September 10, 1968
CRITICS OF POVERTY WAR DRAW MUSKIE REBUKE
HON. WILLIAM D. HATHAWAY OF MAINE IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Tuesday, September 10, 1968
Mr. HATHAWAY. Mr. Speaker, the Office of Economic Opportunity's imaginative and resourceful Upward Bound program, initiated in the summer of 1965, has become a highly successful venture in public service.
Recently four college graduates -- all stimulated to attend college as a result of Upward Bound participation -- were honored at the feature showing of "Space To Grow," a film about the program.
The distinguished junior Senator from Maine, my friend and colleague, EDMUND S. MUSKIE, attended that showing and spoke briefly.
His remarks to those attending were challenging and eloquent, and his support for the OEO program was clear. Commitments like Upward Bound, he said, "are essential to the well-being of all of us -- the privileged and the disadvantaged alike."
Because Senator MUSKIE's remarks are so pertinent to the problems of poverty our Nation faces, I include the text of his comments and a Washington Post article of September 7 describing the film showing in the RECORD, as follows:
[From the Washington (D.C.) Post, Sept. 7, 19681
CRITICS OF POVERTY WAR DRAW MUSKIE REBUKE
Democratic vice presidential candidate Edmund S. Muskie chided congressional criticism of the war on poverty last night, saying "there is nothing revolutionary about this program unless truly equal opportunity is revolutionary."
Muskie was the featured guest of an Office of Economic Opportunity program last night which previewed a film on the Upward Bound project and also honored four recent college graduates who had been stimulated to attend college by the program.
Upward Bound started in the summer of 1965 and has included 32,000 youngsters in projects at 285 colleges.
The program provides extensive coaching during eight-week summer sessions and throughout the year for disadvantaged high school students with the ability to attend college.
Approximately 80 per cent of those participating in the program have gone to college, according to OEO spokesmen.
Theodore Berry, an OEO program director, said the experiment has worked so well that Congress is considering taking it out of OEO hands. He referred to pending legislation that would place Upward Bound under the control of the Department of Health, Education and Welfare.
The four persons honored last night all were recent graduates from Florida A&M University in Tallahassee. They had been in the pilot project in 1965 and worked their way through college in three years as maids, short-order cooks and construction laborers. All are Florida residents.
REMARKS BY SENATOR EDMUND S. MUSKIE FOLLOWING PREVIEW SHOWING OF UPWARD BOUND FILM, "SPACE To GROW," SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTE MUSEUM OF HISTORY AND TECHNOLOGY, WASHINGTON, D.C., SEPTEMBER 6, 1968
What Mrs. Walker, Miss Mase, Mr. Johnson, and Mr. Hall have just told us about "Upward Bound" is much more significant than any words I might add.
Their testimony speaks not only for themselves, but also for the thousands of young men and women who will benefit in the same way. And it speaks for the millions of people in this country who seek, but have not yet found, the hope for fulfillment which is America's promise.
There are others who have not yet given up that hope -- those who believe in upward bound, who have built it, and who have supported it. I think that what they represent was expressed very well in the film which you have just seen.
What was special about the upward bound teacher the narrator described? It was his attitude. It was the fact–
That "he likes the youngsters"
That "he really believes in their ability and communicates that belief"
That "he respects and values them for what they are and can become"
And, most importantly, that he is willing to give them a chance that they otherwise would not have had.
It is this kind of confidence in each other -- this kind of commitment to each other -- which we need today.
Anything less is not enough.
Those who doubt the value of programs such as upward bound will inevitably ask two questions: (1) Is this the right way? And (2) does it work?
The first question calls for a judgment as to whether this program and others like it incorporate the traditional American values of self-help, open and equal opportunity, and realistic goals in the context of our modern society.
These three values are tightly interwoven. The stated goal of upward bound is to create an educational experience which will motivate disadvantaged high school students to try for college.
It is predicated on the idea that personal experience is the best motivator.
For a long while we had told the disadvantaged of America: "If you try and you are able, you will succeed." Yet there had been too little proof and too much contradiction; too little showing, and too much telling.
"Upward Bound" is a challenge to all of us to correct this record:
-- a challenge to society to create a climate of opportunity in which self-help can have a chance.
-- a challenge to young people to do their best in their own way.
-- a challenge to higher education to adjust its criteria so as to broaden its standards without weakening them, and to confront new abilities and new backgrounds with the opportunity to succeed.
There is nothing revolutionary about this program unless truly equal opportunity is revolutionary.
Upward bound merely recognizes the difference between self-help towards a dead-end and self-help towards an attainable and visible goal. And this is, in fact, its pragmatic goal.
And so, it is worth trying.
Does it work?
These four young graduates will attest to that. The four-fifths of the 7,500 who have finished upward bound training and have gone on to college demonstrate its worth. These students have entered college at a higher rate than the general population. Their college records tell us that the program works.
And the children who are taught in the next few years by Mr. Hall and Mr. Johnson will later tell us that it works for them.
Most important, however, the boy who wrote this passage tells us that upward bound works:
"Before this program I had never seen a baseball game. I'd never seen a good movie like that of "my fair lady." I'd never before seen or attended an outdoor concert, which I truly enjoyed. All this really amazes me because I thought I was one who got around. And I can think of other kids like myself, or even worse, who haven't seen or been exposed to anything."
Or the girl who wrote:
"I was once naive and sheltered, but now the exposure to college life has shattered the hard shell which prevented me from looking around and noticing how my life was changing from day to day ... as a Negro, education is the only way that I can obtain and use my rights as an American citizen"
Beyond the question of whether this program and others like it work at all is the question of whether they work as well as they must. Upward bound is one of the best examples of our commitment to broader educational opportunities for all Americans, whatever their social or economic background. Yet we must prod ourselves as these young graduates have prodded themselves -- to go farther than we had considered going before towards achieving a quality of life for all.
Commitments like this are essential to the well-being of all of us -- the privileged and the disadvantaged alike.
We make these commitments through upward bound because we believe that a free society aspiring to the greatness which only the fulfillment of its citizens makes possible, can enhance its wisdom, can minimize its mistakes, can develop enlightened leadership, and can produce a life together which is worth living for all of us.
The evidence of our times is that anything less can produce a life together which is one none of us can truly enjoy.