Wednesday, August 21, 2019

in opposition to NYS Educational Equivalency Regulations

BS"D

20 Menachem Av, 5779 °°° Aug. 21, '19


By Binyomin Feinberg

feinbergbinyomin@gmail.com


As the September 2nd deadline for submitting comments against the proposed Regulations for NYS Educational Equivalency approaches, we offer a sample letter that addresses the key issues. NY residents, you may use this to write your own letter to the NYS Board of Regents. We emphasize the need to ensure that any letter sent is properly edited, especially given the issue at hand.

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Here is some important contact information:


New York State Education Department 89 Washington Avenue Albany, New York 12234 Phone: 518-474-5889 E-mail: RegentsOffice@nysed.gov

Send your letter (email) to all of the following:

seregcomments@nysed.gov Christina Coughlin, NYSED

regulations@nysais.org NYSAIS will keep a record of all comments

Regent.Brown@nysed.gov Regent for the county where our school is

Regent.Cottrell@nysed.gov Regent at Large who will vote on the regulations

Regent.Norwood@nysed.gov Regent at Large who will vote on the regulations

Regent.Reyes@nysed.gov Regent at Large who will vote on the regulations

Regent.Young@nysed.gov Regent at Large who will vote on the regulations


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B"H

With G-d’s help, I would like to bring to your attention my deep concern over the new proposed Regulations released on July 3, 2019 by NYSED, known as “Substantially Equivalent Instruction for Nonpublic School Students” (7/3/19 St. Reg. EDU-27-19-00010-P).

The majority of the founders of the Orthodox Jewish communities emigrated to this country in pursuit of religious freedom, fleeing religious persecution in their countries of origin. Our parents taught us to appreciate this country for the Constitutional liberties it guarantees. We immigrated to this country to live a life of Torah, and pass it on to our children and all future generations, just as our ancestors have done for thousands of years, ever since G-d gave us His Torah on Mt. Sinai. This is because Judaism obligates us to transmit to our children that which was transmitted to us by our parents.


Specifically, every Jew is commanded by G-d in His Torah to transmit our Faith to our children. We are obligated to instill in our children an unwavering belief in the absolute, objective truth of the entirety of Torah, starting with the existence of our Creator, Who created the universe and fully controls it. We are further obligated to teach G-d's commandments, and our obligation to observe them, as it states: “Only take heed and guard your soul exceedingly so that you do not forget the facts that your eyes have seen and that they do not depart from your heart all the days of your life: and make them known to your children and your children’s children; the day that you stood before G-d your G-d, at Horeb (Mt. Sinai) when G-d said to me ‘Assemble this people for me; I will let them hear My words so that they may learn to fear Me all the days that they live on earth and teach their children accordingly’” (Deuteronomy 4:9,10).

Thus, in Judaism, Education is not just about teaching information. We are commanded to have children in order to raise them to grow to become servants of the Almighty. We are obligated to train to fulfill His commandments, and to abstain from what He prohibited. For us education is not just a part of life; it is the purpose of our life.

Additionally, it is specifically prohibited by Jewish law to expose ourselves or others to ideology that runs contrary to the ideology of our Holy Torah (e.g., see Maimonides, Mishneh Torah, Laws of Idolatry 2:2-3; Sefer HaChinuch 387; Bi'ur Halacha 1:1). It is absolutely prohibited to expose ourselves or others to studies of immoral lifestyles. Therefore, to study or teach the theory of Evolution - or immorality - violates core Torah prohibitions, and would entirely jeopardize our Education.
It is prohibited by Jewish law to expose ourselves

Even worse, in a sense, is teaching that LGBT-advocated conduct - the most evil of "lifestyles" (explicitly branded an "abomination" in VaYikra/ Leviticus 18:22) - is acceptable, much less to be "respected." Yet, in 2010, the N.Y.State Legislature passed the "Dignity for All Students Act," which mandated precisely that type of LGBT indoctrination.

That law modified section 801a of NY State's Education Law, to require schools to teach children to respect flagrant displays of immoral conduct that the Torah unequivocally commands us to abominate (Lev.18:22). Many of us were unaware of this legislation at the time, and only were alerted to it in the wake of the recently-revoked Guidelines of the Department of Education.

Last November, shortly after the elections, Dept. of Education Commissioner Elia - not surprisingly - publicly reinterpreted the aforementioned law. She applied it to religious schools as well. Thereby, she enabled the extension of the anti-Jewish LGBT assault on public school children to the large majority of Orthodox children, studying in religious schools.

