An anniversary of note

It is an anniversary worth noting.  At least we believe so. Some seven years ago, Grassroots for Affordable Jewish Education (GAJE) was formed.

On April 24, 2015, GAJE published its Mission Statement, the core statement of which is “to make Jewish education in our community affordable for every family that wishes to send its children to a Jewish day school.”

That founding document was a plea to the community. We pointed out that “tuition for Jewish day school education in our community was unconscionably high.” At the time,  elementary school tuition ranged around $15,000-plus per student per year. High school tuition approached $30,000 per student per year. When added to the onerous costs of home ownership and maintaining a Jewish household and Jewish way of life in a Jewish neighbourhood, the additional burden of paying educational fees was breaking the economic backs of many of our young families. 

The combined financial burden upon our young families had resulted in a steady decline in enrollment in our schools.

Since those days in 2015, however, there has been a sea change in our community’s approach to responding to the affordability crisis – far reaching, creative, novel, generous and precedent-setting – that has helped achieve a steady increase over the past four years in enrollment in our community’s Jewish schools.

GAJE’s philosophy seven years ago to “conscripting” wide participation in the cause of helping make Jewish education more affordable was straightforward. It remains unchanged today. “We will extend a hand to everyone who might want to be part of the solution. We will not point fingers at anyone. By widening the group of the solution-seekers, we increase the possibilities of finding new ideas and new thinking about funding and especially new people to become involved with their energy, commitment and resources.

“By striving to make Jewish education more affordable, we fulfill a moral obligation to our community and a historic obligation to the wider Jewish people.”

“The status quo is an affront to conscience. Inaction is not an option. Nor is failure.”

•••

To its great credit, our community rejected the status quo. The impact of a series of community decisions and initiatives does indeed bring us closer to wide day school affordability. But we are not there yet. Nor have we given up the fight. GAJE may be marking its seventh year, but we have not rested. It is our fervent hope and prayer that at the next seven year anniversary, if not well before, the cost of Jewish education in our community will be truly affordable for all parents who seek it for their children.

•••

As readers of this weekly update know, GAJE has launched an application to try to bring fairness and equity to the Government of Ontario’s education funding. Both respondents, Ontario and Canada, have brought motions to strike our application. If they are successful, our case will be stopped in its tracks before the courts have had an opportunity to consider the application in full, unless of course, we appeal the ruling on the motion and succeed in our appeal. If we are successful, then the next step will be to proceed to the hearing of the application. The motions are expected to be heard later this summer. 

If you wish to contribute to the funding of GAJE’s lawsuit to achieve fairness and justice in education funding in Ontario, please click here.

For further information, please contact Israel Mida at: imida1818@gmail.com

Charitable receipts for donations for income tax purposes will be issued by Mizrachi Canada. Your donations will be used for the sole purpose of underwriting the costs of the lawsuit.

•••

Chag samayach. Shabbat shalom.

Grassroots for Affordable Jewish Education (GAJE),

April 21, 2022

Posted in Uncategorized

Remembering. Retelling. Rejoicing.

The holiday of Pesach begins tonight.

Six years ago we wrote in this space that Pesach is the only holy day on our religious calendar whose core commandment is the coming together of family and friends and invited guests for a festive meal and for the retelling of the exodus of our forebears from their slavery in Egypt. We celebrate and rejoice with the people we see around the table and we tenderly recall those whom we cannot see, or will ever see again, except in our hearts.

The holiday stands out as the brightest of the shining stars in the whirling constellation of Jewish life and the eternal mystery of Jewish history. The exodus from Egypt is the defining moment of our history. It is the foundation stone of our peoplehood. We recount the miraculous departure from ancient Egypt each day, every day, in our prayers and in all our ritual practices. For us, it was the beginning of the process that forged our purpose as a people.

Perhaps that is why the Haggadah ordains that, irrespective of the level of one’s learning and wisdom, everyone at the table is expected to recount or imagine taking part in the great exodus narrative. It is simply that important to ongoing Jewish life.

