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Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Speaker Silver Speaks

Shelly Silver has said some truly inflammatory comments in this week's Jewish Week regarding both Yeshivas and the Education Tax Credit lobby. A taste:
But Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver insisted on Tuesday he is not considering any plan other than the $330-per-child credit announced in last week’s budget agreement. That credit, which would cost the state $600 million, would apply to all children between the ages of 4 and 17, and is not linked to education spending.

If such a stipend were to be granted, Silver said, it would be “almost like parents being used as a vehicle to get around the Constitution and provide the money to [private] schools.”

...The speaker has increasingly voiced suspicion that private schools would hijack an education tax credit by raising tuition, and on Tuesday he blasted TeachNYS, the tax-credit lobbying group founded by Catholic and Jewish leaders, as a front for such schools.

“Clearly the [private] schools are so invested in the governor’s tuition tax proposal that it was ‘their money’ directed to them in the schools, that’s how they looked at it,” said Silver in an interview. “In various communities, school organizations spent a significant amount of money lobbying. Check TeachNYS and see who their who contributors are. … Many of the schools they represent have parents who make over the income limit. That means if they raise the tuition they raise it so people aren’t getting any benefit under either bill.”

So basically, Silver is accusing Yeshivas of using parents as a front to get around the Constitution and grab government funds all for themselves. Wow. Those are pretty much fighting words. Silver, an experienced trial lawyer, should know that both the US Supreme Court and his pal NY Attorney General Eliott Spitzer disagree with his assessment of tax credits as unconstitutional. Not to mention that Silver's comments don't even hold much water. He is concerned that Yeshivas have their eye on the tax credits that parents will be receiving - yet that is just as much a possibilty with the tax credit he himself is offering. If Yeshivas are as evil and money-grubbing as he is suggesting, why put ANY money in the hands of parents? Also, he is so proud of the fact that he is putting the credit into the hands of all parents, as opposed to the Education Tax Credits which help only parents in failing school districts. It doesn't take a brain surgeon to figure out that if Yeshivas are going to raise tuition to reflect a tax credit, they are more likely to do so if every one of their parents are receiving an across-the-board credit - as they would with his proposal. He is contradicting himself within the very same statement.

And his implication that the Yeshivas are in cahoots with Teach NYS only to get their hands on the tax credits is just nasty. What does Shelly have to say then about his own allegiance with the Teacher's Union? In addition, I have personally heard a Yeshiva principal discussing the tax credit proposal, and all he talked about was the fact that this credit would help many of his parents put food on the table. For Shelly to allege that Yeshivas simply want to rob all parents blind is really beyond the pale.

24 Comments:

Blogger DovBear said...

So basically, Silver is accusing Yeshivas of using parents as a front to get around the Constitution and grab government funds all for themselves

I'd say the same thing. The schools in my neighborhood went crazy promoting Pataki's plan. They sent home letters, organized lobbying trips, harrased us with phone tree messages and emails and more. Why? Because they stood to make some money. You never see them knocking themselves out like that for other things that might benefit parents. Only when there's a chance their own wallets might be fattened do they pour on the effort.

4:38 PM  
Blogger DovBear said...

I have personally heard a Yeshiva principal discussing the tax credit proposal, and all he talked about was the fact that this credit would help many of his parents put food on the

Sure, because the con is easier to pull when he talks about your table instead of his.

4:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you trust the yeshivas not to raise tuition if there is a credit? I don't. It is tougher on the yeshiva to tell a parent you are getting a general credit, therefor fork some of it over to us, whereas if it is called a tuition credit it is easier for them to say it's for tuition, so give us some.

4:55 PM  
Blogger DovBear said...

I agree with anon. The Yeshivas aren't going to let parents spend the money on food. In my neighborhood tution letters come out with the names and addresses of all the local gemachs. The message: Don't come crying to us.

5:08 PM  
Blogger SephardiLady said...

>>In my neighborhood tution letters come out with the names and addresses of all the local gemachs.

If this is true, that is disgusting. Of course, there is no problem using a gemach. But, many of us don't want to feel like dependents.

5:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

guys- don't parents need some help? don't yeshivas need some help? don't we all know that the tuition crisis is the number one issue in the frum community? let's get real. The governor proposed something that not only will have immediate reults now for parents and children in yeshivas but it will also enable the community, going forward, to get to a more equitable system where government helps us even a little bit. This year NYS will spead over $18 billion in education aid. aren't non public school parents, who right now stand to get NOTHING, entitled to get some help for the tuition that they pay? I hope that all of you can sleep well at night knowing that you may have forced another family to need Tomchei Shabbos.

6:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We pay taxes.
We don't use the services.
Shouldn't we be entitled to a small refund?

6:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why is Silver demonizing our community? he doesn't seem to feel that the Teachers Union is out only for themselves. When they ask for more money that is fair. When his own community asks for help there seems to be a problem. Go figure.

6:06 PM  
Blogger DovBear said...

guys- don't parents need some help? don't yeshivas need some help?

If this plan happens, yeshivas wil raise tuitions in five seconds. They'll gladly grab the money. Why do you think they exerted so much effort getting us, the loyal sheep, to run to albany? Open your eyes.

6:09 PM  
Blogger DovBear said...

We pay taxes.
We don't use the services.
Shouldn't we be entitled to a small refund?


I never go to the park. Where's my refund?
I stay off the highways! My check please!!

And where I live OJs DO use the services. They use the auditoriums for their productions and the feilds for little league. They use the county services for handicapped kids and for the kids who need special therapies. And all the schools use the buses and the textbooks.

6:11 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...

And where I live OJs DO use the services. They use the auditoriums for their productions and the feilds for little league.

You clearly don't live in the Lawrence school district. We are barred from using the auditoriums without paying all sorts of fees that Public school students do not have to pay.

6:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Silver is 100% right.The yeshiva mafiosi who refuse to open their books would grab this money.

6:54 PM  
Blogger Charlie Hall said...

'aren't non public school parents, who right now stand to get NOTHING, entitled to get some help for the tuition that they pay? '

At least non public school parents in NYS get bus transportation and the schools get textbooks. In Maryland they get neither.

Did anyone at Teach NYS involve the unions for the *Catholic* schools? They would seem to have been great potential allies.

12:34 AM  
Anonymous Al Gore said...

who refuse to open their books

Hey, that's what I've alway wanted -- open the books!

12:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Catholic chool Teachers Union is very supportive as are several other unions including the Building Trades Council and the NYPD PBA. As for the mafiosi stealing the money I can't imagine that anyone here knows that for a fact. One thing we do know for a fact is that finally someone in government is willing to throw parents struggling under the burden of Yeshiva tuition a lifeline. While you cynics cannot appreciate this given your personal assumptions, don't deny it to those who really need it. Orthomom is on the money here.

1:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't understand the logic to Speaker Silver's argument. If private schools are so greedy that they will "hijack" the education tax credit, of course they will take the $330 familtytax credit as well. Why is the Speaker's proposal a better alternative? It spends more money to accomplish less.

1:32 AM  
Blogger Conservative Apikoris said...

We pay taxes.
We don't use the services.
Shouldn't we be entitled to a small refund?


Actually, no. Dov Bear has pinted out the reasons.

Besides, you could send your kids to public school, like everybody else.

Of course, I am, in principle, opposed to all relgious educa-, I mean indoctrination of impressionable youth. They should wait until they are mature adults and have the capacity ot absorb that which is beneficial from religious teachings and ignore the chaff.


As for Jewish day schoools, my view is well-known.



I can't comment about the specifics of the New York bill, becuase I am not a resident of that state.

But, being familiar with tuition bills (we had a kid who required a special-ed school), I can state with certainty that $300/yr is chump change. The state can't afford the kind of money that would make a real difference, and if they could, they would want to have more control over the school than I think most rabbis would like to give up.

Better you should send your kids to public school, and make a nuisance of yourself to the local politicians, if necessary. There is no need to pay professionals to teach your kids about Jewish observance, they should be getting that by osmosis from home practices.

Supplemental Hebrew School, for all its problesm, worked for me for me in teaching me the basics of Hebrew. The rest can be learned independently without having some rabbi shove his or her ideological agenda into the kid's impressionable mind.

You can't imagine how many hours I spend in shul bored out of my skull, and finally I was reduced to reading the footnotes in the Hertz Chumash. It's amzing how much Torah I learned. When I was done with that I brought in a Plaut chumash to provide ideological balance. It's a shame they didn't have the Conservative one or Artscroll back when iwas a kid, I would have gotten an even better perspective. I got all The Jewish education I needed while the chazzan was boring us to tears with his operatic BS and the rabbi was
putting everyone to sleep with his bombastic self-righteous sermons.

Now that's Jewish education! Who needs yeshivas?

8:54 AM  
Blogger DovBear said...

You clearly don't live in the Lawrence school district

Boruch Hashem.

12:29 PM  
Blogger DovBear said...

You clearly don't live in the Lawrence school district

Boruch Hashem.

12:29 PM  
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