Demanding Accountability From Yeshivot

My sister L’via wrote an op-ed in this week’s Jewish Press, which, responding to the recent Kolko controversy, presents a laundry list of concerns from Orthodox parents about how their money’s being spent and who’s being allowed to teach their children.

Our main concern relates to accountability. Our greatest fear is that the subsidies and grants will be handed out to eager and often desperate institutions but that the money will not be used to its maximum benefit.
Who is holding the yeshivos accountable for what they do with the money? If government and private funds are going to be allocated to the schools, then someone needs to mind the store. The schools have been operating on their own for many years, and some have been doing an exemplary job under impossible conditions. There is, however, room for improvement and it is time that the monies allocated for our children’s education come with strings. Lots of strings.

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3 thoughts on “Demanding Accountability From Yeshivot

  1. She writes:
    Thanks to recent efforts, especially in New York, at putting into place some sort of voucher system, there is hope on the horizon. But as great as the needs may be, it’s critical that careful scrutiny be applied to the methods and plans of distributing any funds that will become available.
    In fact, I think that the rest of the post, highlighting the mismanagement and lack of oversight in private schools, provide a solid argument against school vouchers.

  2. It’s a great piece.
    I’d like to see it broken down into a series of three-point plans.
    What are three things that parents can and should demand from their board today?
    1) Abuse procedures — presumably JSafe
    2) A modicum of fiscal transparency
    3) ?????
    In other words, what are the simplest, easiest and most important things on L’via’s llist?

  3. Amen, sister!
    Even if Jewish Day Schools never recieve government vouchers, I cannot take Jewish education seriously until their institutions essentially duplicate the public schools:
    0) All Jewish day schools should be members of a Jewish Board of Education, run by the Federation or other universally recognized community body.
    1) All Board meetings open to the public, and transcripts published for those who can’t attend. No decisions of the board are valid unless discussed and made in public, with adequate advance notice.
    2) All salaries and other compensation are a matter of public record.
    3) Conflict of interest restrictions on the awarding of contracts
    4) all money (tutition, grants, Federation contribution, vouchers, etc.) go into a common pot and are distributed to member schools on a per-capita basis. This includes provision for special ed.
    5)Member schools shoukld be prohibited from cream skimming, that is, discouraging students with less than stellar academic performance.
    6) Students have an absolute right to continue in a school unless there are really serious behavior issues. (the kind of stuff that might involve the police and involve major property damage or personal injury. Studiends are not to be expelled for simple drug or alchol pessesion or student pranks (though they should beotherwise disciplined, of curse)
    In other words, the jewish school system should be exactly like a pulic school system, universal education for all Jewish children to be able to learn Jewish religious material along with their other studies. Otherwise, it’s just low-cost prep school for Jewish parents to keep their precious overprotected brats away from the riff-raff, and I see no reason to support such a system of schools.

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