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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Doable or Another Pipe Dream?

New Jersey's JStandard is beating the tuition horse, just like I've been beating it for the past 3 years. This author (We Have Been Living Beyond Our Means) thinks there is possibly hundred of millions out there to endow Jewish Education with, if we could just stop funding everything else and stop living beyond our means.

My understanding is that many in the Northern New Jersey region have lost their high paying jobs , already had tapped many "funding sources" such as home equity lines of credit, and are now facing an increase in what is an already brutal state tax. I'd add that money spent on yearly vacations and trips to Israel, smachot, and other luxuries won't have a techiyat hametim.

The author proposes "universally accessible Jewish education," funded primarily through an endowment and capped tuition. He estimates that Bergen County alone needs $2 billion. Anyone storing $2 billion, or even $1 billion under a mattress?

Pipe Dream or Doable? You tell me. I'm beyond skeptical.

Meanwhile, another author puts forward an argument as to why the day school/yeshiva is so important and why is cannot be replaced by a hybrid system, such as a charter school system. He is of the opinion that those who support the current system need to make their case heard. What he does not propose is anyway to keep the current system afloat, except that we need to "soldier through" with all our resolve, even if things get rougher.

Back to folding laundry for me. And if anyone needs a GREAT laugh during their day, check out Mom in Israel on Pesach cleaning. I'm still laughing.

49 comments:

SuperRaizy said...

I spoke last night with a friend who lives in Northern NJ. She said that some parents in Englewood are trying to put together a deal for a charter school. She said that she (and a lot of her Modern Orthodox neighbors) would be willing to consider putting their kids into charter schools, or even into regular community public schools. She is, as she said "choking on the tuition."

Lion of Zion said...

SL:

to echo raizy and as i wrote yesterday, i think you overstated the opposition to charter/public schools, at least in the lay MO camp.

Teaneck Resident said...

SuperRaizy -- the charter school proposal was already shot down. Now the proposal is for a Hebrew language immersion program in an existing Englewood school. This school is in an underperfoming, undesegregated facility and the students would be required to spend at least 30% of their day mingled in the general ed program of the school as a whole. And it would only be free for Englewood residents. Residents of other districts would have to provide $14K of funding per student, either through 'tuition' or grants or subsidies from their home district. Nobody is going to pay $14K to send their kid to a failing school in a failing district. Not to mention they don't even have any Hebrew-speaking teachers who are certified to teach in NJ interested in teaching in this program!

Al said...

We need solutions. Look at young families. They cannot afford Day School, period. While a generation ago it was a stretch, now it is simply unaffordable.

Our Day School alumni simply lack the tools and skillls to earn enough money to support a Frum lifestyle. Dependence on handouts, food stamps, tuition assistance, etc., shows that someone cannot support their lifestyle.

End of story, our children are coddled, with parental support their entire life. To keep them from the "galus" we have them getting substandard education and going to jokes of colleges.... while the secular Jews are storming the gates of the Ivy League (and equivalent) and making large sums of money, our children go to summer camp until they are 18, take a year off before college, and are encourages to marry young before they can stray.

Every plan for raising more money seems to be looking at sources of secular Jewish wealth and re-appropriating it for Day Schools. Beyond the ethics of taking money that was given FOR communal purposes, not religious ones, and appropriating it for our use, the pools of secular Jewish money are drying up as the secular Jews dry up.

Orthodox triumphalism points to birthrate and retention, and believes that all Jews will be Frum... well, unless you can figure out how to financially support being Frum without leaning on the secular Jews you want to see disappear, you're done when they are.

In the enlightenment, post-WWII America, founding years of Israel, the Jewish people fled the failed Rabbinic leadership of the time to adopt a new lifestyle. If the Rabbinate doesn't stop looking at it's flock as a group to fleece (keeping food prices high with overpriced supervision, keeping competition out, etc., insisting on out of control wages for Rabbinic teachers that are glorified babysitters in preschool and elementary school), this growth in Orthodoxy will collapse just as fast as the growth hit... only it will pull down the rest of American Jewry with it.

