Tuition Crisis Solution

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  • #595008

    shev143
    Member

    Jewish neighborhoods pay among the highest in real estate tax in the city. A great amount of this money, we will never see any benefit from since its used to pay for Public Schools in our districts.

    YOU ARE ENTITLED TO A FREE EDUCATION. But why should the city give it to you when they see that you can afford to and have been paying to have it all these years.

    THE FACT: The city would not be able to add on the Yeshiva students to their already overcrowded, understaffed Public Schools.

    THE PROPOSAL: If we all line up our children outside the local Public School and demand our children be given a free education like all other citizens. The city would not have a choice but to turn them down and ask that we continue to teach them at their prior schools. The city would then lay out the fees (building, utilities, salaries, etc).

    For this to work, we need large numbers to unite and be ready to register their children in the city schools otherwise they will call our bluff and we go back to the current system.

    Think of all the money that would stay in our pockets.

    #742089

    WolfishMusings
    Participant

    We’ve been through this. This plan would never work.

    First, the New York State Constitution prohibits the public funding of private schools where religion is taught.

    Second, if every yeshiva kid suddenly showed up at the public schools, the city would be mandated to find space for them, not provide funding for private schools (which it can’t – see the State Constitution).

    Third, I believe that the city *can* accommodate all the kids. They may not find seats for them all on day one, but in the span of a few weeks, they will find the space.

    Lastly, the city is making a free education available to you. You are free to enroll your kid in public school at any time. The fact that you (and I) choose not to, does not change the fact that they are making the education available to your kid.

    The Wolf

    #742090

    shev143
    Member

    Then we should attend their schools in large numbers and take over the school making it essentially a Jewish city school. The same way the Spanish, Chinese, blacks dominate entire schools in their districts. We would then have control over how the school is run.

    #742092

    WolfishMusings
    Participant

    Then we should attend their schools in large numbers and take over the school making it essentially a Jewish city school. The same way the Spanish, Chinese, blacks dominate entire schools in their districts. We would then have control over how the school is run.

    Such a plan is legal and, in theory, may work. In practice, however, it won’t, for several reasons:

    First of all, the largest problem you’re going to face is that the public school *still* won’t teach Torah. People are NOT going to pull their kids out of yeshiva and put them in an environment where no Torah is taught… even if it’s free.

    Second, consider the exclusive nature of many yeshivos today. They keep kids out because they don’t fit the exact mold of the school — if the kid wears the wrong kippah, the wrong color shirt, shows any interest in any sports, reads the wrong books, whatever. And this is because the parents in the school want it this way. They don’t want their “Moshe” or “Shlomo” or “Chavi” associating with kids who read Harry Potter or have a television or whatever. They are ultra-concerned about what outside influences their kids are exposed to. Do you *really* think that these same parents are going to enroll their kids in a public school with non-Jews*?

    The Wolf

    * Even if you take control of the school board, you *still* can’t keep non-Jews (or anyone else for that matter) out of your classroom. Your little girl could end up sitting next to a devout Catholic, a Hindu, a Muslim, a strident atheist or a Satanist — and there’s nothing you can do about it.

    #742093

    kgh5771
    Participant

    shev143 – We wouldn’t have control. The School Board has control. All subjects would follow NYC curriculum. Remember “Heather has 2 Mommies”? How about the free distribution of condoms and birth control presciptions? You want that? You want “Holiday parties”? And if you think these schools would be comprised of only “unzerer mentchen”, you’re wrong. Forget about separate sex schools. In fact, little Moishie would be in school with Shaniqua, Achmed, Xian, and Mallory.

    Wolf – I do believe that in theory, it could work. The NYC school system can’t handle the extra load. There are already over 1 million students in the public school system. Classrooms are already overcrowded. And poor-performing schools are being shut down. The Board of Ed doesn’t want us there as much as we don’t want to be there.

    I heard a story a number of years back (don’t know if this is urban legend) about an Orthodox woman whose child needed services for some learning disability. I believe the family lived in a NYC suburb. The child clearly needed the services and the Board was trying to wiggle its way out of providing them. She turned to the group and said, “The child needs the services, and you don’t want to comply. I am the head of my child’s PTA. Tomorrow, I can have the parents of 600 students lined outside these offices, demanding placement of their children in your local schools, and you would have to provide it.” Knowing that she meant business and knowing that they didn’t have the resources for the extra 600 students, they gave her the services that her child needed.

