The Moriah School in Englewood, N.J. and Teach NJS hosted New Jersey Assemblywoman Valerie Vaineri Huttle (D-Englewood) on Feb. 24 for a “Schools in Session” visit to discuss tuition affordability, security and other issues that are critical to the Jewish day school community.
Huttle said a major obstacle to getting more funding for non-public schools is the state’s large number of competing priorities.
“We need to be creative and do public-private partnerships,” Huttle told parents and administrators gathered at The Moriah School, which enrolls 725 students. She also encouraged them to email letters to their state legislators outlining their concerns and persuade friends in other districts to do the same.
Schools in Session is an initiative of Teach NJS, a coalition of 20 New Jersey Jewish day schools, the Jewish Federations of Northern New Jersey and the Heart of New Jersey and the Orthodox Union Advocacy Center. It represents about 15,000 families in 10 counties across the state.
Schools in Session provides state legislators opportunities to tour schools in their districts and meet with parents and school staff. Other legislators who have recently taken part in the initiative include Sen. Robert Gordon, Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon and Assemblywoman Nancy Pinkin. Assemblywoman Shavonda Sumter is scheduled to participate in an upcoming Schools in Session.
Teach NJS launched in May 2015 to mobilize the community to become more politically active and advocate for the state to increase funding for non-public schools. At present, 150,000 children are enrolled in non-public schools in New Jersey, including 40,000 in Jewish day schools. The total cost for their education is $350 million, paid for by the students’ families. Teach NJS seeks to get non-public students the same funding as their peers in district schools in four key areas: security, technology, textbooks and nursing.
Teach NJS is part of the Orthodox Union, the nation’s largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization. The OU Advocacy Center, the non-partisan policy arm of the OU, leads its advocacy efforts in Washington, D.C. and state capitals. For more information or to get involved in Teach NJS, visit TeachNJS.org or contact Field Director Ariella Noveck at email@example.com or 201-421-8657.