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Sunday, August 20, 2006

The Buck Stops Here

First of all, I would like to thank my readers and commentators, especially Dr. Nachum Klafter, for discussing minimum tuitions. Of course, I should also thank Dr. Klafter's friend Anon1 who brought him here. Judging by the number of comments (the most I've ever had), it is obvious that tuitions and minimum tuitions are subject of interest. I will be putting up another post placed by a Former Executive Director this week.

But, for now, I want to discuss a subject that is really a related conversation, which I will call "The Buck Stops Here."

Recently, I overheard a conversation. A mother who had just received a staggering (full) tuition bill for 1st or 2nd grade is apparently is talking about alternatives, in this case public school. I am in no position to comment or speculate about their household's financial position or their ability to "afford" another decade of tuition. I do know they have already paid 25 years of tuition (most likely full tuition) for their other children, and can imagine that their endurance to continue paying another decade's worth of tuition is wearing them thin.

What I do want to discuss is the (scary) possibility that some of these full tuition or almost full tuition paying parents will actually follow through with their ideas and take their money out of an already strained system.

Every "product" has a price ceiling where "consumers" are no longer willing to pay for such a product. And, every consumer's breaking point is different. Of course, this should come as no surprise-it is basic economics. But, somehow, when it comes to Jewish Education, I think we would like to believe that Orthodox parents will keep paying what is asked of them and that there will be scholarships for those in need. It certainly is a testament to the value our communities place on Jewish Education that there are families paying $25,000, $50,000, or even $70,000 (plus) a year in K-12 tuition alone. But, despite the fact that the ceiling is high, we can't assume that their ceiling doesn't exist.

I don't know where the price ceiling is for the broad base of tuition paying Orthodox parents. I think it is extremely important for each school to know where their "clientele's" breaking point lies. I can only imagine that many schools are closing in on that ceiling (and not just because of this single overheard conversation).

So, I figure I will ask the difficult question: Where is your price ceiling is? Maybe you don't have one. Maybe you do have one. Or, maybe you are like me, and you don't know where your ceiling is (but know that you do have .

I'm not sure that a price ceiling can be stated in terms of dollars since that figure can change with time. Maybe your price ceiling is better stated in other terms: willingness or limits to working more hours or extra jobs, willingness or limits to amounts of debt financing, willingness or unwillingness to engage in family planning, willingness or limits to frugality, etc, etc, etc.

While I am concerned about people of limited means having to opt out of a Yeshiva education for their children, I am just as concerned that people who have reached their limits will opt out, leaving the current system in a state of collapse (as opposed to the current "crisis.")

I welcome anonymous comments. But, please, if you are commenting anonymously pick a number (Anon1, Anon2, Anon3, etc.)

30 comments:

mother in israel said...

I recently posted about tuition costs in Israel. Sure they are less but salaries are lower too. This summer I considered pulling my younger children (K and grade 5 this year) out of school and homeschooling them. I am not happy with the education my older boys have gotten in high school. I am not happy with the private elementary school although I was initially.

If I as the mother of young children would need to go out to work to pay tuition I would probably pull my older children out. But the bottom line for me is whether the education i.e. the curriculum, the quality of the teachers, the resources justify the expense. Am I getting my money's worth from the tuition expense? Or should I take that money and pay myself and perhaps a limudei kodesh tutor to do it? I will say that I don't plan to send my younger children to a private school. I only sent one because of transition problems in the local public religious school. But public school is not an option here for high school boys.

queeniesmom said...

Our current tuition bill for 3 elementary school children is $31,000. Unless my salary or my husband's goes up dramatically in the next few years, we are reaching our ceiling. I don't know what we will do as we don't have parents that we can turn to (one parent lives w/us and we support that parent). As we both work, I doubt we will get assistance. I would hate to take the kids out of their school but it may come to that. Where we would enroll them would be an interesting question; I'm not sure what our options will be.

Moving is out of the question due to our jobs and aforementioned parent, so we are stuck. I wish I could be more hopeful about the situation but I don't see an end to the tuition spiral.

Anonymous said...

I believe on average, that families have reached the ceiling that they can pay in tuitions.

There are 3 ways that Yeshivas can survive. By increased tuitions, increased fundraising, or by cutting expenses. Assuming that tuitions are just about topped out, Yeshivas will either have to become fundraising machines, or we start to see services being cut. I hope it wont come to that.

HHH

SephardiLady said...

HHH-What services are you willing to see cut is an idea for a future post of mine. I think you just gave the lead in.

