In February 2013, The Jewish Week’s series of articles on E-rate revealed that in New York State this federal program, designed to make technology accessible to the nation’s schools, disproportionately benefits fervently Orthodox schools.
In 2011, E-rate approved more than $30 million for services provided to Jewish schools in New York State; the overwhelming majority of that money went to haredi schools in Brooklyn and Rockland County that do not give pupils access to the Internet.
Jewish schools received 22 percent of the state’s E-rate funds, even though they enroll only 4 percent of the state’s K-12 students. Most of those funds were channeled through telecom and technology companies that appear to serve an exclusively Orthodox clientele.
The result of a four-month investigation by Associate Editor Julie Wiener and Special Correspondent Hella Winston, the articles were made possible by The Jewish Week Investigative Journalism Fund.
Part 1: “Internet-Averse Haredi Schools Reap Millions in Federal Tech Funds:
How does a community that rails against the Web pull in $30 million in one year for its schools from the E-rate program?”
Part 2: “How Do Haredi Schools Get All That Money?: Service providers haul in millions in tech funds for schools and libraries, but some don’t even have websites.”
Part 3: “E-rate Program Dogged By Concerns About Oversight: Government regulators see ‘non-compliance’ among some Jewish schools but no fraud charges.”
Sidebar: “The Origins Of E-rate And How It Works”
Sidebar: “What Schools Should Spend On Telecom”
Radio Conversation With Julie Wiener
On Friday, Feb. 22, Julie Wiener, the co-author of The Jewish Week’s E-rate series, answered questions about E-rate on the Ramapo Times/Rockland Community News Hour on WRCR AM 1300, hosted by Richard Gandon.