New Jewish Education Proposal
I find this an intriguing proposal. Though I can't imagine this program pulling many, if any kids out of the more right-wing Yeshivas, it's possible that parents from the more Modern Orthodox schools might find the price break alluring. But the problems with this proposal seem looming. First of all, the legality has not yet been ascertained. From the Herald article:
One important question is whether the partnership would violate the principle of the separation of church and state. Lawrence school officials said there are no religious groups currently using their school buildings for religious instruction. If the district were to allow it, it would have to provide the same opportunities to other religious groups, school officials said. They said they would check with their attorneys to determine the legal details.There are other issues as well. Even one parent from the group spearheading this effort admits that "as the children get older the public school environment may be a little more challenging for them," and he "concedes that perhaps this idea would only work up to fourth or fifth grade". And of course, unsurprisingly, one of the parents said he has met with Orthodox rabbis in the area to present the idea, and apparently has met with resistance. "We expect our proposal to run into some opposition in the religious community and with the rabbis," he said. Rabbi Zalman Wolowik, the local Chabad Rabbi, spoke out against the idea in the FTJT article:
Jack Feldman, an attorney for the schools, said the plan may be a violation of church-and-state laws and needs more investigation. He plans to discuss it with the school board and then offer his opinion.
[He] said he did in fact meet with about 20 parents and made it very clear that he would not assist in or facilitate the movement of children from the yeshivas to a public school setting. "I don't think that this is the way to imbue children these days with the values and instruction that has been handed down to us from generation to generation" he said.
The truth is, the high cost of Yeshiva tuition has been such a major gripe in the Orthodox community for a long time now. In my opinion, it was only a matter of time before some people just gave up on the struggle and looked for another option. Though I am personally not a proponent of pulling kids out of the Yeshiva system, maybe this will give those involved in the Yeshivas a kick in the pants to do something equally creative as this group has about the skyrocketing costs of Yeshiva tuition. It's time to read the writing on the wall.