NEW YORK United States secretary of education Betsy Devos visited two Private Jewish schools this week.
Ms. DeVos’s Orthodox Jewish school stops, at Yeshiva Darchei Torah, in Far Rockaway, Queens, on Wednesday, and at the Manhattan High School for Girls on the Upper East Side on Tuesday, was months of planning by Agudath Israel of America, an umbrella group of observant Jewish institutions.
Sources who were present at the Yeshiva Darchei Torah visit tell GifterIngotham Ms. DeVos was impressed by what she saw.
After her visit, Ms. Devos offered her strongest comments to date in support of public funding for the religious schools in a meeting Wednesday night with Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan and other Catholic dignitaries at the Alfred E. Smith dinner.
Ms. Devos told Catholic dignitaries, “I know very well there are powerful interests that want to deprive families their God-given freedom,” to choose private schools.”
NYT reports that In her remarks to the Smith Foundation, Ms. DeVos, who attended private Christian schools and sent her children to them, took aim at the so-called Blaine Amendments, constitutional provisions in 37 state constitutions that prohibit government aid to religiously affiliated educational institutions. She called the amendments the “last acceptable prejudice.”
The amendments have been used to fight private school vouchers, a cause Ms. DeVos has long championed as a school choice advocate in Michigan and as federal secretary of education.
“These amendments should be assigned to the ash heap of history,” Ms. DeVos said.
Ms. DeVos said there was hope that a recent Supreme Court decision, Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia Inc. v. Comer, would overturn the Blaine Amendments. In the June 2017 decision, justices found that the state of Missouri had engaged in unconstitutional religious discrimination when it denied a church-run preschool publicly funded tire scraps for its playground.
What is ironic is the constant media attacks on the yeshiva system.
Over 600,000 negative articles on the yeshiva system immediately pop up when googling the words yeshiva system. Nobody has claimed things are perfect and there is definitely room for improvement. Administrators and yeshiva policymakers across the board are definitely trying. So what is this obsession with the media that they have to attack a visit to a yeshiva by the United States secretary of education?
The Cleveland Jewish Times also jumped on the anti yeshiva bandwagon with their headline. Cleveland has a voucher system and it’s surprising that a Jewish newspaper from Cleveland would be so unsympathetic.
The hatred by the media for anyone that works for Trump serves nobody well. The public school system is riddled with gun problems, drug problems, janitors and teachers constantly in the news for being caught with inappropriate contact with students but Yeshivas are the problem?
Jewish educators have been begging NY state and the federal government for tuition relief for decades. The yeshiva system would be able to do even more and a better job if tuition relief funding was available.
One would think that a visit by the Secretary of education to yeshivas would be praised by the media. Afterall, isn’t the media demanding better education for yeshivas? it takes money to get a better education. The media should be sticking up for everyone EQUALLY and stop picking and choosing when it’s politically convenient for the news cycle.
GifterInGotham met with former White House press secretary Anthony Scaramucci and asked him for his views on the visit. Scaramucci slammed the media bias and said, “we have to even out the educational system.” Scaramucci said the Trump administration is working hard in the long term to help the Yeshivos and all private schools and added Ms.Devos is a “force for truth and is all about equal opportunity”.