May 19, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

School Choice Should Enter the Conversation

As the father of a yeshiva high schooler, I’ve been swimming in the tuition assistance cholent for the past decade. Over the last few weeks, I’ve tried to follow the well-reasoned points/counterpoints on this subject in the pages of The Jewish Link, but I have to admit one thing puzzles me. Why has there not been a single mention—not one!—of the obvious solution which would largely, if not entirely, wipe this problem out of our community for good? Of course, I’m referring to school choice.

Perhaps it’s a political live wire that no one wants to touch. But the prospect of school choice has emerged from the shadows in recent years, to the point that, as you are reading this, it is a major element in the current round of congressional negotiations on COVID-19 assistance. This is a natural outgrowth of the hesitancy of many public schools to open in September and of teachers to return to work. Parents are looking for alternatives and for financial help to afford those alternatives, which is exactly what we’ve been looking for, for ages!

Wouldn’t a concept that could end this crazy tuition double-billing (once to the township and once to the school) be worth at least some consideration? Shouldn’t school choice advocacy be a major priority for every yeshiva in the region?

School choice can save our schools, expand our communities, and even provide an option for less observant Jewish families to consider a yeshiva day school education for the first time. It is no longer an obscure notion without any serious chance of universal realization. Regardless of our individual political persuasions, it’s something we should all get behind.

Yank Poleyeff
West Orange
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