May 5, 2016
Catholic Education News

Inside This Issue
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Why the DCOSP?

Last week, the House passed an updated version of legislation to reauthorize the DC Opportunity Scholarships Program (OSP). The USCCB supports this legislation and hopes OSP is fully reauthorized by year's end. 

Every so often, we are asked why this is a priority of the USCCB, so I thought I'd explain as it highlights two important aspects of the Secretariat of Catholic Education's role.

The USCCB is the voice of the Catholic Church in America before the federal government - the executive branch, the Congress, and the courts. When it comes to the OSP, it's important to remember Washington, D.C., is administered by the federal government in the Constitution (though it delegates to the mayor and council through Home Rule legislation). Thus, the Archdiocese of Washington's 16 schools that partake in the OSP need an advocate before Congress, so the USCCB offers its active support of the program.

Additionally, there is an enormous practical benefit to the OSP. 

When it began in 2005, Congress required a number of high-quality studies and accountability measures be put in place to track the progress of the scholarship students. The results have been tremendous for the students and their families. That helps build support and supply evidence for parental choice programs, such as scholarship tax credits and education savings accounts, in every state across the country. 

So the OSP benefits Catholic schools and students in Washington, but it also has a national impact by showing that parental choice works and should be brought to your state and your city.
Does Your School Work With Catholic Charities?

The Catholic call to education requires we accept all comers and prioritize helping the neediest students and their families. To that end, your school may benefit from partnering with the local Catholic Charities agency. Agencies can provide "wraparound support" to your students in the form of snacks before/after school or on the weekends, behavioral counseling, and mentoring programs.

A study released last summer from Catholic University highlighted that parish schools and Catholic Charities do not always coordinate on these areas. If you need help finding your local Catholic Charities agency, search here.
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Greg Dolan