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March 30, 2015 / 10 Nisan, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Indiana’

Indiana’s GOP Governor Tours Israel with Eyes on the White House

Friday, December 26th, 2014

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence is touring Israel this week in a business and pleasure trip that also is considered as a first step to tout credentials to be the Republican party presidential nominee in the 2016 elections.

He celebrated Christmas in Jerusalem with his family and toured Christian holy sites.

Last week, Ben Carson, a black Republican, avowed Christian and retired neuro-surgeon from Florida and also a touted candidate for the GOP nomination, visited Israel for the first time in his life

Pence, like Carson, often sounds like an evangelist and is deep in the conservative camp, but his being virtually unknown outside Indiana has left him in the bottom of the growing heap of possible candidates.

A non-profit Christian-based organization paid for the Pence family’s trip, which is also a three-day economic mission.

“Hoosiers have cherished our relationship with the people of Israel for generations,” Pence said in a statement. “As we look ahead, deepening our ties with the people, businesses and state of Israel remains a commitment that will empower us as partners.”

Indiana Secretary of Commerce Victor Smith called Israel a “global entrepreneurial hotspot” and stated, “Israelis are launching new businesses at a tremendous rate, and that’s triggering economic and job growth that’s primed to expand to the United States.”

His trip includes a meeting with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and leaders in high technology and life sciences.

Pence will meet with the Prime Minister and Minister of Economy Naftali Bennett on Monday and will fulfill the requirement of foreign dignitaries by visiting the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial.

It is only a matter of time before likely GOP candidates Rick Perry and Ted Cruz visit Israel to enhance their CVs for being policy experts, more so than several Israeli Knesset Members.

School Choice, the Government, and You

Saturday, May 4th, 2013

As Jews, we assume a myriad of financial obligations in order to ensure that we live in accordance with the tenets of our faith. We give generously to our shuls and make charitable donations to various organizations that service the Jewish community. But one of the biggest investments we make is in our children’s future, as we enroll them in one of the many quality yeshivas our community boasts.

It is no secret that the cost of yeshiva tuition is of great concern to numerous parents in our community. Often the subject of conversation at Shabbos tables, it is always on the minds of every family with children in yeshiva.

There have been extensive discussions and debates over the years about finding ways to alleviate the financial burden borne by tuition-paying parents. Much of the conversation has focused on the role of government in the business of educating our children. It is an age-old question: Should the government play a part in assisting parents of private and religious school students? More important, is the government permitted to do so?

It is not every day that a courthouse in Middle America takes center stage in the school choice movement. But on March 26, the justices of the Indiana Supreme Court unanimously upheld the state’s progressive voucher program.

The court’s decision rebuffed a 2011 challenge to Indiana’s voucher program brought by the Indiana State Teachers Association. In the court’s decision, Chief Justice Brent Dickson wrote that the voucher program did not violate the constitution because the state monies “do not directly benefit religious schools but rather directly benefit lower-income families with school children.”

This was a monumental decision, in that it provided the state of Indiana with the legal justification necessary to continue its voucher program – one of the most ambitious in the United States. Unlike voucher programs in other states that focus primarily on lower-income families, the Indiana program allows parents with an annual household income of up to $64,000 for a family of four to participate.

By providing lower- and middle-income families with the necessary funds to cover tuition costs, the Indiana voucher program enables them to enroll their children in private schools, as opposed to having to send them to public schools.

Since Indiana established its voucher program in 2011, approximately 9,000 families, most of which chose to educate their children in private schools, have benefited from the program.

The decision to uphold Indiana’s voucher program is somewhat consistent with the progress that recently has been made on the school choice issue across the nation. There are a number of states – including Pennsylvania, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana and Arizona – that either presently have or are considering the implementation of tax-credit or voucher programs that benefit parents of private school students,

Closer to home, Governor Christie has been supportive of creating a voucher program in New Jersey by allocating state funds in order to enable lower-income families to send their children to private school, if they so choose. In addition, there is a bill pending before the New Jersey State Legislature that would expand the current law in order to permit special needs students to be assigned by their respective school districts to a private religious school, such as a yeshiva.

In New York, Governor Cuomo and the State Legislature recently passed a budget that includes a $14 million increase in funding for non-public schools. That includes a more than 30 percent increase in funding for the Comprehensive Attendance Policy and a boost in state funding for the Mandated Services Reimbursement.

With momentum in the school choice arena perhaps shifting a bit in favor of private school parents, now is the time for our community to become further engaged in the process.

Let us not forget for a moment that powerful teachers’ unions, which typically oppose the utilization of any state funds that would benefit non-public schools in any way, wield a tremendous amount of power in Albany and Trenton and enjoy longstanding relationships with many New York and New Jersey state legislators. Relief for private school parents is not just going to fall into our laps. In order to bring about the aid we as private school parents need and deserve, we must stand up and make our voices heard.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/school-choice-the-government-and-you/2013/05/04/

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