Growing up in a Lebanese Catholic family in St. Louis, my parents taught my siblings and me that faith, family, and education are our most treasured blessings. This pandemic has highlighted that these blessings are more important now than ever before.

We’ve also learned that the educational equity divide in our nation is wider and deeper than we had imagined. Many students in this country do not have access to the resources they need to be successful in school. Many parents, in their quest to give their child the best education possible, often encounter financial constraints. They want to choose the best opportunity that develops the fullness of their child’s potential and are often faced with few, if any, choices for their educational journey.

We have the responsibility to change this for parents and for students – to level the playing field for educational choice. This is the mission of the parental choice movement. To date, twenty-nine states have now adopted some form of this legislation. For decades, Florida has led the way in empowering low-income families with the freedom to choose the schools where their children will thrive academically, emotionally, morally, and socially. In a recent interview, the Superintendent for Catholic schools in the Diocese of St. Augustine, Florida explained the top reason that their Catholic schools are gaining vitality is the expanded opportunities for parents to choose Catholic education through tax credit scholarships.    

Catholic schools are demonstrating tremendous advantages throughout these overwhelmingly stressful times.  Their attentiveness to the whole child, their culture of belonging to a community and their faith instilling hope are powerful assets. A recent research study of the students using school choice dollars in Florida indicates that those attending Catholic schools gained more ground in reading and mathematics than did school choice students attending other private schools. 

Together, let’s support school choice. Will you join me and many others who not only believe in the power of education, but work to assure the best advantage for all? 

Sister Rosemarie
Rosemarie Nassif, SSND, PhD
Board Member
American Federation for Children