Today, Nathan Diament, director of the Orthodox Union’s Institute for Public Affairs, joined with other leaders of the private and parochial school communities in a meeting with Secretary of Education Rod Paige and other senior federal education policy officials. This was the first meeting between leaders of the non-public school community and the Secretary.
Secretary Paige expressed his recognition and appreciation of the critical role America’s parochial and private schools play in educating America’s children. He underscored the fact that President Bush shares this commitment deeply as well. Paige committed himself and his Department to increasing its support for this partnership wherever possible and invited the assembled leaders to share their thoughts with him and his senior staff on a continuing basis.
Nathan Diament impressed upon the Secretary the need for him to use his bully pulpit to remind state and local education officials that they ought to view non-public schools as partners and that federal education programs provide many opportunities for participation by non-public students and professionals. Along with other leaders present, Diament raised concerns about aspects of the education legislation currently pending in congress that do not reflect this partnership concept. The Secretary invited Diament and his colleagues to work with him and his Department to address these concerns as the legislation moves toward completion.
After the meeting, Diament stated that “this first meeting with Education Secretary Paige was very warm and productive. I believe it is the beginning of a close working relationship between the American non-public school community and this Department.”