Miami — Last spring, when the financially struggling Greenfield Day School announced it was closing and the National Ben Gamla Charter School Foundation moved to obtain its building, what followed could have been an episode of “Extreme Makeover: School Edition.”
Tikun Olam school spurring opposition; Ben-Gamla network to open two more schools.
The emergence of Hebrew charter schools — publicly funded schools that teach Hebrew language and aspects of Jewish culture — has been a controversial development in recent years. Required by law to be open to all regardless of religion or ethnicity, and prohibited from promoting religion, these tuition-free schools nonetheless have drawn scrutiny from church-state watchdogs, as well as Jewish leaders concerned they could draw students away from Jewish day schools.
As schools open, Miami’s central Jewish education agency now eyeing partnership with Ben-Gamla.
When New Jersey’s Hatikvah International Academy Charter School opens on Tuesday, it will join five other Hebrew charter schools operating in the United States, two of them brand new.
Launched only three years ago with the opening of the first of three “Ben Gamla” elementary schools in South Florida — and with planning under way for almost 30 more Hebrew charter schools throughout the country — the national Hebrew charter school movement is moving at a rapid clip.