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Public Policy

 
"Catholic education is one of the most important challenges for the Church, currently committed to new evangelization in an historical and cultural context that is undergoing constant transformation." ~Pope Francis, Address to Congregation for Catholic Education, February 2014

FEDERAL ASSISTANCE ADVISORY COMMISSION (FAAC)


FAAC is an advisory commission formed by USCCB to work with the Secretariat of Catholic Education to ensure equitable participation for Catholic school  students and teachers in federally-funded educational programs by helping to develop federal legislative and regulatory advocacy strategy, providing information on educational developments at the state and local levels, and participating in federal advocacy initiatives.  The commission includes Superintendents and Assistant Superintendents, State Catholic Conference Executive Directors and Education Directors, and consultants.

CURRENT ADVOCACY POSITION 

 The Secretariat of Catholic Education advocates before the U.S. Congress and federal government agencies on behalf of the 1,915,836 students attending more than 6,500 Catholic schools in the United States. Federal law requires that students, teachers, and administrators at Catholic schools equitably benefit from federally-funded educational programs. Advocacy efforts include both legislative and regulatory measures.

Legislative Priorities for the 115th Congress include: 

  • Parental Choice "Parents who have the primary and inalienable right and duty to educate their children must enjoy true liberty in their choice of schools."  Gravissimum Educationis, 1965.  We support legislative initiatives that promote parental choice in education, including reauthorization of the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program, expansion of tax-advantaged savings accounts for educational spending, and portability of funds under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

  • School Lunch: We support reauthorization of the National School Lunch Program that includes flexibility for Catholic schools to meet nutritional and staffing requirements while ensuring Catholic school officials have the data they need to determine if participation is best for their school.

CURRENT REGULATORY PRIORITIES INCLUDE:

  • E-Rate Program.  We support the modernization of the E-Rate program that raised the program's annual funding cap and enhanced the program's focus on providing sufficient and sustainable broadband access for all schools. We support further improvements to and streamlining of the application process. The USCCB is a member of the Education and Library Networks Coalition (EdLiNC).

    • Implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA): Signed into law in December 2015, ESSA amends and reauthorizes the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA). Since ESEA's passage, federal law has required local education agencies to provide equitable services to eligible children attending Catholic schools and their teachers. Equitable participation is achieved through the process of consultation between Catholic school officials and the local education agency.
      • Under ESSA, Catholic school students, teachers, and administrators have new equitable services assurances, more robust consultation provisions, and stronger protections for their proportionate share of federal assistance. It is important the Department of Education implement and enforce these provisions fairly and in accordance with the law.

RESOURCES


LEGISLATIVE AND REGULATORY DOCUMENTS, LETTERS AND STATEMENTS

Joint Letter with Archdiocese of Washington Supporting DC Opportunity Scholarships Program

Archbishop George J. Lucas and Cardinal Donald Wuerl, April 25, 2016

ESEA Comments posted on Federal Registry

DC - Opportunity Scholarship Bill Reauthorization House letter
Archbishop George J. Lucas, October 5, 2015

Letter to House Committee on Appropriations on FY 2016 Funding of the DC Opportunity Scholarship Fund
Archbishop George J. Lucas, March 30, 2015

Letter to Senate Committee on Appropriations on FY 2016 Funding of the DC Opportunity Scholarship Fund
Archbishop George J. Lucas, March 30, 2015

Letter to House of Representatives Supporting Provisions of The Student Success Act (HR5) That Improve the Provision of Equitable Services For Students and Teachers in Religious and Independent Schools
Archbishop George J. Lucas, February 23, 2015

Letter to Chairman Tom Wheeler of the Federal Communications Commission supporting the proposal to permanently increase the funding level of the E-Rate Program.
Archbishop George J. Lucas and Bishop John Wester, November 18, 2014

News Release: USCCB Chairmen and NCEA President Welcome Bipartisan, Bicameral Agreement Reached To Reform Child Care And Development Block Grant Program
Archbishop George J. Lucas, Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski and Brother Robert Bimonte,September 15, 2014

Comments to the Federal Communications Commission's Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking dated July 23, 2014 on E-Rate (WC Docket No. 13-184)USCCB, as part of EdLINC, September 15, 2014
Letter to the Federal Communications Commission on E-Rate Modernization OrderUSCCB, as part of EdLINC, May 27, 2014

Proposed Amendments to S. 1086, The Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 2014
USCCB, as part of CAPE, February 2014
 
Joint Comments of USCCB and NCEA to the Department of Agriculture's November 3, 2013 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program (File Code No. FNS-2011-0027)
Anthony R. Picarello, Jr. and Brother Robert R. Bimonte, January 4, 2014  

Letter to House Committee on Appropriations on FY 2014-2014 Funding of the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Fund
Archbishop George J. Lucas, December 23, 2013

Letter to Senate Committee on Appropriations on FY 2014-2014 Funding of the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Fund

Archbishop George J. Lucas, December 23, 2013


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