Education HAS to give the children the means to earn a VERY above average income if you want the Orthodox lifestyle to include meat prices 3x treif ones, private school for all, etc.

If we don't all start earning 6 figure incomes (or the majority), than the system will fail as the wealthy propping it up are tapped out.

This year, with the market down 50%, you're expecting wealthy Jews to sell stocks to support schools this year... that's money that is NEVER coming back, because you're cashing out near a bottom. The inability to balance the budget in times of plenty is simply pathetic, and will be the downfall of Orthodoxy unless people start thinking outside the box.

Day School/Yeshiva provides a wonderful environment, love of Chagim, etc. We can't afford universal Judaic education, so let's look for solutions we CAN afford instead of whining that it will be inferior.

Anonymous said...

Maybe the endowment fund isn't such a wacky idea. What if you got 300,000 orthodox families to donate $500 a year for 10 years into such a fund.

JS said...

Thought you and your readers might want to see a particularly apt orthonomics-esque post over at DovBear:

http://dovbear.blogspot.com/2009/03/bailouts-bailouts-everywhere.html

Anonymous said...

Al nailed it. So called solutions that rely on bringing in donated money from the non-orthodox to support the orthodox are not going to get very far. The orthodox community has to be self-sustaining. They need to be able to EARN money from outside the community, not shnorr it. That starts with a good secular education and (for the majority) a good college education with a useful major. Family size and marriage age (before completing an education and entering the work force) also needs to be examined.

tesyaa said...

Innumeracy at work ... I doubt there are 300,000 Orthodox families in the US, much less that number willing / able to contribute to such a fund

Avi said...

@Anonymous - any system that is supposed to be inclusive yet is designed around family incomes in excess of $200K per year per family is doomed to fail. Even with a good secular education and useful major, that level of family income is hard to achieve, and sustaining it over a 20+ year period of raising a family is even harder. This is why we're calling it a crisis.

rosie said...

Part of the problem is that we are mixing the American way of life with the Jewish way of life and the cost is way too high. My immigrant great-grandparents who came to America at the turn of the century (1900) had 10 children and buried 2 as infants. Of the remaining 8, only 2 (the boys) required a melamud. Meat and chicken was koshered at home and all food was made from scratch. Sheitlach were not the norm. My great-grandmother became a shadchante for new immigrants and married them off in her living room with a home-cooked meal as a reception. Big weddings did not occur. Bat mitzvahs were also unheard of and I doubt that catered sheva brochas were the norm either.
The next generation was more American than frum which may have been due to lack of chinuch but there were other factors as well such as the big push to Americanize.
I agree with Al that we need the type of leadership that will address these issues and will deal realistically with the current financial situation rather than deny that a situation exists. As Al said the generation coming up does not have the ability to pay any tuition.

Anonymous said...

So, how have people managed until now? Is it because there were enough people with secular educations/good business heads and experience to finance the lifestyle? Is that changing?

Also, if there aren't 300,000 orthodox families, how many are there? Has anyone really tried to figure out what the population is? Where they are? Some basic data is needed to work on solutions.

Anonymous said...

In response to Rosie's post, then maybe the answer is to live on communes or Kibbutzim or set up communities like the Amish have where everyone works together and grows their own food, makes their own furniture, weaves their own clothes and kids are taught by commune members in simple one room classrooms. There need not be much interaction with the outside world. Granted, 20 and 30 year old men can't sit and learn all day and there won't be money for shtetls and silver candle sticks, but the simple life could be the good life.

SephardiLady said...

The author is claiming $2 billion is needed to endow Bergen County alone. I don't how many Orthodox households there are in the US, but there certainly are not 300,000 households in Bergen County alone.

Teaneck resident said...

I don't know why I'm reading sephardi lady's blog all of a sudden, but...