As we also wrote some six years ago, by enabling an affordable Jewish education for our children and for all our children throughout the generations, we will ensure that the Exodus story is retold and our sense of peoplehood is preserved for all eternity.

Be joyful at the seder. Rejoice. Enjoy its significance. Remember everyone.

Chag Pesach samayach.

•••

If you wish to contribute to the funding of GAJE’s lawsuit to achieve fairness and justice in education funding in Ontario, please click here.

For further information, please contact Israel Mida at imida1818@gmail.com

Charitable receipts for donations for income tax purposes will be issued by Mizrachi Canada. Your donations will be used for the sole purpose of underwriting the costs of the lawsuit.

•••

Shabbat shalom.

Grassroots for Affordable Jewish Education (GAJE),

April 15, 2022

Posted in Uncategorized

Public school choice is best

Opponents of the idea that Queen’s Park underwrite part or all of the cost of independent schools maintain that such a policy would undermine the public school system. They make this charge despite ongoing, documented evidence to the contrary from other jurisdictions, for example, here in Canada. Six provinces – excluding Ontario and the Atlantic provinces – contribute funding to the cost of running independent schools. By doing so, those provinces enhance public school choice for parents even as they raise the quality of educational outcomes.

Last month, Michael Van Pelt, president and CEO of think-tank Cardus, wrote an op-ed on this very subject that appeared in the Calgary Herald. The article is entitled Public school choice in Alberta is better for our students and our society. Whereas GAJE continues to point to the patent unfairness and injustice of Ontario’s education funding, Van Pelt confronts the factually unfounded arguments of funding opponents as a matter of policy enhancement substantively and pragmatically. He writes from the specific context of Alberta, but his observations and conclusions apply to Ontario as well. In Alberta (and in five other provinces as well) the terms “public schools and public education” encompass much more than government-run schools. That should also be the case in Ontario.

We provide excerpts from Van Pelt’s op-ed.

(The full article is available at: https://calgaryherald.com/opinion/columnists/opinion-public-school-choice-in-alberta-is-better-for-our-students-and-our-society)

•••

“By funding them (other than government-run schools) in different ways and to different degrees, Albertans recognize that allowing parents to find the best fit for their child(ren) is in the public interest. These options are all part of public education. Funding them or allowing them to expand will improve public education, not undermine it.”

“Different students thrive in different learning environments. Parents and teachers know this intuitively and from experience. We also see it confirmed in research that finds students do better in math and reading when there is a “good fit” between student and school. Often, this happens in a charter or independent school.”

“Alberta parents choose independent schools for various reasons including the supportive learning environment, safety, and the kind of curriculum offered. Let’s also remember that most independent schools in Alberta are operated by non-profit organizations, charities or religious organizations. In fact, to receive taxpayer funding, they must be not for profit.”

“Meanwhile, all of us benefit from the independent school sector. Research shows that graduates of independent and home-schools demonstrate greater civic engagement and volunteerism. And expanding the independent school sector would also put Alberta in line with most European nations. OECD data demonstrate that having more publicly funded, non-governmental schools actually reduces economic inequality. Some of the primary examples of this are the Netherlands, Finland and Sweden. This means most European nations have found a way to reduce social divisions by making more school options affordable for more families, even those with low incomes.

“More pluralism, not less should be the order of the day — for our students and ultimately for our society. It’s better for everybody.”

GAJE agrees.

•••

If you wish to contribute to the funding of GAJE’s lawsuit to achieve fairness and justice in education funding in Ontario, please click here.

For further information, please contact Israel Mida at imida1818@gmail.com

Charitable receipts for donations for income tax purposes will be issued by Mizrachi Canada. Your donations will be used for the sole purpose of underwriting the costs of the lawsuit.

•••

Shabbat shalom.

