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.