About half of the adult whites, or 1/4 of the total adult residents of Teaneck are Orthodox Jews. Since the population of Teaneck is about 40,000 of which 30,000 are over 18, that means about 7,500 orthodox adults, or maybe 4000 orthodox family units. Of the residents under age 18, however, 4300 are enrolled in the public schools, about 1000 are not of school age, and about 4,700 are in private schools. It is interesting to me that the tuition crisis is not equally spread even among the orthodox jewish community, since, if you look at the figures, the clear majority of orthodox jewish family units in Teaneck do not have ANY children between the ages of 5 and 18. However, those that do have an average of three children in private schools.

Since Bergen county as a whole has about 900K residents and a little more than 300K households, 300K orthodox jewish households in Bergen county is quite a stretch!

Anonymous said...

300,000 families was a nationwide guess. There are about 110 million households in the u.s. If 1% are jews and 1/3 of those are orthodox, that would lead to about 300,000 families.

tesyaa said...

But less than 1/3 of the total is Orthodox. And if families are large, population percentages don't translate to household percentages.

Al said...

Rosie, if the modern Frum life looks like early 20th century European life, say good by to any BTs, and expect most of your modern Orthodox Jews to disappear. I don't think that much of the Charedi world would stick around for that lifestyle.

The people for whom that would, in theory appeal to, are the least self sufficient part of Frumkeit. Oh, and if you've decided to keep all your children out of school, only educate the boys in religious matters, etc., wait for a MASSIVE backlash... led by the secular Jews who are mortified at their backwards cousins.

American Orthodoxy is a part of America, and the lifestyle matches. While the Israeli government has allowed the Charedi world to control their own towns and spin into a death spiral of backwardness, don't expect the American government to. There isn't a high opinion of religious cults that trap their children.

The Amish get away with it by being semi-open (they trade with the English), and letting their children explore the world a bit, plus they have simply been here for centuries.

Pretty sure that if someone wanted to set up Frum life like the Amish today, you'd have DCF storming the walls in a way that would make the BATF storming of the Branch Davidians in Waco, TX seem tame.

Honestly Frum said...

The system needs to be broken down and restarted (another pipe dream). It is not sustainable and failing. A super fund is a great idea, but how are we, the parents expected to come up with an additional $500 or $1000 a year when we can't afford the current tuition. In our community it's
$200K or (and) broke. The entire system needs to be reevaluated and reconstructed to fit in with a normal operating budget. Take the bells and whistles out of the schools, increase the class sizes, cut the administration and lower tuition. It's not as hard as it sounds and if the current schools don't start to do it NOW new schools are going to open up that will.

Teaneck resident said...

oops 3700, of which not all are going to orthodox jewish day schools.

rosie said...

Obviously no one is going back in time but at that point in time, people observed mitzvahs despite the poverty. They did lose many to assimilation but those who wanted to remain frum did whatever they could on their own. If you couldn't afford a large wedding you made a small one and if you couldn't afford tuition, you paid for whatever education you could afford. My immigrant great-grandparents got very little help from anyone except from those secular Jews who wanted to donate money to pay for more rapid assimilation. Their arrival pre-dated welfare, wic, medicaid and food stamps. Theirs was the generation who could stretch a single chicken to feed a crowd. My point is not that we need to form cult communes but to realize that it is not frumkeit itself that costs too much, nor is it large families. It is frumkeit within American society that we no longer have the money to cover.

aml said...

Al, great comment.

The bottom line is that there are LOTS of problems, but certainly the most pressing for those in my age bracket is tuition (we can talk about overpriced kosher supervision later). I just found out that parents in Riverdale are discussing a Hebrew immersion-type charter school too. I've been jumping up and down about this for the last two years and now it seems that people are finally taking notice.

Those in Jewish eduction would be smart to begin putting together proposals for a comprehensive educational program that takes place morning (like the Mormans do it) AND afternoon, and maybe Shabbat too, if its synagogue-based. Something that engulfs the day in a way. Public school days are much shorter, which leaves plenty of time for Jewish education; few parents are deterred from the long days offered up at the day schools.

