Teach 2023 Stakeholder Report

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Teach Coalition Stakeholder Report January –December 2023 FIRST EDITION

Message from Leadership National Stakeholder Report

2023 Teach Coalition

ELLIOT GIBBER For the last decade, Teach Coalition has fought some of the toughest battles. From the east coast to the west coast, each of you has been involved in making your voices heard and delivering serious relief for our families and needed investments for our communal institutions. Time and again, we have stood up in the face of changing political winds, budget deficits, and serious challenges to fight for the rights of our families and communities.

children learn, where we go to pray, and where we gather as a community. However, amidst this darkness, we have created light. As a community, we have band together, and shown that our voices are power. Together, we have sent in nearly 50k letters to advocate for security grants, we have seen our communities vote in record numbers, and we have successfully helped secure funding for our institutions at a time when it’s needed most.

We meet yet another challenge today with rising antisemitism and the need to protect our communities.

Our actions matter. This report will show that. The past few months have put us to the test. However, my hope is that reading this will serve as a hopeful reminder of the opportunity we have and what is possible when we work as a strong, united people.

As a people, we are currently facing the sadly familiar, but extraordinarily lethal, strain of antisemitism. Since Oct. 7, this disease has swept our country, infiltrating every aspect of our lives — where our

California REUVEN GRADON, LAUREN KEST AND MOSHE SASSOVER Teach CA has laid the groundwork for an exciting legislative session in 2024. In 2023, Teach CA retained a government affairs team, built our lay leadership network within the California Jewish community, and filed the Loffman v. California case against the state’s special education policy which unfairly excludes religious schools. Teach CA also succeeded in collaborating with the LA’s Jewish Federation, including strategic funding. In the upcoming year we aim to:

 End the Discrimination in Special Education – While Loffman winds its way through the courts, we will press legislators to voluntarily end the state’s clearly unconstitutional discriminatory policy that excludes religious nonpublic schools from serving state-funded special education students.  Secure Our Community — In the most recent year, only 7% of California state nonprofit security grant funding was awarded to Jewish organizations, compared to 40% for the federal Nonprofit Security Grant Program. Given the heightened threats the Jewish community faces — especially in the wake of the Oct. 7 attacks


Stakeholder Report

2023 Teach Coalition

on Israel — we will ensure our institutions are prioritized to receive this funding. We will push for changes to the state’s $40 million grant program to ensure a larger portion is allocated to Jewish schools and other institutions.

 Support STEM in Our Schools — STEM education for all students is crucial is key to the state’s economic future. Modeling the successful nonpublic school STEM funding programs in New York and New Jersey, we will seek state funding for STEM education in California nonpublic schools as well.

Florida DR. ALLAN JACOB After more than a decade of intense activity in Florida, 2023 served as a landmark year in our efforts to help change the landscape of Jewish education.

sophistication to navigate local school districts and their complex service and evaluation system to better assist families needing academic support for their children. The Florida team is working with nearly 100 families to help work through district barriers and obtain proper evaluations and high-quality support services. Our goal is to further expand these efforts by securing service eligibility for more students and generate additional funding for Jewish day school services and families who need them.

The most dramatic accomplishment was the passage of the HB1 Universal School Choice bill in the Florida legislature entitling all private school students to an $8,000+ tuition credit. This program will bring in more than $100 million in total scholarship funding to our community and provide great relief to the tuition burden of many.

The second initiative is Project Protect. Following the devastation in Israel on October 7th and the ensuing spike in antisemitism, our attention turned to the security needs of our Jewish day schools. Although we had initially advocated for a $5 million security allocation, the newfound security demands of our schools compelled us, together with our key political partners, to successfully advocate for an additional $25 million of security funding for Jewish day schools, and $20 million for a new State NSGP program to help protect at-risk institutions. Both bills passed unanimously in Florida’s state legislature.

Additionally, Teach Florida advocated for the Unique Abilities Scholarship waitlist to be funded this year, something that was successfully accomplished only a few short weeks ago in a legislative special session. Thousands of special needs students will now receive even more funding to help support their families with the cost of any academic or social emotional support needed throughout the school year. We are also proud of the progress made in two initiatives. The first initiative is the Robin Greenberg Services for All which is developing the skill and

Though we reflect on the success of these crucial initiatives, we have so much more to do in Florida as we advocate for our children and for Jewish education. With our membership growing to 55+ schools, we now represent the leading voice of Florida's Jewish day schools and their broader constituency — a responsibility we take seriously and proudly in this new year.