Chaim B. said...

When our girls were younger we homeschooled for about half a year and they gains they made were enormous. The problem is unlike the Christian right community where homeschooling is accepted, the Jewish frum world sees it as an abberation. This is why I personally am reluctant to take the plunge and keep at it as long as we can still pay tuition (my wife is convinced homeschooling is the better option). However, with the rise of tuition costs and the realization that you get very little bang for your $ (depending on the child), I think the tide will very slowly begin to turn and non-traditional options will by necessity become more acceptable. Ideas like charter schools, cooperative schools, etc. need to be explored. I disagree with your fear of the system collapsing - the only way real change will occur is if the system breaks down entirely. The notion that it is acceptable to place a 30k burden on parents is absurd. Get together a few motivated parents who are willing to split the time between them, rent a room somewhere, and you can educate 20 kids for a fraction of what yeshivos charge and do a better job doing it.

MRN said...

Honestly I have know idea how a yeshivish person with many children could possibly homeschool all of his or her children simultaneously. In the yeshivish system, boys begin learning with a rebbe starting at age six. How many fathers have jobs where they can take six full hours a day to daven and learn with a single child. As a woman, I am simply not capable of that kind of teaching (never learned it myself). If there is more than one school-age boy in the family, the problem is compounded. Then add any girls into the mix, plus any young children who need constant care. In my opinion it is just not humanly possible in a large yeshivish family to undertake homeschooling all the children. So, as a member of this group, our family has no breaking point. We will always be sending to the Orthodox Jewish school system.

However, I can see where homeschooling or afterschooling is a tempting option for those who are Modern Orthodox, living outside of the NYC borders, and well-educated themselves. If you are outside the Rebbe/BY system, it is alot easier to provide the kind of education you seek for your children.

MRN said...

PS- I want to add that our children's schools are overfilled and overflowing. One school alone is short 13 classrooms this year. So although homeschooling is an intriguing suggestion by and for some Jews, the vast majority seem to be sticking with the Orthodox system, as flawed as it is. As bitter as some of the most outspoken individuals on the internet seem to be about this issue, the fact remains that the schools around here won't be missing those students who are homeschooled as there were no seats for them in the first place.

SephardiLady said...

Chaim B-I know a number of homeschooling families and I think they have all made great strides with their children. I have friends who have homeschooled in the past or are homeschooling currently. A friend of mine just made the plunge, and I think she will do great at it.

There are so many options and "homeschool" is really a misnomber. For high school students, general education could be taken care of at the community college level. Different parents could group themselves together and spend three hours a week teaching math, science, writing, speaking, etc. At the elementary school level, children are self-motivated in general and tend to learn by doing and only need guidance, a la Montessori style.

I am certainly not qualified to speak about Limudei Kodesh, but I'm sure there are plenty of options and as it is, I know some Rebbes who have hosted groups of homeschooling boys for a fraction of the cost of putting them in Yeshiva.

MRN-I think the myth about homeschooling is that it is an "all day" activity. Those I know who are or have homeschooled will admit it requires a tremendous amount of energy. But, there is an incredible amout of time wasted in school, and most homeschooling parents I know don't spend anywhere near 6 hours, certainly not doing one-on-one activities. I believe that you are correct about large and growing families with children spanning many ages being a huge barrier.

You must live in NY or NJ if your schools are filled and classes are overflowing. "Out of town" that is rarely the case and there are usually empty seats that could be filled at little to no cost.

Chaim B. said...

