An Excellent Move
Kudos are due to the Harry & Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, which has pledged $10 million in support of K-12 Jewish education in Baltimore over the next five years. The Associated Jewish Charities will match with $5 million over the same period. The Jewish Times says the total will be $16 million — I’m not sure where they get the last million from, but it means an additional $3 million per year pumped into the local schools.
Many years ago, the Baltimore Board of Jewish education set up a formula for distribution of funds to local day schools on a per-student basis. That means that the money isn’t politicized by denominational or school preferences; rather, money is allocated to each school for every Baltimore child educated.
It sounds like a huge amount, and without question it will make a big difference. It comes down to roughly $500 per student according to a local school executive. But when day school tuitions approach or exceed $10,000 per year, you realize how much more must be accomplished to make a day school education affordable for every Jewish family.
That in no way diminishes the importance of this groundbreaking contribution. Funding for Jewish education is funding the Jewish future, and the Weinberg grant blazes a trail that we can hope many will follow.
I heard that it was going to go according to the amount each school gave out for scholarships, not necessarily per child, thus freeing up that amount for the schools to use for other things.
Education is one of the few places where we have, so far, failed to create significant productivity gains. In the fifties there was an attempt to change lectures to educational films, which failed spectacularly because education is not a passive process like watching a film.
Would it be possible to provide at least some of kids’ education through interactive games? My four years old loves to learn shapes, letters, and numbers from http://www.nickjr.com. Creating such games is expensive, but it’s a one time expense, which can provide value to many children all over the world and for years. Teachers can only reach a limited number of children at a time.
Ori, have your (or has your 4-yr-old) seen the J Site (http://www.j.co.il/) portion of Jacob Richman’s excellent site (http://www.jr.co.il/)? Most of it might be a bit too advanced for someone of that age, but perhaps in a year or two….
MP, thank you. I don’t think it’s graphical and exciting enough for my son, but I forwarded it to my wife, who is learning Hebrew.