Friday, July 13, 2012

We know the answer to the tuition crisis

A guest post by LeftWingPharisee

We know the answer to the tuition crisis; we just don't like the answer. The answer to the problem of unaffordable Yeshiva tuition is clear and obvious, but we are in denial.

Actually, to be precise, there are two answers to the tuition crisis. One is to make Aliya. My understanding (never having been to Israel myself) is that Yeshiva tuition is part of the package. That is certainly a valid option, and one that many readers will jump on, with good reason.

But there are many of us for whom Aliya is not an option at the present, for whatever reason. For those of us (myself included), the only apparent solution to the Yeshiva tuition problem is public school.

I would be very happy to be wrong. Very happy indeed. But I don't think that I am. If there is something that I've missed, please let us all know.

Rich and generous people are not going to solve the problem. Tzedaka is wonderful and a major help, and I don't want to discount it, but if it didn't solve the problem during the boom times, it's not going to solve it during the lean times, especially with the booming Observant communities that grow larger every day. This is not a slam of rich people, people have the complete right to spend their money as they see fit, but dependence on charity is not a good thing for any community.

Once we've accepted the reality on the ground, we can start making realistic plans. Since I am confident in saying that those who send their children to Yeshiva currently want their children to grow up to be Observant adults, the question then becomes, how do we guide our children into Observant adults while they spend a good chunk of the day in secular public school? I don't know the answer to that question, either.

I don't think that the previous American experience is necessarily a good guide, since our parents/grandparents/etc. were coming from a much less Observant place than today's Yeshiva paying crowd. American society was also much less tolerant than it is today. Teaneck Public Schools, for example, offer Kosher meals in their cafeteria.

I know that there's a lot of passion in R'Dov Bear's audience and on this issue. I would really appreciate it if responders would make a conscious effort to refrain from Loshen Hora, etc.

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