This week, Catholic schools across the nation and in Pennsylvania are celebrating National Catholic School Week. This one-week observance is an annual celebration of the important role that Catholic schools across the country play in providing a values-added education for America’s young people.
To honor the occasion, both chambers of the Pennsylvania General Assembly passed resolutions designating January 29 through February 5, 2012, as “Catholic Schools Week” in Pennsylvania. Representative William Adolph (R-Delaware) was the prime sponsor of HR 541 in the House of Representatives and Senator Jane Orie (R-Allegheny, Butler) was prime sponsor of SR 239 in the state Senate. Both resolutions passed unanimously.
The theme of 2012 Catholic Schools Week is “Catholic Schools: Faith. Academics. Service.” The theme focuses on three priorities that Catholic schools establish that make them stand out from other educational institutions: Children are taught faith— not just the basics of Christianity, but how to have a relationship with God; academics, which in Catholic schools are held to very high standards and help each child reach his or her potential; service, the giving of one’s time and effort to help others, is taught both as an expression of faith and good citizenship.
Providing a quality education for our children is the most critical investment we can make for our future. Parents have the duty and responsibility to provide the best education possible for their children. They have a right to determine which school will best meet the needs of their children.
The parents of more than 150,000 students are currently making the choice to provide their children with a Catholic education at one of Pennsylvania’s over 500 Catholic schools; but, families are often prevented from accessing the educational options that would be best for them because of economic or social barriers.
The Catholic school community supports school choice legislation that includes vouchers and an increase to the Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) program because reinforces that parents – not the state – are the primary educators of their children.
The Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) program has given school choice to thousands of students; vouchers for students who need help the most will grant that opportunity to thousands more.
The Catholic Schools Week resolutions passed unanimously in the Pennsylvania House and Senate; urge your elected officials to vote the same support for Catholic schools by passing a school choice bill with an increase to EITC and vouchers so more qualified families can access a number of educational options, giving them the opportunity to choose a school that they determine is best for their child.