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The Revolution Is Here: Universal Jewish Education

September 15, 2014 – 3:04 pm12 Comments

children of the revolution1By Jeremy Weinstein:

Former Prime Minister Julia Gillard championed the ‘Education Revolution’ both as her time as Education Minister and then as the Deputy Prime Minister. However none of her initiatives rivalled the revolution announced by YBR on Monday night.

CAPS, as it is known, is a ground-breaking school fee system that aims to take the pressure of family’s struggling to afford a private Jewish education. With the rising cost of living, life in the greater Caulfield area is now prohibitive for many. As a result YBR have launched a new sliding scale school fee model based on the amount a family earns rather than just being a flat fee per child.

While YBR’s ethos has always revolved around making a Jewish education accessible to all, most of the fee negotiation has taken place behind closed doors and on a case-by-case basis. In addition to reducing the cost of education the CAPS system is also designed to be open and transparent. Any one can go to the website and anonymously enter some basic financial information to get an indication of what the cost school fees will be for 2015. Furthermore, in order to provide certainty to parents who wish to make the switch to YBR the proposed fee will be fixed for 6-years as long as their income doesn’t change.

Another revolutionary aspect of the CAPS system is that the cost of education is limited to each family rather than each child. So, wether there are 3 or 13 children in the school the cost of the education is the same.

There’s no doubt that YBR are taking a gamble on a scheme in an attempt to encourage students back to Jewish education, but what they do have going for them is the latent desire for many parents to introduce their children to the Jewish community. By that I mean one of the great joys of being Jewish is the sense of community. Whichever community you are a part of, there is a sense of shared history and experience, and while many communities don’t see eye-to-eye on religious or political grounds there is still a sense of belonging when moving between these communities. This feeling can’t be taught – and many who have not experienced this or who many have had the opposite experience, may never quite feel the joy the community can exude. This is where a Jewish day school can provide exposure to the warmth and support of the Jewish community and instil a lifelong feeling of connectivity.

That’s not to say that there are other communities children can belong to – sporting clubs, synagogues and charity groups just to name a few – but none are as pervasive as the daily dose children get from the school environment. To this end the YBR CAPS school fee system is the first attempt to disrupt the way we think about Jewish education by taking the first step towards a more sustainable model for school funding.

The Education Revolution is finally here and I encourage all of you at the very least check it out via the website www.ybrcaps.com – the result will not only be more affordable Jewish education but a greater diversification of the YBR community.

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