In my opinion, the Reform and Conservative movements have failed miserably at this, which doesn't mean that we have to too. We have parents who will take Jewish education seriously and not treat it like an extracurricular activity. And if the programs are well designed and well managed (including regular evaluations and report cards), I don't see why it couldn't work, at least at the elementary level.

We're putting our oldest in (a great) public school next year for kindergarten and we dream of a Hebrew charter-school option. We're working on an after-school program with a tutor and hopefully a few other kids in the same boat. I grew up in the public school system and I received a pretty solid education. We don't plan on keeping our kids in public school past elementary school, but doing this will relieve much of the financial burden AND (and perhaps this is a scary part for a lot of parents) place the responsibility of their Jewish education solidly back on our shoulders, at least for now.

Anonymous said...

*begin snide remark*
Apparently arithmetic isn't a strong point in yeshiva education.
*end snide remark*

If we assume there are 300,000 frum families, and if we assume they all donate $500 a year for 10 years, you have about $1.5B (yeah, yeah, plus a little interest). The interest earned on that endowment is about enough to send a few thousand kids to Jewish day schools (no more than 5000 or so). Of course, those 300,000 families are going to have more than 5000 kids, so it doesn't work and doesn't solve the problem.

Apparently it costs about $12-14,000 to send a kid to Jewish day school, not $500 a year for 10 years.

Sorry for the snideness and sarcasm, but this issue gets to me.

Mark

Al said...

Rosie, even if you kashered your own chickens, ate subsistence living, and pulled out of American society, you haven't solved the problem.

Created impoverished Frum compounds would help with expensive housing problems... down in Florida, there is roughly a 20% premium to be near a Shul, and that's on top of being in expensive communities to begin with.

Agrarian compounds would lower state taxes, housing costs, and food costs, because you'd grow your own food (given that after Temple rituals, the second largest pack of Mitzvot are agricultural in nature, it might be good for Jews to learn how to plant a vegetable garden.

The premiums for Frumkeit are different for different income ranges.

For the well to do:
1. Ever escalating tuition, tuition rate increases exceed inflation, and is borne entirely on them, either their children or grandchildren.
2. Inter-generational support, because while they got "special treatment" for their kids in Yeshiva, special treatment is largely confined to grades that their children didn't earn, or avoiding disciplinary action, which is unfair while the children are in school, but as adults meant people unprepared for college academics or real life... and their children don't get community support because you expect the parents to help.

For them, that's about it, but those are huge. They'd live in more expensive houses if they weren't in a religious community, so there is no housing premium, and food costs are irrelevant. Simchot would be about the same if they weren't religious, so there you go. Why do we care about the well-to-do, because we ALL lean on them... every financial solution seems to be, they should give more to the community and less to their children... not really sure what Judaism those people practice, but that isn't really proper for a Torah Observant people.

For the middle class Jews, the problems are: 1. housing, they are forced to live in more expensive neighborhoods than their income warrants, and pay a premium at that. 2. Tuition, I put tuition second, because for the middle class, tuition is whatever is left after housing and food.

These Jews are screwed by Frumkeit, because there are no options to live in moderately priced towns. Sucking it up and dealing is one thing if it's to give their children a better life, plenty of immigrants did that. The problem is, this generation of Jewish youth is getting LESS education, inferior education, inferior nutrition (notice that the banned vegetables are amongst the healthiest), inferior brain development (fish during pregnancy is important, as is extended nursing, but the latter is tacitly discouraged by the Tzniut police and obsession with massive family size, and the former is cultural barriers to anything but crappy fish for Shabbat)...

This is all in plain sight, and easily fixable if the MO Rabbanim grew some balls are were willing to break with the crazy Chareidi Rabbeim... which would at least give Torah Observant Jews two options... but the Modern Orthodox world, instead of offering an opportunity to be modern and religious, is going down a path where it just lets people claim to be religious while not being Shomer Mitzvot, which is of questionable value.

Anonymous said...

aml may be on to something. Public school for K-6 combined with after school programs, then full time day school for 7-12 could reduce the tuition burden by 30% or more. For it to work well, this would need to be adopted by a sizeable group in any town.

