Agudath Israel to President Obama: Include Religious Providers in Preschool Plan 

Any proposal to create a nation-wide universal pre-K system must include faith-based providers.  That was the message conveyed in a letter to President Barack Obama by Agudath Israel of America, a national Orthodox Jewish organization. One of the President’s major public policy priorities for the coming term, as announced in his State of the Union address, is to make high quality preschool available to every child in the United States.

In the letter, Agudath Israel’s Vice President for Federal Affairs and Washington Director, Rabbi Abba Cohen, wrote that “if early education for every child is to be a reality, we must offer parents the widest range of options” for their children, including preschool programs that are operated by religious providers. 
Rabbi Cohen further pointed out that there were two ways this could be accomplished within constitutional guidelines. The first is through direct aid to parents, who may then choose freely among various preschool alternatives — sectarian and nonsectarian.  “The Supreme Court has clearly ruled that in regard to programs that contain (subsidized or nonsubsidized) religious components there is no state endorsement of religion when government funds flow in this manner,” the Agudath Israel representative said. Funds may also flow in the form of direct grants to, or contracts with, religious providers as long as those dollars are not used for any sectarian purpose or activity.
The Orthodox Jewish group also asserts that including faith-based pre-K providers is good policy, as this segment makes up nearly one-third of all providers.  “With such a significant percentage, it is simply inconceivable to think that meaningful movement forward in universal pre-K can come about without including the faith-based sector,” the letter states.
To bolster his argument, Rabbi Cohen finds support in the Child Care and Development Fund program, which maximizes parental choice by including direct grants, contracts and certificates as ways to fund child care services — thus enabling both sectarian and nonsectarian providers to fully participate in a constitutionally-approved manner. These funding alternatives, he wrote, “have opened up options to a multitude of parents and have helped ensure that all children will receive the most appropriate form of care.” Over twenty years ago, Agudath Israel played a prominent role in the crafting and passage of the landmark child care legislation and its provisions that included religious providers.
“The President has said that he intends to ‘expand access to early childhood education’ and we believe that this is a workable and effective means of achieving that goal. We hope he will adopt this approach and work with Congress to make it a reality,” Rabbi Cohen observed. TLS.

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  1. We got ObamaCare (which is about to turn into Universal Health Care).

    Now we’re getting Universal child-care: Squeeze the working taxpayer even more to pay for free childcare for everyone else. Sounds reasonable.

    I also suggest universal house-care and universal car-care. Make every taxpayer give up more of his income through higher taxes, to pay for every American to get a free house and a free car. I think that sounds reasonable too.

    What about you? Do you think it sounds reasonable too?

    Please feel free to share your opinion with America and President Barack Obama, as he begins his second term with his bold effort to finalize the complete destruction of America.

    (I will be quitting my job soon, and joining all the free government programs, and laughing at the rest of you losers in America who are still working.)

  2. Please feel free to share your opinion with America and President Barack Obama, as he begins his second term with his bold effort to finalize the complete destruction of America.
    well I’m glad I’m not the only one who feels that way, we have a president that has a “Robinhood” mentality ,surely that will lead to more problems and not lesss in returning this country to the America the land of the FREE and home of the Brave

  3. Sorry… Separation of Church and State.

    If a private school is already getting tuition or excluding any tax paying child then I don’t think they deserve anything from the government.

    ACTUALLY, we don’t need the gov’t getting involved with a national pre-K system at all. Pre-K is available to anyone who wants it. Find a school, enroll your child and write a check from your own bank account to pay the tuition. If you can’t afford it, teach them the ABC’s yourself until they are old enough for “free” public school. If you can’t afford to pay a tuition, you don’t go there.

    Teach religion on your own dime. I pay extra for religious education as it is my choice to send my kids, so can everyone else.

  4. Well, it appears that all of the commentators are thinking of the consequences.

    We cannot long endure as a nanny state. We must understand that all of these lame brain ideas that would increase the size and power of government will eventually cause our demise. Government is not the answer to the needs of your young children. You are!

Comments are closed.