[Please be aware that even if we were confident that the LGBTQ propaganda law would never be applied beyond public schools, we would still oppose this reprehensible policy, even if tolerance of such a policy would somehow procure "benefits" for our schools.
Sacrificing public school children for other children is anathema, and antithetical to everything Judaism stands for.]

After a judge subsequently dismissed those NYS DOE Guidelines as procedurally flawed, NY State proceeded to promulgate the same agenda, but this time in a procedurally correct - and tactically far more effective - manner. The recently issued Regulations carefully and predictably omitted explicit reference to the ultimate goals of LGBT indoctrination, and other red-flag policies. Yet, those Regulations emphatically allow the forthcoming Guidelines to cleverly include the most objectionable policies - AFTER passage of the public comment period.

This is absolutely unacceptable. Such policies are anti-Torah, as well as anti-Jewish, un-American, and unconstitutional. It is imperative to vote down any Regulations that even passively allow adoption of Guidelines mandating LGBT indoctrination.


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Furthermore, please understand that the integrity of Torah institutions is only possible when complete control of what is acceptable in our curriculum is decided by qualified Rabbis and religious leaders. Please realize that government oversight influencing how Orthodox Jews operate their Yeshivas undermines the very purpose for which those institutions were founded. The curriculum of our schools, calibrated to enable our children to secure appropriate vocational employment, has been established by our Rabbis, and is not up for discussion. Our schools have enviably produced multiple generations of peaceful, law-abiding communities, blessed with successful businessmen and philanthropists. The past seventy plus years testify to the success of the Torah education system, producing tens of thousands of caring, responsible, moral and upstanding families who contribute considerably to society and the economy. Communally, we have the lowest rates of violent crime in the state. Any tampering with our curriculum is bound to ultimately increase crime in the state, by decimation (incremental or otherwise) of our religious values. If we can't unequivocally teach - without any exception - that everything the Bible forbids is objectively wrong and must not be committed, or tolerated, then, by definition, other prohibitions like murder, theft etc. will ultimately be neglected too. If the Divine origin of any part of the Torah is rejected - an evil in its own right - then adherence to all other commandments is also at risk, to the detriment of society at large.


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Torah observant Jews have proudly lived as G-d-fearing Jews throughout history, and have sacrificed our wealth and even lives to secure the ability to live a Torah-true way of life. It is our sacred duty to further transmit pure Torah-true Judaism exactly as it has been passed down to us from generation to generation from Sinai. And that is exactly how we intend to educate our generations forever, whatever the price may be, be it fines, prison or even our lives.

Additionally, what good is government funding if that interferes with what is most precious in our lives – pure Torah education? Any governmental oversight, reform or slightest interference in the curriculum, subjects, etc. constitutes persecution on the basis of our religious beliefs and way of life, and therefore cannot be tolerated. We came to this country for religious freedom; please don't impose on us to flee this country due to a form of religious persecution even worse than that of Czarist Russia.

We humbly plead with you, please reject any and all Regulations or forthcoming Guidelines that would infringe upon our Religious Liberties, ensconced in the Bill of Rights. Please stand up for the values upon which the Founding Fathers have established this Republic. No American should collaborate in undermining these Religious Liberties, so foundational to our Constitutional Republican form of government. Please abolish the proposed regulations, and shun complicity in anti-constitutional policies with which tens of thousands of New York citizens will be unable to comply.

Thank you kindly,

Sincerely,

55 comments :

  1. Joe,

    You're a nice guy, but sadly misinformed about the situation in NYC.

    No. Taxpayer money does not "subsidize private schools".

    The bulk of the funds directed to non-public schools are reimbursements for state-mandated requirements, like attendance and certain student record keeping. The state, of course, has every responsibility to underwrite the costs of mandates that the schools carry out on its behalf.

    Also, New York students, even those in yeshivas and other non-public schools, are no less entitled to security, textbooks and special education services than their public school counterparts.

    It is estimated that for every student who attends private school, taxpayers save approximately $22,291 statewide; and for New York City, $24,399 per student. The New York state yeshiva system alone saves taxpayers billions annually.

    That’s a lot of Benjamins, as Rep. Ilhan Omar might say.

    Parents of yeshiva students pay the same taxes as public school student parents and all citizens. In most other states, there are tax credits or deductions to at least marginally offset private school tuition payments. New York offers private school parents no such relief.

    The issue at hand is fundamental one, about the rights of parents to educate them in the manner that they see fit, and the level of interference government should be allowed, if any.