Just to add: if as a parent you feel you cannot devote the time to teach each child according to what he/she needs with a large family, can you imagine what the level of ed your children are getting with 25 kids crammed in a classroom? My son is in a pretty good yeshiva ketana (all boys, lots of limudei kodesh), and I know from his schedule that 5 hours of classtime really means 2 solid hours of learning. When I learn with him, I generally cover in an hour or so what takes half a week in school. Over a year in school he learned one sefer of nach, yet over 6 weeks this summer my wife finished another entire sefer with him devoting <1 hour a day. And if he was not a bright kid but needed extra help, the equation would be even more true - a rebbe with 25 kids in the room and a curriculum that says cover X by the end of the year is not going to tailor instruction to the one slower kid sitting in the back. As someone who has been in chinuch I can tell you schools have no way to deal with anything other than the middle of the road child who doesn't make a lot of trouble. Schools create the misimpression that busy time=education, which is wrong. As Sefardi Lady wrote, there are other non-traditional options - pooling time with other parents being just one example. Traditional classroom education carries bloated administrative costs and is educationally not very effective, but the power-structure in place will never admit it.
The point you raise re: schools not needing you creates even bigger problems. The result is the attitude of 'take it or leave it' - pay what we ask, play by our rules, or go somewhere else. Your kid needs help - well, this is what we think you should do. You don't like it or want a second opinion - well, there's the door. Been there, done that as well.
The large family issue begs the question: with that many more mouths to feed, people to clothe, etc. how do you spread the income to cover that many more tuitions when the school gives no break? And if you have little ones and are staying home to care for them, how can a single earner pull in that much $?
I think instead of thinking of the sum-total of $ spent on ed, you have to think in terms of relative value. If you have no other options, then the value of the school is huge and you better get a night job and cash out your mortgage. If you are willing to consider other options, then that value diminishes and you have to ask yourself whether it is really worth it.
I will just add as well: as much as I knock the system, it has tremendous potential - there are so many creative projects and ideas that schools can implement if there were visionary people running them. Recommended reading: everything written by Theodore Sizer and much written by Howard Gardner. You will have a different view of what education should be. Your local menahel, rebbe, moreh, and teacher is too busy calling parents of unruly kids and photocopying worksheets to think about these issues, so your $$$ are going to support a model of ed that was passe 40 years ago.

Anonymous said...

SephardiLady said...
HHH-What services are you willing to see cut is an idea for a future post of mine. I think you just gave the lead in.


I am from the small camp that thinks for the most part Yeshivas are properly run. While they may not be run by a Wharton CEO, a Yeshiva is not a corporation where you can easily cut programs, salaries, etc. Sure you can cut a resource room program and save some money, but Yeshivas have to cater to all its students.

I feel Yeshivas are not spending enough. Prehaps the at-risk problems are a result of not having the proper programs in place. Yeshivas spend less for a dual curriculum education, than many public schools. The question is how do we get a greater share of the excess money to go to Jewish Education. Even if its at the expense of Kiruv, Pesach Vacations, Simchos, etc.

HHH

MRN said...

Yes, I do live in NY or NJ. Yes, I do have a young baby at home. I can't even work out a carpool my kids, let alone work out a cooperative homeschooling schedule for them. And even though a boy might get two hours of solid learning a day, that is two hours more than I could provide. And the public schools are so gross, that is just not an option.

It is a shame that those with the skills and motivation to change Jewish education are choosing to opt out rather than change the system. I am also curious what you are planning to do when it comes to high school. In an area where the shortage of high school seats is even more acute than elementary school, I can't imagine that my kids would be accepted at any of them if they were homeschooled.

FrmrExecDir said...

*sigh* Home schooling

I am sure that there are ways to home school children and still provide them the kinds of peer social interactions that are necessary to produce well-adjusted young people.

Unfortunately, many home schooled kids are, well, easily identifiable as such – to adults with youth group experience, and even more so to their peers, adolescents, who's antennae are attuned to 'difference' with scary precision.

Real examples I've seen: The kid who wears his blunt-top Civil War hat to the night activity, and wants to talk about the contrasting battle strategies of Grant and Lee. The kid who has his nose buried in a serious computer programming magazine – in which he has an article published.

There is no question that these kids have made better use of their time than their peers, at least in the specific (some might say "narrow") subjects that most interest them. But at what cost? Do they have any friends their age?

Without the natural network of school friends and without the well-rounded social education that happens organically in school (if not necessarily in the classroom), will they have normal social lives later on?

Another point which may be tangential to this, and require an additional post:

Why is it that there is such a stigma in the Jewish community toward ‘vo-tech’ professions? On the one hand, plumbers, electricians, appliance repair people, contractors and the like make excellent money – often better than 9-5 cubical-dwellers, and can set their own hours to make learning/davening/chesed a priority.

On the other hand, there is a not insignificant percentage of our children who are non-academic types, who have talent and creativity in these types of fields, who are being forced by our societal expectations to squeak through college with a D average, or to sit in kollel doing a dubious amount of learning.

Is this not the worst kind of bitul z'man?

A previous poster mentioned Howard Gardner, and others, who envision a dramatically different educational system. I certainly agree that aspects of traditional education, from classroom seating configurations, to homework, to copying from the board, to recitation, to multiple choice, can and do need to be revaluated in light of current research. But given that our schools are not going to look as Howard Gardner might want them to look any time soon, why do we have such a problem allowing some of our young people to pursue a slightly different path – one that would set them up as productive, happy members of society?

