Ajcommittee Urges Nixon to Consider Plans for Implementation of Dual Enrollment

The American Jewish Committee has called on President Nixon to “convene concerned, national educational and religious leaders to consider together plans for possible implementation of ‘dual enrollment’ programs” as a means of meeting the financial problems of parochial schools. Philip E. Hoffman, AJCommittee president, explained that the dual enrollment concept, also known as “shared time,” “permits religious school pupils to attend nearby public schools, on a part-time basis, for instruction in non-religious subjects such as mathematics, science, industrial arts, home economics and physical education.” Hoffman made his suggestion following President Nixon’s statement, last Tuesday evening at the annual Knights of Columbus dinner in New York, that he would seek to reverse the current trend toward closing financially troubled parochial schools. Earlier, on June 28, the U.S. Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional for states to reimburse Roman Catholic and other church-related schools for instruction in non-religious subjects. The Court thereby invalidated state laws in Rhode Island and Pennsylvania that had provided for supplementation of teachers’ salaries in parochial schools, provided the teachers taught only “secular subjects.”

In asking the federal government to consider seriously the idea of “dual enrollment,” Hoffman pointed out that this concept is already authorized as a special educational arrangement under Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965. “The advantages of ‘shared time’ are apparent.” Hoffman said. “Religious schools can be relieved thereby of the appreciable financial burden of teaching secular courses, thus enabling them to concentrate on sectarian instruction. By bringing more religious school pupils into public schools, racial and religious integration can be significantly advanced and, hopefully, intergroup understanding as well. Such a program should also help to develop broader community support for the pressing needs of both public and private education.” Hoffman said that, “While the American Jewish Committee is opposed to the use of public funds to aid religious schools of all faiths, it is deeply concerned about quality education for all American children and is sympathetic to the predicament of all denominational schools and of parents who wish to utilize them.”

NEXT STORY