Title: Thomas Bailey
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Fla. Personality Thomas Bailey


with Arthur White

Arthur White, Assistant Professor at the University of Florida. I'm interviewing

Thomas Bailey, State Superintendent of Public Instruction between January

4, 1949, and October 1, 1965. Mr. Bailey is sitting across from me in his

conference room at the Capitol Office of the First Federal Savings and Loan

of St. Petersburg, located at the corner of Calhoun and Call Street in

Tallahassee, Florida. The date is December 11, 1972. The time is 11:30 A.M.

Mr. Bailey is now going to give us some biographical information of his early


I was born October 31, 1897, in a little town of South Carolina. My

father was an itinerant methodist minister. I finished high school in Cershaw,

South Carolina in 1915. I later entered Walford College in Spartanburg, South

Carolina, and received my A.B. Degree in 1919. After that, I taught one year in

a little two-teacher school in Govan, South Carolina. Later I came to a private

school in DeFuniak Springs owned and operated by the methodist church in the

South Alabama Conference by the name of Thomas Industrial Institute. It was a

boarding school because at that time there were very few accredited high schools

in the area of West Florida and South Alabama and there was a need for a school

of this type. I remained there for four years and the second year, I became

principal of the high school there and the third and fourth years, I was president

of the institution. I was very proud of some of the graduates of that school, such

as Governor Fuller Warren, and many other outstanding young men who later came

into prominence politically and otherwise in the State of Florida. After leaving

there, I went back to South Carolina and was principal of a high school --

Winya High School, Georgetown, South Carolina, where my wife had lived. I

remained there four years and came back to DeFuniak Springs in 1928 as principal

of the Walton High School. There I remained for 11 years. After that, I

moved to Ocala Florida, as principal of the Ocala High School for four years

and then moved to Tampa as supervising principal of the consolidated

school district #4 in Tampa, which was the metropolitan area of that time.

I remained there four years and left there in 1948 to come to Tallahassee

as Public Relations Secretary for the Florida Education Association. I served

there for a few months under the Executive Secretary, James S. Richards, who

had planned to retire before many months, and I was to succeed him as

Executive Secretary of the Florida Education Association. But in January, 1948,

the State Superintendent, the Honorable Colen English had decided to run

for governor, which meant that it would be necessary for some candidates

to offer for the position during the campaign in 1948. I was asked the

question why I decided to enter the profession- of education and I guess

my answer would be more or less accidental in looking for a position. During

the 1915-19 period when I was in college, there was no education program;

as such in colleges. It was more or less liberal arts programs. Very few

were prepared to be educators at that day and time and when I finished college,

my whole idea was to secure a position and go to work and a job was offered

me in this small two-teacher school, which I accepted. So I guess I got

into the hole field of education more or less by accident or by reason of

fact that I was looking for a position. After my first year's experience in

a small rural community, I found I was very interested in the education

of young people. I had always been very active in my relationship with young

people and I found it very rewarding and so after staying out of school business

for a few months where I had been offered a position as an insurance salesman

by a general agent who said you ought to make more money than a $125 a month,

which is what I received as principal of this two-teacher school, and I'll

guarantee you a $150 a month if you work for me in the insurance business

and I'll locate you in a place in South Carolina where you'll be able to

make some money. I accepted that offer and went to a little town in South

Carolina and located for 3 months and found there that I wasn't making any

headway as far as an insurance salesman was concerned and decided I wanted

to go back to school work. So I went to Columbia, South Carolina and

registered with the Jones T richer's Agency and told them I wanted a position

and I'd rather move out of South Carolina if I could because I had some

friends in South Carolina and I had gotten involved in a lot of activities

which I didn't think was very uplifting for a man who had just finished

college and I wanted to move away from that. And so I went back home and

before long I had this offer to come to DeFuniak Springs in this little

school, Thomas Industrial Institute. I didn't know where it was, I had no

idea where DeFuniak Springs was. They offered me a $125 a month and board

and I thought this was a pretty good offer you know, this much money clear.

My father borrowed $50 and put me on the train and sent me to DeFuniak Springs.

