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Catholic Schools Foundation, Pioneer Institute hold discussion on school choice case


Jamie Gass, director of the Center for School Reform at The Pioneer Institute for Public Policy Research, speaks at a Jan. 23 informational breakfast on the Supreme Court case Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue. Pilot photo/courtesy Catholic Schools Foundation

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BOSTON -- On Jan. 23, the Catholic Schools Foundation (CSF) and Pioneer Institute for Public Policy Research hosted an informational breakfast to discuss the upcoming U.S. Supreme Court case regarding school choice throughout the country.

The U.S. Supreme Court heard Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue on Jan. 22. This potentially landmark case could end anti-Catholic legal barriers to public funding for religious school parents in nearly 40 states. The Court's decision will test the limits of church and state separation, and could reshape the school choice landscape.

Pioneer Institute's Jamie Gass presented the history of Blaine Amendments and the likelihood of expanded school choice in Massachusetts. These anti-aid amendments prohibit families from receiving education vouchers and education tax credits that would grant them opportunities for a better education. Many of these families -- religious or not -- see Catholic schools as the only viable alternative to failing public schools in the inner-cities.

Gass is Pioneer Institute's director of the Center for School Reform. At Pioneer, he has framed, commissioned, and managed over 100 research papers and numerous policy events on K-12 education reform topics. Gass speaks on academic standards, school choice options, and school accountability at events across the country.

"This Supreme Court ruling will have an impact on what we do because Catholic schools were essentially the first school choice option for so many families," said CSF Executive Director Mike Reardon.

"This has the potential to eliminate the financial burden for thousands of families who can't access their preferred educational experience for their children," Reardon added.

The CSF is a 501(c)(3) non-profit dedicated to providing scholarship and programmatic aid to low-income families in Eastern Massachusetts. More information on this Supreme Court case can be found at csfboston.org/pioneerbreakfast or at pioneerinstitute.org.

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