Yeshiva World News has learned that a number of Brooklyn yeshivas, whose leadership had been supportive of Joe Lazar, have abandoned his candidacy after learning that Lazar accepted the backing of the United Federation of Teachers (UFT), a group that has publicly opposed government funding for yeshivas and has consistently leads the fight against any plans to help yeshiva parents.
With yeshiva parents struggling with the rising costs of tuition, community leaders are questioning how Lazar could accept the endorsement of an organization that is based on an anti-yeshiva and anti-tuition-paying parents platform. Said one yeshiva leader who requested anonymity, “Because of Assemblyman Dov Hikind’s insistence, we initially pledged our support to Joe. We don’t want to upset Dov, but we are quietly telling our parents to vote for David Greenfield today because of his record fighting for yeshivas and against the Teacher’s Unions.”
What’s more, suddenly Lazar’s statements that he did not agree with Greenfield’s advocacy for tuition tax credits or Greenfield’s plan for free door-to-door transportation for yeshiva parents seem conveniently like the positions traditionally taken by the powerful Teachers Unions.
The Teachers Unions, led by the UFT, are public enemy number one of yeshiva parents in New York. When the State Legislature was considering implementing several measures that would directly benefit both yeshiva parents and our community’s mosdos, it was the UFT that led the effort to defeat the proposals. UFT also rallied in Albany in opposition to the pro-yeshiva legislation, launched a massive advertising campaign denouncing the legislation, and sent thousands of letters to lawmakers expressing their outrage at the proposals. When Governor George Pataki put forth a plan involving tuition tax credits, which puts money directly back into the pockets of yeshiva parents, the president of the UFT called it a “terrible proposal.” Most recently, sources say that the Teachers Unions were responsible for killing a proposal this year that would have provided many yeshivas in the community with TAP funding – tuition assistance for students in yeshiva gedolas in New York.
The UFT is now actively supporting Joe Lazar’s campaign and making phone calls to its members to encourage them to vote for Lazar. According to several people that received these calls, the calls criticize Greenfield for his support of private and charter schools and ask union members to vote for Lazar instead.
This has led many parents to question why the UFT has gotten involved in the Lazar campaign and is so interested in helping him. According to one yeshiva parent who is active in the Boro Park community, “If Joe Lazar was actually planning to fight for the rights of yeshiva parents, it is extremely doubtful that this organization would have supported his candidacy.”
(YWN Desk – YWN)