The CARES Act is an emergency relief bill passed by Congress earlier this Spring – and it included $13B in funding for K-12 schools to respond to the devastation of the Coronavirus.
The law included “equitable services” language, meaning all schools get to participate in the program equitably – even all private schools. Equitable services is a common term and practice that has allowed Catholic schools to participate in federal education programs since 1965.
Some states decided to ignore the equitable services provision, denying aid to Catholic schools. In response, the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) issued an interim final rule to clarify the requirement in the CARES Act that local educational agencies (LEAs) provide equitable services to students and teachers in nonpublic schools. The final rule is published in the Federal Register and is open for comments until July 31, 2020. The full document may be accessed here.
Although the Rule allows the LEAs the option of counting all students, including non-public schools students, the Rule does not mandate that states count all private school students. Rather, it also allows LEAs the option of counting only one category of low-income student for their distribution, and unfortunately many low-income students in Catholic schools will not be part of that count. We believe the rule should mandate that states count all students. We are not asking for anything more or less than the public schools receive – just equal access. All Catholic school students should have access to federal emergency relief services.
Without equitable services in this time of emergency, many Catholic schools will not have the resources to keep their children safe and healthy, or to maintain continuity in their students’ education under the CARES Act.
USCCB and the National Catholic Education Association jointly prepared language to respond to this rule in your comment – but if you are aware of how your state is responding, or if you saw a drastic cut in your school’s per pupil allocation, please tell your specific story as well. If your Catholic school or any of your students are being excluded by your state public school leaders, please include that information in your comments.
Comment on this rule today! The deadline is July 31st!
Thank you so much for taking the time to file a comment. During this unprecedented health crisis, Catholic schools need you now, more than ever!
The U.S. House of Representatives passed the American Dream and Promise Act, H.R. 6, one year ago, which would give a path to citizenship for Dreamers. The USCCB/JFI support this bill, as well as efforts to introduce a Senate companion to H.R. 6. Additionally, they support the bipartisan S. 874, the DREAM Act of 2019.
Please express solidarity with Dreamers and contact your Senators requesting that they support S. 874, the DREAM Act of 2019, and encourage the Senate to introduce a companion bill to H.R. 6, the American Dream and Promise Act.
To learn more and to send your message, please go to the USCCB/JFI Action Alert.
COVID-19 has contributed to the permanent closure of 138 Catholic schools across 23 states. Additionally, internal surveys show ten percent of Catholic schools are now uncertain if they can open their doors this fall. That means as many as 500 or more Catholic schools could be in jeopardy.
Please join the USCCB in asking the U.S. Senate to include additional relief for Catholic schools in the emergency relief package currently being negotiated.
As the Senate prepares its next aid bill, we ask that the next COVID relief package include immediate assistance to families through federally-funded scholarships.
The Alexander-Scott “School Choice Now Act” provides one-time, emergency funding for scholarship-granting organizations in each state; and provides permanent dollar-for-dollar
federal tax credits for contributions to scholarship granting organizations.
Please contact your Senators today to request support of the Alexander-Scott “School Choice Now Act” in the base bill.
Catholic schools urgently need help in this time of uncertainty. Please contact your Senators today!
Federal Executions Set to Resume Monday, July 13
The federal government is attempting to restart the practice of executions for the first time in 17 years. Three executions are scheduled to take place over a five-day span beginning July 13 with a fourth to follow at the end of August.
Learn more and take action to stop federal executions.
“Now as never before we need a vision rich in humanity: we cannot start up again by going back to our selfish pursuit of success without caring about those who are left behind.”
– Pope Francis, May 31, 2020
Families and individuals are facing immediate hardships: rent is due, food prices are rising, layoffs continue, access to healthcare is being lost, and those who are most vulnerable in the criminal justice system are not being adequately protected from the coronavirus. As followers of Christ, we are called to create a society where the needs of the poor and vulnerable are always considered first. Tell your Senators to act now to support those who are poor and vulnerable during this pandemic by:
- Providing resources to meet the needs of those who are homeless and those struggling to keep a roof over their heads.
- Increasing SNAP benefit amounts.
- Enacting policies that encourage and support employers to retain and rehire workers and considering additional stimulus payments.
- Ensuring affordable healthcare access for everyone during this health crisis, but especially for the poor, uninsured, unemployed, and vulnerable populations including immigrants and refugees - without providing federal funding for abortion coverage.
- Safeguarding those who are most vulnerable to COVID-19 in our criminal justice system and increasing medical resources to care for those who do become ill while incarcerated.
Take action here.
Among the dozens of vaccines currently in development, some are being produced using old cell lines that were created from the cells of aborted babies.
There is NO NEED to further exploit the bodies of aborted children.
Other cell lines or processes that do not involve cells from abortions are available!
In fact, they are regularly used for producing vaccines and are being used by some drug companies to develop a COVID-19 vaccine.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) along with leaders of many healthcare, bioethics, and pro-life organizations, is urging the Trump Administration to make sure that vaccines for COVID-19 are developed ethically and are free from any connection to the exploitation of abortion.
The coalition letter expresses strong support for efforts to develop an effective, safe, and widely available vaccine as quickly as possible, but also strongly urges the federal government to “ensure that fundamental moral principles are followed in the development of such vaccines, most importantly, the principle that human life is sacred and should never be exploited.”
Use this link to take action.
To view all of the signatories and to read the full text of the letter, click here.
What We Do
The North Dakota Catholic Conference acts on behalf of the Roman Catholic bishops of North Dakota to respond to public policy issues of concern to the Catholic Church and to educate Catholics and the general public about Catholic social doctrine.