Teach NYS Takes Albany by Storm

ALBANY, N.Y. — When 14-year old Sonny Azizian boarded the bus to Albany, N.Y., at 7 A.M. the sun was just rising. He was not alone. He joined some 600 other Jewish students, teachers and parents across New York on a visit to the state’s capital.

But this was no ordinary field trip. This was democracy in action.

This trip was organized by Teach NYS, a division of the Orthodox Union Advocacy Center. While the O.U. is known primarily for its work in the kosher and synagogue industries, the O.U.’s Teach Advocacy Network has nothing to do with food or prayer. The state Teach offices have one goal: to make nonpublic school education affordable and safe for every child. The New York office, the largest of the Teach Advocacy Network, is four years old and has already delivered $150 million to Jewish schools across the Empire State.

But “we are not done yet,” said Maury Litwack, Teach NYS’s executive director. “Every year, we achieve more for our schools, and this year is no different.”

This year Teach NYS is pushing for an increase in security funding for nonpublic schools and funding for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education. Teach NYS makes an argument about equity, and it’s one that resonates with its supporters.

“Nonpublic schools deserve equal funding for basic educational services, like teaching them the skills they need to be successful, including STEM, and the ability to hire security guards to keep our children safe” said Rabbi Alan Berkowitz, principal at Magen David Yeshivah Elementary School. “Our parents pay property taxes that fund the public school system, but also have to pay tuition. All children deserve a quality education – regardless of which type of school they attend.”