‘Not fair to blame the schools’

‘Not fair to blame the schools’

I agree that the high cost of yeshiva day schools is unfortunately forcing many to seek other options for educating their children. However, it is simply not fair to blame the schools exclusively for the tuition crisis. Although there may be some excesses in a few schools, our yeshivot are generally run more cost-effectively than the local public schools. Daniel Barenholtz (letters, Feb. 11) compares the cost per child of our yeshivot to the U.S. national average of $7,500 per pupil. A more relevant comparison is the local cost of education rather than the national average. The Teaneck public school system’s per-pupil cost for the 2008-2009 year was $16,923, and the budget for the 2009-2010 tax year was $18,479 per child. The per-pupil cost for a yeshiva education in our area is on par with the public schools if not several thousand dollars cheaper.

I think it is also a mistake to be critical of technology in the Jewish day-school classroom. The larger pieces of technology that have been acquired in two area yeshivot (e.g., SMART Boards) have been acquired through specific technology grants and/or by donations and not from tuition dollars.

Moreover, teachers should be properly educated as teachers. Teaching is a profession like law, medicine, or accounting. Each of these professions requires extensive training and advanced degrees. Public schools no longer hire teachers without education degrees. Yeshiva students deserve the same. I would not want my children to spend 37 hours a week, one-third of their waking hours, with a teacher who is not specifically trained to teach.

The tuition crisis is a complex issue. It is not fair to blame the yeshivot, nor should we be critical of those who are seeking alternative educational solutions.