Rabbi Boteach writes today about the penalty for being a religious parent in America. It’s something that I’ve brought up before, but deserves to be brought up again. For each parent that wants to send their child to a school that teaches their values, they not only have to pay for the tuition of the school, but for the cost if their child was going to go to a public school.
You wonder why parochial schools either are small or don’t have traditional teachers? It’s because if they were to pay for these things, they would be paying double to send their kids to school– and our government, not realizing that money doesn’t solve problems, continues to dump even more money into failing school systems. Speaking of costs, the Rabbi says:
This week, I received by mail the tuition-fee schedule for my children’s private Jewish day schools that I already owe for next year. I’ll withhold the exact amount because I don’t want to give you a coronary, but with seven children in private religious education, and with tuition for Jewish day schools in America running at about $9,000 per child (and that’s with a discount), you can easily imagine the astronomical bill.
Well, you say, it’s only fair, I mean, the government shouldn’t subsidize religious education, but…
The United States, alone among the great democracies of the world, shows utter contempt to religious parents by making them pay twice for their children’s education, refusing to put even a single dollar of their tax money toward their children’s religious schools.
When I resided in England, as the rabbi at Oxford University for 11 years, my children attended some of the best Jewish day schools in the world. The cost to me was minimal because the Jewish day schools have all of their secular studies subsidized by the government while the religious studies are, of course, paid for by the parents.
But even solidly secular countries like Canada and France, whom Americans perceive as being hostile to religion, all have government subsidies for religious schools. Only America, the most religious of them all, brutally punishes religious parents by not allowing their hard-earned tax dollars to fund their children’s parochial schools.
Do you sense that something’s wrong here, when a country can declare that homosexual marriage is ok, and still have subsidies for religious schools? Where is it an establishment of religion to give parents a break if they want to send their kids elsewhere. It’s their money. If they’re supposed to be using it to educate their kids, then let them use it, and not subsidize education they do not want.