    Trying to add 20,000 (and more) Yeshiva students to the NYC school system could bring some relief to yeshivas. The only reason it wouldn’t work is because we as a people are so badly splintered, that we couldn’t get together to force the City’s hand.

    #742094

    Wolf…good reply on why it would never work….

    Private school is a luxury…

    #742095

    gavra_at_work
    Participant

    I heard a story a number of years back (don’t know if this is urban legend)

    Urban Legend. I think something similar happened in the Five Towns, and the school board ended up being taken over. The threat was probably to take over the board, not the schools.

    Wolf: I was going to post similar regarding the racist attitudes of many co-religionista, but thought better of it. That would apply as well.

    #742096

    WolfishMusings
    Participant

    The NYC school system can’t handle the extra load. There are already over 1 million students in the public school system. Classrooms are already overcrowded. And poor-performing schools are being shut down. The Board of Ed doesn’t want us there as much as we don’t want to be there.

    I believe you’re wrong. But you know something, even if you’re right, it still won’t work.

    First, I believe that the BoE would accept us with open arms. A larger enrollment means larger budgets, more staff, etc. As I said, they may not be able to handle it on day one if we all show up at once, but over the course of a few weeks they’ll get it together.

    Second, even if the Board of Ed does not truly want us, it is not empowered to say “OK, we don’t want you, go back to your schools and we’ll fund you.” The schools are required by law to accept students who come to them for schooling. If they don’t have space, they will have to find space. Secondly, the State Constitution *still* prohibits state funding of religious schools — and that’s not something that the Board of Ed can change.

    The Wolf

    #742097

    shev143
    Member

    Wolf- It is a fact that city schools are overcrowded which is one of the reasons why they are failing. The city would have to construct new buildings to be able to take in ALL the yeshiva students. The city would not want to take on such an expensive project which is why I think they would gladly lease our current functioning Yeshive buildings, allow our students to remain there , and they would cover our tuition costs.

    #742098

    apushatayid
    Participant

    If all the yeshiva students suddenly showed up, the citu would take over the private school buildings, space won’t be an issue. On a more practical note, all religious groups and factions would have to work together. I think snowballs “down under” are a greater likelihood.

    #742099

    WolfishMusings
    Participant

    It is a fact that city schools are overcrowded which is one of the reasons why they are failing. The city would have to construct new buildings to be able to take in ALL the yeshiva students. The city would not want to take on such an expensive project which is why I think they would gladly lease our current functioning Yeshive buildings, allow our students to remain there , and they would cover our tuition costs.

    You don’t seem to understand. It doesn’t matter if the public school system can absorb all the frum kids or not. I think that over time they can but, let’s say for the sake of argument that they can’t. It doesn’t change anything.

    By law, you cannot use public funding to pay for religious schools in New York. It’s in the State Constitution. So, the Board of Ed cannot simply send all of our kids back to yeshiva and say “we’ll pay for it.” It simply cannot happen.

    Or, rather, there might be a way this can happen according to you. Sure, the city might lease our school buildings, but then, if it’s a public school, religion can’t be taught at all. So all that would accomplish is to turn the yeshivas into public schools.

    Your vision of simply having the State pay for yeshivos is illegal under current New York law. So even if the public school system can’t absorb our kids, they will, by law, have to find a way to get it done – and they can’t do it by simply funding yeshivos.

    The Wolf

    #742100

    WolfishMusings
    Participant

    If all the yeshiva students suddenly showed up, the citu would take over the private school buildings, space won’t be an issue.

    The city can’t magically take your yeshiva, turn it into a public school, and still allow religious studies to be taught. It’s illegal in New York.

    The Wolf

    #742101

    shev143
    Member

    Wolf: Point taken. However at least we would be getting the secular studies for free. So it would seriously reduce the tuition by at least half. The city would pay for the building use(rent), desks etc. secular studies salaries, secreteries, electricity…We then would have to have Limudei Kodesh at our own cost.

