Tuesday, February 9, 2010

How a Knowledge of Vocabulary is Going to Save the Yeshiva System

A comment on my grandparents posting brought up once again the idea that yeshivas are private schools, and that the private school model is losing ground in the frum community as it becomes more and more unaffordable. It stated that private school is for the wealthy and that many members of Klal simply can no longer afford this type of schooling, if they ever could. I've read comments similar to this on virtually every other blog that has covered the topic of the tuition crisis in yeshivas. And something has always niggled at me when I read these comments. I finally figured out what has been pushing at me.

An awful lot of people are mixing up the definition of private school with PRIVATE school. What's the difference? In the first case we are talking about schools that are not public schools. There are many of these types of schools around the country. They aren't prep schools and they don't cater to the desires and whims of the uber wealthy. They are private because those who start them and those who send their children there have particular concerns that they want stressed in the schools their kids go to, they want an environment that mirrors their homes, or they want to avoid particular things that are in the public schools. Obviously religious schools of all religions can fall into this category. There are others as well. In some cases the public schools in an area have a particular problem that parents want to avoid, like drug problems or a poor rating by the state or low graduation rates among the students. In some cases the parents feel they want a separate sex education for their children, not usually available in public school (and yes, there are secular schools like this). In some cases there are things taught in the public schools that some parents don't want their children exposed to.

These private schools don't promise their parents really anything more than a safe environment for their kids, exposure to belief systems important to the parents and a solid education. Notice that is solid education, not necessarily a Rolls Royce of education. They will meet a state's standards and sometimes exceed them but they aren't promising your kid will be the number one pick for entrance to Harvard--that's not their function.That's not to say that children from such a school aren't admitted to Harvard, but that's not the stated goal; having the children in a particular environment is the chief concern.
Parents may want a good education but their first concern is a "philosophical" one, if you will.

And yes, to be honest, there are some schools under this definition who stress the belief systems at the cost of the education. The students in these schools aren't getting a solid education; it is minimalist at best. But there are some parents who consider this a fair tradeoff for having the kids in a religious environment. And such schools tend to be on the low end of tuition costs--think chassidishe yeshivas.

Then there are PRIVATE schools. This is the type of private that the wealthy choose. This is the prep school model. This is the school with every new educational tool available. This is the school with every conceivable kind of extra that a parent could want. In this type of school extra curricular activities aren't really extra--they are built into the school. This is the type of private school where keeping up with the Joneses may be part of the fabric, because to a whole lot of the parents who send to such schools Jones-ism is a large part of life. They are highly competitive in all other parts of their lives, and the schools they send their children to are a part of that competition. A solid education is not acceptable to the parents in such a school. They want a braggable education, one that is in the outer reaches of educational possibility. These parents are aiming for the moon for their children and will pay heartily to achieve that.

Now, there are a few schools which combine the attributes of being both a private school and a PRIVATE school. I'm personally acquainted with a few of these types of school that are under Catholic or Jewish auspices. I believe that the RAMAZ school could quite comfortably fit into this limited model. I'm not sure where it would fall right now but once Flatbush Yeshiva would have fit into this model. I'm sure that you readers might have others to add to the list.

So where is the problem? What too many people are doing is mixing up the two types of private schools. They are trying to have schools that are an amalgam of private and PRIVATE while still maintaining the type of tuition that would apply to private alone. It can't be done. And it's one reason why yeshiva tuitions of the private school type are reaching PRIVATE yeshiva levels or close to them.

There are a number of reasons for why this blending of the two types of private schools is causing problems for Klal. One should be obvious: not every member of Klal is making high six-figure incomes or above. Wealthy Jews are living side by side in the same communities with Jews whose income levels are not as high. They may be sharing the same yeshivas. Those on the wealthier end want that PRIVATE yeshiva and push for the amenities they want for their kids. And these amenities cost, and can cost a lot. This has resulted in the less wealthy members of a community, whose children also attend these yeshivas, to be slowly but surely priced out of a yeshiva education for their children. The answer has been to give tuition reductions to such parents, but all this has done is cause a financial problem for the yeshivas. Unless a school has a significantly large majority of parents whose incomes are super high, such that admitting a small number of students on scholarship does not rock the money boat, the school is going to be in trouble, sooner than later.

