Today at a Capitol Hill news conference with several United States Senators, the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America called on congress to empower parents in the education policy and funding legislation the Senate began debating this week.
The Union’s director of public policy, Nathan Diament, made the following statement at the event in the Capitol:
I am pleased to join with you today on behalf of the Orthodox Jewish community as the U.S. Senate begins to debate one of the most important public policy challenges confronting America today – how we ensure an excellent education for all our children.
In the book of Proverbs, King Solomon wrote “Listen, my child, to the instruction of your father, and do not forsake the teaching of your mother.” This is but one of many sources in which the Jewish tradition recognizes that parents are the first and best teachers of their children.
Thus, as the U.S. Senate this week takes up the challenge of rewriting the federal government’s role in America’s education policies in a manner whose noble goal is to leave no child behind, the Orthodox Jewish community believes that it is critical to empower parents at every turn. We urge senators to find new and creative ways to ensure that parents are the ultimate arbiters of their children’s education; that you give parents the power to guide resources to schools and programs where they want to place their children.
Empowering parents to make choices, however, can only succeed if parents have choices. Thus, we urge senators to make it possible for all parents to have choices and for all schools – whether public, private or parochial – to receive equal assistance in teacher recruitment and development programs, in special education programs and in other forms of supplementary assistance such as transportation and technology grants.
We are confident that if we follow these fundamental principles, all of America’s children will move forward together.