Position of the Reform Movement on Education

The most recent Reform Movement policy on education was passed by the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR) in June 2004. Titled "Resolution on Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education and Furthering its Vision," it reaffirms:

  • "our commitment to providing all children with a high quality, appropriate public school education and working to help close the achievement gap by advocating for increased funding for education, reduced class size, qualified teachers and administrators, modernized school facilities, dropout prevention programs, services for pregnant and parenting students, after-school programs, delinquency prevention programs, school safety programs, and increased parental involvement"
  • "our opposition to school voucher programs which divert desperately needed funds and attention from true public education reform, leaving behind those most in need of a quality education"
  • "our commitment to helping more students access higher education through increased federal support such as Pell grants"
  • "our commitment to maintaining affirmative action and fostering vibrant diversity and the full participation of minorities in all important aspects of society"

The resolution also commits the CCAR to ensuring that accountability systems "receive adequate funding, use research-based assessment tools, account for graduation rate, accommodate students with special needs and students whose primary language is not English, are sensitive to the cultural and linguistic diversity of students, and include safeguards to protect the children most at risk of school failure from exclusion from early childhood programs and from dropping out of school."

In 1998, the Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism and the CCAR passed similar resolutions (both entitled "Making Public Education A National Priority") resolving to continue supporting public education by "affirming our commitment to reducing class size, increasing the number of qualified teachers across the United States, and providing adequate supplies for the nation's schools" and "supporting efforts to rebuild public schools facilities and ensure that they are on par with current technological advances."

The Reform Jewish Movement's policy towards the charter school movement as adopted by the Commission on Social Action in their April 1998 resolution:

Cautiously support the charter school movement and other forms of creative education as alternative options within the public schools, provided that all such programs (1) are established for a specific educational objective; (2) arc subject to proper administrative and curricular oversight and regular auditing of their results; (3) are available to all students at no cost to the individual family; (4) are non-sectarian; (5) are for non-profit; (6) adhere to the same standards and guidelines in civil rights and religious liberties as do other public schools.