There are still some yeshivas which fall squarely in the private school camp, not the PRIVATE one. Many of these yeshivas are not in the Metropolitan New York region, some are. In these yeshivas the cost of tuition is still within the capability to pay for of the majority of parents in the school. (Think the Jewish Foundation School in SI as an example.) I'm not saying that some sacrifices might not be being made, but those sacrifices are usually in the luxury area rather than the necessity area. These yeshivas offer a solid education without shooting for every school luxury known to mankind. Some do offer one or a few luxury items, but they don't lose track of the idea that they aren't prep schools, and they watch the bottom line. Yes, there are scholarship parents in such schools, but they aren't there in such overwhelming numbers that the schools are in danger of going under.

So, is Klal's desire that every Jewish child receive a yeshiva education an impossible dream that is now coming apart at the seams? That depends. If you define yeshiva education as private school education I believe that the model can be tweaked and that it is salvageable. It's going to take hard work and lots of input by financially knowledgeable people. And it's certainly going to take the admission that you can't buy a 1982 Chateau Lafite Rothschild Pauillac Bordeaux when all you have money for is a Kedem Cream Malaga. If you define yeshiva education as PRIVATE school education then no, not every Jewish child is going to be able to get that type of education. The cost is already too high for many parents, and it's only going to get higher.

Note: One thing at a time--I have purposefully omitted mentioning large family size in the text of this posting. Yes, the number of children you have certainly affects how much you will be paying in tuition. Tuition in a PRIVATE school might run you from $100K to $250K per year for 5 kids. Tuition in a high-end private/PRIVATE school might run you $$60K to $90K a year for those 5 kids. And tuition in a lower-end private/PRIVATE school or a just plain private school might run you $33K to $50K for the 5 children. Yes, the total amount of money matters, but first you have to decide on which model of yeshiva you are looking for: private or PRIVATE.


efrex said...

Well said, and very true. A reality, however, is that even "private" schools have seen expenses rise much faster than their median constituents' incomes (such is the claim, at any rate, and while there's less financial transparency than I'd like in most yeshiva administrations, I don't discount it completely). This, combined with the concurrent rise in housing costs, means that people making double their parents' salaries can't afford the lifestyle that their parents had if they stay in their communities. As you've indicated in the past, this means some hard choices: accept a lower standard of living than you were used to, move to a less-established-but-more-affordable community, reduce your expected family size, or go into debt.

Look at the numbers that you gave. Adding in summer camp (or some alternative arrangement - a necessity for two-income households with young children), and even a "private" school education easily runs over $10k/year/child. Even if your hosehould is pulling in $150k annually, you're going to need to do some significant belt-tightening to afford a five-child family.

Moshe said...

The schools are still not off the hook for many of them being poorly run and overstaffed. Lots of places where they could hold the money down with no loss to the students and don't.

Yet I'm forced to agree that part of the problem is not the schools but the parents. I feel that the frum community does owe a yeshiva education to every frum child. It may not have been done in Europe but this is 2010 America and it is possible for this to happen. But not until we accept that that yeshiva for every kid may be a private education as you put it instead of a PRIVATE education.

Anonymous said...

When I was much younger if someone had told me that when I get to this age my husband and I are going to be making 150 thousand a year and struggling I would have asked if they were crazy. You don't struggle on 150 thousand.

You do if you live in a mixed income frum community with two local yeshivas both of which want to be PRIVATE schools if you judge by tuition. They compete with each other to see which school can offer the latest, can be considered the best. The wealthiest parents in the community help to feed this competition frenzy. I just wish they'd pick one of the yeshivas and leave the other one to those of us who can't afford the competition.

