NEW YORK (Jun. 27)
The ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court on state aid for parochial schools will “hopefully” mean that Jewish day school pupils can receive state-funded diagnostic and therapeutic speech and hearing services, according to an official of Torah Umesorah.
Rabbi Bernard Goldenberg, director of school organization for Torah Umesorah, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that the court ruling last Friday said that states may finance therapeutic, remedial and guidance counseling services to parochial school children as long as they are on a neutral site. He said this neutral site could be a van that is pulled up alongside the day school.
However, Goldenberg said that each state must now pass the enabling legislation which would provide the service to the parochial schools. He said since the New York State legislature is near adjournment there is no chance that the aid will come in time for the 1977-78 school year in New York which has the largest number of Torah Umesorah schools.
The court said on Friday that diagnostic services such as for speech and hearing could be provided directly at the school. The court also said that the state may provide parochial schools with standardized tests and test scoring achievements and reaffirmed on earlier ruling that textbooks may be lent to parochial school children. But it said the state cannot lend parochial school children such standard classroom equipment as wall charts and slide projectors.
PREVIOUS RULING WAS DISASTER
Goldenberg stressed the hearing and speech service because a 1975 ruling by the Supreme Court invalidated a Pennsylvania program providing diagnostic hearing and speech service for parochial school children. At that time, Goldenberg said, the ruling was a “disaster” for Jewish day schools. He said since then only the schools which had enough money were able to continue therapeutic service.
The Torah Umesorah official noted, however, that except for the speech and hearing programs, the new court ruling will not provide any other help for day schools to meet their ever increasing financial problems.