2. Assemblyman Peter J. Abbate, Jr. with students from Yeshiva Shaare Torah

Brooklyn, NY – Teach NYS, a project of the Orthodox Union and New York’s leading nonprofit focused on equitable funding for the state’s nonpublic schools, led its first Women and STEM Lobbying Day on Feb. 7. Mothers and daughters from New York’s nonpublic schools met with their state legislators and urged them to provide full funding to support STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education for all nonpublic schools in the state.

Assemblywoman Rodneyse Bichotte with mothers and daughters from Yeshiva Shaare Torah

More than 40 mother-daughter teams from Magen David Yeshivah; Barkai Yeshivah; Yeshivat Shaarei Torah; Yeshivat Darche Eres; and Yeshivah of Flatbush participated in the event. They met with Assembly members Peter J. Abbate, Jr. (D-Borough Park, Bath Beach, Dyker Heights, Bensonhurstett); Rodneyse Bichotte (D-Flatbush, Ditmas Park); Simcha Eichenstein (D-Borough Park); Mathylde Frontus (D-Coney Island); a staff members for Assembly member Helene Weinstein (D-Flatlands, Sheepshead Bay, East Flatbush ) and City Council Member Justin Brannan (D-Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights).

Teach NYS, through a sustained advocacy campaign, succeeded in 2017 in securing the first-ever funding from the New York State Legislature for STEM education in nonpublic schools. Only $15 million is allocated for the current school year.

“STEM is an integral part of our children’s education and this additional funding will provide the opportunity for our schools to increase their STEM offering without forwarding the additional cost onto parents,” said Teach NYS Grassroots Engagement Director Annie Watman. “We are asking New York State to provide enough funding to reimburse STEM instruction at all nonpublic schools in New York State.

“Nonpublic students in New York must have full access to STEM programs in order to succeed in the future and compete on a global level,” added Watman. “New York can and must do more for its nonpublic students, particularly girls and young women – a group that has been left behind in this critical realm of education and future innovation.”

According to a recent report by Microsoft, “Despite the high priority placed on (STEM) and computer science education across the United States, the fact remains that only a fraction of girls and women are likely to pursue STEM degrees and careers. Failing to bring the minds and perspectives of half the population to STEM and computer science fields stifles innovation and makes it less likely that we can solve today’s social challenges at scale.”

“By meeting with their legislators during our first-ever Women and STEM Lobbying Day, mothers took time away from their jobs, and daughters took time away from their education, to help legislators understand just how important this issue is not only for them, but for all nonpublic school children across New York,” said Teach NYS Legislative Director Nika Milbrun.

Teach NYS will be hosting its annual Albany Mission on March 12 where nearly a thousand parents, students and educators will lobby state politicians for their support of New York’s day schools and yeshivas on key issues like security and STEM. For more information or to register, visit: http://teachnys.org/albanymission.

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