In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, let’s end bigoted laws that block school choice

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on
LinkedIn
+

This St. Patrick’s Day, join us in calling for an end to bigoted, 19th-century anti-Irish and anti-Catholic legal barriers that block access to better schools for hundreds of thousands of underprivileged children. “Big Sacrifices, Big Dreams: Ending America’s Bigoted Education Laws,” a Pioneer Institute documentary production, seeks to raise public awareness about these constitutional amendments that deprive the neediest children in 38 states of the opportunity to attend private or parochial schools. Here in Massachusetts, the Anti-Aid or “Know-Nothing” amendments prevent more than 100,000 urban families with children in chronically underperforming districts from receiving scholarship vouchers and education tax credits that would open access to additional educational alternatives.

Below, you can watch the film, which features a powerful message from Raymond Flynn, former Ambassador to the Vatican and three-term Boston Mayor. Read coverage of the film in The Boston Pilot, and view Pioneer videos and commentary related to previous events and research on this topic.

Video: Big Sacrifices, Big Dreams: Ending America’s Bigoted Education Laws 

“If I were the Archbishop, I’d stand up in the pulpit of all these churches and I’d organize these parents. And I’d say, your children deserve a good education… We need to get the people who represent you in the Legislature, in City Hall, the State House, and Congress to start voting in the best interests of your children and your family.”

Raymond Flynn, Former Ambassador to the Vatican and Mayor of Boston 

VIDEOS

Boston Herald

Op-Ed: Modest proposal for school choice

By Charles Chieppo and Jamie Gass
Friday, March 17, 2017

St. Patrick’s Day is a time to remember perhaps the greatest piece of satire ever written in the English language. Irishman Jonathan Swift’s “A Modest Proposal” brilliantly skewered the heartless attitudes of 18th-century British aristocrats with an essay about easing the economic troubles of Ireland’s poor by allowing the Irish to sell their children as food for the rich.

The genius of “A Modest Proposal” was Swift’s ability to vividly evoke the desperate condition of the masses while appearing to focus solely on the convenience of the wealthy. “A young healthy child well nursed,” he wrote, “is, at a year old a most delicious, nourishing, and wholesome food, whether stewed, roasted, baked, or boiled. …”  

Few in the 21st century would be openly callous about the plight of the needy, but we still deny poor and minority Massachusetts citizens the educational opportunity that is the key to upward mobility. Read more… 

The Pilot:


Documentary explores amendments that limit school choice
A new documentary produced by the Boston-based think tank Pioneer Institute argues against state constitutional amendments that prohibit government aid to private educational institutions, and explores the history of such amendments. Read more…

 

The Forgotten AmericansBy Raymond Flynn

The past week, I spoke at four outstanding Catholic High Schools in Massachusetts about the importance of Catholic education, with parents, clergy and students. It was so good to hear many positive stories about how well children are doing in our Catholic schools. But I also got the opportunity to listen to people talk about other issues of deep concern to them and their community like public safety, gangs and drugs. Read more

 


All Children Should Have Access To High Quality Education

By Tom Birmingham

Over the last century or more it would be difficult to understand Massachusetts without appreciating the central role that Catholic education has played in the commonwealth’s historical, political, economic, and cultural landscape. Of course, going back to the early-to-mid 19th century, Massachusetts’ Catholics dealt with infamous bigotry and intolerance, which find their worst expression in two so-called anti-aid amendments to the Massachusetts Constitution that block public dollars from going to private and religious school families.

Read more in The Pilot, The Salem News, The Eagle-Tribune, The Berkshire Eagle, the Fall River Herald News, The Taunton Daily Gazette, The Providence Journal, the New Bedford Standard-Times, and The Lowell Sun.

Witnessing Hope: Cristo Rey Schools & Catholic Education

Pioneer Institute held a forum on November 13, 2017, on Pope St. John Paul II’s commitment to world youth, and a successful model of K-12 Catholic education in America. Featured speakers included George Weigel, who wrote a bestselling two-volume biography of Pope St. John Paul II; former Ambassador to the Vatican and three-term Boston Mayor Raymond Flynn; Jeffrey Thielman, co-founder of the Cristo Rey Network of Catholic schools; and more.