Izzy said...

As an interesting aside, a few years back, when our credit card credit was out of hand, and there was no way to fund the tuitions, we began seriously talking about putting our boys into the local public schools, and hiring a tutor for about 8 hours a week to provide limudei kodesh for our children. Our costs would have dropped from (at that time) about $24K per year to about $12K per year.

The principal of the school contacted our Rabbi and others in our community who put pressure on us to not do such a thing, stating that we had a moral obligation to have our boys in a "Jewish" school. Needless to say, we were relatively easy to convince, since we saw public school as a last resort anyway.

I think that for those parents who are not Jewishly highly educated (like myself and my wife), this is a classic case of price inelasiticity. (For those whose economics background is meager, that means that a change in price has only a very small effect on the good being purchased, in this case the purchase of an education.)

Unfortunately, the whole Jewish Day School system doesn't fit very well into standard capitalistic economics. One would assume that by increasing the number of schools, the "supply" would increase, leading to a decrease in the price (read: tuition). In reality, what has happened is that each new school advertises itself as having something the other school does not, whether it is a limudei chol program, or chassidus, or black hat, or kipah srugah, etc. This ends up distinguising the schools so they are no longer competing with each other, making the system price inelastic.

In addition, this price inelasticity leads to a situation wherein the administrators have no real requirement to curb expenditures. They can hire relatives for office work or for teaching assistants, spend inordinate amounts of money on "projects" for the children using the excuse that "we don't want to deprive our children," and then require parents to raise additional money by selling raffle tickets and doing coordinated phone solicitation.

David said...

I have no children. But my breaking point, if I did have them, would be whether I was paying more for a 1st grader than the cost of educating a freshman at a quality state school - so these 15K tuitions I keep hearing about would be right out.

mother in israel said...

Frmexecdir--

I have to laugh at your examples of those terribly maladjusted homeschoolers. Feeling comfortable in a funny hat, being excessively interested in American history, and having an article published in a computer magazine? For a different perspective on the value, or lack thereof, of too much peer interaction, see my post http://mominisrael.blogspot.com/2006/08/thought-provoking-parenting-book.html

jdub said...

Thankfully, I don't have a price ceiling that I'm aware of. I'm in a profession that pays me quite nicely. As my kids get older and leave infancy, my wife can get a job which would likely pay for all or most of our tuition bill. We are blessed, I know, and I thank God every day for my success.

That said, I think homeschooling is a horrible idea. Learning and education is not simply about facts and knowledge, but about group interactions, about peer-to-peer interactions, and skills that can only be learned in groups. There are countless lessons that can only be absorbed through thinking of the collective (i.e., the class). Homeschooled kids don't learn that important lesson.

Moreover, peer interaction helps many kids excel, through a desire for good grades. Nothing wrong with healthy competition (emph. on healthy!)

Social integration is a main part of all schools, not only Orthodox ones. That is something that can't be ignored, particularly with Jewish schools. Judaism is a communal religion. Homeschooling won't cut it.

Anonymous said...

-Generally not anonymous
Note on homeschooled children. Many are not maladjusted. On the contrary, they have the option to explore their own interests and to advance at the more accelerated pace that they can manage rather than the pace slowed to the supposed average in school. A local Jewish high school boy told me that in an engineering competition that he participated in and did fairly well, most of the 30 who ranked above him were homeschooled.
The problem MRN identified is not due to the quality of the education homeschooled children receive but to the bias against them, as reflected by the stereotyped thinking of another poster.
Many yeshivas share this prejudice and assume that a child not in school is a problem child. So if circumstances change, a child trying to pass back into the system would have a major black mark against him/her and be held to a far higher standard than a child continuing on or even one transferring in.
As parents confident of our own level of secular as well as Jewish learning, we are more dangerous to yeshivas because we don't feel that we must buckle uneder if are children are to have access to a Torah education. In truth, the curriculum we would devise would probably be superior.

Anonymous said...

Generally not anonymous
From an economic point of view, it really makes sense to homeschool. Let's say one has 3 children. In the NY area, the tuition bill would be $20 - $30,000. This is not a tax deductible expense. If you qualify, you may be able to deduct the childcare amount, which is far less than you are paying for tuition. You could stay home, teach the 3, and also watch a child too young for school without incurring much in the way of childcare expense. On the other hand, you could get a full time job, paying, say $35,000 a year before taxes. Then you still have to pay for childcare even if you have no baby at home to cover all the many days children are off from school as well as the hours between when they come home and you do. So your take home pay after expenses is far less than the tuition you pay.