There also is something else about the "americanization" of OJ life. Pre WWII and definitely pre- WWI what percentage of boys actually sat and studied from 8-5 from age 5 to 18. I suspect that most learned just enough to be literate and know the basics of halaka and prayer. It seems that the new system is trying to make a talmudic scholar out of every boy by the time they are 20.

Al said...

Ami,
An Orthodox after school program that is tied to a Charter school option would be NOTHING like the Reform & Conservative after school education.
Reform/Conservative after school education is normally 2 afternoons/week, for 2 hours, so 4 hours of Judaic education. Those 4 hours are focused almost entirely on Hebrew language, and take place between 4th and 7th grade, and are focused on Bar Mitzvah training.
The scenario with a charter school includes Hebrew language immersion from K onward, and could also include a Hebrew language focused Preschool element, when kids will naturally learn to speak in the language through exposure. An Orthodox after school program would presumable be 4 days/week, and wouldn't include Hebrew with Hebrew being covered during the school day.
Orthodox families are also more engaged in Judaism, the children go to Shul (youth minyans, etc.) to engage them.
It won't have the Yeshiva environment of all Judaism, all the time, but it should be an education that we could afford.
Let's not forget that the children in this program are in Shomer Shabbat homes, where the Chagim are observed... a major difference from the children in the Bar Mitzvah factories.

Anonymous, agreed, there is no evidence of massive Talmudic training for all Jewish boys until the Day School movement took hold. The Yeshivot of Europe were tiny, and very few students traveled to learn elsewhere. The Torah greats did that, but not the common man.

Anonymous said...

Interesting article on a charter hebrew language school in Broward County Florida:

http://www.thejewishweek.com/viewArticle/c36_a15171/News/New_York.html

aml said...

Aman Al, so lets do it!

Lion of Zion said...

"It seems that the new system is trying to make a talmudic scholar out of every boy by the time they are 20."

i see absolutely nothing wrong with this goal.
and i personally wonder if perhaps our day schools should be cutting back on the secular compenent of the day before we rush off to reduce the jewish compenent of the day.
what angers me is not that the schools have such a high goal, but rather that after all the tuition the schooling generally fails at achieving this goal. for the most part our day schools (at least the MO schools) produce ortho jews who are functionally illiterate and often not much more knowledgable than עמי הארץ

"there is no evidence of massive Talmudic training for all Jewish boys until the Day School movement took hold."

again, so what. maybe we should go back to teaching just the three r's. or perhaps we should should look back to a time when most of the world was illiterate altogether.

Anonymous said...

Lion: The point is that if we recognize that men can be good committed jews without learning everything in grade and high school as long as they have the developed the interest and the skills to keep learning later in life, then a charter school or other option that would involve a few hours of learning after school every day, becomes a much more viable option.

Al said...

LION, part of the problem, as I see it, is the method of instruction is based on the 18th century Yeshiva system. We don't teach other section by rote memorization, but we let Gemara be taught that way.

The problem isn't the time spent on Judaic studies, the problem is the methodology.

Pretty sure that 1 hour/day of private instruction would give kids more education (at a lower cost) than our current model of instruction.

So if the Day school produces children that are functionally illiterate in Jewish manners, and an inferior secular education to the public school system (which isn't a high bar to exceed), why is that system worth preserving and flooding with so much of our community's wealth.

Anonymous said...

Al: It's about fear of secularization and assimilation. No one is confident that parents can teach kids enough at home and with after school studies to make kids want to stay observant. A cynic might say its fear of competing in the market place of ideas, at least where young, impressionable minds are involved.

Lion of Zion said...

