OU Testimony to NY Budget Committee: NYC UPK Program Must Accommodate Jewish Day Schools

03 Feb 2015

In his testimony before the New York State Budget Committee today, Jake Adler, New York Policy Director for OU Advocacy-Teach NYS, emphasized that 89 percent of New York City’s Jewish day school community is unable to participate in Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Universal Pre-K (UPK) program. Mr. Adler pressed the Committee to address the needs of the Jewish day schools before authorizing funding for Year Two of the city’s UPK program.

OU Advocacy-Teach NYS is the public policy arm of the Orthodox Union, the nation’s largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization, representing Jewish day schools and the students they serve.

Because Mayor de Blasio requires an additional hour and 20 minutes to the state’s regulations of five hours of uninterrupted secular education — to make a 6-hour and 20-minute day—it is nearly impossible for the city’s Jewish day schools to participate in the program while still maintaining appropriate levels of privately-funded religious instruction, Mr. Adler testified.

“New York City’s Jewish day schools are the largest provider of non-public education in the city and, as such, should be a partner in Mayor de Blasio’s efforts to reach the goal of complete enrollment,” said Mr. Adler. “Eleven percent enrollment is far from universal.”

Read the full press release on the OU Advocacy website.