I went to Jcksonville, there I changed trains, got on the train and came

up through the panhandle section of Florida and stopped at Lloyd's for lunch

that day. Everybody got off the train and went up to the house to a great

big table and got a fifty cent meal, moved on over to Bonifay, Florida and

stopped for supper that night and got off the train at the main street and

walked up to the old Eureka Hotel and there we got a chicken supper for fifty

cents and finally we moved into DeFuniak Springs. I was met at the train and

taken to this littleinstitution and lo and behold, I found that I had a room

there with an iron bed and no lavatory and everything's in the basement. I

was pretty disenchanted with my situation but I didn't have enough money to

go back home, so I stayed with it and fortunately for me, I weathered the

storm and from them nn, I found myself in a very rewarding situation because I

worked with a grou pf young people and set up an athletic program which they

never had and taught about 8 classes a day and kept a two-hour study hall

every other night and the next year, of course, I was offered the job as

principal at $175 a month and I told the man in charge that I was ready to

get married and he said, well that's fine. Just bring your bride on down

and so we'll give you a place over there in a little cottage right next to

the boy's dormitory to live and we'll still pay you a $175 a month and

board for both of you. So this was a good deal and I accepted that and

stayed there then for three or four more years. I came to Tallahassee in

1947, and as public relations secretary for the Florida Public Association.

At Christmas, I had gone to South Carolina to visit some of my relatives.

While there, a Mr. James S. Richards, who was executive secretary of

Florida Education Associat4 called me to come back to Tallahassee that

The Honorable Colen English had decided to run for governor and he wanted

to talk to me about running for state superintendent of public instruction.

This was foreign to any idea that I had had. I was not interested particularly

in a political campaign. I felt that, first of all, I didn't have the

finances to make a statewide campaign and secondly, I had a good job in

the offing and I felt like this was sufficient for me. But anyway, I came

back, and he talked to me about the situation and I found that there were

two other very prominent educators in the state who were talking about

running for this office but had not made any public announcement. I went to

my good friend who was very active in education, The Honorable Velma

Keene, who was a very prominent attorney in Tallahassee, but he had also

been very native in the continuing educational council for the state and

talked to him about this situation and told him I have no particular ambitions

to make a political campaign for public office and he gave me a real fatherly

lecture. He told me that he thought I should have more ambition than that.

It was the highest educational office in the state and I had come up through

the ranks and had had a lot of experience in education with all types of

groups in the state and he thought I ought to have more ambition than

that. He was surprised that I wasn't interested. I explained to him about

my financial situation and he said you don't have to worry about that, your

friends will make the money to make the race. All you got to do is make

your decision to run. Well, in the meantime, there had been the three of

us who were involved in the proposed race and we three decided we shouldn't

run against each other and we all agreed that a committee of three very

prominent lay people in the state would meet and decide which one of the

three of us should make the race and the other two would withdraw. They

had their meeting in Miami, I understand, and their decision that I was

the me to make the race. The other two withdrew and the result was that

Velma Keene walked me up to the Capitol immediately and paid my qualifying

fee and I was in the race before I realized really what had happened.

One of the three men who had planned to make the race was Superintendent

Judson Walker of Orange County. He was very active in educational work

in the state and very knowledgeable about the way education operated in

the state and was a very good man. The three men who I mentioned earlier

as very prominent laymen in the state who were concerned with education

were the Honorable Velma Keene in Tallahassee, Florida, an attorney, The

Honorable Lamar who had formerly been a school man in Tampa but was

a practicing attorney, and The Honorable Fred Noble, who was an attorney in

Jacksonville and a member of the school board. These were three men who we

had all agreed should meet and make a decision about which one of us should

make the race. You may ask me why do you think they decided you should be the

one to run. Well, I have no idea at all that went into their deliberations

but I think certainly one of the reasons was that I had been very active in

all educational affairs in the state. I was a very active member of the

Secondary Principals Associaticr ,the School Activities Association

the Florida Parent-Teachers Association, and also as president of the Florida

Education Association in 1939. So I had been very active and was in close

contact with all of the groups in education in Florida and I think that

probably had something to do with the fact that they arrived at the

decision that Ishould make the race. So, the campaign for state superintendent

of public instruction began in 1948. I had two appointments -- Robert D.

