By Elliot Resnick, Jewish Press
Approximately 14,000 children from 50 New York City yeshivas now have access to government-sponsored tutoring services for the three “R”s – reading, writing, and arithmetic.
“This free tutoring program may be the single biggest benefit for yeshiva students since President Harry Truman signed the federal free lunch program into law in 1946,” said David G. Greenfield, executive vice president of the Sephardic Community Federation.
Greenfield and Rabbi David Niederman of the United Jewish Organizations of Williamsburg worked with local officials to obtain the free tutoring services.
“Unlike the free lunch program,” he told The Jewish Press, “this tutoring program is open to any child regardless of their parent’s income. That means that as many as 50,000 yeshiva students could eventually participate in this program.”
Funding for the services, roughly 24 million dollar’s worth this year, comes from the federal government’s No Child Left Behind Act’s Title I program.
Until two weeks ago, yeshiva students could not take advantage of the program because union contracts prevent New York City teachers from accommodating the longer yeshiva school day.
As a result of a two-year effort by Jewish community leaders and New York City’s Department of Education, however, yeshivas can now utilize the free tutoring services via third party vendors.
Any yeshiva that would like to participate can call Yosef Kanofsky at TEACH NYS office at (718) 859-4245. The yeshivas need to fill out the paperwork to start the program.