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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Oy! Second 11th Hour School Closing

Lakewood's school year isn't getting off to a great start. Last week, Yeshiva Bais HaTorah (350-400 students) announced it would not be opening the day before school. Today, shortly before school opening, Yeshivah Keter HaTorah (150 students) has announced it too will not be opening. It has been reported (see Matzav and TLS and VIN) that both schools had not paid their Rabbonim in months. I believe that the administration approached Rav Matisyahu Solomon for a psak on what to do regarding the budget. Shortly after, the Yeshivah Keter HaTorah Rebbes approached the same Rav and received the same psak.

There are some (ridiculous) comments I feel compelled to address. One commentator at Matzav asks:
I don’t understand: Is it better to have hundreds of kids without a school than to have rabbeim not paid? The rabbeim are either way not being paid bec. now they are out of a job. But we have hundreds of kids without school!

I've been covering non-payment since the inception of this blog and one thing I have noted is that Rabbonim feel as though they cannot walk, which is something I believe every single one of us in private industry would do should our employer fail to pay us. Some, like the commentor above, dismisses the opportunity that Rebbes would have if they were not working for free! I don't dismiss opportunity and I am a firm believer that Hashem puts opportunities in our paths. For a myriad of reasons, Rebbes as a whole seem to be held "hostage" by non-paying schools and acting as a group, or unorganized union, gives them much more power to do what should have been done months ago.

it's broken writes:
when are we going to real;ize that our system is broken
people are floundering
no money for food
no money for shcool
no money to marry off their kids
no money period
even people with job
seven p[eople who both wife and husband are working
we need a new system
we need housing
we need aubsidized food
we need help to support frum families
most frum families are struggling
moist people are not making ends meet
how long will it take till people realize
how many more mosdos will have to close


After declaring the "system" broken, the commentor calls for more of the same---welfare. Certain segments of the Orthodox community are highly dependent: dependent on parents, dependent on government programs, dependent on tzedakah. If such communities want to start solving their economic woes, independence is the answer, not (more!) subsidized food. I'd start paving the road to independence with a remediation campaign. Clearly, there are too many who lack basic skills, from basic English and vocational skills such as typing, to a lack of analytical thinking.

I think all the schools should enroll their children in the PS. What would happen is that the PS would have no room, and be forced to contract out for third party vendors. At that point the recently emptied private schools can become the third party vendor and receive generous compensation much like TT does. This would help fund the english dept costs, and tuition can be brought down to pay for the hebrew studies alone. This would help everyone, as the State would have to give more state aid since there are more children enrolled. In worst case, this should be done with the girl schools if not with the boys.

More predictable stupidity! To the residents of Lakewood and other heavily populated communities, public schools can handle some influx and they will do what they have always done when there are population shifts, use resources as efficiently as possible (and government isn't where I turn to for lessons in efficiency!).

In the last city I lived in, the elementary school down the stree from me ran two kindergarten schedules. The first session of the day started at 7AM, the second session started at 1PM. At one time my (public) high school had a far larger population than when I attended. The school was opened right as the baby boom generation started to enter high school. The school did not build its campus to accommodate the incoming class. They build the high school to accommodate the predicated future high school population, not the huge amount of students that they needed to accomodate in the first 10 years after opening, and the school squeezed classes into non-classroom areas until the school populations returned to normal levels. Other public schools have concurrent year round schedules to accommodate students. Sometimes, high schools in the same district, only offer certain electives, extracurriculars, or vocational classes, in one location, although all qualified students can attend such a course if they provide their own transportation.

Perhaps if schools in heavily populated Orthodox Jewish areas would form their own "school districts" to increase efficiency, some of these problems wouldn't be hitting with such vigor.

HOW COME THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS ARE NOT CLOSING
OUR TAXES ARE FUNDING THEM!WE HAVE TO FUND OUR SCHOOLS, NO EXCUSES

The most intelligent comments are always in caps, right? I dare the commentor to leave his/her tax bill unpaid and see what happens. (A hint: the taxing entity can and will foreclose on your home).

UPDATED:

A comment from "Normal"
Yungerleit are paid 80 dollars per week only after being in Kollel for a few years [waiting list].
Women that teach are paid minimally.
For a family of eight children the tuition without camp is at least 28,000.00.
How are they expected to live?
Kollelim that pay higher wages should be welcomed into our town!

And pray tell, where in the world does this commentor think money for Kollel comes from? Clearly part of the massive remediation process needed must include an understanding of free market economics, wealth creation, and basic personal finance.

from destro613
maybe more tuition is needed

Maybe if we charge more for the same product that the average parent couldn't pay for to begin with, money will start to grow on trees? I think part of the remediation process must include the younger set running a joint lemonade stand with the older set. Any 5, 6, 7, or 8 year old who has ever thrown up a sign and a table in the front yard understands that charging more doesn't magically produce more. They don't need Algebra I to understand that functions don't always follow a straight line.

77 comments:

BrooklynWolf said...

I think all the schools should enroll their children in the PS

Don't you find it amusing when people who say "let's flood the public schools" with our kids as a solution to the community tuition problems are probably the same ones who want their yeshivos ultra-segregated so that only the "right" kids can attend?

What do they think the public school system will do? Set up "yeshivish-...only" classes?

The Wolf

Lion of Zion said...

"Rabbonim feel as though they cannot walk, which is something I believe every single one of us in private industry would do should our employer fail to pay us"

it doesn't take away from your post because it's a different situation, but just wanted to point out that certain civil servants are prohibited by law from striking and other workplace actions (e.g., taylor law).

Lion of Zion said...

oh yes, there was a reason i wanted to bring up the taylor law. even though it doesn't techinically apply, school want us to think that they are communal instutions and certainly in many minds the rebbeim are the jewish equivalent of civil servants. so this might explain why they don't organize/strike/quit and why we don't expect them to do so.

(of course extent to which our schools really are communal institutions is a different issue. they claim they are when it suits it them, but other times they deny it. in reality they cobine the worst of aspects of the private and public sectors.)

WOLF:

even if the threat had real implication for the public schools (which it really doesn't), they will learn very quickly that it's a bluff. nothing changes with the jewish schools in large part because they know that our threats to pull our kids are just empty threats. why should bluffing with the public schools be any more productive?

Anonymous said...

Here is a solution...move all the nonproducers/non-income or low-income families to a place like Detroit. You can buy entire blocks for a price of around $25,000-$50,000 per house. You will have no mortgage, property taxes under $3,000 and could purchase school buildings for pennies.

Passaic said...

SL,

In NJ, the taxing authorities will actually sell your delinquent tax bill. Saves them collection costs. The shtick for the buyer is that he does not try to collect the bill (+18% interest) but allows it to grow up to the point that the bill exceeds a down payment, and THEN comes to collect. At that point, the scofflaw loses his house to the buyer, who has made a killer investment.

Where I live the tax authorities sell your note on the first day it's delinquent. There is a line of buyers.

Mark said...