Grassroots for Affordable Jewish Education (GAJE),

April 8, 2022

Posted in Uncategorized

Syd Eisen, the “Father of CHAT”

(Dedicated to the memory of Syd Eisen, of blessed memory)

It is very sad and very humbling that for the second week in a row, we dedicate this update to the memory of an individua, whose chief concern, as we heard in the eulogy this week, “was that of Jewish education.” Dr. Syd Eisen, was the first director of the pioneering Centre for Jewish Studies, Vanier College, York University, from 1989 to 1995. (The Centre was subsequently renamed the Israel and Golda Koschitzky Centre for Jewish Studies.)

He passed away this week at the age of 92.

But, of course, Syd’s professional career began much before 1989 and continued beyond 1995. He held his first teaching positions in the mid-50s. In the mid-70’s he was the dean of faculty of arts at York University. He remained at York U for two more decades as a professor and continued his further academic endeavours through writing and community-minded consultation.

Syd’s fields of academic expertise were varied  –  Education, History, Humanities, Intellectual History, Theology and Religion. He integrated this wide expertise with the broad wisdom, experience and patience that are the hallmarks of excellent teachers.  

At Syd’s funeral, his son, Robert, said of his father that “he did not want glory. He simply wanted to be the best teacher and the best person he could.” Professor Eisen, we know, was adored by his legion of students. He received wide respect because he gave wide respect. Renowned for his uniquely principled and tender manner of discussion, for the way he knew what to say and especially how to say it, he gave actual day-to-day substance to the invocation in proverbs that “a word fittingly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.”

Syd’s teaching career intersected at innumerable points with his many community involvements. The result was a beautiful geometry Jewish educational structures. Indeed the board of TannenbaumCHAT paid  tribute to Syd by reminding us that he was “sometimes described as the “Father of CHAT”. He was the chair of the committee whose advocacy led to the high school’s creation in the 1970’s.

The late Rabbi Jonathan Sacks spoke very often and always eloquently about the indispensable role of teachers in Jewish history and in the overall development of moral societies. He could have had Syd Eisen in mind when he wrote:

“If there is one insight above all others to be gained from Jewish history it is that freedom depends on education. To defend a country you need an army but to defend a civilisation you need schools….

“Teachers open our eyes to the world. They give us curiosity and confidence. They teach us to ask questions. They connect us to our past and future. They’re the guardians of our social heritage. We have lots of heroes today – sportsmen, supermodels, media personalities. They come, they have their fifteen minutes of fame, and they go. But the influence of good teachers stays with us. They are the people who really shape our life.”

It can truly be said of Syd that he helped shape Jewish educational life in our community. He tilled an untreated soil, planted seeds and then harvested tall trees of teachers and educators for the Jewish and wider community here and abroad.

Syd Eisen’s memory will always be for blessing.

•••

Shabbat shalom.

Grassroots for Affordable Jewish Education (GAJE),

April 1, 2022

Posted in Uncategorized

(Dedicated to the memory of Julia Koschitzky, of blessed memory) The debt that can only be repaid by emulation

It is likely that every Jewish community on earth, directly or indirectly, was the beneficiary of the vast goodness of the late Julia Koschitzky’s heart, of her irrepressible will and of her unequaled ability to help others. Such was her extensive involvement throughout her adult life in numerous local, national and international networks of charities, NGOs, and similar benevolent organizations, all of whose key purpose is to make life better for others.

As most people know, Julia passed away this week. The rippling, positive impact of her life will one day be chronicled. As of this writing, tributes continue to appear in a wide array of publications. The CJN published an excellent obituary, in which the breathtaking array of her communal and organizational commitments is discussed. (https://thecjn.ca/news/obituary-julia-koschitzky-was-a-generous-philanthropist-and-dedicated-leader-for-jewish-communal-causes/)

At Julia’s funeral, her daughter Sarena, told the world that hakarat hatov, (acknowledging the good that someone else does for you), was one of her mother’s high cherished values. And thus, GAJE dedicates this update to Julia in keeping with the importance of observing hakarat hatov, to acknowledge the truly immeasurable good that Julia Koschitzky did for us all.

