Q & A Board - View Post
Author:  Jack D.
E-mail:  not available
Date:  2/14/2005 12:34:00 PM
Subject:  Re: Teachers
Message:  B'Khavod,

I must respectfully disagree with at least part of the comments made by Moish G. in post #10466. He posits that one reason that Jewish educators receive unreasonably low salaries is that "parents kvetch like crazy when it comes to paying even todays tuitions. There is no way schools could afford to pay real salaries without the parents paying higher tuitions." He concludes by saying, "If I had to finger the main culprit, I would say it's the parents, who, by and large, will spend fortunes on every luxury out there, but will chisel like mad on tuition." I think that we need to re-examine the cost of "today's tuitions".

As a parent and an educator, I am outraged by how poorly teachers are paid. At the same time, I am outraged at the cost of tuition. As an example, one of my children is in elementary school, with an annual tuition + mandatory "contributions" of about $10,000. This represents more than 20% of the average annual income in my area. By the time one has just 3 children in school, there is barely enough money left after taxes for rent/mortgage, food, and other basic necessities.

And for what?? Why is tuition so high? Let's think about this. There are at least 30 children in my child's grade, for a total of $300,000 in tuition (if everyone paid full tuition). The grade is taught primarily by two teachers. So these two teachers should technically be paid off a base of $150,000 per teacher. Instead, they'll see 1/4 of that if they're lucky. The rest goes toward administration and building expenses - and is *still* not enough to cover these money pits.

What's wrong with this picture?! Education is supposed to be affordable! The original model is for a parent to provide the basic education, or to hire a private tutor (Rabbi) if the parents cannot provide the education. Much like the Kashruth industry, we've made Jewish education into a business rather than a service. So parents suffer unreasonably high tuition costs, and teachers get paid unreasonably low salaries, and schools must constantly beg the community to support an inefficient and sub-optimal system.

While I recognize that some of this inefficiency is the product of regulation on educational facilities, we must keep in mind that home schooling is a legally viable option that, if organized correctly, would reduce educational costs for parents and increase teachers' slaries.

So please, don't blame parents for not wanting to pay unreasonably large tuition bills. Certainly, those parents who have trouble prioritizing their expenditures need a good shake. But the vast majority don't whine about a few thousand dollars in tuition because we want to yacht around the world. We're trying to make ends meet, and the private education system is bleeding us dry.

Jack D.

Reply:  Very true!

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