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March 28, 2003 - Image 29

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-03-28

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

CERTIFIED PRE OWNED LEXUS

between Latinos and Jews, but this will
be a much more coherent, on-target way
of working in tandem," Siegel Vann
said. "It's the first time we've tried some-
thino- as formal with another communi-
ty; it's
b a new model."
Relations between the two communi-
ties resonate even more these days, she
said, because of the large number of
Latin American Jews immigrating to the
United States to escape the economic
disaster in their countries.

w. .):). , ).;.A • 3i7

-

IDEA Debated

Orthodox groups are pushing hard for
changes in a major education law that
Congress must reauthorize in the corn-
ing months. The goal: to make it easier
for children in religious schools to get
special education services.
But Jewish groups that draw a firm
line on church-state matters are raising
caution flags, warning against new
"voucher" schemes for funneling govern-
ment money to parochial schools.
Last week, a measure reauthorizing
the Individuals with Disabilities
Education Act (IDEA), which provides
a variety of services to children with spe-
cial needs, was introduced in the House.
Nathan Diament, Washington director
for the Orthodox Union, said the reau-
thorized bill adds some funding to spe-
cial education programs and makes
some improvements in the way children
are assessed.
But the OU and other Orthodox
groups say the new bill does not correct
a major flaw in the original legislation.
"Even though in broad strokes IDEA
funds are allowed to support special
educating services for children in
parochial schools, on the ground that's
not the way it happens in many places,"
he said. "Maryland is the paradigm of
that."
Local school districts, he said, have
broad discretion in how the money is
allocated — and "they have a strong
self-interest in holding on to as much as
possible for students in public systems."
The OU is pressing for specific lan-
guage in the reauthorized law to correct
that. "Parents should not be forced to
choose between speech therapy for a
child and a Jewish education, but in
many cases that's exactly what's happen-
ing," Diament said.
But other Jewish groups will be fight-
ing any attempt to provide more direct
government assistance to parochial
school students as part of the legislation.
Richard Foltin, legislative director for
the American Jewish Committee, said
his group will fight "voucher-like provi-
sions in IDEA."



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