Monday, December 4, 2006

Is education worth paying for

This week, the in the NY Times there appears an interesting article on Asian enrollment. What I found particularly interesting about the article was the Asian parents response to requests for money: When a principal of one school asked the Korean Parents Association to help him raise some $4,000,000 (after he was already rebuffed by the school's PTA and other community members) their response was: $4,000,000? why not $40,000,000 and then they went out and raised the money.

In the Jewish day school community, one of the most common complaints is the price of schooling, how no one can afford it, how teachers and principals and everyone else in the system is making too much money. Few parents are willing to do anything other than complain. Fundraising is left for others to do (though I'm not sure who the others are)and many philanthropists are not willing to donate money so that others peoples' kids can get a good Jewish education. We want our children to get a good general education; we want them to have a good Jewish education; we'd like them to learn with other Jewish children; and we want them to have the best facilities and the best teachers - but we don't want to pay for it.

When the average expenditure per pupil in the public school system is over $10,000 (and as high as $15,000 in New Jersey and New York), is it reasonable for the community to focus on lowering costs rather than on raising quality?

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