Dahley, who at that time was director of the vocational program in Dade

County but who had formerly been director of vocational education in the

state department of education in Tallahassee, Florida. The other appointment

was Robert C. Marshall, who had been formerly the county superintendent.of

public instruction in Duval County, but at that time was working with some

federal agency and who had retired as county superintendent of Duval County.

These were my two appointments. Immediately I began to meet:with some of

my very close friends and tried to work out a schedule for making this

campaign since all of this was so new to me. I established a small office

in the Dorian Building, which at that time was known as the Centennial

Building diagonally across from the Capitol, the Florida Education offices

were also located in this building. I secured the services of a young man

from DeFuniak Springs by the name of Leon Andrews who was secretary

chamber of commerce there to be my office manager and also employed a

secretary, Miss Gohagen who had her early years in DeFuniak Springs also

andny wife and this was my office staff. In beginning the campaign, we

determined that I would travel as much as possible, make as many public

appearances as possible, but I felt like I had the full support of the

Florida Education Association at that time and all of its members and I

found later that school people at that time had a great deal of influence

in the election of the state superintendent of public instruction. I don't

think they had much influence in the election of other public officials.

But I found that many citizens would ask the teachers in their communities

who do you all want for your state superintendent -- we don't know any of

these men and we'd like to support your candidate and that offers me a

suggestion that by the use of school people I could probably gain more

support than I could any other way that I could think of at that time.

So in my travels over the state, the school people were very active in

setting up the public appearances for me before city clubs and other groups

form to make talks. I soon found that money at that time was no great

problem. I had no particular money and my office staff didn't require a

great deal of money at that time. This was before the days of many of

our laws exist today as far as reporting campaign funds was concerned. So

this must be kept in mind in considering this campaign. I would organize

a committee in each county of the state to handle my campaign in that

particular county. We would secure the literature in our office in

Tallahassee and mimeograph copies for advertising or for radio. There was

no television to think of at that time, and therefore, that expense was

not necessary. But we did use radio tapes quite a bit and newspaper

advertising but the local people raised their own money in each county

and spent their own county in each county for advertising, for radio or

for whatever purpose the ) felt was necessary and money at that time was

not necessarily sent to any state office or there wasn't any accounting

so the result was that we didn't handle very much money at the state level.

It was dealt with at the county level where these people raised their own

money and spent their own money and that's the way our campaign proceeded

during this whole time. It was not necessary at that time to debate with

any of my opponents. I realized in the beginning that the opponent that

would offer me the most trouble in this race was Robert D. Dahley who had

been in the state department of education and was well known and was then

in Dade County. He also had a very close relationship with organized labor

in the state by reason of his having been in vocational education and dealing

with the people who were active in organized labor in the state.

Therefore, I realized that he would be probably the opponent that I would

have to deal with most prominently. It developed that this was very true.

However, during the campaign, there wre no particular issues involved, there

were no particular conflicts that I can think of that made it necessary for

any debates. I ran on the campaign with the slogan that no man stands so

tall as he who stoops to help a child and I used that slogan in my office

for 17 years. I also ran on the cmapaign of providing equal education

opportunities for our young people regardless of where they lived or who

they was and the minimum foundation program had provided a floor for this,

a financial floor at least, for this kind of philosophy and I think in general

the thing that I was able to get across to a lot of people was the fact that

I was very sincerely interested in the welfare of all of our young people

and would furnish the kind of leadership they felt was needed to implement

the foundation program which had been passed two years prior to this time.

Soon after taking office in January, 1949, it became necessary to begin

preparation of a bi-annual budget for the next session of the legislature

which was only a few months away. And this necessitted, of course, quite an

increase in the amount of money that was needed for the support of the

foundation program. The minimum foundation program had operated the previous

bienium, that is 1947 to 1949, with quite a substantial increase in state

funds being appropriated from surplus funds which had accumulated in the

state treasury. Governor Crawell at that time, I have understood, suggested

that the legislature give some thought to the financial picture which would be

presented two years hence when these surplus funds would have been expended

and would be necessary not only to raise the amount of money necessary for

the increase that bienium but also for the next bienium which was 1949-51.

