Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Eygpt/Tuition Crisis

Elliot Ganchrow writes:

The events which have unfolded in the past few days in the Middle East have truly been extraordinary. As has been mentioned by numerous commentators, it is truly the Arab World's 1989. With protests in countries like Iran, and Yemen, the winds of freedom are blowing. There is a great piece in today's WSJ by L. Gordon Crovitz which describes the Eygptian authorities shock that the revolt was not backed by foreign authorities. "The authorities learned there was something even worse than foreign involvement: no foreign involvement. Spurred by decades of authoritarian rule, Eygptian netizens had organized themselves." And so it has been in these other countries- citizens organizing themselves with the use of Facebook and Twitter. Now is the time for American leadership on this issue. While Obama spoke up way too late on behalf of the Eygptian protesters, he can redeem himself with strong words for the citizens of Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen and Jordan who wish to live in freedom.

There is no greater crisis on the domestic Jewish front than the tuition crisis. No problem affects more Jewish families than the insane amounts that yeshivas are charging parents for a Jewish education. For better or worse, some families take into account the cost of tuition when deciding how many children to have. This is a crisis which must be dealt with immediately. While some Jewish organizations have had conferences on the subject, many of the ideas don't address the real problem. The idea which is commonly put forward by some in the community is tax credits or vouchers from the government. Yet these would only be eligible to those making under a set income threshold which most in our community aleady hit. Do I have the answers? No. But I do know that part of the problem is the failure of schools to make sure that they are collecting tuition from all parents. From what I have been told schools on all levels allow parents to not pay tuition if they claim to be unablle to afford it. This puts an unfair burden on those parents who are willing to pay full tuition. Better screening would allow only the extreme cases to not pay tuition- these non-paying parents would then volunteer at the school as an exchange for a portion of the tuition being excused. But these cases should be rare. The financial books of the schools should be placed on-line so that parents could ensure that waste is being cut at their schools. Time is of the essence to solve this crisis.