FrmrExecDir said...

Mother in Israel:

I read your interesting post on peer attachment.

My examples were meant to illustrate examples of high school aged (I don't think I made that clear before) home schooled students who had no idea how to relate to or make friends with their peers, and no interest in doing so.

I had no opportunity to observe how they related to their parents, but I didn't notice in your post that the experts cited were recommending home schooling as a solution to peer attachment.

The kids I mentioned were clearly bright, even gifted. In their subjects of choice, they could converse like knowledgeable adults - even like university professors.

But so much of the academic and business world is about cooperation and collaboration that I feared for their continued success in adjusting to the world once they left the protective womb of their home schooled environment and had to interact with real people.

I think that robbing children of the opportunity to learn about people and friendship with peers at a young age can mar them for life, depriving them of a skill set that is crucial for success.

Home schooling can allow for this to happen unless parents are vigilant on behalf of their children, to involve them in appropriate social activities.

SephardiLady said...

FmrExecDir, JDub, Others-I know Jewish and non-Jewish children and adults who have been homeschooled and I see no lack of appropriate social skills, or certainly no lack compared to others schooled traditionally.

I've met plenty of socially awkard individuals who have been through public schools and private schools. I have not currently met a homeschooler that is socially inept, but then again, I haven't met tons of homeschoolers.

I think the term "home school" is a complete misnomber. Most of those I know who have homeschooled have been enrolled in traditional school at one point. Some go in and out of traditional schools. Others are highly involved in competitive sports or other activities that provide them with a healthy social structure.

I think a better term for "home school" would be "group school" or "cooperative schooling" since most homeschoolers that I know are involved with other "homeschoolers."

But, back to the subject at hand:

My main question is: Where is your ceiling? I'm still giving thought to my answer. Unlike the "lucky ones" we do have a ceiling. We don't see the need to have our children participate in every "required" activity. We are more than happy to continue to live frugally. But, frugality won't make up for tuition bills that are massive, like Chaim B. brought up.

Ultimately, I believe our cohesiveness as a family and the environment in our home (aka as "Shalom Bayit") are extremely important to raising children. So, if tuition impacts the elements of having a healthy household, we definitely are willing to draw a line in the sand.

Continue on dear readers. . . .

Outoftown said...

I can't imagine not sending my kids to Jewish schools, but we are also not willing to go into debt or refinance our house to pay for that school. I suppose if tuition got to the point where it was more than I am making, I would have to homeschool or group teach, or something.

SephardiLady said...

Anon-Speaking of the childcare credit, the savings are really limited, or at least more limited than people would like to believe!

First of all, you can only claim for two children. Second of all, you can only claim a percentage between 20 and 35% of your costs, and the costs only go up to $3000 (2005 figure).

Therefore, your potential savings range between $600 to $1,050 for one child and $1,200 to $2,100 for two or more children.

I can't recall by heart the exact AGI where a family can only claim 20%, but I believe it is around $60,000. Assuming both parents are working, chances are they are at that income level or close to it.

MRN said...

Anonymous 5:08 -- I think you are missing the point that it is impossible to homeschool 'Yeshivish' for the vast majority of Yeshivish people. Yeshivish boys get to school at 8 and don't finish limudei kodesh until 2 pm. The learn in an English/Hebrew/Yiddish/Aramaic hodgepodge that no women my age are familiar with. My husband would have to stay home to do the homeschooling and that would mean giving up 100% of our income.

David -- regarding tuition needing to be less than a public university tuition, I guess you won't be sending your kids to day schools. Those tuitions are heavily subsidized by the state, and hence everyone's tax dollars. And, average class size for freshman is something like 200 seats per class. There no way any private Jewish school could come in under that amount.

SephardiLady -- regarding the childcare credit, I believe a SAHM cannot claim it whatsoever unless she has either a disabled child or she has earned income of her own. In any event, in our work outside the home dad and stay at home mom scenario, we are not be able to claim it unless I consult on the side.

SephardiLady said...

MRN-I should have added one extra note. The childcare tax credit is not available to married taxpayers with only one wage earner.

I was just making a note since this tax credit was lauded way back when in a post I made about helping mothers calculate the costs of working. Some took issue with my numbers since I did not calculate the credit at the time, and I have wanted to make a follow-up. The credit is so limited, I doubt it makes too much of a difference for those on the border line of profitability outside the home.

Now. . . back to the subject at hand.

David said...