LOZ - it doesn't take away from your post because it's a different situation, but just wanted to point out that certain civil servants are prohibited by law from striking and other workplace actions (e.g., taylor law).

That's an entirely different case.

Workers are NOT prohibited from not showing up to work if they aren't being paid, in fact there's even a constitutional amendment prohibiting that practice :-)

Anonymous said...

Yikes. :-(

JS said...

Let the yeshivas close. They don't teach good values anyways. This is what is taught in the Lakewood yeshivas, protect pedophiles and harass the victims' parents:

http://www.app.com/article/20100825/SPECIAL20/100823075/Lakewood-Orthodox-Jewish-leaders-want-abuse-accusations-addressed

What a chillul hashem.

For that matter, it's not just Lakewood. The article cites Rabbi Belsky, a majot poseik at the OU saying it's assur to go to the authorities without first going to the rabbis.

Orthodoxy is becoming more and more perverse and people keep bankrupting themselves to educate and isolate their children so they will stay in this system. It boggles the mind.

Anonymous said...

Orthodoxy seems to be headed off a cliff.

Miami Al said...

You can't spend money you don't have.

The Yeshivot turned themselves into a Ponzi scheme, using "prepays" to finish off the previous year's bill, always counting on new people in the system. They "trapped" the employees by being behind, so they need to stay to get "caught up."

And NO blame on the Admins that misran these organizations.

There is a macro-economic problem in Orthodoxy over time, too little income, etc., which causes a collapse in lifestyle, but that doesn't cause a school to close.

A school closes when it runs out of cash. It runs out of cash because it spends more than it takes in. If the school is having this problem annually, it means their costs are too high for their real income.

Whining about parents not paying their bill is just that, whining. If you bill $2m in tuition and collect $1m, then you budget on $900k and have margin for error. You do not budget on $2m then wonder why you can't pay your bills.

This people should be in cherem from the community and prison for defrauding a non-profit, NOT being elevated as holy men.

Looking forward to being told I need an Elul attitude adjustment, but newsflash, I write snarky comments on a blog, these charlatans called leaders have destroyed MILLIONS of dollars in communal wealth, have left students without a school 1-2 days before the year after collecting registration, pre-pays, etc. Blaming me is pointless, the people have ruined the financial lives of the staff, the academic lives of students, and destroyed Jewish wealth on a scale not seen since WW2.

This is SERIOUS.

This is NOT a tragedy of "woah is us," this is outright destruction of Jewish wealth by people entrusted to protect and use it to educate people.

Anonymous said...

@Al

You don't need an Elul adjustment, you need an Elul megaphone. People need to hear that just because we want an institution to exist, if it's a terrible business model it just can't (unless we continually flush money into it).

I feel terrible for those students who have no school to attend, I'm sure it's a horrible feeling.

Dave said...

At some point in time, most people learn that just because you want something, that doesn't mean you can have it, or that it's even possible (*).

That lesson seems to have been missed (along with the one about not jumping off a bridge because all your friends are doing it).

(*) Thus my tragic lack of the ability to eat whatever I want, as much as I want, and still be at my ideal weight.

Vote 2010 said...

Miami Al for (school) President. Who's with me?

Miami Al said...

Dave,

What's truly amazing, is that people who have rules about when they can tear toilet paper, or what types of cuts of meat are available to them, and 8000 other behavioral restricts are incapable of internalizing that lesson and realizing that you cannot always have everything you want.

One of the things that Orthodoxy SHOULD give people is tremendous discipline, and the ability to understand that there are restrictions on them.

Unfortunately, contemporary Orthodoxy is choice less, because we are scared of making a choice less.

A bunch of my right wing friends were really impressed that when my preschooler saw something they were eating, asked about it, then asked if it was Kosher before taking it. They seemed impressed, I expected it, because he lives in a world where not everything is Kosher. He knows that the restaurants at the mall aren't Kosher, he knows that if he sees candy he needs to ask someone to check if it's Kosher, he knows that if he breaks his toys, he won't have them anymore, and hopefully, long before he is married with children, he'll know that he needs to ask "can I afford this" before he buys it.

Do my children screw up? Absolutely, and I expect way more screw ups between now an 18, but I expect them to learn from them.

It sounds like the commenters on Matzav never learned that, because they are screaming about what a wonderful Tzaddik the great Rabbi is... the great Rabbi that didn't pay his workers on time, didn't tell the families he might not open, and managed to wait until the first day of school to cease operations.

That is NOT the behavior of a righteous man. That is the behavior of someone who didn't want to confront a difficult situation, so he just didn't.

This is NOT a holy Rabbi. This is a man that needs to do SERIOUS Teshuvah for his abuse of the trust and authority placed in him by the families that trusted him to educate their children.

Anonymous said...

Al tadun et chavercha at shetagia limkomo, Al.

In judaism we have a concept of anus patur min hamitzvot.

If many parents defaulted on their commitments, the admin is not responsible for not paying on time. He's 'anus' and there's no sin on his part. He may as well be a holy rabbi.

Not sure if this was the case, but, as I said, al tadun et chavercha at shetagia limkomo.

Anonymous said...

What I want to know is, when is Orthodox leadership going to stand up and say, "THIS is how things will be done from now on"? It is clear that the way things are done now is a game of russian roulette - today it's this school, tomorrow a different one.

Is there an Orthodox leadership? Or is there only a "banning committee"?

Ariella said...

Some parents really don't have the money, but for some it is not a priority. Someone I know very casually said that her brother did not go to the school on the first day because her father "didn't have the time to finish paying." That means they still owe tuition from last year. The school has a right to not allow the kid to continue. I know that the family is not swimming in money, but they did spend a lot on their new house with a kitchen that some people would kill for and also bought a new SUV. They also did send a kid to sleepaway camp. So there you have it -- it's all about priorities and recognizing your obligations.

JS said...

anonymous,

Continue with the "don't judge your fellow man until you reach his place" mantra. It will get you real far in modern Orthodoxy (note capitalization). It will get you a one way ticket as a passenger heading off the cliff.

Seems to me like you have a choice. You pick and choose halacha to make sure that all your leaders are blameless even when they squander community resources, don't pay employees, send kids packing a day or two before school, harbor pedophiles, harass the families of victims, etc. Go ahead, there is more than enough halachas and sayings in halachic literature to justify just about anything. Go and find the ones that justify this horrendous behavior.

Or, you can open your eyes and think for yourself for a minute and realize this is just plain wrong. You don't need a smicha degree, a PhD, an MBA, or even an education. A 5 year old would know this stuff is wrong. You ask a 5 year old, "If you work for someone and then he doesn't pay you, is he bad?" or "If people trust someone to do something for them and then he doesn't do it properly, is he bad?" Any 5 year old knows how to answer.

But, you take that 5 year old and give him a yeshiva education and the response is "wellllll.....maybe....not so clear." or more likely you'll get "Don't judge him!! He's a tzadik!!! What kind of person would even ask such a question!! It's Elul!!!"

Mark said...

JS, the example of a 5-year-old is completely true. So what happens to a community that has less sense than a 5 year-old? I'll tell you what. It eventually collapses.