    #742102

    WolfishMusings
    Participant

    Point taken. However at least we would be getting the secular studies for free

    No, you wouldn’t. The State Constitution is very clear on this. If religion is taught in the school (or if the school is controlled by a religious organization) then *no part* of the school can be funded by state funds — not the secular studies, not the arts and crafts, not the gym, not the electricity, not the rent, not the administrative staff — nothing.

    The Wolf

    (NB: The State Constitution does specify that building inspection and one or two other minor services can be funded — but aside from those few named exceptions, no part of the school can be funded by state dollars.)

    #742103

    kapusta
    Participant

    No, you wouldn’t. The State Constitution is very clear on this. If religion is taught in the school (or if the school is controlled by a religious organization) then *no part* of the school can be funded by state funds — not the secular studies, not the arts and crafts, not the gym, not the electricity, not the rent, not the administrative staff — nothing.

    Dont Yeshivas get funding for books etc? How is that possible?

    *kapusta*

    #742104

    WolfishMusings
    Participant

    Dont Yeshivas get funding for books etc? How is that possible?

    If they do, then it’s through the Federal Government which may make some programs available. The Federal Government is not constrained by the State Constitution. But on the other hand, the Federal Government is not going to pick up the state’s education costs because the Jews decide to flood the schools.

    The Feds may indirectly fund certain activities, but actual funding of education is a state matter, not a federal one.

    The Wolf

    #742105

    HaKatan
    Participant

    Wolf, out of curiosity, if the problem is only the State’s inability to pay anything to a facility that teaches religious studies, then why not (at least for the higher grades, say 6+) have the Yeshiva portion of the education take place in local shuls, and then have the Yeshivos teach only secular studies in their buildings and be fully funded by the State?

    This would probably bring Tuition down to a fraction of what it is now.

    #742106

    m in Israel
    Member

    Actually, textbooks and library books are funding in NYS for private schools through state money. I don’t know all the details, but it is an exception to the non funding of yeshivos. (Certain technology is also funded occasionally by the state). In addition certain services (such as bussing) are funded by the city for private school students. (Education is for the most part funded jointly by state and local government) (A lot of this is due to the strong Catholic lobby in NY for many years.)

    Wolf’s main point however, is the truth. I don’t think the public school system will be happy to have tens of thousands of new students — it doesn’t really mean “larger budgets” — the money has to come from somewhere! (An individual school may receive a larger proportion of funds if it has larger enrollment, but he overall city wide and state wide budgets will not grow just because more kids are enrolled, unless taxes are raised dramatically)

    However it makes no difference if they want us or not — the school system is required to accept us. If it means putting 40 or 50 kids in a class, leasing the now empty yeshiva buildings, turning gyms or offices into classrooms,etc. It would wreak havoc on the system but they’d have no choice. They still could not fund a yeshiva as a yeshiva.

    At most it would put pressure on the state to authorize more charter schools, but the rules covering charter schools would also prevent the type of restrictive admissions most yeshiva parents want, and preclude teaching Kodesh.

    shev you suggested– “Then we should attend their schools in large numbers and take over the school making it essentially a Jewish city school. The same way the Spanish, Chinese, blacks dominate entire schools in their districts. We would then have control over how the school is run.”

    The idea of large numbers of Yeshiva students attending local public schools, with “after school” limudei kodesh was raised a while back in the 5 towns. Particularly in certain areas there, where small, local school boards run the system (and frum Jews can easily vote in their own people), and the non Jews in the neighborhood are of higher socio-economic background, some people were floating this idea. You must realize however, that the public schools would still be required to be exactly that — teaching their own curriculum, accepting everyone, etc. Your “control over how the school is run” would be limited by the applicable laws. Your child would NOT be getting a yeshiva education, even in a school dominated by frum Jews. I think most yeshiva parents will continue to pay whatever is necessary to prevent going back to the era of frum kids going to public school.

    And if you live in the NY city proper, you will continue to have no voice in the school even if frum kids dominate, and your child will still be attending school with the rest of the kids in your neighborhood.

    Bottom line, an unfair as it feels that our taxes fund the schooling of everyone but our own kids, it is a result of our own choice, and major structural legal changes would have to happen for this to change.

