The California Catholic Conference advocates for the quality education of all public and private school children, especially for those who are poor and most vulnerable. Furthermore, the CCC affirms every parents’ right to direct, and to be fully engaged in, their children’s education. This starts with the ability to choose freely the appropriate educational community for their child – one that supports their values, meets their child’s learning needs and cultivates their child’s talents and interests. Such choice supports each child’s good, every family’s good, and our common good.
In support of these principles, there are two Congressional measures on Capitol Hill that, endorsed by the CCC, would empower parents to educate their children through the creative use of tax policy.
When it returns from the June 3rd Recess, Congress will be taking up S.634/H.R. 1434, the “Education Freedom Scholarships and Opportunity Act.” These identical bills would create a federal education tax credit to support scholarship programs benefiting K-12 public and private school students. Language has been included to ensure religious school participation while protecting religious liberties.
In a letter to Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-Alabama), the Diocese of Oakland’s Bishop Michael Barber, who also serves as chairman of the USCCB Committee on Catholic Education, wrote, “The Catholic Church teaches that parents are the first teachers of their children. Whether homeschool or private, parents know the needs of their child. The Committee on Catholic Education is happy to support the Education Freedom Scholarships and Opportunity Act.” Read the entire letter here.
S. 157/H.R. 621, the “Student Empowerment Act,” would expand and improve 529 Savings Plans to include more K-12 public and private school educational expenses, as is now done for college.
The Student Empowerment Act builds upon the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, which expanded 529 savings plans to allow families to use their savings for tuition at an elementary or secondary public, private, or religious school. Despite the law, some states like New York and Illinois are blatantly ignoring the federal policy and warning of repercussions if it is employed.
“Congress intended this expansion for all families, and families should not be punished for living in states that selectively choose to follow federal law, nor should they be disadvantaged based on the type of school they select for their children,” wrote Bishop Barber in a letter to U.S. Senators. View the letter here.
Stay with the CCC for the latest on these bills.