How do we ensure that every Jewish child in New York receives a Jewish education?
This is “School Choice Week.” The School Choice movement is working for the right of all parents to choose the school most beneficial for their child.
School choice is provided through vouchers in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Cincinnati / Columbus, Ohio; and with tax credits in Florida, Georgia, Arizona, Rhode Island and Pennsylvania. These programs provide children and their families the resources necessary to choose where to go to school.
Here in New York, a tax credit bill (A. 1826) to allow school choice is now moving through the State Assembly in Albany. The proposed legislation is designed to increase individual and corporate donations for education by enhancing long-standing tax benefits provided under current law.
The bill passed the State Senate last year; unfortunately it failed to pass the Assembly. This year, the tax credit has garnered more support in the Assembly and could possibly pass. If the bill does pass, schools will have the funds they need to educate our children — all of them — even those who can’t afford it.
Doesn’t that sound positive?
Take a moment to call your Assemblyman and find out his or her position on this bill. Educate yourself to the point where you can decide whether or not we, as a community, should be supporting this legislation. And then act. Encourage your elected official to respond to this need.
The alternative is the frightening prospect of frum children going to public schools because they don’t have enough money for tuition. It has happened. It is happening. And it will continue to happen. However, you can help stop the pain this is causing our community.
Please, be a part of the solution. Government funding is certainly one answer to the tuition crisis. Pick up the phone and make a call.
Rabbi Yehiel Kalish is the National Director of Government Affairs of Agudath Israel of America. Agudath Israel’s government affairs team plays an active role in promoting school choice programs across the United States.