Over 200 Principals, Teachers, Administrators and Parents Attend Security and Grant Consultation in Lakewood

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Yesterday, over 200 people attended a consultation at Lakewood High School in Lakewood, NJ that centered on a new state grant to teach Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (“STEM”) in the nonpublic schools as well as a state grant for security.

Executive County Superintendent of Schools of the New Jersey Department of Education Kevin Ahearn attended as a representative of Senator Robert W. Singer’s office. Also present were representatives from the Orthodox Union TEACH organization.

General Counsel Michael I. Inzelbuch, Esq. led the consultation and presented information with school district representatives: Superintendent of Schools Laura Winters; Math Supervisor Malka Stein; Vice Principal and Science Supervisor Ben Lieberman; Related Service Supervisor Adena Weisz; and Grant Coordinator James Trischitta. Board  President Moshe Bender greeted many of the schools who attended.

The new STEM Grant created by Governor Phil Murphy and his administration has potential to bring highly qualified and certified STEM teachers to nonpublic schools in New Jersey as currently exists in New York.

The application to apply for the STEM Grant is due by April 15, 2020, but Inzelbuch advised schools to apply immediately.

As to the security grant, the state provides $150 per non-public school child, which translates into more than $5 million dollars for Lakewood, where there are more than 127 schools and 36,500 students.

The security grant has allowed many yeshivos to purchase security software and obtain security guards and fencing.

{Matzav.com Newscenter}

3 COMMENTS

  1. Substantial Equivalency in Lakewood?
    Last week a new grant was announced that would benefit yeshivos in New Jersey. Parents of children attending non-public schools in New Jersey have long been frustrated. New Jersey has one of the highest property tax in the country, and nearly none of that is reciprocated in their tuition. Even obtaining funds for bussing is a constant struggle. This bill promised five million dollars to relieve some of the strain felt on yeshivos by their ever-burgeoning budget.
    This grant enables the state to pay the teachers directly through the Board of Education. It seems as a win-win situation. Teachers do not have to worry about salaries getting paid on time, and schools don’t have to worry about paying teachers’ salaries.
    On Tuesday morning, about one hundred fifty representatives packed the auditorium of Lakewood High School to find out particulars. The Board of Education’s Lawyer appeared, flanked on both sides by frum STEM teachers. However, the crowd was soon to find out that the adage, “the devil is in the details” could not have been more aptly applied.
    According to the specifics of this law, a school can only hire a STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics) certified teacher. Furthermore, those teachers must be current employees of the Public-school system. There are over one hundred twenty seven registered non-public schools in Lakewood. With only twenty two STEM certified teachers, schools would be left jockeying to get their hands on one of the approved teachers. Under regular circumstances, most of these teachers would never be hired in our mosdos due to the possibility of them bringing in outside morals. This can be proven from the very fact that yeshivas prefer frum teachers and nearly no non-frum teachers are currently employed. However, with every school vying over a few teachers, one can be assured that every one of the available teachers will be hired. The two teachers that appeared on the dais were the only frum STEM certified teachers that Lakewood Public School had to offer, but they kept on repeatedly being showcased, as if all the schools would merit frum teachers. Despite the fact that dozens of eligible retired frum teachers live in Lakewood, their talent and experience cannot be realized due to the fact that teachers must be presently teaching in a public school.
    Due to this critical shortage of teachers, the grant allows teachers that get certified within the next two years to act as STEM teachers. With many frum people working in the public school, this would incentivize those teachers to become STEM certified. To forestall this eventuality, the Board of Education is working out a deal with Georgian Court University, a Roman Catholic university, to get more teachers certified. One of the frum certified teachers had already received her certification from the said university, and by implication, others were encouraged to do the same.
    One can perhaps justify the laying off of many of bnai amcha if that savings were to be passed on to the tuition paying parents. However, the Board of Ed lawyer clearly stated that these grants would not impact tuition. Rather, they would result in “better educated children”.
    However, the worst was yet to come. The teachers, once hired, are not considered employees of the Yeshiva or Bais Yaakov, rather they are employed by the Board of Education. The school cannot fire them if need be! At best they can log a complaint with the commissioner and implore him or her to take action. If a teacher would come in and teach “tolerance” i.e. acceptance for deviant lifestyles, or arrive with an inappropriate dress code, there is no recourse! Such behavior is actually what public schools strive to teach, hence a complaint with the commissioner would more likely yield a reprimand to the school than any corrective action. What is most alarming is that Lakewood’s largest Boys and Girls school have already committed to the program. It is hoped that if they join, most yeshivas will follow suit. Were Gedolim consulted before taking such a drastic step that has the potential to change the face of our generation? It is baffling that a school would readily outsource its autonomy when we are in an era that already realizes the perils of allowing government to dictate our education.

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