DAG said...

I don't understand why anyone thought that putting Rabbis that know nothing about finances, nothing about management, nothing about organizations and nothing about education in charge of multi-million dollar educational institutions with (little to) no oversight was ever going to produce a result other than the one we are currently seeing?

Zach Kessin said...

DAG,

what I want to know is why after it has failed a number of times do we keep doing it?

I like to fall back on the 12 step definition of insanity:
Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting that somehow you will get different results.

Anonymous said...

rabbenu babelu says: it makes no sense for charedim not to make aliya

Rabenu Babelu said...

It makes no sense for Charedim not to make Aliya.

Anonymous said...

Babelu: Not a great solution. The last thing EY needs is more people who hate the state and work against it.

Mark said...

And eventually, there will come a point at which the secular Israelis will refuse to subsidize the lifestyle choices of the Charedim, political strength or not. Then the gravy train will end and the Charedi community in Israel will begin to suffer greatly during their transition into more productive lives.

Anonymous said...

Running a haredi school these days is an extremely hard task, given that if you charge more than other schools in the area (in order to make sure that you'll always have plenty of money to pay your expenses), not too many people will enroll.

And if you charge the same as other schools, then you are relying on parents paying as much as they can to keep the school afloat. And during the hard years, the school might run on a deficit.

If you'd ask the rebbeim of a school that has a deficit if they'd prefer that the school fired half of them and pay full salaries to the other ones or keep them all, even though payments might be late occasionally, I'm almost certain that most will choose the latter.

If you have seen the reality of haredi schools from the inside you'll realize that it's very hard to blame the admins. Yes, they could be very good people and not be committing any sin at all.

There are plenty of things that a 5 year old can't comprehend, and if we'd follow the level of comprehension of a 5 yr old, then we'd certainly go down the cliff.

Remember mishlei, "the building of the young is razing, and the razing of the elders is building"?

Miami Al said...

Anon 9:23,

Your math doesn't add up. If you have enough money to pay everyone but "occasionally late," then you are NOT running a deficit, you just need a one time infusion of cash reserves of 1-3 months of salary to cover blips. If you cut your salary costs by 8%, you'd have that covered in 3 years, so you wouldn't need to cut 50% of your staff.

The answers are not: 50% layoffs OR occasional delays, if you need 50% layoffs to be solvent, then you are only paying half salaries, meaning 6 months behind each year and getting worse.

But yes, the willingness to "save" schools instead of funding well run ones destroys all schools. Any school not run at a loss has an "inferior product," since the other schools are either cheaper, or have twice the Rabbeim because they pay half as much (only half the salary gets paid in the year), and people will contribute to "save" a poorly run school instead of "endowing" a well run school.

You either need to learn how to fund raise off success, or leadership needs to encourage people to support well run schools, and organize orderly collapses of failing ones.

Jewish Mother said...

No one seems to have mentioned the most obvious solution: The American Orthodox community should be lobbying for changes in the law that would allow religious schools to get government funding for all secular department expenses. In other words, all books, materials, teaching salaries, etc. for the secular studies department would be paid for by the government just like for all children in public schools and then parents would pay all expenses for the Torah studies part of the day.

Without this, it will just continue to be more and more obvious that most parents cannot pay the amount of money required to run a school without any outside funding.

Rebbeim deserve to be paid and Jewish children deserve a decent education, one that will allow them to compete as adults in the world at large. And we should not have to destroy most Jewish families for this to happen.

This is not welfare -- it is common sense.

Anonymous said...

Al,
A well run school costs a lot and most parents cannot afford it.

Just take the MO legacy schools in BC as an example.

You cannot have affordable tuition and well run schools in the same sentence.

If a school gets $5000 per kid, they'll have to struggle making ends meet. Still, the parent body and the community will much rather support the struggling school than another one where tuition is $20,000 and the admins make $200k+.

Yenta said...

My parents' generation struggled to create and sustain Jewish day schools so that their grandchildren can squander their legacy by mismanagement and economically unsustainable proliferation. There is too much product on the market - every mechanech (educator) in Lakewood needs a cheder to teach in or better yet, to run. They found schools and the schools close after a few years because they have no economic foundation. Why is this a tragedy? It seems to be capitalism. If only today's pampered parents could have half the idealism and determination of my parents' post-World War II generation. If I hear again about subsidies from the government - what an abdication of personal responsibility. Everyone wants someone else to pay. Well, why aren't parents rolling up their sleeves and getting to work on fundraising projects after their jobs like my father did? Lakewood parents have passive expectations, my parents had a sense of responsibility.

Anonymous said...

Jewish Mother: You must be new to this blog. SL and many of her commenters have explained in detail why that is not going to happen and why it probably should not happen. There is no benefit to taxpayers to supporting secular segregated education. If you want your children to get a good taxpayer-funded secular education, use the public schools for the secular part of the education.
What is the lobbying pitch for taxpayer funding of secular education in yeshivas? We don't want our children mixing with the goyim? We have to teach religious studies in the morning?
The closest you are going to get is a Hebrew-language charter school, but with NO religious influences, open to all regardless of race, religion, gender, etc.

JS said...

Jewish Mother,

No need for any lobbying. The government already provides it. It's called public school. It's really an amazing thing. You see, people pay property taxes and then the government uses part of those property taxes to fund all secular educational expenses. In other words, all books, materials, teaching salaries, etc. for the secular education would be paid for by the government.

Then you could run an after school Talmud Torah or Hebrew School or Afternoon Yeshiva program or whatever you want to call it and parents would pay all expenses for the Torah studies part of the day.

Brilliant, no?

Miami Al said...

JS,

Down in Florida, we have 3 (so far) Hebrew Language Charter schools, where the school provides a secular education AND a Hebrew education, and it's a "Jewish environment" in that most of the students are Jewish, many of whom are observant. If your kid is wearing Tzitzit and a a Kippa, he's not unusual, a handful of kids are doing that, others have Kippot, the school cafeteria is Kosher, etc. That was the school system being willing to work with us.

The Orthodox community has boycotted it and insulted it, but the Israelis and non-Orthodox Jews are lapping it up.

The non-Orthodox JCC Day School near the 2 original charters consolidated from 2 campuses to 1, losing a bunch of students to the charter. But you know what's great for them? The parents left there can afford and want to afford private schooling. Those that can't or don't want to pay for private schooling, do not.

The after school Judaic program at the charter costs $1000/year. If more Orthodox kids attended and had some support of the Rabbis in the area, you could have a real after school Yeshiva.

One of the RW groups down here were offered a charter where they could start their school day at 10 or 11 AM, so they could do Hebrew, lunch, and then secular subjects, so they could even do a before school Yeshiva.

This wasn't good enough.

There is no way that the state is cutting a check to the Yeshivot, no questions asked, that would be a CLEAR violation of the establishment clause.

Any system that lets them receive state funds on equal footing with secular institutions (which would be legal), will come with anti-discrimination and other restrictions that would make the Orthodox establishment bristle.