    #742107

    gavra_at_work
    Participant

    Way back when (for those that remember), they had two shifts for the public schools. They can simply eliminate the overcrowding caused by yeshiva children by implementing a second shift.

    The Unions would complain, but with the other coice being hiring non union techers, thye would go along.

    #742108

    SJSinNYC
    Member

    About the NYC public school system: my cousin went to an overcrowded NYC school and one way they solved the problem was to have 2 shifts of the school day – I think it was like 7-12 and 12-5? Something like that.

    Also, who here would allow their children to go to a coed school? Raise your hand, but I doubt its more than 1-2 people.

    In Bergen County, NJ a Hebrew Language charter school was just approved. Its called Shalom Academy. Its a hebrew immersion and a Talmud Torah will take place (on or off campus, I’m not 100% sure), and cost very little. Rumor has it the TT is well backed and will cost just a few hundred dollars per child per year. Likely, there will be a before school tefilla club.

    In a place like Bergen County, this has a lot of potential for success. However, it is still a public school and religion will not be a part of it. The school cafeteria will be kosher (or have a kosher option, details are still sketchy), but non kosher food may be brought it. Schools will not be closed on all Yom Tovim, but will obviously not penalize a large portion of the students for taking off.

    I will post a link to their website if the mods will allow it.

    #742109

    WolfishMusings
    Participant

    Wolf, out of curiosity, if the problem is only the State’s inability to pay anything to a facility that teaches religious studies, then why not (at least for the higher grades, say 6+) have the Yeshiva portion of the education take place in local shuls, and then have the Yeshivos teach only secular studies in their buildings and be fully funded by the State?

    The problem with your suggestion is that the same rules apply if the school is under the control of a religious organization, even if religion isn’t taught in the school. So you can’t have a yeshiva split into a “Hebrew School” and a “Secular School” (and have the latter funded by the state) because the Secular School would still be under the control of the religious school/organization. You could, if you wanted to, remove that control, but then you’re opening up the possibility of your kids sitting next to the same people I mentioned above — which would never fly in New York.

    The Wolf

    #742110

    WolfishMusings
    Participant

    In Bergen County, NJ a Hebrew Language charter school was just approved.

    New Jersey, to the best of my knowledge, does not have a Blaine Amendment in it’s constitution. That makes things much easier.

    The Wolf

    #742111

    apushatayid
    Participant

    “The city can’t magically take your yeshiva, turn it into a public school, and still allow religious studies to be taught”

    I was addressing the space, nothing more. They would invoke eminent domain and buy the property at what they felt was market price.

    #742112

    SJSinNYC
    Member

    Wolf, this is purely a public school. The largest difference is that this school is available to Teaneck and Englewood residents. There is a huge percentage of Jewish residents, who will likely try for the lottery (which was complete, I have no idea who got in though). In NYC, you are likely to have much more of a diverse mix of students (for better or for worse), whereas here, you are likely to have a very Jewish population, even if not everyone is observant.

    #742113

    ZeesKite
    Participant

    There is NO solution to this problem. It’s in fact not a problem. It’s not taken into account on Rosh HaShana. It does not conform to standard bookkeeping algorithm.

    #742114

    SJSinNYC
    Member

    ZeesKite, if there is no problem, please explain why Bais Yaakov of Boro Park is in danger of closing due to financial difficulties? Unless you think the closing of Jewish schools is not a problem?

    #742115

    gavra_at_work
    Participant

    SJS: There is a similar (Hebrew Charter) school in Brooklyn. I remember an article from the NYT praising its diversity (some Jewish, some not). A family friend also works at one of these schools somewhere in Florida.

    ZeesKite: See what I have said before from Rav Wolfson about that. Don’t disseminate misconceptions which just hurt those who believe in them.

    Are you Joseph?

    #742116

    ZeesKite
    Participant

    It did not close, did it? In danger? Many others had crises, one after another, they’re sill around.

    #742117

    MDG
    Participant

    We live in Galut. Accept that.

    We live in a benevolent and kind country that allows us to have normal jobs and does not unfairly tax us for being Jewish. Instead of the oppressive “Jew tax” which we used to pay in the “old country”, we pay in other ways today. But we still enjoy (some of) the greatest economic, social, and political freedom of our Galut of the last 2000-2400 years.