GAJE’s debt to Julia is especially large. The unwavering focus of our activities is for the future of Jewish education. And of course, as Julia herself made plain on many occasions, it was a key focus for her as well. In many respects we are following the trail she blazed.

The CJN reported that throughout her storied career in public Jewish life, “her main passion was Jewish education.” She and her husband Henry, “in 2013, established UJA Federation’s Julia and Henry Koschitzky Centre for Jewish Education, which provides tuition assistance and a variety of programs for children and young adults.”

As further noted in The CJN, “at York University, where Julia was a trustee, she and her husband established the Koschitzky Family Chair in Jewish Teacher Education. With Henry’s brother, Saul and sister-in-law, Mira, the couple established the Israel and Golda Koschitzky Centre for Jewish Studies, Canada’s first interdisciplinary research centre in the subject.”

The heads of the UJA-affiliated day schools and Dan Held, Chief Programs Officer, UJA Federation of Greater Toronto published a joint statement of condolences to Julia’s family in which they also movingly expressed their thanks to her for her “remarkable work to strengthen Jewish education and the indelible impact this has had on our community.”

The following is the centerpiece of the statement.

“The Greater Toronto Jewish community is one of the strongest and most exceptional in the Jewish Diaspora, thanks in no small measure to our dynamic, diverse, and accessible day school system. Through her tireless leadership, Julia has played an unparalleled role in strengthening this fundamental building block of our community. Her extraordinary work, including through UJA’s Julia and Henry Koschitzky Centre for Jewish Education, has empowered countless families to benefit from a Jewish education and enabled our cherished Jewish day schools to thrive. This has created positive ripple effects throughout our entire community, forging the next generation of Jewish leaders making a difference for the Jewish people in myriad ways. The future of our community depends to a great extent on the Jewish knowledge and pride we foster among our youth today. In this regard, few have shaped our shared future like Julia Koschitzky – and the school communities we represent owe so much of our success to her unmatched leadership. We would not be who we are, were it not for Julia. We will greatly miss her and take comfort in knowing that her impact will endure for generations – both within our schools and well beyond.”

Not surprisingly, Julia’s career in public Jewish life began in Jewish education as President of the Parents’ Association of the Associated Hebrew Schools of Toronto. That role was the springboard for her subsequent, varied, remarkably self-sacrificing activities and philanthropy on behalf of Jewish education, and on behalf of every manner of urgent, pressing causes in the wide Jewish world and beyond.

From ancient times until today, kohanim have chanted and continue to chant a very precisely-worded invocation before they extend their arms when blessing the community. The wording acknowledges that the kohanim are commanded “…to bless His people Israel, from a place of  love.” (Our translation) The words are as prescriptive as they are descriptive.

Julia Koschtizky was not a kohen or kohanit. But she did indeed bless God’s people Israel, (and the world) from a place of love. However, in all she did in her 78 years, for others – for the wellbeing of her people and for the wider community – she grasped deeply one of life’s most important treasures: loving means doing.

The debt we all owe Julia Koschitzky, we can only repay by emulating her.

As a final act of Julia’s commitment toward Jewish education, her family has asked that memorial donations in her memory be made to the Generations Trust at the Jewish Federation of Toronto. Please contact Jordan Glass at 416-635-5685 or 416-635-2883 Ext.5685 , or Sarah Raizel Avalis 416-635-2883 Ext.5184, tributecards@ujafed.org or savalis@ujafed.org.

•••

Shabbat shalom.

Grassroots for Affordable Jewish Education (GAJE),

March 25, 2022

Posted in Uncategorized

The cause of affordability is foundational in other places too

The creative, generously philanthropic initiative some four years ago that drastically reduced annual tuition at CHAT proved empirically that enrollment is directly related to tuition. That program became the vanguard for other affordability initiatives by UJA Federation and participating day schools. The programs and results have been noticed in other North American communities. Following the communal will and the programmatic success of local GTA initiatives, other communities have embarked onto their own affordability paths.