The growth factor in our schools was very important but the legislature

adjourned without accepting any advice of this type in 1949, so when I

came in office in January and began preparing the budget, I realized that

this was going to necessitate some new money from somehwere to take care of

the minimum foundation program and my job was to try to provide leadership to

implement the program, which had been passed in 1947. State aid for the

first year of the foundation program was 38,688,000 dollars. Now this was an

increase of some $19,930,000 over the previous year. There were several items

in the program which were ntallowed to operate because funds weren't available.

In the years 1948-49, which was the second year of the bienium, the appropriation

was $42,000,000. The legislature of 1949 appropriated $99,793,000, which was an

increase of $17,793,000. This provided only for the normal growth and included

$3,793,000, which was estimated to be the state's estimation for capital outlay
to the $400 per instruction unit. So with such an increasegappropriations for

public schools and an increased appropriation for other state agencies and

functions, no new taxes were enacted by that session of the legislature and some

taxes which had gone in the general revenue fund which had amounted to around

$20,000,000 were granted to the cities. We found ourselves in quite a dilemma

as a budget commission. The governor had opposed a general sales tax, but had

recommended a number of spot taxes to increase the state's revenue. This type

of tax program, of course, was not enacted. So the legislature adjourned

and literally left the cabinet budget commission holding the bag. This was my

introduction to implementing the foundation program. After several cabinet meetings,

it became very obvious that it would be necessary to reduce releases from appro-

priations, 25% for the first quarter and possibly 15% in succeeding quarters if

we lived within the anticipated state revenue. I made a plea to Governor Fuller

Warren and to other members of the cabinet to make no permanent cut in the

appropriation for schools since teachers held valid contracts along with bus

drivers and some other employees. We should withhold funds on a temporary basis

since it was already very obvious that a special session of the legislature

would be mandatory later on (Cfa~ rt 4 2' /

in the year to provide additional revenue. And to the credit of the cabinet,

this procedure was adopted. This action convinced me of the importance of the

cabinet system of the state government in the functioning of the executive

department of the state government and the importance of the chief state's

school officer being a member of the cabinet. In the special session of the

legislature in September, 1949, limited sales tax was enacted. The revenue

from this tax by January, 1950, enabled the cabinet budget commission to

release all funds appropriated for schools and the courts along with a few

other emergency functions of government. The 1951 session of the legislature

also approved a constitutional amendment to be submitted to the people to permit

county school boards to issue revenue certificates for capital outlay purposes

and pledge the receipts from the money from the motor vehicle license fund which

they had been receiving on an annual basis of $400 per instruction unit. Only

75% of the anticipated money for the period of years could be pledged. This was

necessary because the $400 they had been receiving on an annual basis from

each county was not sufficient to build a school building and was not sufficient

to do anything in the way of measured capital outlay expenditures. So it was

necessary to issue some revenue certificates which would give the county

sufficient funds to build an entire school building or maybe two or three

buildings. This amendment was endorsed by the voters of the state in the

next election by a two to one vote and this was probably one of the most

progressive actions taken since the passage of the minimum foundation program in

1947. In 1952, Justice Allen Morris of Tallahassee advised me back in 1949,

he said, now you can get prepared for somebody to run against you probably the

next time. They're going to try you out and see how strong you are, In 1952,

I had an opponent -- Dr. Ray Van Deusen, who was on the faculty of Miami University

and also a member of the school board in Dade County who was a candidate against me.

He did not make a very active campaign and neither did I for that matter, but I

was very successful in that -f~ if r C. f J

campaign winning by a vote of 402,838 to 106,200, so that was the last

campaign I had of any consequence during my administration. Conditions

that faced education in 1953 session of the legislature indicated that public

schools about reached a new low since 1947. The per pupil cost in Florida

had dropped back to 36th place among the states or per pupil expenditures in

average daily attendance and teachers' salaries had not kept pace with salaries

in most of the other states. State officials indicated that there would be 40

to 50 million dollars in the general revenue fund at the end of the fiscal year.

