April 17, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Teach NJ Secures Funding to Bring Public School STEM Teachers to Nonpublic Schools

By Hannah Kirsch

Teach NJ, a project of the Orthodox Union, advocates for equitable government funding for nonpublic schools. The organization uses grassroots activism to create real change in over 90% of yeshivot nationwide. Most recently, Teach NJ initiated a program that allows public school educators to teach in yeshivot and be compensated by the state at no cost to our schools.

For the upcoming school year, Teach NJ announced that the New Jersey state government will cover the cost of bringing over 90 public school STEM teachers to 38 nonpublic schools. The award includes double the number of teachers and a 350% increase in financial benefit to the community from previous years. With the new $1.6-plus million in funding, yeshiva and day school students will enjoy more than 200 STEM courses.

Rabbi Eliezer E. Rubin, Klatt family rosh yeshiva and head of school at Joseph Kushner Hebrew Academy/Rae Kushner Yeshiva High School (Kushner) in Livingston, spoke to The Jewish Link about this latest development, and noted the school’s appreciation for the new funding. Kushner was one of the first schools to take advantage of this opportunity, and next year will be bringing eight new teachers from the public school community who offer proven talent and experience.

Rabbi Rubin shared his enthusiasm for the “high-quality teachers who can share best practices and get insight into and benefit from each teacher’s scope of engagement in the science community through competitions, after-school programs, enrichment activities and classes.”

He also noted that teachers will be coming in to teach core subjects as well as after-school learning programs. “There is a nice synergy between public school teachers and the current full-time staff, which expands the yeshiva’s network.”

Also benefiting from the new funding is YBH of Passaic. In a conversation with The Jewish Link, Rabbi Yaakov Rabinowitz, middle school general studies principal, noted the impact this funding has had on the STEM department. Initially the yeshiva had difficulty acquiring new teachers from the public schools. However, Rabbi Rabinowitz and the administration were determined to take advantage of this opportunity for the school’s students, and this year, they brought in a highly qualified math teacher. Well-regarded and talented, the new instructor has filled a void and done wonders for YBH..

To Rabbi Rabinowitz, this STEM funding is a win-win for the students, teachers, schools and parents. He gives tremendous hakarat hatov to Teach NJ for all they do to improve our schools and, in fact, recently had the opportunity to offer his appreciation personally to the Teach NJ staff. After complimenting this latest program for STEM funding, he was told that they are “trying for even more; whatever we can do to help is our mandate,” which the rabbi believes is a remarkable quality of the organization.

For more information about Teach NJ and its programs and projects, visit https://teachcoalition.org/nj/


Hannah Kirsch is the summer intern coordinator and a rising senior at Binghamton University.

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