For example, the media reported last month upon a series of affordability initiatives among day schools in the Boston area,

• MetroWest Jewish Day School serving Brookline and Worcester, Mass.

The first 15 students from new families who applied to MetroWest Jewish Day School (MWJDS) by March 15 and enroll for the 2022-23 school year will lock in a $15,000 per year tuition rate for two years, with only modest increases thereafter to account for inflation.

Epstein Hillel School (EHS)

EHS announced three new grant programs for families of differing financial means and whose children are at various stages in their Jewish education. The programs are aimed at trying to cap tuition at a family-specific affordable rate to make tuition “within reach for all families

• Schechter Boston

Schechter is trying to attract qualifying families who are new to Jewish day school with a  $10,000 reduction off tuition in kindergarten through grade 2.

• The Rashi School

The schoolannounced two new grant initiatives to reduce tuition to qualifying families.

Of course, the details of each of the programs in each of the schools differ even as each of the schools differ in their various approaches to Jewish education. The key reason in pointing out these initiatives is not for their respective details but rather for the very fact that they are happening at all. GTA community leaders understand that Jewish education is the keystone foundation for permanently meaningful Jewish life. And to enable as many families as possible to have access to Jewish education, it must be affordable. That understanding, that eternal wisdom of Jewish life is increasingly making its way to other communities as well. The cause of educational affordability has become foundational in other places too,

•••

In relation to the application filed in court for fairness in educational funding, GAJE’s lawyers will be meeting soon with the government’s counsel to discuss next steps in the lawsuit. If you wish to contribute to the funding of GAJE’s lawsuit to achieve fairness and justice in educational funding in Ontario, please click here.

For further information, please contact Israel Mida at imida1818@gmail.com

Charitable receipts for donations for income tax purposes will be issued by Mizrachi Canada. Your donations will be used for the sole purpose of underwriting the costs of the lawsuit.

•••

Shabbat shalom.  Chag Purim Samayach.

Grassroots for Affordable Jewish Education (GAJE)

March 18, 2022

Posted in Uncategorized

Be strong, unafraid and empathetic

To say we have been living for more than two years in difficult, disquieting times abuses the term “understatement.” The global Covid pandemic, the occupation of downtown Ottawa and a handful of Canadian-American border crossings by a frightful confederacy of anti-democracy, grievance-shouting protesters, and now, Russia’s murderous invasion of Ukraine pile anxiety upon anxiety in our battered psyches. And those of us determined to help make Jewish education truly affordable in Ontario press on through the multiplier angst to bring fairness and just dealing to Ontario’s educational system.

The question begs itself: How should we, as individuals and as a community, approach our important challenges during such unsettling days?

Rabbi Marc D. Angel of New York suggests a possible path for us. He points for guidance to the words of the customary congregational invocation in some synagogues after the celebration of the completion of the reading of one of the Five Books of Moses.

“Hizku —strengthen yourselves, be resolute; ve- ye-ametz levavhem–and God will give courage to your hearts. First, you need to strengthen yourselves, develop the power of empathy and love. Then, God will give you the added fortitude to fulfill your goals. If we strengthen ourselves, we may trust that the Almighty will give us added strength.

“Be strong, unafraid, empathetic; if we hone these values within ourselves and our families, we may be hopeful that the Almighty will grant us the courage to succeed in our efforts.”

Rabbi Angel’s instruction is forever timely and deeply relevant for our times. The holiday of Purim that we celebrate next week reinforces it. For the festival’s key message resonates with that of Rabbi Angel: our strength multiplies when we come together, act in assembly, and unite in common purpose to achieve a true and worthy result.

That message – from Purim and from the unbroken, millennial cycle of reading of the Torah – is the inspiration guiding our approach and strengthening our resolve for the various challenges that lie ahead.

