Teach NJS, a nonpartisan organization advocating for government funding in nonpublic schools, held a meet and greet for state legislators, students, and parents of Hillel Yeshiva in Ocean Township on Friday. Dubbed “Schools in Session,” the event hosted Senator Vin Gopal, Assemblywoman Joanne Downey, and Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling, who discussed community advocacy at the event.
“We will be working very hard to make sure schools are secure and safe,” Senator Gopal said following a tour of the school, in which he and his colleagues sat in on a holocaust study class and heard from students and parents about tuition issues. “We are looking forward to working with you.”
Teach NJS is the most impactful advocacy group for nonpublic schools in New Jersey. In 2017, it helped increase funding to nonpublic schools in New Jersey by 18 percent, translating to almost $40 million in funding across the state. “Schools in Session” is an ongoing statewide program, which Teach NJS created to promote student advocacy, showcase the impact of government funding after it’s deployed, and thank politicians who have supported important legislation.
“We thank these legislators for taking the time to visit with our students. This is an invaluable opportunity for the community to build relationships with lawmakers, and thank them for their support,” said Teach NJS Executive Director Josh Caplan. “This visit is also an opportunity to showcase the importance of the funding these schools receive.”
Keith Krivitzky, of The Jewish Federation in the Heart of New Jersey, said, “We are proud to be a partner with Teach NJS. All students, whether in public or private schools, should have basic services, whether security or technology support or health services. We look forward to continue educating our community – and our legislators and leaders – about these issues.”
“Schools and parents are still absorbing a large chunk of costs, particularly in security, nursing, and technology. In the coming legislative budget session, our hope is that the progress we’ve made towards parity with public schools in these funding areas carries over. In the meantime, it’s extremely meaningful that Teach NJS can engage students with legislators, showing them firsthand how state government operates,” said Ralph D. Hanan, a prominent community member and Teach NJS leader who spearheaded the event
“It was so important for us to come in and see what you are learning in the class room, and also see what is still needed,” Assemblywoman Downey said. Her colleague, Assemblyman Houghtaling, added, “my highlight today was seeing the same kids recognize me from my last visit.”
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