Day Schools Looking Out for Their Own; The Heck With Building Community

Gary Rosenblatt writing in The Jewish Week:

Tough Choice: School Scholarship Or Summer Camp

Parents already reeling from the high cost of active Jewish life may soon be facing a difficult choice for their high school children between tuition scholarship for day school and a summer camp or summer-in-Israel experience.

The scholarship committees from two Modern Orthodox day schools in Teaneck, NJ have sent out similarly-worded letters to parents in recent days making it clear that “if a family currently receiving a needs-based scholarship award spends money on discretionary expenses or sends a child in grades 10-12 to attend a summer program” – including Israel programs – “that family is jeopardizing its scholarship.”

The letters explain that the schools’ “core value” is that no student be turned away because of financial circumstances, and that families should “pay the maximum amount they can afford, with the understanding that tuition payments are part of the basic expenses of the family – taking priority over discretionary expenses such as home renovations, family vacations, new cars, etc.”

Summer programs, including those taking place in Israel, are defined in the letters as “discretionary and not basic expenses.”

I know these schools are hurting, but it seems to me like a bad idea to lump together powerful Jewish experiential programs and lavish personal spending in one non-essential category.

Here’s Rosenblatt’s complete post, Tough Choice: School Scholarship Or Summer Camp.