Free translation from a talk of the Rebbe, Motzaei Shabbos Parshas Eikev, Mevarchim Elul, 5738 (1978), (excerpt)

Laying the foundation

It is no coincidence that the school year begins at this time. Before Rosh Hashanah and before entering the phase of service of crowning G‑d as king of the world, it is necessary to undergo a process of education, gain needed energies, and develop one’s powers further. Efforts must be intensified to stress the importance of education for adults as well as children.

The first days of the school year are of extreme importance. During those days the students approach their studies with more interest, warmth, and joy. Therefore, it is of paramount importance to make all possible attempts to immediately involve every Jewish child in proper educational programs.

This charge to involve children in proper education programs is not only limited to Jews. The Rambam explains that every Jew is obligated to teach non-Jews ethical behavior. They must be taught faith in the Creator and Director of the world, and be channeled in a program of growth and development, not left to run wild in the street.

Therefore, it is of extreme importance that before the new school year begins, the government of the city, state, or region should pronounce one day “a day of education” and concentrate on communicating the importance of education to parents and children. Each individual must find his own role in bringing about the “day of education,” publicizing it, and imparting its importance to those in his sphere of influence.

The necessity of beginning these activities immediately is apparent. The school year is quickly approaching. More important, the coming of Mashiach is quickly approaching. At that time, Mashiach will ask, “where are the seedlings you have raised” — where are the Jewish children who have received a proper Jewish education?

The question is a rhetorical one. Every Jewish child who is properly educated will receive revelations of G‑dliness. In fact, their revelations will be even greater than the adults (in a manner similar to the pattern in Egypt where G‑d was first revealed to the children).

The first step in this process is the efforts toward the declaration of a “day of education.” If sincere effort is applied in this direction, then it will bring success. Particularly now, after as great a country as the United States has declared and publicized a day of education it will be easier to influence other states and municipalities to follow its example.

May it be G‑d’s will that the above activities proceed successfully, and bring every child into a program of education which teaches the value of justice and peace. In addition, may Jewish children merit to be educated according to the dictates of the Torah, and be exposed to Torah’s full and complete truth.

And then, “with our children and with our elders, with our sons and with our daughters,” we will proceed to greet Mashiach in the third Temple, speedily in our days.

Invest in teachers

In consideration of the above-mentioned necessity to involve each Jewish child in a program of Torah education, it is important to have the most qualified and skilled teachers possible.

Since the present situation is one in which financial worries occupy a prominent place, it is necessary, in order to secure the best teachers, to alleviate their financial worries as much as possible.

It is, therefore my suggestion and request, that beginning with this school year, all those involved in education (teachers, Roshei Yeshivos, Mashpi’im, etc.) should receive a 10% salary raise in addition to whatever raises they had been given in the past, or were scheduled to receive in the immediate or distant future.

This raise will relieve or at least reduce a teacher’s financial worries, and allow them to devote more attention to, and become more involved with their students. Also, they will see that their work and their dedication (and the goal to which they are dedicated — providing every child with a proper education) is appreciated and valued.

It is possible that this suggestion may upset the school’s administration and accountant. However, an analogy given by the Previous Rebbe will calm their discomfort. The Previous Rebbe explained that in Russia, the trains (the means of long-distance transportation) were divided into 3 sections, each more plush (and likewise more expensive) than the other. A person of moderate means would always travel 3rd class. Even a rich man would travel only second class. However, a poor man would always travel first class. Why would he be moved to such extravagance? The other two types of people paid for their tickets from their savings; therefore they felt it necessary to curb their spending. The poor man had no money and had to borrow to pay for his ticket. Since he was already borrowing money, he felt he might as well borrow a little more and travel first-class.

Similarly, those educators who are concerned about the size of their deficit, should give the teachers the raise suggested despite their fears. Since they are anyway operating in a deficient situation, an increase in the deficit should not trouble them.

The Previous Rebbe related that from the time he became involved in public affairs (education being one of the most important subjects to which he devoted his time), each year he closed his accounts in the debit column. He was able to pay off that deficit over the course of the following year. Yet the following year’s accounts closed with a greater deficit, which was again paid off in the coming year, etc. He described this pattern as a sign of living work.

The point of the matter is that the size of the deficit is unimportant. What is important is the standard of the education which the children receive. This is particularly true F Hashem has declared, “I am the master of gold, I am the master of silver” and has promised to pay the entire cost of furthering Jewish education.