ANON:

"men can be good committed jews without learning everything in grade and high school as long as they have the developed the interest and the skills to keep learning later in life"

again, i can make the same argument for secular studies

AL:

"the method of instruction is based on the 18th century Yeshiva system."

i don't think this is true (at least it wasn't when i went to school) in the MO schools (i mean the real ones)

"we let Gemara be taught that way"

gemara isn't even the major part of the curriculum in these schools (again, unless that's changed)

"So if the Day school produces children that are functionally illiterate in Jewish manners, and an inferior secular education to the public school system . . . why is that system worth preserving and flooding with so much of our community's wealth."

that's a good point. i guess ideally i'd like to improve our day schools before we abandon the concept. now i understand we are all having this conversation because there is no $ to sustain our schools, forget about improving them. and i have become a lot more comfortable talking about charter/public schools as option in concession to financial considerations. but for some commentors to then add additional justifications by saying that we don't need all that jewish education anyway is out place (imho) and should not be the factor in leaving the day schools.

Anonymous said...

Lion: If the criticism is teaching methods, schools can be improved without costing more. If memorization is not a good idea, qualified teachers can adopt other methods.

If there simply is not enough $ to sustain the day school system, other than for the very wealthy and some scholarships for the very poor, then figuring out how to supplement public schools is a necessity.

Anonymous said...

Prewar education for Jewish boys who went to public school was totally lacking, even for those from nominally shomer shabbat homes, if I can judge from my older male relatives. It didn't provide even the bare bones of what is learned in yeshiva. And for those who weren't taught to appreciate chumash, much less gemara, the motivation to hew to the observances of their parents was nil.

Anonymous said...

Schools like RYNJ in River Edge, northern NJ charge about $14,500 for one child in elementary school!

Is jewish education only for the rich !


No wonder even frum jews are looking at charter schools

One can be chareidi and be a middle income jew - to be modern orthodox - you need to be rich

Teaneck resident said...

A few thoughts:

I think many of you are on the wrong track to think K-6 can be done in a public school environment while 7-12 can be done in a Jewish day school environment. As the parent of six young children I can tell you that first and second grade are the key years in the dual curriculum educational system, especially for girls. If a boy learns with a rebbe or a girl learns with an experienced morah for those two years, s/he will complete second grade knowing almost the complete shacharis davening, much of it by heart, and will be able to read from a chumash using the trup pretty well. I know I will be flamed for this, but, really there is nothing a girl who is going to college really needs to learn in a yeshiva high school that can't be learned in a secular high school.

Another flaw in the public schooling argument is that you can by a inexpensive area and also send to public. In almost every part of the country (except Englewood and a few other places), the best districts command the highest price tags for homes.

Lastly, who are you going to find for these orthodox-auspices afterschool talmud torahs? Yeshivish people who provide the backbone of the limudei kodesh instruction in modern orthodox schools aren't going to be interested in teaching from the hours of 3-6pm when their own children are getting home from school, need help with homework and dinner, etc. They want to teach while their own children are in school.

Teaneck resident said...

Thought I'd add that the Englewood Hebrew immersion program is meeting tremendous resistance from the Englewood school board. I believe there is a school board meeting tonight but from the emails I've been receiving it doesn't look like the program will be approved.

Teaneck resident said...

OOh, one last thing up against sending some of your children to public and some to Jewish day schools. The way financial aid works in the non chassidish system is that your tuition burden is capped by your ability to pay. So it might cost you $45K to send 3, 4, 5, 6, or 7 children to the schools in your area, capped, if you apply for aid. So sending three of your kids to public and three of your kids to day school will get you no relief. This I believe is the true barrier to the public school option for those who are somewhat but not all the way invested in day school education for their children.

rosie said...

There is an article on today's vosizneias about the way Orthodoxy was in America 50 yrs ago and how it has become more chumradik at the same time that it has gone downhill.
We are concerned with whether or not to eat regular or heimish potato chips or invite both bochrim and girls to the Shabbos table but do not care if our children do not know how to support themselves. We glorify secular ignorance and view it as lacking in mentchlichkeit if someone does not want to throw money around. The generation of frum Jews 50 years ago built the current frum community but what are today's kids going to build? We look at crime as understandable given the current pressure to live big and we are seeing that despite the money that we spend on tuition, approx 20% of kids leave frumkeit and don't even join any type of organized Judaism. Yeshivas used to be the last place to find drugs and today it may be the first place to look. It appears that a large % of frum Jews need psychiatric help and medication. Somehow we have missed the forest and have focused on the trees. The education that we are paying so dearly for may be actually harming a large % of kids.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Al's comments that kids could learn as much in 1 hour after school than a whole morning of limudai kodesh. Just think about how much time the rebbe spends with young boys waiting for them all to have their finger on the right place in the chumash -- how much time lining up to go to the bathroom, to wash, etc. These school and social skills can be learned in any school. The actual limud torah takes place in a very small amount of time.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone have an update or information concerning last night's meeting held by the Englewood Public School District to discuss the Hebrew immersion program?