And efrex is so right. Camp in the summer is not a luxury for us when we both work. Child care, and that is what camp is for us, is a necessity. Now add that to tuition.

You mention a school in Staten Island that is less expensive. How much less expensive is the school? I wouldn't think that any yeshiva is cheap today.

Lion of Zion said...

i think there is a cycle where parents feel they are working so hard to pay for tuition and they want the school to provide a few extras (or the schools assume this is how the parents think). so the schools add in some extras, but the reality is now they have to raise tuition. so parents are paying more and expect even more. so schools give more, but again have to raise tuition. etc. (and of course as tuition creeps up, more and more people can't afford those raises, which means there are fewer parents stuck paying even more)


"this is 2010 America and it is possible for this to happen"

saying so doesn't make it true.

Moshe said...

saying so doesn't make it true.

Saying so doesn't make it false either Lion. It IS possible for every frum kid to get a yeshiva education. That won't happen without some changes on the part of the schools and on the part of parents in a community. Schools have to learn to say no to expensive extras based on looking at ALL the families whose kids they educate. And families have to look not only at themselves but at all the families in their community. No one is saying that those families that want and can afford all the extras swhouldn't have them. But if they want them pay for them privately.

tesyaa said...
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tesyaa said...

I think you wrote this post in reaction to my comment. I see the distinction you are making, and I thank you for clarifying in such an eloquent way. In fact, I agree with your distinction.

I still think that for many families, a school like JFS, which is clearly not PRIVATE, is a stretch for 4 kids even at the low price of $6,500 per kid. Spending $26,000 in after tax dollars on an annual basis is like buying a brand new car every year. We frum Jews are willing to sacrifice vacations and high end consumer items for yeshiva education, but unless the parents are professionals earning good salaries, $26K in after tax dollars is a stretch.

So I still think tuition is a dealbreaker in the long run, unless 1) people have smaller families, or 2) we encourage EACH and EVERY Jewish child to pursue a high-earning career. I don't like either of these options. I think each Jewish child should pursue the path that is right for him or her. Some women really do flourish as homemakers; some men and women have legitimate talents that they should use, even if those talents don't result in 6-figure incomes. So unfortunately, I don't see universal yeshiva education as viable, in the long run.

Chinuch is an obligation; yeshiva education as we know it today is just one way of providing chinuch.

Anonymous said...

JFS costs only 6500 a year?!!!!! How in hell do they manage that? That's less than half of what my local yeshivas charge. Are they housed in a dump? 30 kids to a class? If that's not the case then why isn't every school administrator everywhere looking at their model and trying to copy it?! And how come parents there aren't pushing for all the extras that raise prices? Does the school give any extras? I refuse to believe that there are no parents with money in the school. Staten Island doesn't have the reputation of having a poor frum community.

Tesyaa, agreed that even this low a tuition could be a stretch for some families. But I'm thinking that if the tuition is that low and people with more money aren't overstretched too they might be donating more to the yeshiva allowing it to offer some tuition reduction to some parents who need it. Or does JFS have a no tuition reduction policy?

Also agree Tesyaa that it's just plain stupid to assume that all frum kids should be forced into only certain occupations as if the others aren't also necessary or something the kids would be good at.

Dave said...

The closest thing to a network of "private" schools we had in America were the Catholic schools.

Those were both subsidized by the Diocese, and built upon a ready supply of inexpensive labor. With both of those no longer the case, there is a reason the Catholic Church has been closing them down -- they become unaffordable.

In 2006, the median household income in New York for a family of 6 was 71,810. Four children at a "private" school (JFS, say), would still be something close to half of the after-tax income for that household.

Orthonomics said...

I've said this before, but OOT there isn't a huge price differential between published tuitions for private and PRIVATE schools.

I would also disagree with the premise that private schools provide a safe environment, and not just because of my most recent post. We have enough social problems to shake a wet noodle at.