Florida was enjoying a high level of business activity. Teachers' salary supplement

of $560 was recommended to the legislature. It was reported that the governor was

would approve as much as $350 but not a penny more and this amount was appropriated.

The appropriation for the 1953-55 bienium amounted to $36,209,070, which was

the largest overall increase granted to schools since 1947. The increase

was $36,209,070. School population was growing at the fastest rate in history.

The percentage increase in growth was 8% instead of the 6.2% based on the previous

year. As a result of the rather phenomenal growth, estimates were revised up-

ward and some $4,000,000 had to be added for the forthcoming bienium. The

budget commission had met its responsibilities in the recommendations to the '53

legislature which again offered evidence to the importance of the chief state's

school officer being a member of the cabinet. Budget commission at that time was

very important. The growth factor in our school enrollments made the necessary

larger appropriations than had ever been estimated in previous years. The

1955 session of the legislature has been acclaimed as being one of the most

constructive sessions of the legislature for education in the state's history.

Governor Leroy Collins had served as chairman of the education committee in the

State Senate for several sessions previous his election as governor and he was

very knowledgeable and sympathetic with the needs of education. The governor

and the budget commission recommended 7 tf)

who took an active part in leadership but it was primarily in the State Senate,

I think, that any move of this type was finally defeated. Soon after adjournment'

of the 19551egislature, we began to plan for our study of community junior

colleges in the state. We had appropriated the $60,000 without any strings

attached to finance such a study. Dr. James Wattenberger, and Dr. Lee Henderson

were employed to direct the study. Both of these men were products of the junior

college in Palm Beach and were dedicated to the task of expanding these schools.

Consultants were brought in the state to give their counsel to our committee in

the planning necessary for a presentation to the '57 session of the legislature.

We arrived at a conclusion early in the study that we should envision a master

plan which would locate an institution within commuting distance :ofl: every

citizen in Florida, as near as possible. We realized it would require a number

of years to reach this objective. We also realized that unless we actively

actually designated the location of these schools, community pride and legislators

would develop friction in each one trying to locate each one of these institutions

in their county. This could possibly result in some bad locations and therefore

jeopardize the entire program. Two decisions were reached early in the study.

One, that there would be no school-owned dormitories; and second, that there would

be no inter-scholastic football allowed. Some of us had observed in other states

that football, which is becoming rather commercialized, if it was allowed, would

prove too expensive in the first place, and too, some universities would use

individual schools as training facilities for their varsity teams. I personally

wanted to perserve as much local control over these schools as was possible.

I did not want these schools to be dominated by our.universities since they were

a new breed of institution with a multi-purpose function. There existed since

1933, Palm Beach Junior College and since . St. Petersburg Junior College since

1920's. The foundation-program in '47 made provisions for junior colleges to

operate within a combined state and local financial support program. Consequently,

new junior colleges were established at Marianna and Pensacola. These were the

only four areas that are being served until 1957. The long-range plan was

completed and estalbished, a priority system whereby the expansion could be made

in an orderly and planned fashion.. The plan was adopted by the State Board of

Education and recommendations were made to the 1957 legislature. In 1961, the

legislature established a state junior college advisory board to help guide

the future development of the long-range plans were public junior colleges, so in

1963, the board was reconstituted as the State Junior College Board and given

additional responsibilities for the expanded system of junior colleges. I

consider the establishment of the junior colleges in Florida as probably the

one most outstanding achievement in my administration of 17 years. I must admit

I did not envision in the beginning that expansion of this program would

materialize so rapdily. Members of the legislature considered these schools

as local institutions and moved very rapidly to secure one for their constituents.