There is no voucher/subsidy coming. Even if you got vouchers in place, the Orthodox schools wouldn't qualify, because they refuse to budge 1 inch, so they won't accommodate ANY state requirements. That's fine, but then don't look for state money.

DAG said...

We need to change the paradigm. We must not look at Rabbis that opened Yeshivas with no management/organizational background and no solid fiscal plan as Tzaddikim who are trying to help. We need to view them as charlatans who have squandered the communal wealth of the Frum community.

If a Rabbi says that he meant well, and he was trying to provide a service, ask him, "what on earth made you think you were capable of running something like this?"

Just take a look how the Gemorah speaks about how careful we need to be with Mamon Hekdesh. These Rabbis owe a huge debt to the community as a whole.

Anonymous said...

DAG,
Don't be naive.

Do you think a CPA or MBA would be willing to work for a haredi school?

The schools are run by the only type of people who are willing to run it and you cant blame them too much... bemakom sheein ish, hishtadel lih'ios ish.

DAG said...

I am not naive. If we had MUCH fewer but well run schools with higher salaries for competent professionals, yes we could have real management by experts.

It’s not Bamokom shain eish. Our system is Bamakom that I am leaving Kollel with no job skills and think working as a janitor is beneath me, I stand up and open a school.

That attitude is the root cause of MANY of the problems facing the Frum community today, economically, educationally AND socially. We need to call it what it is; destructive and quite frankly, selfish

Anon1 said...

If there is actually a community, and not only a collection of individuals and private businesses, there should be a responsible kehilla organization running an educational system on sound principles, accommodating all the community's students.

However, one hurdle is that an American kehilla has no taxing authority; to run one would require community members to ante up voluntarily as responsible people would.

A more serious hurdle is that people would have to unite and submerge objectively small differences for the common good. Maybe the crisis has become so severe that this will be possible.

Otherwise, we will continue to have mini-institutions with mini-resources, maxi-responsibilities and maxi-problems.

RAM said...

One significant problem in using public schools for secular studies:

These have become relentless in indoctrinating students with PC/secular/socialist concepts at odds with the Jewish perspective. Maybe math class isn't like that, but many other classes are!

How is the student to sort out all the dissonance between secular and religious studies>

Jewish Mother said...

JS, this concept [public school in the morning/cheder in the afternoon] is what used to be the case many decades ago before there were so many yeshivot and day schools. Then the baby boomers came and the middle class grew and people had much more disposable income and day schools were able to be funded by parents.

Unfortunately, the economy today is in shambles and we just may have to go back to this way of doing things or to Hebrew charter schools or whatever will enable children to go to school and their families to still eat and pay the mortgage.

Or you could just make aliya and afford both yeshiva tuition and food, but that would mean leaving the land of plenty.....

micha said...

To give an additional answer to the commentator at Matzav who you quote asking: I don’t understand: Is it better to have hundreds of kids without a school than to have rabbeim not paid? The rabbeim are either way not being paid bec. now they are out of a job. But we have hundreds of kids without school!

I would argue that it's better to close a school than to teach the students that one can take financial advantage of others. Aside from that being obviously (to me, anyway) the Torah's priorities, numerous headlines about "Orthodox" Jews over past couple of years have taught us how much shoring up we need in this area.

-micha

Yenta said...

Because in the US, unlike in Europe (and I believe Canada) there is no power to tax the religious community for the common good, in the post-war era community-minded volunteer projects for the schools took the place of taxing. Parents with children in the school ran fund-raising projects on a very organized scale. A father ran the Succos project for years, another parent played piano expertly for our annual fundraising dinner and taught the children songs as the entertainment, a mother ran the macaroon project at Pesach, another mother ran the Ladies Auxiliary with its manifold functions for the school, and another parent ran the PTA. A generous businessman was a major donor, but the more modest people considered it their responsibility to donate time and energy. I don't think there is such a spirit in Lakewood. From people I speak to, their attitudes seem to be - well, we need more money, who is going to give it to us? We're waiting.... They don't have a can-do attitude, it's at odds with a certain ingrained passivity I see. I could be wrong. An example of an organized kehilla was the Washington Heights Breuers Kehilla, which ran the schools, seminary, shul, and other community institutions in a highly organized and financially sound manner.

Miami Al said...

Yenta,

1. Running a fundraiser is Bittul Torah for the Bnai Torah of Lake wood.

2. The Current parents, products of these fine Yeshivot, lack the skills run these organizations.

3. The Succos project, Macaroon Project, playing piano, etc., these are all skills no longer in the community, and once you are holiday related, you have the political issue of whose Chumrot/Minhagim/Rules to follow.

4. A successful fundraiser needs to bring outside money in. People outside the Yeshiva world no longer feel any kinship with the Yeshiva world, some of that is assimilation, some of that is changes in the Yeshiva world.

5. The Jewish community was VERY community oriented two generations ago. The modern Jewish world is VERY self centered and lacks any sort of kinship with anyone different than themselves. Some would blame the lack of anti-semitism and assimilation for this, which is a part of it, but I think the intolerance taught in the Yeshiva is a part as well.

The post-WW2 generation were wonderful at being Jews. But they were terrible at passing that along to their children, who were lousy at being Jews. As a result, the children of today are being taught the rules of being Jews, but no clue how to be Jewish.

Every Yeshiva kid wants to be a Talmud Chachum, nobody wants to be a Mensch anymore.

Well, we now have lots of the former, none of the latter.

Anonymous said...

That one of the commentors actually suggested that the Rabbeim continue to work, since they are out of work and not being paid anyway, shows a total disconnect with reality.

How many people would work for no pay after being stiffed by their employer?

micha said...

Anyone told by their rav how great the mitzvah involved is, and how terrible bitul Torah...

I argued above that they shouldn't be guilted into it like that; not that they couldn't.

-micha

Anon! said...

"Every Yeshiva kid wants to be a Talmud Chachum, nobody wants to be a Mensch anymore."

Talk about a bold generalization! This fails the taste test---what I see is not like this.

Anonymous said...

Micha:

I was responding to the comment you quoted, not your post.

However, any Rav who would advise someone to place his own family at risk by not seeking employment that provides wages (albeit meager) while continuing to work for empty promises is not worthy of being a Moreh Derech.

Yenta said...

I have just read a sample of comments to the school closing news in the Lakewood Scoop, and I am deeply saddened. Oh, not at the school closing, that is a natural result of lack of money. I am saddened by the poor, execrable English of the commenters. The problem goes beyond the people I know in Lakewood - it is widespread. The lack of education, the denial, the lack of job skills - it is tragic. This is the result of 40 + years of denigrating secular education. It is a display to the Jewish world of the illiteracy of these American born Torah Jews. I consider this shameful, tragic. If they are unable to express themselves in English with any degree of clarity or fluency, how do I know the commenters are any better in Lashon Kodesh or in Yiddish? Why are they in kollel? Lakewood has a problem.

