Sunday, May 20, 2012

Whose schools are they?

Over at the blog Breathing Space, I read an article about the moral cost of Jewish Day School.  The article stated that because of the rising cost of tuition, families have to work longer hours, spend less time with their kids, and are steered away from professions that do not draw six-figure salaries.  Some families even choose to have fewer kids.
Of course, all of this falls into the old news department.  Tuition is high, and will continue to rise even in a down market.  Families spend less time with their kids and are more stressed out.  Usually, after bringing up all these downsides to the high cost of tuition, the half-cocked solutions come out of the woodwork.  Usually someone mentions vouchers (without realizing that the state will not give money without major state strings.)  Someone else mentions community funding.  This is one solution that people like.  Give your maaser money to the schools, and keep them afloat, so that we can educate klal Yisrael and keep it going.
Which brings me to the question--whose schools are they?  Are Jewish day schools and yeshivas a community resource, to be funded and utilized by the community at large?  Or are they private institutions, able to cherry-pick students on the basis of grades, family reputation, or hashkafa?
Judging by my experience, I'd have to go with the latter.  And, if I'm right, then I have to say this: suck it up and deal.  If you want to act like a private country club, fine.  However, you then can't turn around and cry poverty, insisting that everyone in the area pay your bills.  If my kid isn't good enough for you, then neither is my money.  And, after what happened, it will be a cold day in hell before I support institutional day schools.


  1. This post hits home for me. I work 6 days a week to ensure I can make all my targets including the increasing tuitions amounts for my kids. Never mind saving up for their weddings!
    The solution is simple: large community day schools at the elementary and secondary levels where the main body of studies are more generalized like in the public system and with elective courses on the side for special interests.
    But that would never word. Chasidim from clan X would never want their kids in a class with "Modernisher" kids, never mind that the class might be math or English!
    So we continue to run multiple boutique schools that are killing us financially and then we complain about it.

  2. Well, more and more of us are voting with our feet. Homeschooling, public schools with tutoring, charters--there are other options. And there are plenty of us daring enough to go for them

  3. In Queens, I don't think it's such a "get my kid into a school" thing. There are 3 options total: 1 coed school and 2 schools for both genders that aren't co-ed. Obviously, the co-ed school is more modern but the gender neutral schools are pretty much the same and we don't really have chasidim... Actually, there's another school-cheap for the barely affiliated-mainly a kiruv school but I've heard of people sending their kids there.

  4. I thank G-d every day that my family was put in a place where homeschooling became our only logical choice. I wish more people realized that their backs are against the wall and need to make new choices. For many it is literally pikuach nefesh.


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