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The Notre Dame ACE Academies provide a Catholic education of the highest quality to as many children as possible.

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The Catholic Case for Parental School Choice

The term “parental school choice” can be defined as the authority that parents exercise in making decisions where their children will attend school. Parents exercise this authority, for example, by moving to neighborhoods with strong public schools or sending their children to charter or private schools. The more narrow term “school choice” is often used in the context of state funded programs designed to help parents exercise this authority and manage the costs of private education.

The 1994 edition of the Catechism of the Catholic Church highlights the social justice dimension of publicly supported school choice, stating, “Parents have the right to choose a school for them which corresponds to their own personal convictions” and “public authorities have the duty of guaranteeing this parental right.” (CCC #2229) Principles for Educational Reform in the United States (1995) asserts that “parental rights are natural and inalienable and should not be limited to the economically privileged.”

Ten years after Principles for Education Reform, the USCCB expanded on the importance of ensuring the accessibility of K-12 Catholic schools in Renewing Our Commitment to Catholic Schools in the Third Millennium: “[It is the] responsibility of the whole Catholic community,” said the Conference, “to strive towards the goal of making Catholic elementary schools available, accessible, and affordable to all Catholic parents and children.”

ACE recognizes that public-private partnerships, like vouchers and scholarship tax credit programs, will greatly expand the capacity of urban Catholic schools to sustain educational excellence, especially in low-income communities. Notre Dame ACE Academies will be established in geographic areas where legislation supports families who choose to educate their children in Catholic schools via tax credit or direct scholarship programs. In this way, the Notre Dame ACEAcademy model encourages support for these programs, which the bishops have long argued “will help parents to fulfill their responsibility in educating their children” (Renewing our Commitment).

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