    For decades now, due to an alleged conflict with separation of church and state, NY State found itself unwilling and unable to fund yeshivas. All the more so, the state should respect this sacrosanct separation, with regard to the independence and autonomy of yeshivas.

    IsraelReader

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  2. Also, New York students, even those in yeshivas and other non-public schools, are no less entitled to security, textbooks and special education services than their public school counterparts

    Not obvious, one could say logically every student is offered a public school education which includes, textbooks etc..if one chooses to decline it one should pay for ones own education

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  3. Communally, we have the lowest rates of violent crime in the state. Any tampering with our curriculum is bound to ultimately increase crime in the state, by decimation (incremental or otherwise) of our religious values

    How is our rate of financial crimes per capita? What is the average amount stolen per capita by our community versus the general community. There are other ways to steal than violence.

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  4. So, it's OK to teach heretical subjects? What's NOT OK to teach?

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  5. Kalonymus AnonymusAugust 21, 2019 at 10:42 PM

    We have same problem in UK. Chief rabbi said that LGBT should not be bullied in schools, and was attacked by the kannoim.

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  6. Since I'm so ignorant, I did a Google search on these terms, "how much money do yeshivas get from new york state city".

    I learned some things that don't quite jive with what you wrote.

    I hope that doesn't jeopardize my "nice" adjective.

    I do admit that you are right in what you implicitly write in that it would cost the government a LOT of money to build schools and run them if tomorrow all Yeshiva students enrolled in public school. On the other hand, the tax income twenty years later when many of the students became net positive income for the State and City instead of negative would offset the costs.

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  7. Joseph, until there's a constitutional amendment that schools must do free services for the state, the state will have to pay for things that they want.

    Comparing it to taxes is nonsense

    https://www.jta.org/2019/08/20/opinion/orthodox-yeshivas-are-not-swindling-public-funds-far-from-it

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  8. I don't have much more to add, since you didn't refute my argument, based on the explanation that I gave, that taxpayer money does not "subsidize private schools", and therefore does not get the right to dictate school curriculum.

    I will address your question:
    "Since when do businesses get to charge the government for their accounting costs?"
    I see a clear difference. No one is mandated to pay accounting costs. It just makes good business sense to use accounts, because if not you're liable to get in trouble with the IRS. In the case of NY State, it mandates schools to provide certain services to them. It follows that the State should pay for those services that it's demanding from schools.

    I'm not responsible for the suggested letter which was posted here. I actually sent them two different letters.

    I believe that the yeshiva education that I received in NYC was stellar, and prepared me for a successful life after school. It also did not conform to the dictates that the State Education Department is attempting to impose through these proposed regulations.

    The center of a yeshiva education is its Jewish studies curriculum. That is as it should be. Jewish parents have a right to educate their children as they see fit, and I'm very happy that my parents chose this path for me.

    My peers may have had educations with more of an emphasis on secular studies, but they are not better prepared for success.

    I have no doubt that the intensive, dual curriculum education that I received in yeshiva, has been the key to my successes in both worlds; the world of Judaism, and also the secular world.

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  9. Not all logic is obvious at first blush.

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  10. I will address your question:
    "Since when do businesses get to charge the government for their accounting costs?"
    I see a clear difference. No one is mandated to pay accounting costs. It just makes good business sense to use accounts, because if not you're liable to get in trouble with the IRS. In the case of NY State, it mandates schools to provide certain services to them. It follows that the State should pay for those services that it's demanding from schools.

    Not obvious at all, government makes many businesses report information and does not pay the costs of preparing the mandatory reports, thus no reason why day school businesses should have state reimburse them for their mandated reports.

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  11. I have no doubt that the intensive, dual curriculum education that I received in yeshiva, has been the key to my successes in both worlds; the world of Judaism, and also the secular world.
    More likely your success can be attributed to the genetic luck that you have had since birth

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  12. I don't have much more to add, since you didn't refute my argument, based on the explanation that I gave, that taxpayer money does not "subsidize private schools", and therefore does not get the right to dictate school curriculum

    Government has the right and duty to mandate that minors receive the education for years and of the type during the mandatory period of education usually to around 16, 17

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  13. It's easy to have the lowest crime rate when reporting crime to the police is grounds for expulsion from the community

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  14. Much of this is a consequence of the "No compromise ever!" attitude of the yeshivos.
    One wonders: if they had compromised and introduced non-controversial subjects into the curriculum like math, grammar, basic science, geography and history, would this pressure have been placed on them? How much of it is "Well you don't want to compromise so we're going to shove it all down your throat"?

