US Senator Marco Rubio’s (R-FL) resolution commending US Catholic schools was unanimously approved by the Senate.
Senate resolution 539 supports the contributions of Catholic schools and celebrates the 50th annual National Catholic Schools Week.
According to Senator Rubio’s office, nearly 2 million students with diverse backgrounds and socioeconomic statuses are enrolled in Catholic schools throughout the US.
“Catholic schools produce students strongly dedicated to their faith, values, families, and communities by providing an intellectually stimulating environment rich in spiritual, character, and moral development,” reads the resolution.
Additionally, the resolution commends Catholic schools for their remarkable 98.9 percent graduation rate, with 85.2 percent of graduates attending 4-year colleges.
The resolution was cosponsored by Senator Robert Casey (D-PA) and subsequently approved by the Democrat-led Senate.
Representative Darin LaHood (R-IL) introduced the resolution in the House.
The text of the resolution also underscored the role Catholic schools play as “an affordable option for parents, particularly in underserved urban areas.”
Affordability for primary and secondary education has been at the fore of state and national policy initiatives.
‘School choice’ is the name given to educational policies that generally permit for parents to decide which educational institutions will receive their tax dollars.
The universal school choice law removed financial eligibility requirements for school choice scholarships, eliminated enrollment caps, and removed online course credit requirements.
However, school choice opponents have claimed enabling private schools to receive taxpayer dollars undermines the doctrine of the separation of church and state.
Namely, critics say school choice violates the Lemon test created by the US Supreme court in Lemon vs. Kurtzman, (403 U.S. 602, (1971)
Under the Lemon test, governmental actions were found to not violate religious freedoms if they were secular in nature, neutral, and if they avoided excessive entanglement with religion.
However, the Supreme Court’s decision in Kennedy v. Bremerton overrode the Lemon test and replaced it with a ‘history and tradition’ test. The new test suggests the court will be more amicable towards public support of private religious institutions.