Lipinski's Resolution Honoring Catholic Schools Passes the House

Today, Congressman Dan Lipinski's resolution, H. Res. 1008, honoring the contributions of Catholic schools and celebrating Catholic Schools Week passed the House of Representatives on a voice vote. Catholic Schools Week, which begins on the last Sunday in January, has been an annual event since 1974, and this year is being celebrated Jan. 31 through Feb. 6.

Congressman Lipinski – who introduced the resolution for the fourth year in a row – paid tribute to the remarkable success of America's Catholic schools and the influence of his own Catholic school education in the following remarks, which he delivered to his colleagues on the House floor prior to the vote.

"As a proud graduate of St. Symphorosa Grammar School and St. Ignatius College Prep, and as a strong supporter of Catholic education, I am honored to sponsor this resolution again this year. Since 1974, Catholic Schools Week has celebrated how Catholic schools have positively impacted our country and has recognized their outstanding contributions in providing a strong academic and moral education, as well as teaching the importance of responsibility to one's family and community.

"The National Catholic Educational Association and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops have provided exemplary leadership in conceptualizing and organizing Catholic Schools Week. This year's theme is timeless in scope and universal in its values: "Catholic Schools – Dividends for Life – Faith, Knowledge, Discipline, Morals."

"This theme perfectly embodies the call of America's Catholic schools – always emphasizing the necessity of a well-rounded educational experience. Nearly 95 percent of Catholic schools have a service program, and the average student completes approximately 80 hours of public service. My desire to serve was fostered by dedicated teachers throughout my formative years at Catholic schools.

"Today, almost 2.2 million elementary and secondary students are enrolled in nearly 7,500 Catholic schools. The graduation rate for Catholic high school students is 99 percent, and 97 percent of Catholic high school graduates go on to college or technical schools. In a country where worrying educational reports have sadly become an annual tradition, these statistics are truly remarkable, and should be greatly commended.

"Catholic schools are known for embracing students from all walks of life and are highly effective at providing excellent educational opportunities for minority students and disadvantaged youth. Almost fifteen percent of students in Catholic schools are not Catholic. 

"In addition to producing well-educated students, Catholic schools save American taxpayers billions of dollars every year by lessening the number of students in already overburdened public schools.

"I was born and raised and live in the Chicago Archdiocese, which still has one of the most successful school systems in the country. More than 96,000 students attend 258 schools. In my district alone, there are seven Catholic high schools and approximately 50 grammar schools, including one of the best in my home parish of St. John of the Cross in Western Springs.

"In recognizing Catholic Schools Week, we pay a special tribute to dedicated teachers and administrators who sacrifice so much, in most cases working for less than they could earn elsewhere. When I come to the floor of this House, I still fondly remember Sister Diane, my Student Congress coach when I was in high school. Throughout the United States, millions of others have similar memories of their dedicated sisters, priests, and lay teachers who gave their hearts and souls to touch the lives of their students.

"Madam Speaker, American Catholic schools deserve our praise, our support, and our gratitude.  I would like to thank everyone who has cosponsored this resolution. And to share our congratulations and support for Catholic schools, I urge my colleagues to pass this resolution."

Click here to read the text of the resolution.

Click here to watch Congressman Lipinski's speech on YouTube.

(Jan. 19, 2010)


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