And Miami Al, the can-do parents of the post-war generation could create an excellent school for their children, but their children, frummer than thou, went on to Lakewood where they denied their own children a basic education. It's not just a few, it is widespread, as I said. It's not the post-war parents' failure, they tried their best to instill good values in their children. The children had their own ideas, as American children do.

JS said...

"Do you think a CPA or MBA would be willing to work for a haredi school?"

Then maybe the chareidim should become CPA's and MBA's so they can run their institutions properly. If you can't run something properly, don't do it.

It's just stupidity to call someone who runs a school into the ground a "tzadik." Maybe he's a nice guy and charitable, but it's just foolishness to think you can run an organization with no managerial or financial skills.

If someone is idealistic and founds a cancer research group and collects millions of dollars but somehow all the money gets squandered due to poor accounting, late payment fees, fines, interest, etc and they get investigated for improper tax returns, etc. is that person a tzaddik? No. He's an idiot despite his idealism and desire to help humanity. He should be a fundraiser for the organization, not running it!

"These have become relentless in indoctrinating students with PC/secular/socialist concepts at odds with the Jewish perspective."

Public schools don't indoctrinate - at least not in the ways yeshivas do. Besides, how is political correctness, belief in secular knowledge, and socialism against the Jewish perspective? In case you didn't notice, Judaism is high socialistic. I find it funny when politically conservative Jews assert they believe in Torah values and therefore are against Welfare. What do you call tzedaka, ma'aser, pei'ah, leket, trumah, etc.

JS said...

I've said this before, but the problem with the yeshivas closing is simply a lack of communal priorities. People don't prioritize yeshiva despite all their lip service. You can go on all you want that you simply can't run a yeshiva in Lakewood if people are paying less than $3k a child or whatever. It's simply not true. You can run such a school, you just do it intelligently.

One model would be finding teachers who are willing to sacrifice (take a vow of poverty, if you will) for the sake of educating children. The school/community would give them free housing and basic living expenses so that they lacked nothing major, but not pay a salary or only a small stipend. This is what Catholic schools did for years.

You can't have a bad model, tell people camp or vacations are just as important as yeshiva, tell people it's OK to support older children or pay for large weddings over yeshiva and then wonder why yeshivas are closing.

It's not an income problem or a tuition payment problem. It's a priorities problem.

RAM said...

"What do you call tzedaka, ma'aser, pei'ah, leket, trumah, etc."

Commands of G-d, of course, not of Karl Marx or Obama.

Not everything that looks or claims to be compassionate is. Some is really robbery to benefit special interests, and destroys the economic base as well.

Miami Al said...

JS wrote, "You can go on all you want that you simply can't run a yeshiva in Lakewood if people are paying less than $3k a child or whatever. It's simply not true. You can run such a school, you just do it intelligently."

Correct, you can, it'd be a lousy school, I wouldn't send my kids there, but if you are collecting $3k/student, you absolutely can run a school.

No room for overhead, you probably don't have classes < 30 (that's only $90k for a class of 30), you probably can't have two teachers, so either you probably need the same teacher for both "curricula" and you need to drastically control overhead, but you can do a school for $3k/student.

What you can't do is collect $3k/student, spend $5k/student, and wonder why you are insolvent.

Zach Kessin said...

Having been following this whole mess for some years I can only think of 2 possible explanations:

1) The Rabbinic Leadership knowingly drove the whole community into bankruptcy for some reason that I don't understand.

2) The Rabbinic Leadership was too clueless to know that they were driving the community into bankruptcy.

I'm not sure which Idea disturbs me more, but I am pretty sure that one or the other is true (maybe some of both)

In either case these are not people I would want to educate my kids

Mark said...

JS - I've said this before, but the problem with the yeshivas closing is simply a lack of communal priorities. People don't prioritize yeshiva despite all their lip service.

This is completely obvious just by walking through Lakewood and observing the people. I've said it before, 10,000 shtreimels at $2000 each is $20M, and 10,000 diamond rings at $2500 each is another $25M. So, there's $45M to fix the Lakewood schools right there without even cutting into anything critical.

Unless shtreimels and diamond rings have halachic priority over chinuch of their children.

WannaBeChossid said...

Hello,
I submitted this to TLS forum. I am curious to see if this will come through :) ( since I can only post 4096 chars, I am submitting this in 2 posts. THIS IS POST 1 )
Let me know what you think
For all of you that want a voucher ( i.e. public money ) see this:
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/25/nyregion/25hebrew.html

http://online.wsj.com/article/NA_WSJ_PUB:SB10001424052748703650604575313353972327426.html

This is what your school will look like if Gov't is allowed to into Orthodox schools.

Anyone who suggests that we send Orthodox children to public schools needs to do basic research first on the internet .. ohh wait, that is banned.
Then local library .. ohh wait that is banned too...
Anyway, for those who visit the banned land, see this:
http://www.emsc.nysed.gov/psc/article56.html scroll down to the “S 2854. General requirements” and you will find this
"A charter shall not be issued to any school that would be wholly or in part under the control or direction of any religious denomination, or in which any denominational tenet or doctrine would be taught."
Since we are on the topic of failing schools, see this http://www.simpletoremember.com/vitals/dayschool.pdf
Go to page 2
“ THE SMALL SCHOOL PHENOMENON
For all of the enrollment growth, day school education is in large measure a small school phenomenon, as 200,000+ students attend 760 schools. One-sixth of all day schools have fewer than 50 students and many of these enroll fewer than 25. Nearly 40% of all day schools have fewer than 100 students. This situation arises from two intersecting factors: the geographic distribution of American Jews and our denominational diversity.
The existence of a great number of small schools has educational and financial implications. It is difficult and often impossible to offer a varied curriculum that meets the needs of students of different capabilities and interests when classrooms have but a handful of students. The financial difficulties are self-evident.
In some measure because of their small size, but also as a result of other factors, a significant number of day schools are struggling to stay afloat .”
Which goes back to the previous posters' comments, consolidation is one of the keys to solving this problem.

WannaBeChossid said...

PART 2, SEE PART 1 ABOVE

The other key, is ending this
idiotic trend of schools not teaching secular subjects and denying students an ability to go to college (even "religious" ones )
Take a look at your Census data http://www.americantowns.com/nj/lakewood-information#data
Average Family Size
The average family size in the community is 4.36 (The average family size in the United States is 3.14).
-----
Monthly Owner Costs in Lakewood, NJ
For homes with a mortgage, average monthly owner costs were $1,284 (national average was $1,088).
For homes without a mortgage in Lakewood, average costs per month were $494 (national average was $295).
-----
EDUCATION
High School Graduate or higher
At the time of the last survey, 12,258 people in the community had a high school degree, or 74.1 of the population (compared to the national average of 80.40%).
Bachelor's Degree or Higher in Lakewood, New Jersey
3,543 people in Lakewood also had a Bachelor’s degree or higher, which represented 21.4 of the total population (National average was 24.40%).
and now we get to THE reason of your problem:
-----
LABOR STATISTICS
Percentage In Labor Force in Lakewood, New Jersey
There were 11,989 in the labor force in Lakewood at the time of the last complete survey. This represented 54.8 of the total population, compared to the national average of 63.90%. Mean Travel Time to Work in minutes
From the most recent complete survey, the average commute time to work for local residents in Lakewood was 26.2 minutes, compared to the national average of 25.5 minutes.

