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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.  Its purpose is to work with the USCCB Secretariat of Catholic Education to maximize participation by 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 state and federal advocacy initiatives.  The commission includes Superintendents and Assistant Superintendents, State Catholic Conference Executive Directors and Education Directors, and consultants. 

CURRENT ADVOCACY POSITION

The USCCB advocates for maximum participation by Catholic schools students and teachers in federally-funded educational programs and services.  Advocacy efforts include both legislative and regulatory activity.  Legislative Priorities for the 113th Congress include: 
  • Reauthorization of The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).  ESEA requires that local education agencies provide eligible children attending private schools and their teachers with Title I services and other benefits that are equitable to those provided to eligible public school children and their teachers.  Equitable participation is the process by which the needs and progress of public and private school students and teachers are assessed, addressed and evaluated in the same manner.  Equitable inclusion of private school students and teachers is even more critical when faced with limited government resources, and so funds from all federal educational programs (not just those under ESEA) should be directed to the students and teachers who truly need assistance regardless of where they attend school.

  • 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 including reauthorization of the D.C. Opportunities Scholarship Program and the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 2014, as well as the formation of the first Congressional School Choice Caucus.

Current regulatory priorities include:
  • School Lunch Program.  USCCB is working with the Department of Education to develop guidance on the Community Eligibility Option provision's effect on Catholic school equitable participation in Title I services.

  • E-Rate Program.  USCCB is working with the Federal Communications Commission to modernize the E-Rate program to raise the program's inadequate annual funding cap, enhance the program's current focus on providing sufficient and sustainable broadband access, and streamlining its application process.

LEGISLATIVE AND REGULATORY DOCUMENTS, LETTERS AND STATEMENTS

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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