$8,000+ in tuition credit now guaranteed to all private school students thanks to HB1


New York

Stakeholder Report

2023 Teach Coalition

CAL NATHAN & SAM SUTTON Since 2013, Teach NYS has stayed true to its mission of advocating for increased government funding and resources to ensure affordable Jewish education. While we are excited to share the achievements from the prior year, we look to the future as the rising threat of antisemitism across the globe grows daily.

giving them the much-needed financial relief for those forced to hire more guards during this uncertain time. In 2023, we passed a record-breaking increase to our historic STEM reimbursement program, teaching a total of $73 million. Alongside these budgetary wins, we have had over 15 new member schools join Teach NYS, while expanding our work and partnership in the interfaith community, increasing our number of advocates exponentially which is a huge milestone.

As we were preparing for 2024 legislative session, horror struck on October 7th and our community has never been the same. As threats immediately made their way from overseas, and antisemitism reached all-time highs, Teach Coaltion sprung into action and launched Project Protect, a new $1 billion nationwide security initiative. In New York specifically, we are working to DOUBLE New York Jewish Day School and Yeshiva security funding from $45 million to $90 million, as well as QUADRUPOLE funding for the Hate Crimes Grant. We are also fighting to lower the eligibility requirements to make it easier for schools to qualify for the NYC unarmed guards’ program,

2023 was a historic year for this organization, our efforts, and our community overall. We look forward to working with you in the coming days, weeks, and months to make sure we are receiving the funding and support our institutions and community deserve.

New Jersey SAM MOED I passionately believe that all parents and children seeking a Jewish education should have access to excellent, affordable and viable Jewish schools and Yeshivot. This commitment is why I was honored to join with my friend Nathan Lindenbaum to start Teach NJ eight years ago, and bring the community together to advocate in Trenton for our children’s education.

This election was a true testament to the power of organizing, voting, and engaging in our democratic process.

I want to highlight two recent points of pride and progress with major impact:

allocations that Teach NJ has made a reality.

 In 2023, we had over 100 public school teachers educating our children in day schools and paid by the State—something that was unfathomable eight years ago. This groundbreaking program sits on top of dramatic increases in school security funding and other funding

 The second point of pride occurred just this November during the State’s general election. New Jersey’s Jewish communities across the State proved their power when they showed up to vote in huge numbers—significantly higher


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2023 Teach Coalition

rates than other constituencies in their districts. This is a major shift from just five years ago, when our community lagged behind the general population in voter turnout. This election was a true testament to the power of organizing, voting, and engaging in our democratic process. And when our votes matter in election outcomes, results follow.

We look forward to working with the legislature and with all of you to access transformational funding for our community in 2024.

Nevada DANIEL RUBENSTEIN This year, Teach NV established an active executive committee, retained a respected lobbying firm, and developed an ambitious policy agenda. We will pursue some short-term victories in 2024 while laying the grassroots and coalition groundwork for a successful 2025 legislative session (the Nevada legislature meets once every two years). While our long-term goal is to expand the state’s scholarship tax credit program — which already provides hundreds of thousands of dollars to Nevada yeshivas — our immediate policy objectives are:

 Security Funding — Our goal is to obtain state security funding for each nonpublic school based on enrollment, as already exists in New York, New Jersey, and Maryland. We will also explore locally-funded security guard programs, as exists in New York City.  Transportation — Currently, Nevada nonpublic students receive no bussing or transportation aid. We will seek a state- or locally-funded school transportation program either provide or defray the cost of transportation for our students.

Maryland SAM MELAMED It’s been gratifying to see the growing impact of the Teach Coalition operation in Maryland. And we have so much more to do.

selected new sponsors in year two, and the bill gained more and more traction with time. It was included in the latest final budget and we take this very important message away about persistence and the “long game.”

This school year started on a great note, with day schools and yeshivas applying, for the first time ever, for funding for school nurses. Teach MD crafted the legislation and the program, and final passage of the bill came two budget cycles after we began advancing it. This provided a great lesson in how the entire process works. After year one, we further developed the bill and program, we changed course and

Our community members are also starting to participate more in activities such as hosting legislators in their homes and traveling to Annapolis. We have learned great lessons from Teach Coalition operations in our other states regarding specific steps to create gamechanging programs. A STEM Education Partnership


Program will be introduced this session similar to the one in place in New Jersey and bold tactics such as engaging the Teachers Union early on is critical,

and has begun. We’re looking forward to this year’s legislative session beginning on a strong note.

ELLIOT HOLTZ Stakeholder Report

2023 Teach Coalition

Pennsylvania We have had to stand up, testify at hearings, answer hard questions, and protect a program that is a lifeline for our families.

