Back to School Edition

August 28, 2018
Please know you are in the prayers of the staff and leadership of the USCCB as families and educators return to school, especially during this difficult time for the Church. Catholic educators are special people who take on a special task in teaching children for this life and the next. The Church needs you now, more than ever!
Up Next on the Secretariat's Calendar...
Sept 4-6 - NCEA Board Retreat
September 20th - Office Of Non-Public Education Private Schools Conference, Dept of Education
**Catholic leaders are invited to a pre-conference dinner hosted by the USCCB on Wednesday the 19th, RSVP here
October 20th - Meeting of the Federal Assistance Advisory Commission, Jacksonville, FL
October 21-24th - NCEA Catholic Leadership Summit, Jacksonville, FL
November 11th - Committee on Catholic Education Meeting
November 12-15th - General Assembly

Secretariat of Catholic Education Leadership Update
Mary Pat Donoghue has finished two full weeks at Executive Director of the Secretariat for Catholic Education. She is meeting lots of new friends and soaking up everything about her new role as fast as she can! She even had her first media interview last week - click here to listen.

Federal Regulation Alert...
Does your state have a Scholarship Granting Organization? If so, keep your eye on new regulations just out from the IRS.   Push back from the 2017 Tax and Jobs Act limitation on deductions State and Local Taxes has led to state led "work arounds." These "work arounds" have now led to the new federal regulations from the IRS that could have the unintended consequences of harming valid state charitable organizations.

For reference, On July 17, the L.A. Times published an in-depth overview of this issue that features comments from AFC President John Schilling and Alabama Opportunity Scholarship Fund Executive Director, Lesley Searcy. This WSJ article is also helpful. 

The IRS  regulations were  released last Thursday night and they were not favorable. The IRS opened a 45 day comment period and announced a public hearing scheduled for Nov 5th. Please be on the look out for further action items as a response. We will stay in touch with you as we learn more and coordinate a response with our coalition allies.

Reauthorization of Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act

The President signed the Perkins Act this summer which provides nearly $1.2 billion of grants to states to train students and workers to compete for high-skilled, in-demand jobs.

The bill:
  • Empowers state and local community leaders by simplifying the application process for receiving federal funds and providing more flexibility to use federal resources to respond to changing education and economic needs.
  • Improves alignment with in-demand jobs by supporting innovative learning opportunities, building better community partnerships, and encouraging stronger engagement with employers.
  • Increases transparency and accountability by streamlining performance measures to ensure CTE programs deliver results, empowering parents, students, and stakeholders with a voice in setting performance goals and evaluating the effectiveness of local programs.
  • Ensures a limited federal role by reining in the secretary of education's authority, limiting federal intervention, and preventing political favoritism.
  • To read a PDF of the fact sheet, click here. To read a bill summary, click here.
Education Next Released  12th Annual Survey of American Public Opinion on K-12 Education Policy

On Tuesday, August 21, Education Next released their  12th annual survey of American public opinion  on K-12 education policy. This year's poll updates EdNext's trend data to reveal the public's latest thinking on school choice, teacher policies, school spending, accountability, and more. Questions featured in this year's poll explored opinion on other topical policy issues, such as  affirmative action, teacher salaries, and race-based school discipline policies .

Click here to read analysis of the full results By  Albert Cheng Michael B. Henderson Paul E. Peterson  and  Martin R. West.
Some of the key findings from the poll related to school choice are:

School vouchers.  A 54% majority of the public supports "wider choice" for public-school parents by "allowing them to enroll their children in private schools instead, with government helping to pay the tuition," a 9-percentage-point increase over a year ago. Opposition to vouchers has fallen from 37% to 31%. Approval for vouchers targeted to low-income families has not changed. Just 43% express a favorable view, the same level as in 2017. African American (56%) and Hispanic (62%) respondents are more favorably disposed toward vouchers for low-income families than are whites (35%).

Click here for graphic snap shot of results on School Choice.

Why Can't the Middle Class Afford Catholic Education?
Check out EducationNext's "Why Can't the Middle Class Afford Catholic School Anymore?" written by Greg Dolan.  "A  recent study  in  Education Next  evaluates the shift in the haves and have-nots of private education, highlighting the disturbing trend of private schools enrolling students predominantly from high-income families..."

Read the referenced study here.

Greg Dolan's graph below:
We know many dioceses have a designated staff in the Catholic Schools Office to watch, advocate or implement federal education programs and grants in your schools. We would like to make sure we know who you are! Please click below to fill out the form for your diocese so we can be in touch. We have had 26 responses! Let's keep them coming!
I am always eager to talk with you, meet you and work with you. If you will be in Washington, DC at any time or at one of the upcoming events on our calendar, be sure to let me know so we can meet up!

God bless you and your work for Catholic education,

Jennifer Daniels

USCCB Secretariat of Catholic Education  | 202-541-3148  | |

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