    You don’t own your children; you are a custodian for the One Above. It’s His responsibility to provide, our job to ask (daven).

    #742118

    SJSinNYC
    Member

    ZeesKite, other schools HAVE closed (see a recent article about a school in Toronto).

    #742119

    WolfishMusings
    Participant

    So, ZeesKite, I’m assuming then that you would have no problem with every yeshiva upping the tuition cost to $30K per student per year. And no yeshiva should give any tuition breaks either, right? After all, money spent on education isn’t counted in the yearly chesbon anyway, right?

    The Wolf

    #742120

    ZeesKite
    Participant

    Never tried it. Perhaps if they upped the amount, financials would come out differently. Maybe it’s based on the amount of Emunah.

    #742121

    WolfishMusings
    Participant

    Maybe it’s based on the amount of Emunah.

    Please elaborate. I’m not sure I follow what you’re trying to say.

    The Wolf

    #742122

    ZeesKite
    Participant

    Maybe the amount deducted for tuition, in the chesbon on Rosh HaShana, is also based on the amount of emunah one has in this concept. <Don’t know, just speculating.>

    #742123

    tzippi
    Member

    So going back to the original poster et al, in addition to coed classes, are you also willing to put up with sex ed, science, etc. (you’ll just love the lit choices, I’m sure) that the system will provide?

    #742124

    randomone
    Member

    All I know is that something HAS TO CHANGE. i heard that in the five towns a group of parents got together and said they are switching there kids into the lawrence public school. why? because they cant afford the tuition that they demand. One father said its not like he doesnt make that much( over 150k a yr) but he just doesnt have the 15k plus a yr per child. something has to change about this.

    #742125

    WolfishMusings
    Participant

    Maybe the amount deducted for tuition, in the chesbon on Rosh HaShana, is also based on the amount of emunah one has in this concept.

    Ah, I see. So here’s the scenario:

    School Administrator: OK, so for three kids, your tuition this year is $30,000. Would you like to pay by check or charge it to your credit card monthly?

    Parents: Well, actually, we were hoping we could get a break on the tuition. We only earn $40,000 a year, so we really can’t spend 75% of our pre-tax income on tuition. Isn’t there something we can do to work on that amount?

    SA: Well, you know, the Torah teaches us that what you spend on chinuch for your children comes back to you at the end of the year, so really the yeshiva isn’t costing you anything at all.

    Parents: Yes, I know the Torah says that but, at the moment, we just can’t make that sort of financial commitment.

    SA: Ah, obviously you don’t have emunah. I don’t want someone with no emunah in the school.

    The Wolf

    #742126

    SJSinNYC
    Member

    Zeeskite, are you saying that those who pay full tuition have more emunah than those who don’t?

    #742127

    WolfishMusings
    Participant

    So going back to the original poster et al, in addition to coed classes, are you also willing to put up with sex ed, science, etc. (you’ll just love the lit choices, I’m sure) that the system will provide?

    Before I showed her(?) otherwise, the OP lived in a fantasy land where she thought that the government will just throw money at the yeshivos and let them operate as they have been (religious studies, exclusionary entrance policies, etc.) just to keep the kids from flooding the public school system.

    I’ve since disabused her of this notion.

    The Wolf

    #742128

    gavra_at_work
    Participant

    Maybe the amount deducted for tuition, in the chesbon on Rosh HaShana, is also based on the amount of emunah one has in this concept. <Don’t know, just speculating.>

    I can see this:

    Parent: I can’t pay full tuition, I don’t have the money.

    Administrator: It is your own fault! You didn’t have enough Emunah! If you have to raise the funds going door to door, perhaps you will have more Emunah next year!

    LOL, and sad.

    #742129

    charliehall
    Participant

    “It is a fact that city schools are overcrowded which is one of the reasons why they are failing. The city would have to construct new buildings to be able to take in ALL the yeshiva students”

    SOME city schools are overcrowded. There is a high school near me that used to have 6,000 students, but today has under 2,000. The city could quickly reopen wings of buildings like this, and rent lots of portable classrooms.

