The Visitor - Opinion
Nonpublic Schools’ Day at the Capitol to be held Feb. 29
Scores of nonpublic school administrators, parents, students and supporters will descend on the State Capitol complex for the third annual Nonpublic Schools’ Day at the Capitol Feb. 29.
The purpose of the day is to demonstrate that nonpublic schools contribute to the common good of society by providing quality learning opportunities for thousands of children across Minnesota.
Nonpublic school advocates will also meet with their representatives and senators to ask their support for programs that support the students, families and teachers who have chosen to invest in nonpublic schools.
Three aspects of day
The Nonpublic Schools’ Day at the Capitol is comprised of three distinct facets. During the morning session, nonpublic school administrators, board members and members of the clergy will meet with sponsoring organizations to learn about key legislative issues facing nonpublic schools during the 2012 legislative session.
A presentation regarding public policy strategies and techniques will be an important component of the early morning session. Then, several key lawmakers will talk about education issues that they foresee emerging this session and will allocate time for questions from the audience.
Participants will learn about key education-related legislative proposals, including the Education and Opportunity in Education tax credit program, which would allow corporate and individual taxpayers to give money to a scholarship-granting organization for students attending nonpublic schools.
Other proposals discussed will include the scholarship, or voucher, program that would give students in underperforming schools the opportunity to attend the school of their choice, and a state income tax deduction and credit expansion that would help low-income families cover education-related expenses.
Next, a rally in the Capitol rotunda will focus generally on parental choice in education with a specific focus on three school choice initiatives. This event is open to the public with invitations sent to nonpublic school communities. The rally will feature speeches from prominent lawmakers, nonpublic school advocates and students who have benefited from a nonpublic school education.
A highlight will be musical entertainment by several student ensembles in the rotunda. In the north Capitol corridor, near the rotunda, nonpublic school displays will be available for viewing.
Finally, attendees will make pre-scheduled visits to the offices of their local senators and representatives to ask for their support of programs and services that sustain and enhance nonpublic schools and parental choice in education.
How to register
This event is sponsored by the Minnesota Catholic Conference, the Minnesota Chapter of the Council for American Private Education and the Minnesota Independent School Forum. It is an important event to attend for all those who have a vested interest in nonpublic education.
MCC will continue efforts to build its new Parent Advocacy Network after the event. For a Minnesota Nonpublic Schools’ Day at the Capitol schedule, event registration details, or to join the new Parent Advocacy Network, visit the MCC website’s education page (http://mncc.org/
Peter Noll is education director of the Minnesota Catholic Conference, which coordinates the Catholic Church’s public policy activities on behalf of Minnesota’s bishops.