aml said...

Teaneck Resudent: a couple of things: (1) presumably, if your teaching a child to be fully literate in Hebrew, they don't need to memorize it or struggle to learn to read from the Chumash. (2) We're looking for someone to tutor our son next year and are purpousfully not looking at someone with the background you described. (3) I'm more inclined towards day school for middle and high school for social reasons, not necessarily educational ones.

Lion of Zion said...

TEANECK RESIDENT:

"Another flaw in the public schooling argument is that you can by a inexpensive area and also send to public."

i think the point is that a lot of people are already living in areas where the public schools are just as good (and often much better) that the jewish schools. you think your teaneck jewish schools are that much better the public schools (and if yes, is it to an extent that justifies the added expense)?

also, one purpose of a charter school is to have greater control of the nature of the school, thereby hopefully keeping standards high. (i do note that some of us are talking about charter schools and other regular public schools)

TR said...

Actually the public schools in Teaneck are of poor quality. While not quite as bad as the schools in Englewood and Bergenfield, they are still bad compared to some surrounding districts. The high school especially has had drug and gang problems recently. I do not feel my children would be safe attending Teaneck High school or either middle school, so the quality of the education is irrelevant. It's really a shame, since so many distinguished individuals including people like Paul Volcker graduated from Teaneck schools. Alas, those days are long gone. The schools in River Edge and Paramus, where ynj and yavneh/noam are located, are much better. Although there was a movement about five years ago to repopulate Paramus with young couples, it appears that the movement failed.

TR said...

And, believe it or not Teaneck spends more per student than I pay in private school tuition, per child. If I recall correctly it is more than $16K to educate each Teaneck public school student, the seventh highest cost per student in the entire state of NJ.

tesyaa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
tesyaa said...

I had a non-frum friend who lived in Teaneck (this was already years ago) who decried the fact that the schools weren't great, the cause of which, he said, was that the frum Jews didn't have their kids in the public schools. It's circular: the Jewish kids from middle class homes go to yeshiva, the public schools become poor, later, Jews looking for an economic solution won't use the schools because they're no good.

Al said...

TR... really, they want to be home with their kids after school? You must know different Yeshivish people than I know. The ones I know avoid their families like the plague, do Chevrusa when their wives could use help with the kids, etc.

Money talks... $50/hour for tutoring, 4 days a week, for 36 weeks a year (180 school days/5 days/week, figure more creative scheduling), is only $7200/kid/year, for one on one attention.

Perhaps the educated Jews you know are wealthier than the ones I know, the ones I know would find $200 in cash a week a huge life changer. In fact, take two of my children back to back (we can do homework with the kids in shifts), and that's $400/week for 2 hours/day.

You're telling me I can't find a qualified teacher for my children for $400/week for 8 hours? I might be able to find one from YU that has a college degree and everything willing to pick up the slack after working their day job and come over at 6 when we're getting dinner ready, then they can eat after learning, and the kids and swap.

Is that ideal? I'd lose family dinner time 4 nights a week, which would be sad, but ya know, to save $30k-$40k a year AND have my children better education, I can make a few sacrifices.

Look at the numbers, this system is BROKEN.

TR said...

Al -- why the sinat chinam in your first paragraph? And if I look at the numbers, I see that it would be much cheaper for you to homeschool your children for two hours a day instead of paying tutors. Surely if you are acquainted with so many yeshivish people, you have the educational background to tutor them yourself.