Public Policy

Our 2013 Legislative Agenda.

1. Increase Mandated Services and CAP Reimbursement.

The state requires private schools to conduct a wide range of activities, such as reporting attendance and giving state exams. The state reimburses schools for complying with these mandates, but has chronically underpaid them. We want the state to cover the full cost of these mandates and begin repaying the money owed from previous years.

2. Energy Parity.

New York legislation gives public schools a discount of roughly 75% on their New York Power Authority electricity bills. We want private schools to receive the same discount.

3. Transportation.

School districts are required by law to provide free transportation for private school students. However, they resent the cost of doing so and regularly threaten to cut transportation for private school students. We want the state to cover 90% of the cost of bussing private school students to make school districts more cooperative.

4. Security Funding Parity.

The New York legislature recently set aside funds for public schools to enhance the security of their buildings. They also created new School Safety Improvement Teams charged with reviewing safety plans for schools. However, these programs are only available to public schools — even though private schools face equal security threats. We want to make the new building security funding and Safety Improvement Teams available to private schools on the same basis as public schools.

5. Tax Credit Scholarships.

Many states, including PA, FL, AZ, and VA, run tax credit scholarship programs to ease the burden private school tuition. These programs allow individuals or corporations to direct some of their tax dollars to scholarship organizations, which then distribute scholarships to needy students.

Where they exist, tax credit scholarships have yielded significant savings for Jewish parents and schools. We want to institute a similar program in New York State.

Why Private Schools Deserve Public Support.

  • Private Schools Save the State Money – In New York City alone, private schools educate roughly 19% of K-12 at virtually no cost to the city or state. This resulted in roughly $4.77 billion in savings to public schools in 2010-2011 school year.
  • Educational Choice Helps Students – Scholarship or voucher recipients in low-performing schools are are more likely than their peers to:
    • Graduate from High School – An evaluation of the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship program found that students who received a scholarship were 17% more likely to graduate than their peers.
    • Attend College – A random-assignment study co-authored by the Harvard Kennedy school found that African Americans in NYC who received a voucher were 24% more likely to attend college than their peers.
    • Score Higher on Standardized Tests – A meta-analysis by the Friedman Foundation all random assignment studies to date found modest improvements in the test scores of some or all voucher recipients.
  • Private Schools Promote Diversity – No one benefits from a monolithic education system. A diverse system of private schools makes the United States a more welcoming place for students with strong religious beliefs and unique educational needs. This diversity is a worthy investment for New York State.
  • Private School Students are Subject to Road Safety Hazards – As OU Political Director for NJ Josh Pruzansky argues in this opinion editorial, private school students deserve free transportation as a matter of basic road safety.

Academic Reading on School Choice    

  • The Role of Government in Education, by Milton Friedman. In his landmark essay, cited almost 1,000 times by other researchers, Milton Friedman makes political and economic arguments in favor of school choice.
  • All Schools Are Public Schools, by Jason Boffetti. This three-part essay gives historical context to the school choice debate and makes an eloquent argument in favor of school choice.
  • School Choice and Diversity: What the Evidence Says, by Janelle Scott. This book argues that school choice policies can improve social diversity, although much depends on political, economic, and social circumstances in which the policies are crafted.