Franklin D. Roosevelt

Letter to J. W. Studebaker, Commissioner of Education.

February 18, 1937

My dear Dr. Studebaker:

I am happy to send my greetings and very best wishes to the members of the Department of Superintendence of the National Education Association. While you as the leaders in educational administration in this country will be considering many problems concerning better ways to conduct educational institutions, I hope you will give special attention to the central problem before our country and the world. I refer to the problem of maintaining and improving the democratic processes, both political and economic, of our American way of life. No body of citizens bears greater responsibility for the successful functioning of a democracy than the educational administrators and teachers. It is the responsibility of government to carry out the will of the people. But it is the responsibility of organized education to make sure that the people understand their problems and are prepared to make intelligent choices when they express their will.

It is of great importance to the future of our democracy that ways and means be devised to engage the maximum number of young people and adults in a continuous, fearless and free discussion and study of public affairs. This should be the natural postgraduate program of all citizens whether they leave the full-time school early or late. We have meeting places in every community, built by the people and used for day school work. Thousands of new buildings have been erected in the last few years. We now face the problem of promoting educational programs to make the most of our physical and human resources. The planning of such programs is a major responsibility of the educational profession. The result of such programs will be to strengthen the fabric of democracy.

Very sincerely yours,

Dr. J. W. Studebaker,

Commissioner of Education, Department of the Interior,

Washington, D. C.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, Letter to J. W. Studebaker, Commissioner of Education. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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