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Reforming Public Education and Ending Poverty26 Jan

Nearly everyone can agree that our current education system is not meeting the needs of Kentucky students.  ID-10069170The disagreements usually arise when it comes time to propose a solution.  Opponents of school choice legislation often argue that the solution is reforming the public school system or ending poverty.  The Catholic Conference of Kentucky supports efforts to improve the public school system and to provide for the poor.  Yet, focusing on these two issues ignores the plight of children who need solutions now.

President Lyndon B. Johnson launched the War on Poverty over 50 years ago.  Since that time federal, state, and local governments have engaged in various efforts to alleviate poverty and reform the public school system.  While there are often debates about the success of these efforts, it cannot be disputed that there are far too many people still living in poverty today.  It also cannot be disputed that there are children who are not having their needs met by the public school system.  Since 1970, inflation adjusted public school spending has more than doubled.  Over the same period, achievement of students at the end of high school has stagnated.

Therefore, telling parents in desperate need of educational options that they simply need to wait for politicians to tinker with the system is insulting.  Our children need solutions now.  If the public school system is not working for a child, his or her parents should have the right to send their child to a different school.  Unfortunately, the poor and working class do not have the means to exercise this right because they often cannot afford the tuition at nonpublic schools.

A tuition assistance tax credit would provide educational opportunities to families that do not currently exist under Kentucky law.  The legislation would encourage contributions to organizations that provide tuition assistance to families making under $60,000.00 a year.  This would make a nonpublic education obtainable for families who might not otherwise be able to afford the tuition.

In conclusion, the Catholic Conference of Kentucky supports efforts to improve the public education system and to end poverty.  However, Kentucky families do not have another 50 years to spare.  Our children need educational options now.

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