 has found that the United States does "not feel the urgency it must" if the country is to meet its educational responsibilities in the next few years.
The former dean of the Education School told members of the Advanced Administrative Institute last night that they could not depend on the Federal government to handle most of their problems. "Washington never has found the solution," Keppel said. "you must feel the urgency and act yourselves."
Most of Keppel's briew remarks were devoted to "painting a groovy picture" of shortcomings in U.S. education. He presented a series of statistics indicating that the country is not turning out nearly enough skilled persons to meet job demands for highly educated people.
But while stressing the need for a general increase in the numbers attending college (and completing high school), Keppel particularly pointed out the need to achieve equality of opportunity for all racial groups.
After his talk Keppel said that Title Six of the Administration Civil Rights bill would "go a long way" towards giving Negroes better educational opportunities by practically insuring desegration in all schools receiving federal money. Keppel predicted that passage of this portion of the bill would greatly facilitate federal aid to education measures by removing the perennial segregation issue.
Although emphasizing that he does not sense the "needed urgency" to remedy the nation's education deficiencies, Keppel said in response to a question that chances for a federal aid bill of some kind this year were "reasonably good." He added that he "couldn't ask for more" pressure from the White House for an education bill.
At the outset of his speech Keppel urged his audience, mostly school superintendents and principals, to make a continued effort to communicate educational needs to relevant branches of government.
"The situation is grave now," he said, "and it will be dangerous soon."