Orthonomics said...

Nor do I believe the private schools necessarily promise a "solid education," at least on the general end of things.

Kalman said...

Orthonomics, sorry but you don't have all the facts for the statements you are making.

Many oot communities have only one school. In many cases that school is not, as the Prof said, strictly a private school but is a combination of private and PRIVATE. Therefore its tuition will be higher then a school that would be strictly private. This works in our community because the balance between those who can easily pay the tuition and those who can't is such that we don't have a large percentage of parents who can't pay at least some of the tuition. We can manage any shortfall without getting the school into financial trouble.

My bil is in a community where the tuition is lower then my school's tuition because the mix of parents is not as many on the wealthy end. The parents agreed to less extras in the school so that everyone can manage and even tuition assistance is possible.

The secular PRIVATE schools in our area cost way more then the yeshiva does. For one thing, they have a $2K non-refundable reservation fee each year. Then they have transition fees that run in the thousands when you go from elementary to junior high and then to high school. And then you have a base tuition that averages out at about 15K+ for elementary through 6th grade and about 19K+ for 7th grade and up, for a shorter school day then the yeshiva and one day of school less a week. Our yeshiva does not cost this.

The safe environment? Yes, it is still safer then most public schools are. We hear a lot about sexual abuse and bullying in the yeshivas. Unfortunately lots of yeshivas, particularly in the NY area, don't want to see that this is happening. In a smaller community this kind of abuse either doesn't happen or if it does it's handled right away because everyone is more involved in all the community structures. It's one of the plusses of oot living. Secrets are darned hard to hide.

The solid education? Read what the prof said a solid education is. Our school meets the standards and then some. Lots of friends in other oot communities and the same is true for their schools. Even have friends and family in NY and the schools they send to also meet standards, which is what a solid education is. And yes, there are schools particularly in the NY metro area that don't give this solid education, usually schools more to the right, which the prof mentions. That's a religious philosophy problem. Lots of those schools which don't believe that work is something their graduates need to be thinking about either. So the less solid education fits right in with their beliefs.

Orthonomics said...

I live OOT and I check the published tuitions yearly. Unlike the NY/NJ region, we do not have a JFS with a 6,500 tuition vs. a Bergen County Yeshiva where tuition runs into the mid 10's.

Honestly Frum said...

Many of us are looking for a cobmination of the private and PRIVATE. Good education and an insular setting that does not cost as much as the prep/PRIVATE school. The big question: Is it possible?

Trudy said...

There are two things you need to ask Honestly Frum. Are we talking about a community with an already existing school or a new community that is first starting a school or has one that isn't full K-8 yet? The second question is how many schools are there in a given community?

If it's a new community then it should be possible, especially if parents are of mixed income, to set things up so that the school would be affordable for everyone with a small percentage of parents who might need SOME tuition help. Poor people exist. It is more than possible to give that solid education to all the kids. Those with the money to pay for extras would have to pay for them separately from tuition. Why would the community do this? Because short of a super wealthy new enclave where those who are living there have a reason to keep out those who can't make the grade financially, that new community won't make it unless all the people who are the pioneers can get the yeshiva service.

Established communities is a harder problem. From what I've been hearing and reading your BC schools are a good example. If all the schools are identical private/PRIVATE schools but the parents aren't all of the financial level to pay for this type of school then what is the community saying to these people? Yeah, you can live here but don't count on educating your kids here? If you "let" these people live in your community and encourage growth to keep the community stable then is anyone putting in big block letters COME ONLY IF YOU MAKE MORE THAN 300K? If there are enough people on a lower economic level then wouldn't it make sense for BC to have at least one of those schools be a private school with far lower tuition?

I've been hearing a lot about the JFS school. Why can that school manage a tuition of 6500? I agree with the poster who said that someone should be looking at what they are doing and how that could be duplicated by other communities.

Honestly Frum said...

