Smiling while sitting at her desk in a classroom – portrait

“Parents have the first responsibility for the education of their children.”

Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2223.

The Church has a long history of supporting parents as the first and foremost educators of their children. The Iowa Catholic Conference supports public policies that assist parents in exercising that right.

One of the primary missions of the Catholic Church in Iowa is the education of children. In 1836, ten years before Iowa achieved statehood, the first Catholic school in Iowa was started at St. Raphael Cathedral in Dubuque. Today there are nearly 30,000 students in Catholic schools across the state.

Our schools provide an environment that produces some of the finest graduates in the state and nation. These schools are an important stabilizing force in communities and make a unique contribution to the common good. We believe Catholic schools are among the best anti-poverty programs, offering first-rate education with higher achievement levels, moral truth, and discipline that speak to the development of the whole person.

Among the specific policies that the ICC is working on at the state legislature:

  • Broadening financial assistance to families through education savings accounts, tax credits or other means to allow their children to attend the school of their choice.
  • Expanding tax credits for individuals, businesses, or financial institutions who contribute to a “school tuition organization” that provides scholarships to low- and middle-income children who want to attend a nonpublic school.
  • Equitable participation of nonpublic school children in federal- and state-funded programs.
  • Full funding of public schools for the transportation of nonpublic school students.
  • Continuation of assistance for students enrolled in accredited nonpublic schools through technology and textbook appropriations.
  • Full funding of the Area Education Agencies.
  • On-site special education assistance through the AEAs.

“These first two values of our Catholic schools — academics and atmosphere — produce tremendous benefits for our community. Social scientists tell us that alumni of Catholic schools overwhelmingly go on to college, land better jobs, enter enduring marriages with united families, and take leadership roles in society. Not bad! It seems that if you want to reduce unemployment, poverty, broken families, violence, drugs, and crime, you support Catholic schools!”

Cardinal Timothy Dolan, New York