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  15. Kalonymus AnonymusAugust 22, 2019 at 7:33 PM

    if you take sexual abuse, incest out of the picture, then maybe

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  16. This:ttps://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-news-and-politics/280239/the-case-against-yeshivas

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  17. http://dusiznies.blogspot.com/2019/07/naftali-moster-little-belzer-shmoiger.html

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  18. All the yeshivas I ever heard of, offered secular education.
    If a person chose to goof off, and remain ignorant, that was their choice.
    That’s the same reason, why Johnny from public school also can't read.
    Blame yourself, not the school.

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  19. The issue at hand is fundamental one, about the rights of parents to educate them in the manner that they see fit, and the level of interference government should be allowed, if any.

    This is not a new issue by any means. Eighty years ago, NY State also tried to take over religious education. What happened then still serves as a blueprint for concerned parents and educators.
    https://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-news-and-politics/289450/new-york-targets-religious-schools

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  20. Eighty years ago, NY State also tried to take over religious b>education.
    What happened then still serves as a blueprint for concerned parents and
    educators.
    Yes they just ignored the interferencee and the law (teaching English in mornings)and the gov bugged off!

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  21. I didn't refute it, but I sideways questioned it. The numbers are like $100,000,000 for Bli Eyen Hara about 50,000 students. That's pretty hefty, like around $2000/student. For what? Mostly State mandated activities?

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  22. I'm not sure that you even bothered to read the entire article, and if you did read it, if you were able to follow its nuances.
    Were you goofing off in yeshiva when they were teaching reading comprehension?

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  23. What?
    How can you even compare the (so claimed )problem of unreported abuse in the frum community to the rampant uncontrollable rape adultery, incest ,bestiality(pets and dogs) homosexuality, premarital sex ,etc prevalent in the secular gentile population?Just open any newspaper!
    The frum community has 99.5% virgin marriages

    And the secular/ gentile community? maybe 20%
    virgin marriage.

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  24. Libertarians argue that citizens have the liberty to choose the type of education they want for their children.

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  25. Kalonymus AnonymusAugust 23, 2019 at 11:59 AM

    How can you compare the 2 groups? We are a holy people, and claim Torah observance, so must be held to a higher standard.
    Look at the otd for example. Half of them claim to have been abused, but the rabbis covered it up.

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  26. I don't believe in "genetic luck", and I also went through some hard knocks.
    But I worked hard in school, and I wasn't a goof ball or a party animal.
    I respected the yeshiva education I was getting, and applied myself to my studies.

    When some loser whines that they came out of school dumb and uneducated, I'm not impressed by their claims. Generally, they have only themselves to blame for their apathy and failure, not the school. The same is with Johnny, from public school, who also can't read. If a person chooses to goof off, and remain ignorant, that was their personal choice.

    There's an old adage, which goes as follows, "If it isn't broken, don't fix it".
    The yeshiva system isn’t broken, and doesn’t need any interference from the State Education Department.

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  27. Kalonymus AnonymusAugust 23, 2019 at 12:32 PM

    Reb Nuchem is a better witness than you and your masonic friends

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  28. Kalonymus AnonymusAugust 23, 2019 at 12:35 PM

    Call it genetic or Mazal, but not everyone can be a Maimonides or Einstein. Not sure I agree with Rambam that everyone can be as righteous as Moses. Really?

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  29. Libertarians are not the dominant western philosophy. Certainly, contrary to Yahadus basic hashkafa

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  30. Governments demand reports every day and don't pay for them.

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  31. I never claimed that either genetics or "mazal" came into play.
    Nor did I claim to be a Maimonides, an Einstein, or a Moses.
    I merely stated that the yeshiva education that I received in NYC, prepared me for successes in life after school.

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  32. I don't know who you are, but the vast majority of successful people have genetic luck, without genetic luck one can't be successful. Don't know you-but vast majority of successful people didn't hit a home run , but were born on third base.

    "But I worked hard in school, and I wasn't a goof ball or a party animal.
    I respected the yeshiva education I was getting, and applied myself to my studies"
    Obviously, you had the ability to succeed in a Yeshiva education, certainly above average verbal ability.

    "When some loser whines that they came out of school dumb and uneducated, I'm not impressed by their claims. Generally, they have only themselves to blame for their apathy and failure, not the school. The same is with Johnny, from public school, who also can't read. If a person chooses to goof off, and remain ignorant, that was their personal choice."

    It is many choices, the same way it is our choice whether or not we get afflicted with Parkinsons, Alzheimers, MS, etc...

    The yeshiva system isn’t broken, and doesn’t need any interference from the State Education Department.

