Source: Avi Chai
Last month, AVI CHAI issued our fourth census of Jewish day schools, conducted by Dr. Marvin Schick. The censuses have been conducted at four-year intervals, beginning with the 1998-99 school year. Some of the major census findings were: There is an overall increase in day school enrollment – by 70,000 students in the last 15 years. Most of that growth is in the Chassidic and Yeshiva World schools, which have grown by nearly 110% and 60% respectively. In the non-Orthodox sector, Community school enrollment has increased, whereas enrollment has declined in non-Orthodox schools overall. Non-Orthodox enrollment now constitutes 13% of all day school enrollment, a decrease from 20% as reported in 1998-99. There has been a flurry of commentary responding to the census release.
Here is a sampling of some of the responses:
- Dr. Jon Mitzmacher, Executive Director of the Schechter Day School Network, wrote “Reflections on the Census: Size Matters.”
- Harry Maryles on the Jewish Press blog, “Jewish Education and Moderation Is the Key.”
- Steve Freedman, Head of School at Hillel Day School, a Community school in Metropolitan Detroit, wrote a blog post, “Is Anybody There?”
- J.J Goldberg wrote in the Jewish Daily Forward:“More Dire Signs of Liberal Jewry’s Demise.”
Clearly the census has raised a number of issues of interest to our community and its future. We would once again like to express our heartfelt gratitude to Dr. Marvin Schick for his careful and important work in conducting this census. It is of great value to the Jewish day school field and broader community, as is evident from the conversations it has sparked. We hope it will continue to inspire reflection, understanding, and action on behalf of Jewish day school education in North America.