Mrn: actually, my wife and I are very unlikely to have children, so it probably won't be a practical issue for us.

The question still remains, though: for that amount of money, what exactly are parents buying?

nachum klafter, MD said...

Excellent blog, Sephardi Lady. There are two ways I would analyze this question:
1) Ceiling on what you COULD pay.

2) Ceiling on what you WOULD pay.

Ok, here goes:

1) COULD pay.
I have four girls, b"h. Based on my salary, I think my absolute ceiling would have to be at about 15K per kid. Spending 60K per year after taxes would actually impoverish us. It would cause us to need to drastically change our lifestyle--i.e., move out of our 4 bedroom house and into a tiny apartment, my wife would need to work full time, we'd need to stop giving tzedaka the way we do because my ma'aser would all have to go toward this 60K bill, etc.

I don't think I could handle any more than that--and I am a physician! I just don't see how we could possibly come up with more, even if my wife began working full time. They are close in age, so we will have a bunch in college at the same time. I'm sure I"ll need to take out loans for that--but college is only 4 years. To do 15K per kid for 12 years in a row.... ouch!

Here in Cincinnati, salaries are lower. If I were in a different city, my total income would be higher and I'd probably be able to handle a somewhat higher amount. So, the numbers here in our little midwestern community are shrunk compared to east coast and LA numbers.

2) WOULD pay, based on my current salary.

I think it's the same number essentially: 15K per child. I would be willing to forgoe living in a house in order to give my girls a day school and seminary education.

I wonder, if I were a multi millionaire and money were no issue, then what would be the ceiling? Would I spend 80K per child on school? Perhaps I would! I guess for me WOULD and COULD are synonomous with Torah education for my girls.

anon1 said...

That is a very hard question. I would imagine that as long as we can afford to pay it, we will. I could not tell you at what point the bill would be so high that we simply cannot afford it -- but, for now, I cant think of any other expense right now that I have a ceiling for, so I dont want tuition to be the first. Just to clarify, by no means do we have an infinite amount of money, we have enough but tuition (like for most people) is a major, major expense. I think we dont have ceilings on other costs because we simply dont buy what we cant afford. I only hope that the situation continues and that we are never put in a situation where we have to think about could vs. would. I completely agree with sentiments of Chaim B and others that the costs are truly becoming an unbearable burden. Not sure what I would think about homeschooling -- a lot of school is about social interactions, friendships and learning how to deal with other people, which I am not sure homeschooling can provide. (We are "out of town" so I dont know that there would be a critical mass to do homeschooling with a bunch of other kids.)

SephardiLady said...

Izzy: Unfortunately, the whole Jewish Day School system doesn't fit very well into standard capitalistic economics.

I'm not 100% sure that education fits into the standard supply/demand model period, whether it be Jewish or non-Jewish for a lack of a better term. I personally believe that there are too many frum schools to offer a "product" with a lower price tag. I do know that there are plenty of schools that compete against each other in the NYC area, and they suffer from tuition issues there too.

I will have to get some reading material of education to make better comments.

Excellent blog, Sephardi Lady.

Thanks Dr. Klafter. My goal is to make this a place for serious discussion about financial issues in the frum community. I'm glad that I have gained a number of great contributors in just a short period of time.

Out of Town: I can't imagine not sending my kids to Jewish schools, but we are also not willing to go into debt or refinance our house to pay for that school.

While I'm having a difficult time answering my own question. I'm willing to continue to live modestly (probably would do so even if tuition was never a concern), buy only an "affordable" home (what a joke in 2006), and continue to buck what others tell me is "expected" or "necessary". But, like you, I don't believe in debt financing our life and know the impact on our home would not be positive.

I hope that if we were ever to choose an alternative, it would be for the good of the child(ren) and the home, not because we hit a ceiling.

But, like Anon1 and Chaim B, I see "the costs [of frum schooling] are truly becoming an unbearable burden" and wonder just where we draw the lines.

Anonymous said...

Why is homeschooling cheaper than sending to school? Shouldn't there be benefits to having one teacher for many kids?
Anon20

SephardiLady said...

Anon20-I'm guessing that you are unfamiliar with the tuition rates in Yeshiva schools?

Those that I know who homeschool spend different amounts depending on their budget and what they need/want to provide for their children. What they spend comes nowhere close to tuitions averaging $12,000 per student. Orthodox families are regularily paying $30,000 and up to educate their children. I've heard of families paying over $70,000 a year in tuition costs. Even with tutoring and paying for classes through community colleges, the costs are not even close.