Governor Elect Phil Murphy Names OU and BMG Leaders to Education Transition Team; The Lakewood Vaad Lauds Step

Following his resounding victory on November 7th, Governor Elect Phil Murphy is assembling his transition team ahead of his January 16th inauguration.

New Jersey’s children received great news when the Governor Elect selected Maury Litwack, Executive Director of Teach Advocacy Network and Mrs. Chanie Jacobowitz, Director of Government Affairs for Beth Medrash Govoha as members of the incoming administration’s Education Transition Team.

Teach Advocacy Network is a project of the Orthodox Union, and Mr. Litwack has built the Network into a preeminent national advocate on behalf of fair education funding for nonpublic school students. Mrs. Jacobowitz has been at the forefront of government affairs for the nation’s largest Yeshiva for nearly fifteen years. Both Mr. Litwack and Mrs. Jacobowitz are tuition-paying parents of several children in nonpublic Jewish educational institutions.

Although Mr. Murphy is strongly allied with teachers unions, he has shown a refreshing understanding of the needs of nonpublic school students as well. In a pre-election APP interview, he shared his vision of finding creative ways to support the education of nonpublic school students, without compromising on his ambitious agenda to boost the state’s public education system.

There are many key issues on the horizon, particularly the need to fix the state’s broken school funding formula that crushes both public and nonpublic school students particularly in Lakewood, which gets shortchanged some $60 million per year by a discriminatory state formula, as well as in other heavily Orthodox districts. Another issue is the Christie administration freeze that prevented many Lakewood Yeshiva Gedolah and seminary students from receiving State student financial funding – placing a discriminatory and unfair burden on our community’s parents.

“The fact that the Governor Elect is bringing these voices into the conversation so soon after the election is great news,” says Rabbi Moshe Zev Weisberg of The Lakewood Vaad. “Lakewood’s Orthodox community took the bold and unusual step of voting for Phil Murphy in strong numbers and he won in Lakewood, despite heavy opposition among Lakewood’s senior communities who voted for the Republican. With these appointments, he has demonstrated that he means business. We look forward to a concrete action plan that will fairly and equitably address our key issues of funding, access and equity for Lakewood’s families, while being fair and right for all of New Jersey’s children and taxpayers.”

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