Film Screenings at Area Catholic Schools to Educate Public about Barriers to School Choice

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Constitutional amendments in 38 states born of anti-Catholic bigotry now harm families practicing wide range of faiths 

BOSTON – Four area Catholic schools will hold public screenings of a new documentary film, “Big Sacrifices, Big Dreams: Ending America’s Bigoted Education Laws,” to be released by Pioneer Institute during National School Choice Week, beginning January 21st, and screened again during Catholic Schools Week, which begins on January 28th.

The film will be shown at Fontbonne Academy in Milton at 6:30pm on January 23rd; Boston College High School at 6:30pm on January 29th; Framingham’s Marian High School at 6:30pm on January 30th; and Bishop Connolly High School in Fall River at 5:30pm on February 1st. Trailers for the film can be viewed online.

“Big Sacrifices, Big Dreams” profiles four American families, two of which are from Massachusetts. Their pursuit of educational opportunity is impeded by so-called Blaine Amendments, which prohibit state money from supporting families sending their children to religiously affiliated schools. There are 38 states with constitutions that contain Blaine Amendments.

“These families pay their taxes,” said Pioneer Institute Executive Director Jim Stergios.  “But, unlike state and federal loans and scholarships which students from around the country can access for higher education, they receive no public accommodations to send their children to the K-12 schools they choose, even though tuition at those schools is often a fraction of the per-pupil cost of public education.”

The screening events will feature Raymond Flynn, former Ambassador to the Holy See and former Mayor of Boston, as well as Catholic school leaders and education policy experts.

“The Know-Nothing, or Blaine Amendments, prevent more than 100,000 families in Massachusetts cities with chronically underperforming schools from receiving scholarship vouchers or education tax credits that would provide them with greater school choice,” said Jamie Gass, Pioneer’s director of the Center for School Reform. “These shameful 19th- and 20th-century amendments insult the integrity of public education; their infamous legacy endures in the constitutions of numerous states.”

The events are open to the public. Light refreshments will be served. Screenings will be held at:

  • January 23: Fontbonne Academy is located at 930 Brook Rd. in Milton.
  • January 29: Boston College High School is located at 150 Morrissey Blvd., in Boston.
  • January 30: Marian High School is located at 273 Union Ave., in Framingham.
  • February 1: Bishop Connolly High School is located at 373 Elsbree Street in Fall River.

About Pioneer

Pioneer Institute is an independent, non-partisan, privately funded research organization that seeks to improve the quality of life in Massachusetts through civic discourse and intellectually rigorous, data-driven public policy solutions based on free market principles, individual liberty and responsibility, and the ideal of effective, limited and accountable government.