A blessed Advent to all!

December 9, 2016
National School Choice Week
" As those first responsible for the education of their children, parents have the right to choose a school for them which corresponds to their own convictions. This right is fundamental. As far as possible parents have the duty of choosing schools that will best help them in their task as Christian educators. Public authorities have the duty of guaranteeing this parental right and of ensuring the concrete conditions for its exercise." (CCC 2229)

As Catholics in America, we recognize two important aspects of our role in education: every parent's right and duty to raise and educate their children, and Catholic schools' role in assisting many parents, Catholic and non-Catholic alike, in that task. National School Choice Week (Jan. 22-28), is a celebration of the many options available to parents across the country - including Catholic schools and the homeschooling movement that's become popular among many families in our parishes. Dozens of states across the country provide public scholarship programs to assist families who cannot afford tuition on their own. We can help increase the number of public support programs by showing our enthusiasm for parental choice in education during this nationwide awareness effort.

This year, National School Choice Week comes right before Catholic Schools Week (Jan. 29-Feb. 4), providing a fortnight for us to promote parental choice and Catholic schools. I've been thinking about this way - Choice Week is about parents being able to access our schools, and Catholic Schools Week is about why they should choose and stay with our schools.

For more information or to sign up, visit schoolchoiceweek.com/schools. Participating schools receive free materials to help them celebrate National School Choice Week - including 50 yellow fleece scarves - and help promoting their school in January.

Betsy DeVos - Education Secretary-designate
In addition to the Thanksgiving Week equitable services guidance, the Trump transition team announced the choice of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education on the eve of turkey day. 

Our office has worked well with Mrs. DeVos's former organization, the American Federation for Children, on the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program. AFC shares our vision of publicly-funded but parent-directed education in America. 

We will endeavor to inform Mrs. Devos and her team about the importance of equitable services and implementing ESSA in accordance with the plain language of the law and the recent guidance.

Speaking of the guidance...you may find my thoughts on it in our previous edition of the CE News. You may find the guidance here in Part V.

God Bless,

Greg

USCCB Secretariat of Catholic Education  | 202-541-3148  | gdolan@usccb.org | http://tinyurl.com/CatholicEdPolicy


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