As our schools resume their regular schedules after all the yomim tovim every New York parent continues to have high hopes for their children to flourish academically. For those hopes to be realized a key test will be the Nov. 4th gubernatorial race between incumbent Andrew Cuomo and Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino. Albany is where education decisions are made on funding, choice and curriculum, and who leads our state matters.
Many parents in communities such as ours who chose faith-based educational institutions, face questions of financial viability and perhaps more importantly, control over curriculum. This stark reality has been unfairly foisted upon parents and exacerbated by Governor Cuomo, and puts in jeopardy the deeply held dreams of every frum parent throughout New York State.
How? Coumo’s biggest faux-pas just occurred just this past spring as he broke his promises to students and schools by abandoning the Education Investment Tax Credit (EITC) that he himself promised to pass. The EITC would provide a tax credit for both individuals and corporations for donations towards public private schools. With yeshiva tuition crushing many families, this is just the type of legislation that could result in essential education funding and tuition relief, instead of the double tax that private school parents face with tuition and property taxes paying for an education they don’t use. This failure lies squarely at the feet of the Governor, who made a personal pledge to independent school leaders including Cardinal Dolan and then showed cowardice by surrendering to the teacher’s unions on the EITC.
Yet leadership is not limited to criticism of the incumbent but rather demands a vision and an alternative. Rob Astorino has led Westchester County in a bipartisan and effective manner. Regarding education, Rob wants to devolve control to the local level allowing education to be particularized to each area and community. Rob plans to increase availability of vocational training, something invaluable in our community as it focuses on being workforce ready. Perhaps most importantly, Rob supports the EITC and is a supporter of school choice, empowering parents to decide what is best for their children.
There are other issues that matter including the black cloud of ethical questions hanging over this administration and its economic policies that are making New Yorkers vote with their feet through leaving the state. But focusing on education the choice is clear this November. Do we want to continue on Cuomo’s road to ruin that curtails educational and economic choices and disrespects Jewish, and other faith based communities’ schools and values? Or, do we want a path to prosperity that will maximize educational and economic opportunities and upholds the principles of religious liberty that our country was founded upon?
We choose the latter, and that’s why we support Rob Astorino to be our next governor.