With a new governor, a divided state house for the first time in over a decade, and a complete shift in legislative leadership, Pennsylvania’s political climate is different (and more divisive) than it has been in years. Fellow leaders in all of our states must take to heart lessons that we all already know, but are worth repeating: We can never take any programs for granted and we can never rely heavily on individual champions, because shifts in power and climate happen. These realities make Teach Coalition efforts critical. We address political climate and power changes by making inroads with newly appointed leaders, welcoming legislators to our schools, and participating in dialogue that might be difficult. For instance, our primary scholarship tax credit program is under scrutiny by the newly Democratic majority in the House. We have had to stand up, testify at hearings, answer hard questions, and protect a program that is a lifeline for our families. This requires statewide cooperation and messaging, which we are able to do because of the network we’ve been able to

create. At present, we have more community members meeting with their local legislators than ever before and we can only keep growing and identifying activists who will be our rising stars. With Pennsylvania’s shifts in power, we still await a completed state budget (the deadline for which was June 30!) but are confident we will see good results. We expect a 400% increase in our school security funding and an increase in our scholarship program. Our STEM Education Partnership bill has been introduced and we are gearing up for this year’s legislative session.



Stakeholder Report

2023 Teach Coalition

What We Learned


A new year is when we look to execute the legislative strategies planned after taking stock of the previous year’s successes and setbacks. The past few months have presented added challenges as several states have implemented special sessions to address rising antisemitism while a 2024 election cycle butted into 2023 politics. When the cycle is thrown off like this it creates both opportunities and challenges, with a need to juggle upcoming legislative agendas.

CHALLENGES & MISSED OPPORTUNITIES The summer and early fall are ideal times to take legislators to our schools and communities to see the impact of their work and to thank and challenge them to do more. However, this year proved particularly difficult with communities away for the summer, a challenging Chagim calendar, and many legislative visits being cancelled. Had these visits occurred, legislators would have quickly seen the often ineffective and delayed security funding. We had to scramble to make this case in October and are still struggling in some areas to effectively make the case. Security funding is a ‘here and now’ policy opportunity

Security funding is a ‘here and now’ policy opportunity but there are programs that need more funding and without legislators seeing the issues the job is that much more difficult and opportunities to fund programs are lost.

Stakeholder Report

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Our greatest opportunity for improvement is generating more grassroots support. No volunteer should feel like we don’t have work for them to do.

but there are programs that need more funding and without legislators seeing the issues the job is that much more difficult and opportunities to fund programs are lost. We must confront this abbreviated calendar in the future and double down on the work to make up for time that should have been filled with legislative visits. While the Visionaries Retreat was an overwhelming success, the crowded events calendar in the fall presented further challenges. Teach Florida hosted its annual Legislative Breakfast the week before and Teach NYS held its Sephardic Community event the preceding night. We laid the foundation for a repeat national event and have already selected dates for next year’s iteration November 13-14, 2024. With more planning time, our event calendar will be more balanced.

OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPROVEMENT “What can I do to help” is one of the most exciting and painful thing we continue to hear from lay leadership around the country. We are excited because any nonprofit would be lucky to have so many volunteers but we are pained because we are still trying to move from both grasstops roles to grassroots roles. Grasstops roles are defined as developing and stewarding a relationship with an elected official, raising money, and liasoning with schools and other local community leaders. Grassroots roles are about moving action alerts to bigger numbers, calling on your neighbors to vote, and helping to drive large numbers to the advocacy table. Our greatest opportunity for improvement in the coming quarter is generating more grassroots support. No volunteer should feel like we don’t have work for them to do.

STRATEGIC INITIATIVES Project Protect, a security initiative to advocate for $1 billion in funding is our most prominent initiative. But other initiatives that we hope the Teach network will learn about include an exciting initiative with Gratz that offers discounted masters degrees to STEM teachers at our member schools, which after graduation, allows the member school to apply for a partial reimbursement of the teacher's salary by NYSED. Finally, in Florida, we are changing the special education landscape so children who have disabilities can access free evaluations and services on sight in their private schools.

OUTLOOK We expect nearly every state to increase security funding but we have to balance this with our other legislative requests. This funding is needed but should be considered ‘emergency funding’ not in place of our existing priorities. We will have to balance this and it will demand more conversations and in-person visits with legislators for them to understand the immediate security needs while coupled with the detriment that comes with cuts or flat funding to our current programs.

We are Advocating for $1 Billion in Security Funding Nationally



Stakeholder Report

2023 Teach Coalition

The Political Lens


Our recent successes in the elections are more than just political victories; they represent the power of a united community coming together to support a common cause.