“The Life You Save: Catholic Schooling & the Liberal Arts in the 21st Century” 

Pioneer Institute held a forum on November 14, 2016, on the current status of K-12 Catholic education in America and the role of classical liberal arts learning for all. Featured speakers included Father George W. Rutler, pastor of the Church of St. Michael in New York City, and EWTN host; Paul Elie, a senior fellow with the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs at Georgetown University; Anthony Esolen, Dante scholar and Providence College Professor of English Literature; Mary Ann Glendon, Harvard University Learned Hand Professor of Law and former U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See; and more.

“Move This Portrait: The Know-Nothings’ Governor and  Barriers to School Choice”

In 2016, Pioneer Institute called on state leaders to move a portrait of Gov. Henry Gardner, a member of the nativist “Know-Nothing” party, from its position next to the main entrance of the Massachusetts House of Representatives. As Pioneer’s Jim Stergios argued at a forum on this topic, in a letter to the Governor and other state leaders, and in a Boston Globe op-ed:

“Removing Know-Nothing Governor Gardner’s portrait will not cleanse Massachusetts of its bigoted past, but moving it to a less prominent location is a start. More important would be increasing parents’ access to excellent school options, including private schools. The need is there, the costs are easily managed and there is public support for the change. The time is long overdue to expel the Know-Nothings’ anti-aid amendments from the Massachusetts Constitution.”

The State House forum also featured Raymond Flynn, former Mayor of Boston and Ambassador to the Vatican, Gerard Robinson, resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and former commissioner of education in Florida and Virginia’s secretary of education; Former New Hampshire State Representative Jason Bedrick, a policy analyst with the Cato Institute; and Grace Cotter Regan, head of school at St. Mary’s in Lynn.

 

Related Research

Get Updates on Our School Choice Research

Related Posts

Closing Catholic Schools in Massachusetts Can Be Avoided

/
The Archdiocese of Boston recently announced that after operating…

Celebrating National Charter Public Schools Week

Great charter public schools are about great leadership. Charters…

Op-ed: State should expand METCO

/
By Cheryl Brown Henderson and Jim Stergios The Boston Globe…

Join Us Mar. 20: "A Fire You Can't Put Out": Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, Civil Rights, & School Choices

/
In the aftermath of a contentious electoral season, highlighted…

Study Debunks False Claims Against Charter Public School Funding and Demographics

Charter schools in Massachusetts educating more special needs…

Celebrating School Choice Week: Vocational-Technical Education

/
On Day 4 of National School Choice Week, we're shining the spotlight…

Celebrating School Choice Week: Digital Learning

On Day 3 of National School Choice Week, we explore opportunities…

Celebrating School Choice Week: The METCO Program

/
On Day 2 of National School Choice Week, we take a closer look…

Celebrating School Choice Week: Charter Public Schools

/
Today marks the beginning of National School Choice Week, an…

Study: MA Charter Public Schools Have Lower Attrition Rates Than Sending School Districts

Charters also seeing higher special needs enrollment, helping…

Op-ed: Will DeVos avoid the Beltway education trap?

/
By Jim Stergios and Charles Chieppo Read this op-ed online…

Op-ed: Challenge and Opportunity for Catholic Education

/
Given our desire to do as much as we can, especially to help poor urban kids participate fully in the American Dream, we need to provide them with access to school choice options: charter schools; vocational-technical schools; private and parochial schools; and METCO. Choice is what the privileged have for their children. Why shouldn't everyone have access to high quality academic options?

Be informed, especially today

/
Pioneer Institute's core mission is educating the public on policy…

Study Finds Boston Charter Students More Likely to Take and Pass AP Tests

Pass rates for African-American, Latino, and economically disadvantaged…

Cap, Talent Pipeline, And Facilities Funding Among Factors Prohibiting State Charter Sector From Achieving Scale

“Yes” vote on statewide ballot initiative could attract more…

New Video Release: The Time to Act

Today, Pioneer is pleased to present a powerful video about the bigger picture - why the fight to expand charter public schools matters to all of us.