Friday, September 23, 2005

Ted Kennedy Wants to Deny Disaster Aid to Catholic Schools and Students

One of the provisions of President Bush’s aid program for the victims of Hurricane Katrina is federal money to put displaced children in schools in the places they have fled to.

Why is this controversial? Because the aid goes to both public and private schools, and Catholic schools are included.

Who in Washington is out front opposting this? Teddy Kennedy. According to the Washington Post:
Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (Mass.), ranking Democrat on the Senate’s Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, said, “Instead of reopening ideological battles, we should be focused on reopening schools and getting people the help that they need.”
Of course, it would seem that getting displaced kids back in school in whatever places are available and (so far as possible) in the schools they prefer would seem to be “getting people the help that they need.” The U.S Conference of Catholic Bishops observes:
Senator Kennedy said he is “extremely disappointed” that in President Bush’s plan for hurricane relief aid would go to students no matter where they attend school. He’s not half as disappointed as his fellow citizens who see his attitude as discriminating against what amounts to 45 percent of the students in New Orleans, many of them African-American and underprivileged by anyone’s standards.

Catholic schools have been heroic in meeting the needs before them. In Houston, where the school year began in early August, Catholic schools have hired extra teachers and employed volunteers to work with incoming students from Louisiana, where the school year had not even begun when the hurricane struck. They’ve not only taken them in, they’ve gone the extra mile to bring them up to speed. One Jesuit high school, which usually enrolls 900 students, increased its enrollment by 46 percent. It established a second session to accommodate students, even keeping together classmates from the school they left so they would feel less alone.
This, of course, simply underlines what everybody who has been paying attention has long known: liberal Democratic politicians like Kennedy are in fact merely secular liberals, and are’t Catholic in any meaningful sense.

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