October 6, 2015
Archbishop George Lucas, Chairman of the Committee on Catholic Education, welcomes the introduction of the bipartisan Scholarships for Opportunity and Results Act of 2015 (SOAR – HR 10) by Speaker John Boehner (OH-8th), Rep. Jason Chaffetz (CO-3rd), Rep. John Kline (MN-2nd) Rep. Dan Lipinski (IL-3rd), Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (NJ-11th), Rep Luke Messer (IN–6th) and Rep. Todd Rokita (IN-4th) in the House of Representatives,. In addition to opportunity scholarships for low-income families to attend private schools, the SOAR Act also provides additional funding and support to public and charter schools in the District of Columbia.
“Since its inception in 2001, the Opportunity Scholarship Program (OSP) has been an educational lifeline for nearly 6,000 children from low-income families in the District of Columbia,” stated Archbishop Lucas. “As Pope Francis recently reminded us in his address to the United Nations, the fulfillment of the right to education is a sacred duty of parents and this program assists low-income parents fulfill this important obligation.”
OSP continues to have strong parental satisfaction with graduation rates above 90 percent and nearly 90 percent of graduates enrolling in college. The average family in the program makes less than $22,000 per year; 97 percent of participating children are African American and/or Hispanic; and 87 percent of participating children come from zones whose schools are designated as in need of improvement.
The Catholic Church has consistently taught that parents have the right and responsibility to serve as the primary educators of their children. To assist them in this sacred duty, the Church has articulated clearly that children have the universal right to an education, and the state has a fundamental obligation to support parents in fulfilling such a right.
To read Archbishop Lucas’ letter to the representatives, visit: http://www.usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/how-we-teach/catholic-education/public-policy/upload/DC-OSP-Reauth-Ltr-House-Oct-2015.pdf
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