    If it can show it is following the non discriminatory state curriculum, they should have nothing to worry about.

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  33. Agreed-or to give a Chicago example not everyone can be a Michael Jordan.
    Genetics even has a great influence on religion. Identical twins adopted by different parents show that genetics long term much more important than upbringing in religion.

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  34. If figures accurate paying neurosurgeon salaries for preparing state reports

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  35. Why are some Jews self hating?

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  36. reb? Nuchem is mentally ill FACT

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  37. Kalonymus AnonymusAugust 23, 2019 at 2:56 PM

    Berel is mentally ill .

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  38. Kalonymus AnonymusAugust 23, 2019 at 3:00 PM

    Even YU has covered up. Mercaz harav also.
    Geula mikve /gay sodomistic bath. Disgusting people. Aidah refused to close it down because of the $ $. Jokester "gedolim". Fageles, since the time of shabbetai zvi / de haan gay mamzer.

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  39. Shoiteh !

    I went many times to that mikveh Zupniks eidah for years! and never ever saw anything out of order its only used on Fridays and closes early 40minutut before skiyah
    its all nochoms delusion and fantasy
    And money are you joking ,the eidah receives no income from that place that was the deal when donated by israel zupnik at the time he gave his cousin who lives nearby receives all profits from the mikveh.

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  40. Maybe you would like to do a guest post for "Daas Torah", demonstrating how Libertarian ideas run contrary to basic Jewish ideology.

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  41. Kalonymus AnonymusAugust 25, 2019 at 12:30 AM

    1) you are the shoiteh
    2) If you didn't see or hear what was going on, that isn't proof it didn't go on.
    3) Even if you did see, you would not admit that this goes in Satmar/Aidah world, just like you don't admit that De haan did the same etc.
    4) Even if you say didn't see , I don't rely on your testimony since you think everyone outside your cult is a mason, uses freemasonry hand signs, and you perpetuate lies that either you or your friend have made up.

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  42. From various articles. According to the JTA article linked by YitzchokM, it's $800 per student excluding busing costs.

    I'm sorry I waded into the numbers game. It's a losing proposition to figure out what's going on without a lot more data than seemd readily available from news reports.

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  43. Kalonymus AnonymusAugust 25, 2019 at 12:25 PM

    I don't know what area you work in, perhaps a nuclear physicist and you learned it in yeshiva.
    However, in general, it's a fallacious claim that our rabbis make when they say anyone can be great in Torah etc. No. Not everyone can be Ralbag in astronomy, da Vinci in art, Bruce Lee in Kung Fu, Einstein, Moshe rabbeinu, bill Gates etc. And very few yeshivot can produce gedolei Torah.
    If each generation is weaker than the previous, it's a failure of the teaching and transmission of Torah.

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  44. Try as you may, I'm not going with your discussion.
    The topic at hand is whether government should/may interfere with yeshiva education, or not.

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  45. A far cry from allegedly around $2000/student.

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  46. It's hard to say which number is right. The number $800 was not specifically for students in Yeshivas. So, to figure out average numbers for what students in Yeshivas get is something of a challenge.

    But now it's back to you. The State doesn't mandate busing. So how is money for busing not a subsidy?

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  47. All NYC parents pay taxes.
    If the city provides bus service, all children should be entitled to it.

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  48. Non-parents, parents of children below and above school age, and businesses pay taxes, too. And some parents of students in private school pay little or no taxes. For those parents, the busing is subsidized.

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  49. Did you go through what I wrote? What is heretical about evolutionary theory? What is heretical about teaching that America has laws?

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  50. I view busing as a benefit to the taxpayer, not as a subsidy to the school.
    Senior citizens get other benefits from the city, which younger people don't benefit from.

    But let's not get distracted by semantics.
    The issue at hand is the autonomy of private schools.
    Just because the city pays for a kid's busing, that doesn't give it a paternalistic right to dictate school policies, which are embodied in the proposed regulations and required units of study.

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  51. Kalonymus AnonymusAugust 25, 2019 at 9:41 PM

    if your claims were true, he would be saying that about all the mikvaot he visits, but he doesnt.

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  52. It's politics.
    State supposedly can't subsidize private schools, so they make a rationalization that they're just reimbursing them for some expenses.

    I prrsonally disagree that there are consitiutiinal constraints on such subsidies. It's strictly a political decision. A can you imagine the expense yo local school board to pay local cstholic etc schools for such education? B teacher unions, which are very powerful, strenuously object. C these teshivot with incompetent programs will insist on getting their reimbursements, even though they don't wualify.

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