Catholic Education Partners fulfills its mission of empowering families and strengthening Catholic schools by focusing on three programmatic priorities.
1. Expanding Education Choice Initiatives
After 25 years of education reform, existing choice programs that allow Catholic schools to participate serve only 1.2 million students—a paltry 2.3% of the nation’s student population. Many state constitutions still contain Blaine Amendments, prohibiting any public funds from going to Catholic schools. While this relic of nineteenth century anti-Catholic bigotry has been largely invalidated by the Supreme Court, Blaine Amendments still effectually bar many Catholic schools from participating in existing education choice programs. Moreover, 21 states still have no such choice programs in place. CEP is committed to making real educational freedom available to Catholics in all fifty states.
2. Protecting Religious Liberty
More pernicious than programs that simply exclude Catholic schools are ones that tacitly force a Catholic school to choose between funding eligibility and its Catholic principles. Without a Catholic voice in the policy-making process, many school choice programs attach strings for participation in the form of requirements in hiring and firing, curriculum, programming, and other criteria that are inimical to the mission and beliefs of Catholic schools. Under the incoming Biden administration, the threat of new barriers to the conscientious participation of Catholic schools in choice programs is likely to increase rapidly in the coming years. CEP will continue to advocate tenaciously for the protection of religious liberty and autonomy for Catholic schools in the implementation of new and existing education policy.
3. Expanding Outreach to the Hispanic Community
Hispanic Catholics have sometimes been referred to as “the Irish of the 21st Century”—a very large, deeply Catholic, largely working-class demographic that represents the future of the Church. Indeed, Hispanics now account for over 40 percent of all U.S. Catholics, and over 60 percent of school-age Catholics. However, Hispanic Catholics are starkly underrepresented in Catholic schools, where Hispanic students represent less than 20 percent of the total student population. While school funding is part of the issue, there is an additional cultural barrier in that Hispanic immigrants historically were unable to attend Catholic schools in their countries of birth unless they were wealthy. As such, CEP seeks particularly to inform and empower this demographic within the Catholic community concerning the viability of a Catholic education and the means by which it can be attained.
Have questions? Let’s chat
Speak with a CEP representative to learn more about us and to get involved in the effort to expand parental choice in education and the Catholic mission.