Trudy, JFS has a number of things going for it that are not duplicable (if that is a word) in BC. They get a lot of money from NYC for services that we in BC pay for, their building was paid off years ago by another local school and they share costs, they pay the teachers much less than the teachers in BC get paid, they have less kids in the school than most BC schools, as a result they have less administration. If you begin to add back in some of these expenses you are back up there at $12-13K a kid.

ProfK said...

Honestly Frum,
Your comment about why JFS might not be duplicable in BC was interesting but it raised a few questions for me.

When you say BC pays its teachers much more, are you referring to actual money that is in a paycheck or are you referring to a combination of paycheck and the perks of sending their children for no tuition? NO teachers at JFS have children in the school at all. They receive straight pay checks. How many teachers in BC get free tuition and for how many children? All the English staff is licensed and with MAs either in Ed or in their subject field. I taught there for a while in the 80s. Their pay was on par with the other schools on the Island and certainly with the Brooklyn schools. They aren't going to work for peanuts. So just what actual difference is there in the pay between JFS and BC? Are all your teachers comparable in education to ours?

The RJJ/Mercaz HaTorah/JFS connection is not quite accurate. JFS joined with the aforementioned into a network. The school building was eventually paid off by that network. One of the other schools in the network shares the campus and facilities with JFS so yes there are shared costs but the other schools in the network also get a benefit and a home for the school. The other schools are local schools with a few children coming in from Jersey to them. What that means is that the Staten Island frum communities (and yes, some of the donors to the school aren't frum) support all the schools in the community, not just the particular one their kids go to.

Total enrollment for JFS is about 325 including the Early Childhood Center, which is housed in the YI of Willowbrook (yes they pay a rental fee to the shul), not on the 7-acre campus that the main school is on. I believe about 200-220 are in grades 1-8. How does this compare number wise to the BC schools? The total administration of the school adds up to two people--the Dean/Principal and an assistant principal, who also teaches in the school. There is a separate Director for the ECC, the only administrator for the program and necessary because of the separate sites. Even back when JFS had a larger enrollment there were still only the principal and an assistant principal. It's not that the school has less administration because they have less students--they don't believe and never have in being top heavy with administration. The school is well run, orderly and hardly a hefker velt. That it runs this way is an excellent argument that more administrators aren't necessary. If the BC schools are paying for all those extra administrators and that significantly adds to the cost of tuition shouldn't that ring a bell with you parents?

The NYC services certainly can make a difference. But not a double the money difference, nowhere near a double or 2-1/2 times the cost money difference.

So let me grant you that BC schools have some expenses which JFS does not have, but let's keep that figure real. Maybe you have 2500-3000K more expenses. That still doesn't come anywhere near12-13K per kid.

Miami Al said...

There is a term for what ProfK and Honestly Frum want, it's called a parochial school. The Catholic Church ran a bunch of them. Honestly Frum cited an article about the collapse of the Catholic School system down to its current size.

I don't believe that the system is sustainable. I think that the underlying economic factors make it impossible to contain costs. Once people stop paying for it, they will clamor for more and more extras...

Costs in the public school system have also been escalating. However, the American birthrate has had a slow decline along with increased life expectancies, so the increase in costs/students is offset by the students/taxpayers change.

In the Frum world, birth rates have been ratcheted up.

I don't believe that the middle ground is terribly sustainable. The upper end of the income range want Prep School since they are paying prep prices. The lower end want Prep School since it doesn't affect what they pay.

Your points are 100% correct, but the solution is to look at what worked for the Church, look at what didn't. By ignoring the Catholic Church's history, we lose a great example of this attempt.

Two major advantages for us:
1. Non Orthodox Jews do exist and provide financial support our way, either via Federation or tuition -- no equivalent for the Church
2. We don't educate Gentiles, the Church educated plenty of non-Catholics

But our lack of accountable leadership, either via elections or appointment is a BIG negative.

Light of Israel said...

