News for Advocates for Catholic Education in Pennsylvania December 13, 2010
Merry Christmas & Thank You:
Merry Christmas, ACE-PA members! May you and your entire family enjoy a wonderful New Year! Thanks for all your support of the ACE-PA network during 2010. I am pleased to report that our advocates sent over 7,400 emails to Pennsylvania legislators during the year regarding education and other issues. This is a remarkable accomplishment, considering ACE-PA has only been in existence for two years. ACE-PA membership also increased during 2010, almost doubling in size. Your outspoken support for Catholic education made us quite successful this year.
Due to the potential introduction of school choice legislation early in 2011, strong membership in ACE-PA will be critical. School choice or voucher legislation will face strong opposition; we will need to use every resource to be successful. Please help us recruit new members in all your Catholic education circles.
School Choice Legislation:
Tthe state Senate is currently drafting school choice legislation that would improve the educational opportunities for all children in Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania Catholic Conferencer (PCC) is conferring with legislators on this proposal. The PCC is a strong supporter of state scholarships for religious and private schools.
The PCC and the Bishops of Pennsylvania know the sacrifices that families endure for Catholic education. With that in mind we are lobbying for school choice legislation that will allow more parents to choose nonpublic school and will assist parents who already send their children to nonpublic schools. In addition, we will seek to safeguard the Catholic identity of our schools and make sure the boundary between Church and state remain intact.
ACE-PA Membership Drives:
ACE-PA continues to grow. With just a little bit of promotion in the first few weeks of November, we gained 113 new members! In the new year, PCC will be putting forth a full court press to grow our network. Every school and diocesan education department will be asked to post an ACE-PA link on their website. ACE-PA membership will be promoted for Catholic Schools Week in January 2011. ACE-PA materials will be developed for school mailings and parish promotions. The PCC will also continue to tour Pennsylvania to meet with the Catholic school principals to discuss the importance of ACE-PA, the Institute for Public Policy, and the PCC mission. To be successful with school choice and other education initiatives, we need everyone to help us grow. Invite your friends, family and school community to get involved.
2011 Catholic Education Priorities:
1. School Choice Legislation
2. Increase the funding for the Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) program to $100
million and add corrective language that fixes unforeseen problems.
3. Build the ACE-PA advocacy network.
4. Equity in education funding for all students in Pennsylvania.
ACE-PA is one of the most important tools we have to influence public policy. With your participation, we can truly change Catholic education in Pennsylvania. I would like to say hello to all our new members and welcome them to the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference’s ACE-PA monthly newsletter. The newsletter will update our volunteers of current Catholic school issues and identify our legislative priorities for the upcoming budget cycle in Pennsylvania.
Technology allows more user interaction for ACE-PA:
Catholic education is among the many issues with which the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference gets involved. Please help spread the word to all your family and friends to assist us in growing the ACE-PA advocacy network. Its simple, just forward this link click here. PCC also advocates on issues of religious liberty, life and the dignity of the human person, marriage and family, social justice, health care, and faith and politics during the election cycle. Check any and all of the categories on the sign-up screen to receive updates on each of them.
All information supplied will only be used for Pennsylvania Catholic Conference purposes. Providing your home address allows the system to determine your legislative district. If you choose to use the PCC website to send a message to your legislators, it will go to the appropriate elected official. Legislators are most influenced by communications that come from their own constituents.
The latest news about Catholic education issues in Harrisburg is posted as it happens on PCC’s website, pacatholic.org/catholic-education and on the ACE-PA Facebook page. Information about ACE-PA can also be found on the front page of pacatholic.org. Watch for the logo in the scrolling list of featured articles. This page will offer resources that will help you boost our advocacy for Catholic education in Harrisburg, but also in your school, parish and community.
The future of Catholic education in Pennsylvania depends on all of us. If you have any suggestions on improving ACE-PA or increasing our membership, please contact me at [email protected]