Yossi Prager writes (Jan. 28) there is no need for a Hebrew language charter school in Teaneck/Englewood, because there are many good day schools here already. While Mr. Prager raises some genuine issues, I believe there is an inadvertent “Let them continue to eat cake” quality to his piece. Good schools may be here, but at current tuition levels too many people simply cannot responsibly afford them for their children, or the children they would wish to have. The system is no more sustainable, as it stands, than the subprime mortgage market of 2006 or our national debt.
Mr. Prager further suggests that the day schools are doing all they can to limit expenses. This is difficult to understand, when it is seemingly contradicted by many schools’ own boasting that they have been upgrading campuses, installing advanced classroom technology, and adding administrators and ed. school credentials. While some parents no doubt appreciate these features, they can hardly be deemed necessary if affordability is a priority. (In fact, I don’t believe there is any reliable research to show that expenditures of this type have any benefit at all for academic achievement in a mainstream setting.) And the comparison remains that the average U.S. public-school expenditure is about $7,500 per student (despite dealing with teacher, principal, and custodial unions, and a diverse student population) while Bergen day-school tuition is about double that.
While I agree that Mr. Prager raises many real issues associated with any form of public school, I believe that rather than attacking this solution as less than perfect, he would do better to use his platform and position to attack the source of the problem.