-----
Median Household Income in Lakewood, NJ

The median household income in the community at the time of the last survey was $30,769. The median household income in the U.S. was $41,994.

-----
Median Family Income in Lakewood, NJ

In the last complete census survey, the median family income in the community was $32,748. Median family income in the U.S. was 50,046.

-----
Per Capita Income in Lakewood, New Jersey

Per capita income in Lakewood in the last full census was 11,802. Per capita income in the U.S. was 21,587.
-----

if you don't know the difference between average and median, google it.

If you are still with me, i will explain what this all means:

from what i have been reading, in Lakewood there is a min tuition that everyone has to pay and that runs around 5k a year ( i have also heard 3k, but it won't make much of a difference )
With average family size of 4.36 ( we all know that true numb is much higher), this means average tuition bill is 21.8K!!!! ;
Now look at what you are making $32,748!!!!!!!
This leaves you with, on average: $10,948.00 a YEAR to live on.
In conclusion
YOU ARE SCREWED.
AND PLEASE STOP ASKING OTHER PEOPLE TO BAIL YOU OUT. YOU GOT INTO THIS MESS, SO IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO GET OUT OF IT.
On a side note
WHY DOES EVERY SOLUTION THAT COMES OUT OF YOUR COMMUNITIES REVOLVES AROUND SOMEONE ELSE PICKING UP YOUR BILL?

WannaBeChossid said...

PART 2 of 2 PART POST

The other key, is ending this idiotic trend of schools not teaching secular subjects and denying students an ability to go to college (even "religious" ones )
Take a look at your Census data http://www.americantowns.com/nj/lakewood-information#data
Average Family Size
The average family size in the community is 4.36 (The average family size in the United States is 3.14).
-----
Monthly Owner Costs in Lakewood, NJ
For homes with a mortgage, average monthly owner costs were $1,284 (national average was $1,088).
For homes without a mortgage in Lakewood, average costs per month were $494 (national average was $295).
-----
EDUCATION
High School Graduate or higher
At the time of the last survey, 12,258 people in the community had a high school degree, or 74.1 of the population (compared to the national average of 80.40%).
Bachelor's Degree or Higher in Lakewood, New Jersey
3,543 people in Lakewood also had a Bachelor’s degree or higher, which represented 21.4 of the total population (National average was 24.40%).
and now we get to THE reason of your problem:
-----
LABOR STATISTICS
Percentage In Labor Force in Lakewood, New Jersey
There were 11,989 in the labor force in Lakewood at the time of the last complete survey. This represented 54.8 of the total population, compared to the national average of 63.90%. Mean Travel Time to Work in minutes
From the most recent complete survey, the average commute time to work for local residents in Lakewood was 26.2 minutes, compared to the national average of 25.5 minutes.

-----
Median Household Income in Lakewood, NJ

The median household income in the community at the time of the last survey was $30,769. The median household income in the U.S. was $41,994.

-----
Median Family Income in Lakewood, NJ

In the last complete census survey, the median family income in the community was $32,748. Median family income in the U.S. was 50,046.

-----
Per Capita Income in Lakewood, New Jersey

Per capita income in Lakewood in the last full census was 11,802. Per capita income in the U.S. was 21,587.
-----

if you don't know the difference between average and median, google it.

If you are still with me, i will explain what this all means:

from what i have been reading, in Lakewood there is a min tuition that everyone has to pay and that runs around 5k a year ( i have also heard 3k, but it won't make much of a difference )
With average family size of 4.36 ( we all know that true numb is much higher), this means average tuition bill is 21.8K!!!! ;
Now look at what you are making $32,748!!!!!!!
This leaves you with, on average: $10,948.00 a YEAR to live on.
In conclusion
YOU ARE SCREWED.
AND PLEASE STOP ASKING OTHER PEOPLE TO BAIL YOU OUT. YOU GOT INTO THIS MESS, SO IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO GET OUT OF IT.
On a side note
WHY DOES EVERY SOLUTION THAT COMES OUT OF YOUR COMMUNITIES REVOLVES AROUND SOMEONE ELSE PICKING UP YOUR BILL?

WannaBeChossid said...

The other key, is ending this idiotic trend of schools not teaching secular subjects and denying students an ability to go to college (even "religious" ones )
Take a look at your Census data http://www.americantowns.com/nj/lakewood-information#data
Average Family Size
The average family size in the community is 4.36 (The average family size in the United States is 3.14).
-----
Monthly Owner Costs in Lakewood, NJ
For homes with a mortgage, average monthly owner costs were $1,284 (national average was $1,088).
For homes without a mortgage in Lakewood, average costs per month were $494 (national average was $295).
-----
EDUCATION
High School Graduate or higher
At the time of the last survey, 12,258 people in the community had a high school degree, or 74.1 of the population (compared to the national average of 80.40%).
Bachelor's Degree or Higher in Lakewood, New Jersey
3,543 people in Lakewood also had a Bachelor’s degree or higher, which represented 21.4 of the total population (National average was 24.40%).
and now we get to THE reason of your problem:
-----
LABOR STATISTICS
Percentage In Labor Force in Lakewood, New Jersey
There were 11,989 in the labor force in Lakewood at the time of the last complete survey. This represented 54.8 of the total population, compared to the national average of 63.90%. Mean Travel Time to Work in minutes
From the most recent complete survey, the average commute time to work for local residents in Lakewood was 26.2 minutes, compared to the national average of 25.5 minutes.
-----
Median Household Income in Lakewood, NJ
The median household income in the community at the time of the last survey was $30,769. The median household income in the U.S. was $41,994.
-----
Median Family Income in Lakewood, NJ
In the last complete census survey, the median family income in the community was $32,748. Median family income in the U.S. was 50,046.
-----
Per Capita Income in Lakewood, New Jersey
Per capita income in Lakewood in the last full census was 11,802. Per capita income in the U.S. was 21,587.
-----
If you don't know the difference between average and median, google it.
If you are still with me, i will explain what this all means:

from what i have been reading, in Lakewood there is a min tuition that everyone has to pay and that runs around 5k a year ( i have also heard 3k, but it won't make much of a difference )
With average family size of 4.36 (we all know that true numb is much higher), this means average tuition bill is 21.8K!!!! ;
Now look at what you are making $32,748!!!!!!!
This leaves you with, on average: $10,948.00 a YEAR to live on.
In conclusion
YOU ARE SCREWED.
AND PLEASE STOP ASKING OTHER PEOPLE TO BAIL YOU OUT. YOU GOT INTO THIS MESS, SO IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO GET OUT OF IT.
On a side note
WHY EVERY SOLUTION THAT COMES OUT OF YOUR COMMUNITIES REVOLVES AROUND SOMEONE ELSE PICKING UP YOUR BILL?