This is a great post about our yeshiva system. As someone who is intimately familiar with both the local bergen county schools and JFS, you hit the nail right on the head. The contrast between them is stark.

JFS has some items that are not able to be copied, but the crux of the matter is that JFS is affordable because being affordable is a goal of the school. Once that is a goal of the school many driving desicions become easier to implement. Fancy campuses, overcompensation for teachers, over administrated, etc. are all not acceptable at JFS.

In contrast the bergen county schools spend way more on a variety of items. When bergen county schools decide they want to be private again (as they were in the 1970's and 1980's - I know I went there then) then their tuitions can be the same.

For now, bergen county parents want PRIVATE schools at private prices and accesable to everyone regardless of ability to pay. Just wanting something, doesn't make it affordable. Kudos to JFS for doing what all yeshivot should do.

One last minor point, JFS enrollment is 400 now including the early learning center (nursery, prek, Kindergarten).

Trudy said...

Light of Israel or ProfK or whoever has the answers, it sounds like the JFS knows how to hold down costs. Question--what's the education like? You say the teachers are all qualified. How would you compare the students there to students in other yeshivas with higher tuitions and more extras? Is there any proof that the lower cost still delivers what the Prof calls at least a solid education? Cheaper isn't better if the kids are getting short changed. Are they?

Light of Israel said...

Education is very solid. They have very experienced teachers and the school is well managed in curiculum matters. A plurality of the students go to and do well at Yeshiva of Flatbush and others go to JEC, Maayanot, and TABC. The education is at least as good as the most expensive bergen county schools.

Anonymous in Teaneck said...


You wrote:

"A solid education is not acceptable to the parents in such a school. They want a braggable education, one that is in the outer reaches of educational possibility. These parents are aiming for the moon for their children and will pay heartily to achieve that."

As a parent with children who have been educated in an independent school, after beginning their education in a Jewish day school, I feel compelled to point out that your description of the motives of what you call "PRIVATE school" parents does not apply to many of those parents. Yes, there are parents who require the Cadillac of schools for their children - as there are at Ramaz. But there are also many parents who enroll their children at independent schools because they are "prep" schools in the best sense of the word: they prepare children to succeed as students in college. They choose independent schools because their children will have the opportunity to read and write extensively, to learn from fabulous teachers, and to have the luxury to pursue further study in areas of interest.

With one child already in college, I can attest to the solid preparation my child received in his time at an independent school.

Lion of Zion said...


"If you begin to add back in some of these expenses you are back up there at $12-13K a kid."

1) as profk pointed out, all those differences still don't have to bring you up to 12-13k
2) even if they do bring you to 12k, well isn't that better than 15k (noam's tuition, not including family obligations)? 4 kids x $3k = $12k. wow, all those people whining that BC = BC could suddenly afford to have another child. or for the fathers complaining they are shabbos abbas, maybe saving $12k in *after tax* dollars means they don't have to work sundays or such late hours.

Lion of Zion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lion of Zion said...


"How would you compare the students there to students in other yeshivas with higher tuitions and more extras?"

i don't know how it is today, but when i went to flatbush high school (88-92) we had plenty of JFS grads. many were in the honors classes. as a whole, the ones in the middle classes did fine. i don't recall any in the lower classes (if there were, it was only a few)

of course it may be different today, but no matter how many times i ask on HF's blog, no one who claims that JFS is inferior can exaplain their claim.

Lion of Zion said...

"even if they do bring you to 12k, well isn't that better than 15k"

i'm amazed when people say, "oh, well it will only save me a few thousand dollars so it's not worth it." i have to question how much someone who says this is really hurting. (but this just might be my perspective because i'm an hourly employee)

tesyaa said...

i'm amazed when people say, "oh, well it will only save me a few thousand dollars so it's not worth it."

I'm embarrassed to admit that before discovering Orthonomics, that was me.

