A 1994 study on Catholic Schools, "Lighting New Fires: Catholic Schools for the 21st Century," recommended that "The Catholic School Office...coordinate the formation of the Rhode Island State Catholic Parents Federation that will join the newly-established Office for Catholic School Parent Associations at the United States Catholic Conference...[and that] the Executive Committee of the ... Federation ... monitor the political arena as it pertains to Catholic schools, especially proposed legislation on the local, state and federal levels, and inform the Catholic community about them" (LNF, page 98, #11-14 and 11-15)
The purpose of establishing a RI Catholic School Parents Federation is to coalesce Catholic school parents across the state to advance Catholic education by educating these parents, other constituency groups, and federal, state and locally elected officials about public policy issues that impact our Catholic schools, their students and parents. In the short-term, a primary focus is placed upon:
Provide parents with access to public tax funds through tax credits or deductions, educational opportunity scholarships (vouchers) and/or other programs that will assist those families for whom Catholic tuition is or would be a burden.
The Federation, established in 1997, operates under the authority of the Bishop of Providence, Superintendent of Catholic Schools, the Bishop's Legislative Advisory Committee and the diocesan governmental liaison to the General Assembly.
The board consists of parent volunteers representing the elementary and secondary schools in the Diocese. Each school has a parent liaison who acts to inform, organize and mobilize the school's parents. Every parent of a Catholic school student pays taxes and for every child that attends a Catholic school, more resources are made available for public school teachers and students.
In its brief history, the Federation successfully opposed the state's attempt to pass on the cost of school health programs to our schools, began organizing parent response teams in each school, resolved the issue of inequitable health services in our schools, and expanded the state's "Textbook Loan Program" to include social studies and English books for elementary school students.
Our immediate goal is to expand the existing “Scholarship Tax Credit Bill” in the RI General Assembly.
To become more involved in the RI Catholic School Parents Federation, please contact the Catholic School Office at 401-278-4550.