(March 12, 2023, JNS Wire) Teach NYS is running its largest-ever annual “Mission to Albany” for a day of advocacy on March 14 in the Capitol. More than 1,000 people, including lay leaders, community members, teachers and 800 students from Jewish schools are heading to Albany, N.Y., to urge lawmakers to increase support for nonpublic school programs.
This marks Teach NYS’ sixth annual mission to Albany and is expected to be the largest student-run advocacy day in New York.
“We’re coming together—1,000-strong—to stand behind the thousands of parents in our community who choose to send their children to nonpublic Jewish day schools,” said Teach NYS co-chair Cal Nathan. “We’re going to Albany to make our voices heard, and I can think of no better advocates than students themselves to make an impact on our lawmakers.”
The representatives’ priority advocacy items include increasing funding for STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education; free lunches for all students; and arts and music programs. With only two weeks before the 2024 state budget is finalized, the attendees will meet with and hear from dozens of New York senators and assembly members and strengthen relationships with elected officials.
Teach NYS co-chair Sam Sutton said “while our students spend the day outside of their classrooms, as junior lobbyists they will see democracy in action and will learn the greatest life lesson ever—that fighting for the values our community holds dear is a top priority. Creating an excellent Jewish and general education is crucial.”
A member of the Orthodox Union’s Teach Coalition, Teach NYS is a nonpartisan grassroots movement that advocates for equitable government funding, security and quality education for nonpublic schools in New York state. Through ongoing activism, Teach Coalition works to secure resources for myriad student issues ranging from COVID relief, special education and busing to security and STEM education.
Rabbi Joshua Lookstein, associate head of school at the Ramaz School in Manhattan, will deliver the invocation before the state senate. Ramaz is a Teach NYS member school.
“An exceptional, but affordable education is imperative for our children to thrive as future leaders and contributing members of society,” stated Teach NYS executive director Sydney Altfield. Our annual mission enables legislators to meet the very students and teachers who are so greatly impacted by their fiscal decisions.”
Executive director, Teach NYS