We still do spend on things that aren't absolute necessities, but we're way more careful in making those decisions, and things are better around here.

uh uh solution... said...

LOZ, but now you are talking about solutions? Who wants solutions to major problems, if you can complain and do nothing? Isn't that easier? JFS is a great solution for many. There are far more complainers / talkers than doing about this and virtually all topic.

Anonymous said...

Don't quite know how you can compare students from one school across the board to students from another school unless you use standardized tests scores or something like them. If test scores are what you want to look at the JFS students consistently score on the high end and have for years and years.

As an SI parent I can say from what I'm seeing the students from JFS are accepted to all the high schools they apply to and many are in the honors classes. But looking even more ahead, these students go on to college and grad school and are competitive for some of the best of the colleges and universities, when that's what they want. Plenty of NYU and Columbia grads and some from the other Ivies also. When they choose CUNY lots of them in the Honors Colleges. Three of our younger local doctors are all JFS grads--Einstein med school, NYU med school and Downstate.

If what you really want to know is is the school serious about educating the kids, then the answer is yes. And not just enough to skirt by the board of ed.

Light of Israel said...

SI has a lot to be proud of in JFS (and probably RJJ - I am just not familiar with it). It is providing an affordable excellent Jewish education rooted in torah values and learning.

And I might add, well situation geographically to draw (if the school decides they want this) from NJ and Brooklyn).

Rafi said...

I agree that JFS is a model that more people should be looking at of how a MO day school can be a good school and still hold down costs.

But here's the real problem. It's easier to follow the JFS model if you are starting from scratch or are only in the first year or two of running. The established schools of many years would find it lots harder, maybe too hard. They've spent years building up a way of being and they have lots of parents who have been accustomed to expecting certain things. In other words it's not going to be easy at all to change, requiring a whole lot of work and lots of hurt feelings along the way. There is plenty of hurt egos involved, schools which can't or don't want to believe that their model can't deliver what was promised to everyone they promised it to, and parents who don't get that sometimes no matter how much you work and want something, you're not going to be able to afford it.

Light of Israel said...

Rafi, good points. However, just like people make excuses for not doing what they know they need and should do in life (tuition and everything else), and yet are responsible ultimately for their choices, schools are responsible for their choices too.

Also, we should be more concerned with the future of modern orthodoxy than the future of any specific school.

If the local schools won't change from impovershing our community and our family' future, we need to do the right thing by ourselves and send to schools that enable a frum life for us and our children.

Anonymous said...

Just curious. You talk in the post about schools that provide extras and then charge higher tuition. What do you mean when you say extras? At least when compared to that solid education you say a private school can give.

Lion of Zion said...


"It's easier to follow the JFS model if you are starting from scratch or are only in the first year or two of running."

while starting from scratch may mean less resistance to novel ideas, it also means incurring major expenses in the form of a mortgage or rent. JFS does not have this problem. any school starting out can follow JFS's lead to the t, but will still cost more because of mortgage/rent

Rafi said...

You're right Lion that other schools starting out will have rent or mortgage payments. But if they start off like JFS did, which was not to build all the buildings at once but pay off one before building another one and to hold the line on other expenses also then they still should be cheaper then the tuitions now out there. And it also would depend on what it was they were building--build fancier and it will cost you more money. Same goes for renting--some places are way more expense in rent then others. If you are looking to save money on tuition then, everything else being equal, you pick the place with lower rent.

6500 may not be possible everywhere, although maybe in some places, but 9K is still a lot less then 12-15K. And when a building is paid off that should mean a reduction in tuition even more.

Lion of Zion said...


"that should mean a reduction in tuition even more."

tuition, like taxes, is an exception to the laws of gravity.

Chaya said...

I like the distinction betwee private and PRIVATE. I think one of the problems is some parents are fine with having private for limudei kodesh but insist on PRIVATE for lumudei chol. That jacks the tuition prices up. It's like they are treating one school as two schools instead of looking at the overall picture.