This legislative activity proved to be of great value in the expansion of the

entire program. Florida has received national recognition for its vision in

establishing this system of higher education in a growing state. Late in my

administration, I became very concerned about the activities of the federal

people in the office of education, health education and welfare, particular with

reference to the control over federal money which was being appropriated to

Florida and at that time it was not any substantial amount of money, but the

whole philosophy was contrary to all of my beliefs. There were times when some

representatives of the federal agencies were sent into Florida to check on the

segregation and to check on how our money was being spent. This did not cause

any tremendous upheaval in our school system, but it did concern me a great deal

because it indicated a trend that I felt like was going to increase tremendously

the amount of federal control over education, which I had always opposed and

still do for that matter. I think our local people may make some mistakes, but

I think the federal people can make more mistakes than they can and I don't think

any of us are free to say that any program is going to be perfect.

I was very concerned about this activity, but as I indicated it didn't cause

any great concern among our school people at that time. Many of these representatives

from these federal agencies were rather young people who had no particular ex-

perience in education that would come into some of the counties like Madison

County and a few others without any reporting to my office or to any of the

authorities in education in Florida and go in and check on whether or not any

integration was taking place and how much segregationexisted and what was

happening to the federal money and so forth. All of these sorts of activities I

resented very much and I was not hesitant to let the people in Washington know

how I felt about all of this. I thought they ought to clear it through my

office. I would at least know what was going on down here, but I don't think it

served any great purpose for me to raise my voice against it. (Changed sides of


I think relative to the federal funding and so forth and so on and the philosophy

of the federal people was a telephone call I had on one occasion from the U. S.

Commissioner of Education. He wanted to have a talk with me in Washington and

I told him I expected to be up there in a few weeks if that would be time enough

and he said it would. I went into his office. He's very cordial, he left his

desk and sat with me in a very informal environment and I never met the man

before, but I was very impressed with his cordiality and his hospitality and the

first thing he said to me, he said, you know, I don't know a thing in the world

about public education. I've been dean of the graduate school at a big university

for some years and I need to talk to some of you people about public education.

We had quite a nice talk. I don't know if it proved to be of any value, but at

least he was honest enough to admit that his knowledge of public education was

very little. An incident I would like to mention is the fact that during the

late 1950's, after we had made a study of the community junior college program in

the state, we had a joint meeting of the State Board of Education and then, Board

of Control in Tampa. It must be remembered that this was before the days of

the Sunshine Law and meetings could be held without them being illegal.

The discussion had to do with the establishment of some new universities, one

of which was to be at Boca Raton and we had a representative there, a Dr. John

Ivey, who was presenting his claim that the Ford Foundation wanted to enter into

an agreement with reference to the university at Boca Raton, which was being

planned, and would offer some financial support for this university. I knew

Dr. John Ivey. He had become a good friend of Governor Collins, too, but I

was opposed to any outside agency, foundation or otherwise, wanting to place

money in a university with the idea of establishing an experimental school and

this was an old program, this was to be sort of an experimental endeavor. I

was a little afraid of that by reason of some of the experiences I had with

the federal people, so I listened for quite a while and finally I spoke up and

said, Governor Collins, you know we just made a study of the community junior

college program in this state and the one thing that all of our consultants

had told us that how fortunate we are in Florida that we have not inherited

any four-year colleges to deal with in establishing this community college

program. I said, of course the first two years of any four-year college is

rather general education which is taken care of in our junior college program

and this kind of duplication is totally unnecessary. And he said, well, I hadn't

heard of that before, but that proves to be very interesting and as a result of

that discussion in that joint meeting in Tampa came about the philosophy of

establishing the upper level colleges such as at the University of West Florida

in Pensacola and others in this state which now begin their offerings in the

junior year so as not to duplicate the freshman, sophomore years as offered in

our junior college program. I think it's interesting to note how all of this

came about. You ask about my relationship with the Florida Education Association

and of course I'm very happy to say, E. D. Henderson, who was Executive Secretary

of the Florida Education Association during my entire administration was a very

close personal friend of mine.

