School’s out and kids are heading to summer camp while parents think about vacations, barbecues, fireworks, and the like. The giant elephant in the room seemingly has gone back to sleep and may stay in hibernation until late August.
That’s when parents will begin getting their children ready for school – and scrambling to pay day school tuition.
As we have reported, the day school tuition crisis hit the accelerator this year, compounded by the country’s economic downturn. Requests for tuition assistance were up, and some even contemplated sending their children to public school. Positively, though, people began talking about finding a way out of the situation. Various groups were coming up with different plans to address the problem of skyrocketing tuition, while the pages of The Jewish Standard were filled with letters and columns praising and lambasting proposed solutions.
It’s been a few weeks now since we’ve dedicated space to letters on the tuition crisis. It’s apparently moved to the backs of many people’s minds now that summer has arrived. The Jewish community got to this point because it ignored the tuition problem for so long. Sure, people would complain about the high cost of tuition but nobody was as mobilized toward a solution as in recent months.
The economy has recently shown signs of improvement and some analysts predict we’ll be out of the recession by the end of the year. Tuition will remain high, though, and we should not allow this problem to fester any longer.
Without Jewish education we have no Jewish future. We do not mean to denigrate the congregational Hebrew schools and other after-school programs. They are effective for many families. But just as we cannot lose those systems, we cannot afford to lose the day school option.
Without the community pushing leaders to find a solution, they will go back to their comfort zones and the problem will go back to the shadows, but it will not go away. Unlike the students we as a community are seeking to educate, we cannot take a summer vacation from this crisis. We must continue to raise our voices and push for solutions because we have no other choice.