•••

If you wish to contribute to the funding of GAJE’s lawsuit to achieve fairness and justice in educational funding in Ontario, please click here.

For further information, please contact Israel Mida at imida1818@gmail.com

Charitable receipts for donations for income tax purposes will be issued by Mizrachi Canada. Your donations will be used for the sole purpose of underwriting the costs of the lawsuit.

•••

Shabbat shalom.  Chag Purim Samayach.

Grassroots for Affordable Jewish Education (GAJE),

March 11, 2022

Posted in Uncategorized

The surest way to avoid indifference to Jewish life

The surest way to avoid indifference to Jewish life

Jack Wertheimer, professor of American Jewish history at the Jewish Theological Seminary, published an article this week entitled, Which American Jews are most distant from Israel?,that appeared on the eJP website.

The article is part of a trend of inquiry, especially although not exclusively in the U.S., that tries to understand why so many younger Jews feel a diminished connection, if any at all, to the Jewish State. Prof. Wertheimer examines a number of recent surveys of the American Jewish community and draws this very simple conclusion: “[A]mong the rank and file of American Jews, those who are very attached to Israel also are far, far more involved with all aspects of Jewish life than those who claim no attachment to Israel.”

Wertheimer suggests that “two major circumstances” underpin the worrisome phenomenon of alienation from Israel.

“One is the limited Jewish education large numbers of American Jews receive. Surely it is not accidental that Jews who claim the weakest connections to Israel also are more likely to have missed out on immersive Jewish educational experiences…

“Second, and perhaps as a consequence, those who feel least connected to Israel in the aggregate also do not identify strongly with Jewish collective needs. When asked about feeling responsible for helping ‘fellow Jews in need around the world,’ the number who feel a great deal of responsibility drops from 53% for those very attached to Israel to just 8% among those not very attached.”

Distance from Israel, Wertheimer writes, is a symptom of indifference to Jewish life. Instilling in our children a lifelong desire to care for the Jewish people, for Jewish history and for Jewish life at home and abroad, therefore, is the most certain way to also instill in our children a lifelong desire to care for and about the State of Israel.

Prof. Wertheimer’s essay thus bring us back to the very heart of the matter concerning (affordable) Jewish education. But we state the proposition stronger than he did.

In our view, caring for Israel is indeed – not merely “perhaps” – a consequence of Jewish education, namely, “immersive Jewish educational experiences.” But we also add that caring for the State of Israel is not the reason to seek Jewish education for children. Rather, caring to lead a meaningful Jewish life is. And as history teaches us, leading a meaningful Jewish life inherently includes caring for the State of Israel. And that is why GAJE’s mission is to try to help make Jewish education in Ontario truly affordable.

Prof. Wertheimer’s article can be found at:

•••

If you wish to help underwrite GAJE’s lawsuit to achieve fairness and justice in educational funding in Ontario, please click here.

For further information, please contact Israel Mida at imida1818@gmail.com

Charitable receipts for donations for income tax purposes will be issued by Mizrachi Canada. Your donations will be used for the sole purpose of underwriting the costs of the lawsuit.

•••

Shabbat shalom.

Grassroots for Affordable Jewish Education (GAJE),

March 4, 2022

Posted in Uncategorized

Answering the call to defund Catholic schools

Last week we reported on news that a group acronymically called O.P.E.N. is suing the Government of Ontario to compel it to defund the Catholic school board within our provincial educational system.

In response to the news of the O.P.E.N. lawsuit, David Hunt, education program director at the Hamilton-based think-tank Cardus, wrote a strong rebuttal of the stated reasons that underpin that lawsuit under the headline ‘Expand religious school funding in Ontario’.

Hunt’s response is compelling. It enables readers to understand clearly the differing approaches and values that animate the competing visions for the delivery of education to the children of Ontario. In addition, it provides empirical information that can help educational policy decision makers arrive at sound, proper, correct decisions.

