To: Senate Education Committee
From: Christopher T. Dodson, Executive Director
Subject: SCR 4003 - Recognizing School Choice Week
Date: January 14, 2013

The North Dakota Catholic Conference supports Senate Concurrent Resolution 4003 to recognize School Choice Week.

Our support for school choice stems not from an effort to boost Catholic schools, even if we are tremendously proud of the work they do. We would support school choice even if no Catholic school existed.

Our support for school choice finds its foundation is something more fundamental - the dignity of every human child and the essentiality of family and community. Every human person has something in common - they have a right to achieve their full potential as God intended. At the same time, every human person is unique. Therefore, every child has a right to a basic education in a setting that best meets their individual needs.

Children do not live or learn, however, in isolation. We are social creatures and the parents are the primary educators of their children. School choice empowers parents to exercise their obligations as primary educators by giving them opportunities to find the best educational settings for their children. Forced uniformity diminishes parental involvement. Choice and diversity enhance it.

For these reasons it is right to celebrate School Choice Week. It is not about nonpublic schools, public schools, or any schools at all. It is an opportunity to recognize what is good for children and families.

We urge a Do Pass recommendation on SCR 4003.