At the recommendation of Agudath Israel of America, the Manhattan High School for Girls has been earmarked for a visit by the Secretary of Education, Betsy Devos this coming Tuesday, May 15.
This is a historic visit as it is the first Orthodox school that she will be visiting.
Agudath Israel has been a strong supporter of Mrs. DeVos, who spent the last three decades focused on giving parents and children expanded opportunities in ediucation.
A delegation from Agudath Israel met with Secretary DeVos in Washington in March 2017. Rather than delivering a speech, Secretary DeVos engaged in a wide-ranging conversation with the group on topics such as school choice, special education, security, and the unique higher education issues faced by rabbinical colleges. Throughout the discussion, Secretary DeVos listened intently, asked pertinent questions and expressed her commitment to focus on policies that best serve students.
“I was very encouraged by her genuine interest in understanding the issues we raised and her commitment to taking our concerns into account when developing policy,” reflected the chairman of Agudath Israel of California, Dr. Irving Lebovics, who brought up issues related to students with special needs.
Secretary DeVos was thanked by Agudath Israel’s national director of state relations, Rabbi A. D. Motzen, for her leadership role in the hundreds of millions of scholarship dollars currently going to students attending the private school of their choice in more than twenty five states. Agudath Israel’s leadership expressed its strong support of President Trump’s pledge to provide $20 billion for school choice and offered to work with the administration and Congress to enact a meaningful program.
“The meeting with Secretary DeVos was quite unique and deeply gratifying,” said Rabbi Abba Cohen, Agudath Israel’s vice president for federal affairs and Washington director and counsel. “The Secretary has an impressive familiarity with our community and the educational challenges we face. For an entire hour, she was fully engaged in discussing possible avenues to addressing those challenges. It was a meaningful dialogue that I am confident will bear fruit over the months and years ahead.”
Mr. Shlomo Werdiger, chairman of Agudath Israel’s board of trustees, summed up the feelings of his fellow board members. “It was clear to everyone that we have a true friend in the Department of Education.”
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