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I think that it is necessary to reiterate for the record the statement made by the NCWC because, for one reason or another, many people have misunderstood it:
The Catholic bishops of the United States in their annual meeting reaffirmed their stand against any form of general Federal aid to education that discriminates against children attending nonpublic schools.
In their judgment, the merits of a general Federal aid to education program ought to be determined by an objective study of need and of the possible effects of such aid on America's social structure and institutions.
The bishops unanimously appealed for justice and for an understanding recognition of the rights of such children to participate in any proposed program of aid.
As to the question of Federal aid as a national policy, the NCWC has declined to take a position because the issue is one in which all people have legitimate differences and convictions. All that we ask is that the people become informed on the issues and then make a prudent judgment. NCWC feels, however, that a bill would be discriminatory if it does not include all children and specifically excludes some because of their religious convictions. We oppose this type of discrimination as forcefully as we opposed discrimination along racial lines.
Earlier comments of previous witnesses, Senator, were very much in point and we appreciated what you said.
We are convinced that there are legitimate and constitutional means of including in Federal aid children attending church-related schools. To put it positively, we are in favor of upgrading the educational standards of our country. If this can only come about by Federal assistance and encouragement, then this assistance and encouragement should include every American school-age child. Any program that excludes millions of children in nonpublic schools from the possibility of participating in this educational upgrading can be selfdefeating and, in a very real sense, contrary to the American principle of no discrimination because of religion.
This testimony, I realize full well, raises many questions, questions which represent, Mr. Chairman, as you said, the thinking of many citizens who are deeply concerned over freedom of choice in education and who cherish their religious as well as their educational liberties. They want their rights and their defense of these rights to be a zealous concern of government. These problems are soluble, and our faith lies in you legislators who are skilled in the art of government and who certainly possess the ingenuity to work out an equitable arrangement. May I leave with you and members of this subcommittee this final thought. Private schools-denominational and parochial schoolsmeet all the educational requirements of each State; measure up to the highest academic standards; render the same public service as do public schools; provide children with all the tools of citizenship; instill sound patriotism and a deep love of country.
Our position, with its demonstrable relationship to equity and the national interest, is in your hands. We are certain of your capacity to arrive at an equitable and just solution.
Mr. Chairman, I thank you.
Senator MORSE. Monsignor, you always make very able statements before this subcommittee.
I judge that this is your best. This is an exceedingly able statement. I shall not take much time to examine you this morning. The statement speaks for itself.
There are two questions before I turn to the next witness: Would you care to comment upon the so-called shared-time proposals whereby matching grants would be given to the States to meet part-time training in public schools for the parochial school students?
Monsignor HOCHWALT. For about 3 years we have been carrying on some colloquies in this area with other interested groups besides our own. As a matter of fact, within 26 of the 50 States, some experiments, large or small, mostly small, are going along in these areas and we have gone along on a minimal basis as an experiment. The concept of shared time is not ours; it is not an NCWC idea put forward for assimilation by the American people. However, we feel that in these days of stress and strain on education, every possible avenue of some solution should be examined. Consequently, we have been willing to, in a number of places, look at these experiments and participate in them. They are not new in a total sense, they are new in certain emphases put upon them.
For instance, myself, if you will pardon the personal reference, as the schoolboy in Ohio, took some of my courses in the public schoolswoodworking, mechanical drawing, architectural drawing. Also, I took my typing and shorthand in the public high school. These arrangements were made between the private schools and the public schools as early as the teens and have been going forward in certain places in Ohio, Michigan, and other States.
A few experiments have been forthcoming in Pittsburgh, to which Father McDowell can make particular reference if you care to question him on that. Also, some have been going forward in a new way in Wisconsin and Michigan. We are interested in the proposal. A great many evaluations have to be made as to what this would do to a system such as our own. And also what it might do to the public school system. But we have discussed it at considerable length. We have been averaging about three meetings a year for the last 3 years with highly skilled peope who are technicians in the field and on whose judgment we can eventually rely.
So it is a matter of considerable interest to us, Mr. Chairman.
TAX REFORM PROPOSALS
Senator MORSE. I have one other question: We have had proposals made to this subcommittee by various witnesses suggesting that maybe a part answer to the problem, or a major answer to the problem of assisting private schools and the parents of students going both to private and public schools, would be to adopt a tax reform measure which would permit deductions in Federal income taxes of certain fixed sums to be applied toward tuition payments. Do you care to make a comment on that proposal?
Monsignor HOCHWALT. Our files are fairly complete on the topic. We have followed that closely since the original representations made by a committee from Yale University in 1954. I believe. We have
some reservations about what exactly this would mean to the fiscal structure of taxation in America and what it would mean by comparison to the proposed aids now put before both Houses of Congress for public education and these suggested aids which would be perhaps for both or for just one of the school systems.
To us this is a subject that requires a great deal of study. We are, as I was quoted in Time magazine, I believe yesterday, interested enough to pursue our studies along the line. We have not yet arrived at any kind of conclusion as to what kind of assistance this would really mean to us or whether it is wise to restructure to take on a reserve approach to taxation and what the Treasury Department would think of such a reorganization that might be carried forward if these proposals were carried to their logical conclusions. But we will study the problem with anybody who comes forward and try to find some practical applications.
Senator MORSE. Thank you very much.
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