WannaBeChossid said...

The other key, is ending this idiotic trend of schools not teaching secular subjects and denying students an ability to go to college (even "religious" ones )
Take a look at your Census data http://www.americantowns.com/nj/lakewood-information#data
Average Family Size
The average family size in the community is 4.36 (The average family size in the United States is 3.14).
-----
Monthly Owner Costs in Lakewood, NJ
For homes with a mortgage, average monthly owner costs were $1,284 (national average was $1,088).
For homes without a mortgage in Lakewood, average costs per month were $494 (national average was $295).
-----
EDUCATION
High School Graduate or higher
At the time of the last survey, 12,258 people in the community had a high school degree, or 74.1 of the population (compared to the national average of 80.40%).
Bachelor's Degree or Higher in Lakewood, New Jersey
3,543 people in Lakewood also had a Bachelor’s degree or higher, which represented 21.4 of the total population (National average was 24.40%).
and now we get to THE reason of your problem:
-----
LABOR STATISTICS
Percentage In Labor Force in Lakewood, New Jersey
There were 11,989 in the labor force in Lakewood at the time of the last complete survey. This represented 54.8 of the total population, compared to the national average of 63.90%. Mean Travel Time to Work in minutes
From the most recent complete survey, the average commute time to work for local residents in Lakewood was 26.2 minutes, compared to the national average of 25.5 minutes.

-----
Median Household Income in Lakewood, NJ

The median household income in the community at the time of the last survey was $30,769. The median household income in the U.S. was $41,994.

-----
Median Family Income in Lakewood, NJ

In the last complete census survey, the median family income in the community was $32,748. Median family income in the U.S. was 50,046.

-----

WannaBeChossid said...

-----
Per Capita Income in Lakewood, New Jersey

Per capita income in Lakewood in the last full census was 11,802. Per capita income in the U.S. was 21,587.
-----

if you don't know the difference between average and median, google it.

If you are still with me, i will explain what this all means:

from what i have been reading, in Lakewood there is a min tuition that everyone has to pay and that runs around 5k a year ( i have also heard 3k, but it won't make much of a difference )
With average family size of 4.36 ( we all know that true numb is much higher), this means average tuition bill is 21.8K!!!! ;
Now look at what you are making $32,748!!!!!!!
This leaves you with, on average: $10,948.00 a YEAR to live on.
In conclusion
YOU ARE SCREWED.
AND PLEASE STOP ASKING OTHER PEOPLE TO BAIL YOU OUT. YOU GOT INTO THIS MESS, SO IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO GET OUT OF IT.
On a side note
WHY DOES EVERY SOLUTION THAT COMES OUT OF YOUR COMMUNITIES REVOLVES AROUND SOMEONE ELSE PICKING UP YOUR BILL?

JLan said...

"One model would be finding teachers who are willing to sacrifice (take a vow of poverty, if you will) for the sake of educating children. The school/community would give them free housing and basic living expenses so that they lacked nothing major, but not pay a salary or only a small stipend. This is what Catholic schools did for years."

JS- I've seen this claim many times. The problem is that it overlooks one significant difference between Catholic clergy and observant Jews: children. Catholic priests and nuns don't have kids and don't need to house children in such situations. I'm sure that if you guaranteed an apartment with a few bedrooms to families with Jewish teachers, they'd be more than willing to accept...but then we're talking, at minimum, 3 bedroom apartments.

Anonymous said...

Yenta said...

I have just read a sample of comments to the school closing news in the Lakewood Scoop, and I am deeply saddened... by the poor, execrable English of the commenters...If they are unable to express themselves in English with any degree of clarity or fluency, how do I know the commenters are any better in Lashon Kodesh or in Yiddish? Why are they in kollel?

--------

The ones in kollel are probably not the ones commenting on a blog site.

JS said...

Jlan,

The problem isn't the number of kids. There are Chabad shlichim that have many kids and live in small houses or apartments. Living with multiple kids in a small house is simply a sacrifice they may have to be willing to make. Or, the community buys up cheap land and develops it to build houses. Whatever.

The problem isn't the kids. The problem is that the rabbi and the community will constantly be arguing over what "necessities" to provide these people. Before you know it, all their kids are going to sleepaway camp, the family is taking trips to Israel, they go to a hotel for pesach, they get an allowance to make large shabbos meals for multiple guests, etc and they're all making the equivalent of $150k or whatever.

This summarizes the problem. Lack of priorities and unwillingness to sacrifice.

When a priest or nun took a vow of poverty, they meant it. Asceticism is lost in Judaism. We may talk about this or that tzadik or lived in a closet of an apartment and slept on the floor with no mattress and ate only bread and water, but it's just a story. In reality we think he's nuts. Problem is there's no happy medium between that story and insane luxury.

Long story short: rabbi was brought in to supervise other mashgichim in a kosher kitchen and give a few shiurim. He was paid an exorbitant salary, well over $100k. This was several times what he was earning previously. Wasn't enough. Every week he'd demand something from the employer. A car. A cell phone. Paying the data plan on the cell phone. You get the idea. And every time the employer acquiesced because they didn't want to mistreat a rabbi.

And if the employer had to shut down and no one had kosher food we'd all wonder what went wrong.

Anonymous said...

First off I'd like to say that it has always been my belief that teaching is one of the highest and most important professions out there. I hold educators in great esteem. IMHO, employees in the education field deserve to be paid as much (if not more) than other professionals like doctors, lawyers, and accountants. With that said, I'd like to point out that with all these school closings because of financial difficulties, shouldn't there be a cap on salaries for all rebbeim and staff of schools? Perhaps Gedolim can make the same cap throughout an entire town. Although they *should* get paid a decent amount, the institutions just can't pay that much - FACT. If it was a company other than a school, the CFO would declare pay cuts across the board and whoever doesn't like it can find jobs elsewhere. AFAIK, there are hundreds of capable yugerleit in lakewood that would take a Rebbe job for less than they are paying the current ones.

Julie said...

Can I ask people's opinion? Do the public schools want our children? Let's say 10% of the Lakewood community (or the Teaneck community) really sent their children to the local public schools. Let's say that they advocated for their children's religious/cultural needs the same way that fundamentalist Christian or other minority groups parents do. (Nothing that violates the First Ammendment but certainly advocating for what they want.) Would the public schools and local population be happy seeing that more members of the community are invested in the public school system? Or would they see this as taking away money from "their" kids? I could see it either way.

Anonymous said...

ALL EXCELLENT POSTS

JS said...

Just my opinion, but I can't imagine why they wouldn't love to have an influx of Orthodox students assuming the parents understand it's a public school and not a publicly funded yeshiva.

The kids are, on average, smart and dedicated students who don't cause trouble and the parents are devoted, spend time with their kids on homework, etc and want their kids to get a great education.

Who wouldn't want that? It's probably a principal's dream to have kids from good homes who will boost his school's achievement test statistics.

