Date: April 14, 1931
Location: Northampton, MA
While education is almost entirely a local problem, the national government has long manifested a deep interest in it and encouraged it with official help and advice at some expense. The Department of the Interior, which has charge of it, is now headed by a university president, Ray Lyman Wilbur.
The draft during the war, the census of 1920 and of 1930, all reveal that we have a long way to go to eradicate illiteracy. Self-government is predicated on popular education. Often the privilege of voting is withheld from those unable to read and write. Ignorance cannot defend us in peace or war and has more and more difficulty in securing employment.
Earning a livelihood, voting intelligently, national defense, physical, mental and moral development, and even the cause of religion, depend on education. Without it there is no way to raise the material or spiritual standards of life.
About four million adults in this country unable to read and write despite the heavy school costs are not only a menace, but evidence of the failure of local government. If there is one thing more than another a citizen has a right to demand from organized society it is education.
Citation: Calvin Coolidge Says: Dispatches Written by Former-President Coolidge and Syndicated to Newspapers in 1930-1931 (Calvin Coolidge Memorial Foundation)
The Coolidge Foundation gratefully acknowledges the volunteer efforts of Craig Eyermann who prepared this document for digital publication.