Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Tuition "Crisis"

Orthomom and others have spent the last few weeks discussing the tuition "crisis." I missed most of it because of finals, but wanted to throw out a couple of points. Is there really a tuition crisis?

1) Both public and private schools spend an obscene amount of money on student education. Do yeshivas really spend more? Take into account that a Yeshiva has a double curriculum, has more teachers, keeps the kids for more hours. Kosher food is more expensive and many yeshivas are open on Sunday as well.

2) Parents, wake up. Education is the most valuable gift you can give your child, and therefore will be the most expensive. You have to be an idiot to think it'll really cost only $5,000?! Are you nuts? So you tell me, how much do you think education should cost? Break it down by year if you want, making it more expensive as the kid gets older. But give me a number. And, if you're feeling really adventerous, a plan on how you can actually get to that number.

3) Continuing on the last point, expect your child's tuition to cost a significant (if not the most significant) portion of your income. And realize that amount will only rise with the number of children that you have. That's the way things work. A house costs more the bigger it is, two cars cost more than one, and educating 5 kids is a heckuva lot more expensive than educating 3.

3) Yeshivas should be more transparent. Yes, they are private entities, but they exist on tuition the parents give them, as well as money from donors. Pool yourselves together, unionize, and demand that the school open their books. See how much they're paying the teachers, the principals, and see where they are wasting money. Hold them accountable, or open your own school and do better.

4) School vouchers are a partial answer, but realize that if the yeshivas are guarenteed money from the state through vouchers, tuition will continue to rise at very fast rates. First step, hold them accountable for the money, your money. If you don't do it now you won't do it when the state gives you vouchers. And when tuition rises at 30% instead of 12% you'll be back in the same position.

5) Just because education is expensive doesn't mean there's a crisis. It just means its expensive.

Conclusion: Make yeshivas accountable and transparent.