I don't see how an influx of Orthodox kids would take away money from others. Maybe taxes would go up a bit if they had to hire new teachers or expand (assuming already at capacity), but, again, I imagine most parents would happy to pay more if it meant their kids were in better performing classes with children who were good kids who stay out of trouble.

Public schools already make a lot of accommodations to students of different backgrounds, ethnicities, religions, dietary restrictions, food allergies, cultures, etc. This is just one more group as far as they're concerned.

Charlie Hall said...

money to pay everyone but "occasionally late," then you are NOT running a deficit'

If you have enough money to pay everyone but "occasionally late", then you are violating an explicit commandment of the Torah.


"The American Orthodox community should be lobbying for changes in the law that would allow religious schools to get government funding for all secular department expenses."

We've been doing that for over 40 years.

"What is the lobbying pitch for taxpayer funding of secular education in yeshivas? We don't want our children mixing with the goyim? We have to teach religious studies in the morning? "

In many free democratic countries, the government does pay for much of the cost of Jewish education. Generally, the Jewish school has to follow the government education, employment, and admissions mandates. For example, Jewish children in Ireland have to pass a test on Christianity in order to graduate from high school. In some areas, the Jewish schools have to accept non-Jewish students. But the non-Jewish majority seems to accept as a matter of fairness that at least the secular education in Jewish schools should be supported by the public.


"There is no way that the state is cutting a check to the Yeshivot, no questions asked, that would be a CLEAR violation of the establishment clause."

Actually the courts have ruled otherwise.


"These have become relentless in indoctrinating students with PC/secular/socialist concepts at odds with the Jewish perspective."

You clearly have no idea what is taught in public schools.

"One model would be finding teachers who are willing to sacrifice (take a vow of poverty, if you will) for the sake of educating children. The school/community would give them free housing and basic living expenses so that they lacked nothing major, but not pay a salary or only a small stipend. This is what Catholic schools did for years."

And the Catholic Church is closing schools by the dozens.

"A charter shall not be issued to any school that would be wholly or in part under the control or direction of any religious denomination"

That language is required by a provision in the NY State Constituion.

JS said...

"There is no way that the state is cutting a check to the Yeshivot, no questions asked, that would be a CLEAR violation of the establishment clause."

Actually the courts have ruled otherwise.

What case(s) are you referring to?

Charlie Hall said...

Regarding getting government funding, it isn't likely to happen for many reasons, and among them is the political alliances that the frum community has made with the right wingers. The natural allies in an effort to get vouchers or other direct support are the poor minorities who are plagued with awful urban public schools, and with the mostly unionized faculty and staff at Catholic schools. But instead of welcoming unions we bash them, instead of embracing poor minorities we call them names, instead of calling for the large tax increases that will be needed to ameliorate the unfairness in the current system we ally with anti-tax crazies. So we withdraw and become resentful, thinking that the society to which we contribute less and less owes us more and more.

Charlie Hall said...

School vouchers ruled constitutional:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zelman_v._Simmons-Harris

They still violate explicit provisions of 38 state constitutions.

Charlie Hall said...

" I can't imagine why they wouldn't love to have an influx of Orthodox students assuming the parents understand it's a public school and not a publicly funded yeshiva."

The New York City school system would love to have all the orthodox students and it could do so with little difficulty. There was once a time when Bronx public schools were full of frum kids.

Charlie Hall said...

To give another example of what I just wrote, I can show you a single public high school in the Bronx that has more students than all frum schools in the Bronx and Westchester put together. (The economies of scale from running large schools is one reason why NYC per student costs are far less than yeshiva tuition.)

JS said...

Yeah, thought you meant that case. It's likely a meaningless distinction in reality, but to the best of my knowledge the courts have required the money go to the parents and NOT the schools. The parents may then use the money for education in a religious school, but they must have a "genuine choice" between religious and secular schools.

From Zelman v. Simmons-Harris (voucher case):

The tuition aid portion of the program is designed to provide educational choices to parents who reside in a covered district. Any private school, whether religious or nonreligious, may participate in the program and accept program students so long as the school is located within the boundaries of a covered district and meets statewide educational standards. § 313.976(A)(3). Participating private schools must agree not to discriminate on the basis of race, religion, or ethnic background, or to "advocate or foster unlawful behavior or teach hatred of any person or group on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, or religion." § 3313.976(A)(6)...Tuition aid is distributed to parents according to financial need. Families with incomes below 200% of the poverty line are given priority and are eligible to receive 90% of private school tuition up to $2,250. §§ 3313.978(A) and (C)(1). For these lowest income families, participating private schools may not charge a parental copayment greater than $250. § 3313.976(A)(8). For all other families, the program pays 75% of tuition costs, up to $1,875, with no copayment cap. §§ 3313.976(A)(8), 3313.978(A). These families receive tuition aid only if the number of available scholarships exceeds the number of low-income children who choose to participate.[2] Where tuition aid is spent depends solely upon where parents who receive tuition aid choose to enroll their child. If parents choose a private school, checks are made payable to the parents who then endorse the checks over to the chosen school. § 3313.979...Because the program ensured that parents were the ones to select a religious school as the best learning environment for their handicapped child, the circuit between government and religion was broken, and the Establishment Clause was not implicated.

or see Everson v. Board of Education (busing to religious school):

"The appellee, a township board of education, acting pursuant to this statute, authorized reimbursement to parents of money expended by them for the bus transportation of their children on regular busses operated by the public transportation system. Part of this money was for the payment of transportation of some children in the community to Catholic parochial schools...The State contributes no money to the schools. It does not support them. Its legislation, as applied, does no more than provide a general program to help parents get their children, regardless of their religion, safely and expeditiously to and from accredited schools."

Tzvi said...

This is completely obvious just by walking through Lakewood and observing the people. I've said it before, 10,000 shtreimels at $2000 each is $20M, and 10,000 diamond rings at $2500 each is another $25M. So, there's $45M to fix the Lakewood schools right there without even cutting into anything critical.

Unless shtreimels and diamond rings have halachic priority over chinuch of their children



Never mind streimels and rings...

A few weeks ago, they raised 500,000 DOLLARS....half a million.....for Rubaskin in one night. I feel bad for him but our children should come first.

If you look at all the money spent in Lakewood on cigarettes, the fast that the tobbacco companies dont bail out these schools is one of the biggest injustices in America today....lol

Charlie Hall said...

"A few weeks ago, they raised 500,000 DOLLARS....half a million.....for Rubaskin in one night. I feel bad for him but our children should come first. "

Half a million dollars for a ganav while we are closing schools????

Our so-called gedolim have some pretty screwed up priorities.

Charlie Hall said...

"It's likely a meaningless distinction in reality"

Correct.

Anonymous said...

Interesting comments. My kids go to a community Jewish Day School, whatever that means, in Michigan. We pay over $16,000 per child. The school is professionally managed, but the administration and board have priced many school out of the range for all but the wealthy in our area, even with financial assistance. The teachers are fairly paid, but I think that the many admininstrators who run the school are way over paid. This is perhaps anouther issue that needs to be explored.
Thanks
Yoni