In the wake of a landmark election, where numerous candidates supportive of Teach NJ’s efforts triumphed across key competitive districts in New Jersey, we stand at a pivotal moment in shaping the educational landscape of our state. As we celebrate these victories, our focus must now shift towards a critical and transformative goal: the establishment and expansion of tax credit scholarships in New Jersey. Our recent successes in the elections are more than just political victories; they represent the power of a united community coming together to support a common cause. The overwhelming voter turnout, especially in Jewish-populated districts, speaks volumes about the community’s commitment to advocating for fair and equitable funding for nonpublic schools. The historic upset in District 30, where Rabbi Avi Schnall secured a win, epitomizes the power and the promise of a United Jewish community.

As we look ahead, our focus is firmly set on advocating for tax credit scholarships. This initiative is not just about supporting nonpublic schools; it’s about championing greater educational opportunity for all families in New Jersey. Tax credit scholarships can be a lifeline for many families, providing them with the financial means to access quality education in nonpublic schools, including faith-based institutions. These scholarships are the key to unlocking a world of opportunities for students who might otherwise be unable to afford such education.


Stakeholder Report

2023 Teach Coalition


Jewish Communities in New Jersey voted in higher numbers than district averages across the state

Nonpublic schools in New Jersey offer specialized programs and cater to a wide range of student needs, often filling gaps that public schools are unable to address. However, the lack of adequate financial support is a significant barrier for many New Jersey families. Tax credit scholarships address this gap, empowering parents to choose the best educational path for their children. By doing so, we not only support individual families but also contribute to a more diverse, inclusive, and vibrant educational landscape in our state.

As we embark on this next advocacy campaign, the support of our major financial backers is more crucial than ever. Your contributions have been instrumental in our recent successes and will be the cornerstone of our future endeavors. Your commitment to education is not just an investment in Teach NJ; it’s an investment in the future of Jewish life in New Jersey.

The need for tax credit scholarships is especially pressing in light of the financial challenges faced by nonpublic schools. Many of these institutions operate on tight budgets and are often the first to feel the impact of economic downturns. Tax credit scholarships provide a sustainable funding model that not only supports current educational programs but also ensures the growth and sustainability of these schools.

In the coming legislative session, we will intensify our efforts to advocate for tax credit scholarships. We will work closely with our elected officials, educators, policymakers, and community members to bring this initiative to fruition. But we cannot do this alone. Your continuewd support and advocacy are vital to ensuring that every child in New Jersey has access to the education they need and deserve.

Our advocacy for tax credit scholarships is not just about financial support; it’s about affirming the value of opportunity in education. Every child deserves access to an educational environment that best suits their needs and aspirations. In a state as diverse as New Jersey, it’s essential that the educational system reflects and accommodates this diversity. Tax credit scholarships are a step towards achieving this goal.



Stakeholder Report

2023 Teach Coalition

At a Glance

In our forthcoming National Jewish Enrollment Trends study, we will be studying enrollment change in Jewish schools since the last AVI CHAI Jewish day school census was completed for the 2018-2019 school year. Whereas AVI CHAI surveyed each school in the United State to obtain its data, we will be using nonpublic school enrollment data collected annually by state education departments. We have identified twenty states — enrolling about 96% of Jewish day school students — that collect such data.



Jewish Enrollment Change, ‘18–’22 180K 160K

180,320 169,369

140K  New York  New Jersey  Other States

120K 100K 80K 60K


63,650 61,705




Overall, Jewish enrollment in the 20 states with data available grew by +10% between 2018 and 2022. Florida was the fastest growing state in percentage terms (+35%), whereas New Jersey was the fastest growing state in absolute terms (+12,453 students).



Jewish Enrollment % Change by State, ‘18–’22 35%

FL 35% NE 33%

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GA 27%


NJ 24%


OH 14% Total 10% MD 9% IL 8%

Overall, Jewish enrollment in the 20 states with available data grew from 277,476 students in 2018 to 305,675 students in 2022.

WI 24%

15% 10%

IN, PA 7% NY, TN 6% CT 2% WA -1% CO -4% MO -5% CA, MN -8% RI -10% MA -12%

5% 0% -5% -10% -15%

Jewish Enrollment, By Affiliation, ‘18–’22 140K 120K 100K 80K 60K

 Other Orthodox — Single Gender  Chassidic  Other Orthodox — Coed  Non-Orthodox

40K 20K


Chassidic and Yeshivish (“Other Orthodox – Single Gender) schools were the drivers in Jewish enrollment growth from 2018 to 2022. Modern Orthodox (“Other Orthdodox – Coed”) schools experienced static enrollment, while Non-Orthodox schools declined somewhat.

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