We had both been secondary principals in the state for some years, he was also

a fraternity brother of mine. All of which has helped in our personal relationships

with each other. I found that the Florida Education Association during that time

was very instrumental in improving education in Florida. The image of the Florida

Education Association as a professional group was outstanding and their voice in

the legislature was of great assistance to me in any program we jointly recommended

to the legislature. There were no times in which there appeared any differences

as far as our presentation of general programs were concerned and I'm very regretful

to say in recent years, in 1970's and late '60's that this general image has

degenerated to some extent, but at that time,the Florida Education Association

was very potent and very influencial organization in the improvement of education

in Florida. During all of my administration, the legislature was rather dominated

by members of the legislature from rural areas of the state. They were given the

title of the porkchopp gang". At least, during those days, particularly in the

State Senate it was true, there were a few men over there who were very influencial;
men like Senator Dill Clark from Monticello ,Rudolph Hodges from Cedar Key,

Senator Wilson Carraway from Tallahassee and several others who wheeled a great

deal of influence in the State Senate. At least you always could find out whether

or not your program or your proposed legislation had much chance of passing depending

on the attitude of some of these leaders. If they would agree to support your

legislation, you could feel very well satisfied that it would pass. If, on the

other hand, they opposed it, you could just go away and forget it. This was the

situation during most of my administration and I found my working relationship

with these men very good. I had no particular problems with them. They were"very

understanding and of course their counties were being given a tremendous amount of

state aid for public education and all this was very helpful in my relationship

with them. In 1960, I had an opponent from the Republican Party, Mr. Gilbert

Richardson from Duval County. His campaign was based largely on the fact that I

was a liberal and he was an ultra conservative. This was brought about primarily

by reason of my stand, I think, in preserving the public schools in the light of

some proposed legislation to close the schools after the Brown Decision in the

Supreme Court in 1954. I never felt like I was a liberal- I felt like I was

a middle of the roader during my administration, and his campaign on this basis

had no tremendous effect. I didn't make any extended campaign and neither did

he as a matter of fact, so the result was my election by almost 2-1 vote. I

was asked why I decided to retire when I did. I had another year to serve and

this would have meant a great deal to me oe.my retirement. In fact made about

$100 a month difference my retirement if I had served my next year and three

months, which was in that term of office. But I had to face up to several situations

which appeared to be sort of a crisis in my life. My wife who had been ill for

several years with a malignancy had been in several serious conditions and under-

gone many of surgery but was in her last stages, her terminal stages

of cancer, I knew that she couldn't live very long and I felt like I wanted to

spend the next few months with her and of course it was affecting my work, too,

because as I went out in the state on different trips I would frequently get

called back because of her illness. And I felt like that the frustration that I

was undergoing was undermining my health and certainly my efficiency in my job

and I had always said I didn't want someone else to tell me when it was time

for me to step down. I wanted to make that decision myself and I had reached an

age in life when I wasn't quite as active as I had been -- I was just as interested

as ever. And then, too, I was very desenchanted with a lot of federal controls I

could see coming as it was related to education. I had always believed in the

maximum of a local control of education. I had opposed even a high degree of

state control and now the federal government was moving in by granting guidelines

for counties to follow and the state to follow and the expenditure of every dollar

of federal money. All this was very frustrating to me and I felt like I didn't

want any part of it, so as a result of these two things -- my health was beginning

to be affected and as a result of that, I decided to just step down and leave to

a successor. After I had made my decision to retire, I had a conference with

Governor Haydon Burns. He told me very frankly who he had planned to appoint,

Superintendent Floyd Christian of St. Petersburg, who had been County Superintendent

of Pinellas County during the entire 17 years I had been State Superintendent and

I knew Mr. Christian real well and had a fine working relationship with him. He

told me that Mr. Christian had been a supporter of his the first time he ran for

public office in the state and was unsuccessful but he stayed with him and supported

him the second time he ran when he was elected governor and that he had planned to

appoint him to succeed me. I felt this was a good appointment. I had no reason

to differ with him about it. I knew at the time he was going to be appointed, I

think that if I had not known that professional educator would be appointed and

one that had experience in education, then I probably would not have retired. I

don't think I would have walked out of the office without having some knowledge of

who was going to succeed me.

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