    “By law, you cannot use public funding to pay for religious schools in New York. It’s in the State Constitution. “

    There was a very serious attempt to change that provision in the NY State Constitution in 1967. A Constitutional Convention, with a Democratic majority (surprising since both houses of the New York legislature were Republican, as was the governor) proposed a package of Constitutional revisions that included the repeal of the obnoxious Blaine Amendment. I have read that a major force behind this was then-Sen. Robert Kennedy, and the Catholic Church went all out for them. But Gov. Rockefeller only offered lukewarm support and most other Republicans actively opposed it. In the end, fewer than 30% of the voters voted for the changes.

    Since then, many politicians have dangled false promises of aid to religious schools. What is needed is a full scale effort to get rid of the Blaine Amendment — and to prepare voters for the higher taxes that would be needed to support religious schools. The latter will be very difficult as property taxes in the suburbs already approach confiscatory levels.

    “one way they solved the problem was to have 2 shifts of the school day – I think it was like 7-12 and 12-5?”

    This was done in Maryland when I was growing up. I avoided the double shifts but my brother drew the second shift.

    #742130

    ☕ DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    If there have been attempts to repeal the Blaine Amendment which failed for political reasons, wouldn’t enrolling our children in public schools (assuming that there really is not enough room) have the effect of forcing the state to repeal it?

    #742131

    charliehall
    Participant

    Daas Yochid,

    Amending the NY Constitution required approval of a majority of voters of the entire state AFTER approval of two consecutive legislative sessions. So if the legislature approved an amendment to allow government support of religious schools tomorrow, the earliest it could take effect would be the 2013-2014 school year.

    Alternatively, a Constitutional Convention could be called; this was what was done in 1967 and in fact the Blaine Amendment seems to have been the single biggest issue they faced. This would have a similar time course.

    But in any case you need voter approval — and no referendum in America has approved direct government funding for religious schools. Most such proposals have failed by landslide margins, as did the NY attempt in 1967. In most school districts in NY, there are ZERO Jewish religious schools so the idea of forcing voters in those districts to vote for religious school funding is ludicrious. Furthermore, the average cost of yeshiva tuition is probably greater than the marginal cost of an additional public school students.

    #742132

    Shmuel294
    Member

    shev:

    what does that mean? do you mean to say that the tuition price inst worth getting your children a good JEWISH education as with everything else- being jewish is expensive! why should we mess with the system?

    #742133

    m in Israel
    Member

    Daas Yochid – In addition to Charliehall’s clear explanation, the time it would take for the process to unfold to the point that the pressure is intense enough for anything to happen would be a few years at the least (all the yeshiva students enrolling, the DOE scrambling to fit them in, the eventual dramatic raise in taxes to fund it, the public outcry, the proposed change in the constitution — you get the idea). Do you really want our yeshiva students spending 3 – 5 years in the public school system? Do you think the majority of parents would do it?

    #742134

    ☕ DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    charliehall,

    Makes sense.

    #742135

    BS”D

    It would not even work for secular studies. You would have forced integration, in which children would be bussed in from parts of the city that are barely safe during daylight hours.

    #742136

    mosherose
    Member

    “This plan would never work. “

    Why are you standing in teh way of helping people with their tuition and getting money to yeshivos? Why dont you work on solving the problm instead of saying we cant do it.

    #742137

    ☕ DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    Mosherose,

    Why are you standing in teh way of helping people with their tuition and getting money to yeshivos? Why dont you work on solving the problm instead of saying we cant do it.

    Good idea. I propose that we solve the tuition problem by only hiring volunteers as teachers, convincing the banks to forgive all mortgages, and utility companies to waive all payments.

    #742138

    m in Israel
    Member

    mosherose — No one is standing in the way of helping people with their tuition and getting money to yeshivos. We are arguing against putting energy and thought into a proposal that has no chance. As far as getting funding from the government is concerned, the only possible (albeit also very unlikely) realistic route is through some sort of tax credit/ tuition vouchers, where the money is given directly to parents to spend on education as they choose.

    However the “tuition crisis”, as with most social dilemmas, is a complex, multi-faceted problem that doesn’t have an easy solution. (If it were simple, it would have been solved already,no?) Thinking that the government is going to come and pay for our yeshivos is a nice dream, but doesn’t help people with their tuition.

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