GAJE supports Hunt’s point of view because we earnestly strive to help facilitate a Jewish education for as many children of our community as possible. But overarching all of the competing visions for Ontario education, the minimum requirement for Ontario’s educational system should be fairness, the absence of discrimination and just treatment for all Ontarians, let alone all Ontarian taxpayers.

We reproduce Hunt’s article in its entirety. It was published in the Hamilton Spectator on February 18. It is available at: https://www.thespec.com/opinion/contributors/2022/02/18/expand-religious-school-funding-in-ontario.html

•••

“Should Ontario defund Catholic separate schools? This perennial question is at the forefront of a legal challenge launched in Hamilton.

The plaintiffs claim funding Catholic schools is unconstitutional, violates separation of church and state, contaminates worship institutions, and is an inherent conflict of interest. The people funding the lawsuit also claim a single, centrally-administered public system will provide more options for students and teachers, promote diversity and save money.

Every single one of these assertions is wrong. Does one monolithic public-school system increase options for students? No, eliminating diversity does not create diversity. Should we worry about the separation of church and state? Again, no. Section 93 of the Constitution Act of 1867 mandates the public funding of Catholic separate schools in Ontario. 

The very existence of Section 93 is a clear rejection of what Americans call “separation of church and state.” We do not have an equivalent to the Establishment Clause of the U.S. First Amendment.

What about the concern that funding religious schools creates a “conflict of interest” that “contaminates worship institutions?” To make these claims is to thoroughly misunderstand what schools are and why we publicly fund them. Schools are social goods. Education forms us — and not just those in the classroom. The education of my neighbours’ kids — or the lack thereof — profoundly shapes the whole neighbourhood. In other words, education has spillover effects that benefit more than just the recipient. This is why we fund schools. 

However, just because all children ought to be educated does not mean they all learn the same way, fit in, or thrive in the same environments. Every child is unique, and the more educational pathways we afford them, the better. 

The research bears this out. Religious-school students matched to schools of their own faith outperform their unmatched peers. This also helps explain why Islamic schools are more effective than state-run schools at integrating Muslim students into Western societies. 

Schools are not merely of interest to society, they are also a function of society. As social goods, schools most naturally — and efficiently and effectively — emerge out of society, not from a command tower.

This is why rather than defund Catholic schools, we should expand such funding to students at other religious schools — including independent schools.

Would this be prohibitively expensive? There are 70 empirical studies to date that examine the costs and potential savings of independent-school funding programs in the U.S. Only five find that publicly funding independent schools generates net costs for taxpayers. More than 90 per cent of all methodologically defensible empirical studies find that independent-school funding generates taxpayer savings.

How is this possible? Monopolies remove incentives to maximize every dollar, attract students and improve quality. This results in mass waste and inefficiencies. So, it’s not surprising that school-district consolidations haven’t led to cost-savings.

Democracy assumes a diversity of perspectives. Educating for a strong democracy requires no less. This is why 100 countries — including every OECD country except Greece — fund a wide variety of different types of schools and school systems, including religious schools. And they’re better for it. The preponderance of evidence bears out overwhelming evidence that religious schools strengthen social cohesion.

Rather than abolishing taxpayer-funded Catholic schools, let’s let funding follow all students to their best-fit school — including religious independent schools. It would cost less than you think! A recent peer-reviewed economic analysis estimates the Ontario taxpayer expense to be the equivalent of 0.3 to 0.8 per cent of the provincial budget — a minimal cost for substantial benefit.”

•••

If you wish to help underwrite GAJE’s lawsuit for fairness and justice, please click here.

For further information, please contact Israel Mida at imida1818@gmail.com

Charitable receipts for donations for income tax purposes will be issued by Mizrachi Canada. Your donations will be used for the sole purpose of underwriting the costs of the lawsuit.

•••

Shabbat shalom.

Grassroots for Affordable Jewish Education (GAJE),

February 25, 2022

Posted in Uncategorized

Another challenge to Ontario school funding

Posted in Uncategorized
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