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TAX CREDITS FOR NONPUBLIC EDUCATION

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 7, 1972

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
COMMITTEE ON WAYS AND MEANS,

Washington, D.C. The committee met at 10 a.m., pursuant to notice, in the committee room, Longworth House Office Building, Hon. Wilbur D. Mills (chairman of the committee) presiding.

The CHAIRMAN. Our first witness this morning is His Eminence Terence Cardinal Cooke.

We appreciate so much having you with us this morning, and you are accompanied by Bishop McManus, and, if you will identify the others, we will appreciate it.

STATEMENT OF TERENCE CARDINAL COOKE, ARCHBISHOP OF NEW

YORK; ACCOMPANIED BY BISHOP WILLIAM MCMANUS, SECRETARY OF EDUCATION, ARCHDIOCESE OF CHICAGO, AND CHAIRMAN, COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION, U.S. CATHOLIC CONFERENCE; ALFRED SCANLAN, WASHINGTON; LAWRENCE X. CUSACK, NEW YORK; AND MONSIGNOR JOSEPH O'KEEFE, NEW YORK

Cardinal COOKE. Thank you very much.

I am accompanied by Bishop McManus, who is the chairman of the Committee on Education of the U.S. Catholic Conference and also director of education in the Archdiocese of Chicago.

Also with me is Mr. Alfred Scanlan of Washington, distinguished Washington attorney; Mr. Cusack of New York, a distinguished attorney; and Monsignor Joseph O'Keefe, secretary of education of our archdiocese.

The CHAIRMAN. We appreciate having all of you with us this morning

You are recognized, and you may proceed in your own way.

Cardinal COOKE. Mr. Chairman and members of the committee: I am Cardinal Cooke, and I am archbishop of the Catholic Archdiocese of New York and a member of the executive committee of the U.S. Catholic Conference. The U.S. Catholic Conference is the agency of the Catholic bishops of the United States which represents the religious, educational, and social services the church provides for the 48 million Catholics in our country.

I am here to speak in support of the proposals pending before your committee to provide Federal income tax credits to parents who pay tuition for their children in private, nonprofit schools.

I am accompanied this morning by Bishop William McManus of Chicago; Mr. Alfred Scanlan of Washington; and Mr. Lawrence X. Cusack and Monsignor Joseph O'Keefe of New York.

Bishop McManus is the director of education of the Catholic archdiocese of Chicago and also serves as chairman of the committee on education of the U.S. Catholic Conference. Mr. Scanlan and Mr. Cusack are distinguished attorneys who bring special expertise to the consideration of this important issue. Monsignor O'Keefe is the secretary of education of the archdiocese of New York.

I want to take this opportunity to thank the committee and, in particular, its chairman, for permitting us to present our views on the pending tax credit legislation. I hope that what I have to say here today will be of assistance to the committee in its consideration of the development of a tax law which will benefit parents in exercising their free choice in the education of their children.

I particularly wish to express gratitude for the strong support which members of this committee have indicated for the concept of tax relief for parents. The urgency of the problem is reflected in the prompt consideration you have afforded us to speak on behalf of these parents.

In making this statement this morning, I am familiar, to a large extent, with the prior testimony that has been presented to your committee, and especially with the testimony of Rabbi Morris Scherer on behalf of the national organization known as CREDIT and by the nonpublic school official associated with CREDIT.

Both the Division of Elementary and Secondary Education of the U.S. Catholic Conference and the National Catholic Education Association were associated with the very able presentation by Rabbi Scherer.

I make a point of our relationship with the other agencies which sponsor nonpublic education to emphasize the fact that this is not only a Catholic issue.

Although my testimony, and the statement of the U.S. Catholic Conference are mainly concerned with Catholic education, I believe it is important for us to keep in mind the facts regarding the farreaching dimension of that part of the nonpublic educational effort in the United States which is sponsored by other religious groups.

These groups and other nondenominational groups sponsor schools which educate more than 1 million of the more than 5 million children attending nonpublic elementary and secondary schools. I mention this because I believe that all too frequently there is a tendency to forget these children when the question of nonpublic education is under discussion. Too often courts, as well as legislative bodies, tend to look upon the question of government aid to the parents of these children as a matter primarily of Catholic concern. This is perhaps inevitable because of the size of the Catholic educational system in the United States. It is, indeed, the largest nonpublic school system, educating some 4 million elementary and secondary pupils. However, in the real sense, this is not a Catholic problem nor

à nonpublic education problem-rather, it is a challenging community and national problem. In our democratic tradition, the education of every child is necessarily the concern of every citizen.

A special dimension of the question before you is the total com

even

munity interest in the preservation of nonpublic education. Nonpublic education provides a strong pluralism in education which benefits public education. When nonpublic schools are forced to close the adverse effects upon the total community are not only economic but social.

This is already a fact experienced in some communities in the last few years. Surely we are not unaware or unsympathetic to the serious plight of our public schools in many areas of the Nation, but in view of the educational situation as it exists today, the good of the public school system in America would not be served by the destruction of our private sector which today cares for the education of so many young Americans.

Therefore, we are challenged today in America to find a way, in the public interest, to preserve the freedom of choice which the Supreme Court has guaranteed to parents in the landmark case of Pierce v. The Society of Sisters.

Mr. Chairman, I ask permission to submit for the record of this committee a detailed statement concerning the proposed legislation which is the subject of these hearings.

The CHAIRMAN. Without objection, that statement will appear at the conclusion of your oral statement.

Cardinal Cooke. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

This statement is submitted on behalf of the United States Catholic Conference. It consists of four parts and, with your indulgence, I would like to call attention to its main points and to add what I may be able to contribute to your consideration of this important national question.

Bishop McManus, Mr. Scanlan, Mr. Cusack, Monsignor O'Keefe, and I would be pleased to answer any questions which members of this committee might have and to submit additional information which may assist you in your deliberations.

The first part of the statement concerns the dimensions of the Catholic educational effort throughout the United States. A total of 4,022,508 children attended 10,829 Catholic elementary and secondary schools in the 1971-72 school year in this country.

Although non-public-school enrollments are concentrated in eight of the Nation's most urbanized and industrialized States-New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois, California, Ohio, New Jersey, Michigan, and Massachusetts-nevertheless there are Catholic schools in every State of the Union serving the children of almost 2 million American parents.

In New York City and State, with which I am, of course, most familiar, the statistics are impressive. Today, one out of every four schoolchildren in New York City attends a nonpublic school, and in the entire State these schools educate more than 700,000 pupils.

In New York City, our Catholic schools alone educate some 300,000 students—more than are educated by any urban public school system in America, excepting the public school system of New York City, itself, Los Angeles and Chicago. Nonpublic schools in New York State educate more young people than do the public schools in any of 28 States of the Union.

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