web analytics
August 21, 2014 / 25 Av, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat (L) visits the JewishPress.com booth at The Event. And the Winners of the JewishPress.com Raffle Are…

Congratulations to all the winners of the JewishPress.com raffle at The Event



The Alternate World Of Jewish Education

Marvin Schick

Marvin Schick

What all of this adds up to are darkening clouds in the day school world, outside of the haredi sectors. On top of all of this there is the tuition crisis, the feeling among day school families that high tuition exacts a toll in living standards and priorities that is too high a price to pay. More and more Modern Orthodox parents are opting out of day school, saying that the cost is too high and that they are not prepared to sacrifice their living standard so that their children may have a day school education.

One apparent side effect of the tuition crisis is its contribution to an increased level of aliyah. This is, of course, good news, yet it is also a dialectical development because it inevitably means a decline in enrollment in many schools, primarily those that serve the Modern Orthodox. This exacerbates, in turn, their financial difficulties.

* * * * *

In short, in the blink of the eye, the day school world has become more complicated, as it is beset by serious issues that demand attention and which may not have any ready remedy. This more complicated reality is now yoked to the tendency I have described of organization building and the instinct to develop projects outside of the school that, it is claimed, will benefit schools struggling to make ends meet. There is an explosion within the day school world of outside organizational activity.

As an inevitable consequence of this, philanthropic funding that is earmarked for day schools ends up supporting activities that occur outside of schools, the claim being that such funding is necessary if day school education is to be improved. It is fascinating that enrollment has slipped within the day school sectors that these funded activities purport to support. Put otherwise, as day school enrollment has gone down among the non-Orthodox and Modern Orthodox, funding for outside projects that purportedly assist schools serving the non-Orthodox and Modern Orthodox has risen dramatically. It is astonishing how little attention is being given to this development.

We are now blessed – I would say the proper description is saddled – by what can rightly be described as an alternate world of Jewish day school education. It is a world of organizations, of experts sitting in offices, of expensive consultants, of conferences in plush settings and much else that costs serious money. I do not know how many tens of millions of dollars are spent on all of this. The number is not small. Whatever the figure, it is climbing at a time when a great number of schools are experiencing enrollment decline and at a time when an even larger number of schools are in financial trouble.

I am not referring here to curriculum development or the training of principals and teachers, although these activities are also enveloped in an excess of hype. There obviously are activities that can benefit day schools and yeshivas that are the proper mission of outside organizations. What is difficult to accept is the long list of expenditures that essentially go toward organizational self-aggrandizement.

Nor is the issue only or primarily financial, as important as this is in the day school world. What the organizational activity does in large measure is to suck interest and oxygen out of the day school world. We are witness to the sad spectacle of people of sincere interest in day school education coming to believe that the alternate world of Jewish day schools is the more critical world, that its activities are more deserving of support than the core education that occurs inside of schools.

There is also the unfortunate tendency of experts who invariably are well paid to heap scorn on those who teach and who have direct responsibility for our schools. This is a cynical approach to Jewish education. Those who teach in our schools deserve our respect, especially because so many are badly underpaid and, despite this, they make an extra effort to do a good job. If there are individuals in the alternate Jewish day school world who do not have the decency to show respect, may we at least hope they would not heap scorn on those who devote their lives to Jewish education?

About the Author: Dr. Marvin Schick is president of the Rabbi Jacob Joseph School. He has been actively engaged in Jewish communal life for more than sixty years.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

One Response to “The Alternate World Of Jewish Education”

  1. cloojew says:

    So, in a nutshell, Dr. Schick is saying that donations to organizations should instead go to the schools themselves. But I’m not sure how he arrives at this. He refuses to “name names.” Who are the culprits here? Torah Umesorah? The OU? Is there a “Jews United for the Reduction of Yeshiva Tuition” that I should know about and from which I should withhold all donations?

    Furthermore, some of these projects are cost-effective. The work being done by Harry Bloom for YU appears to be saving yeshivos millions. I doubt his and his staff’s combined salary comes to a fraction of that.

    If Dr. Schick is unhappy with the charitable choices of the non-Orthodox, what are we to do? I’m sure we are all unhappy with many of their choices – charitable and otherwise.

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
An IDF patrol along the Gaza border.
Ground Op on Horizon with Emergency Orders to 10,000 IDF Reservists
Latest Indepth Stories
488px-WielkaSynagoga3_Lodz

In the Thirties it was common for anti-Semites to call on Jews to “go to Palestine!”

Netanyahu-Obama-030212

Obama never hid his contempt for the Israeli government or the majority of Israel’s voters.

Keeping-Jerusalem

“This arbitrary ban is an ugly stain on our democracy, and it also undermines the rule of law.”

MK Moshe-Feiglin

We take US “aid” for psychological reasons-if we have an allowance, that means we have a father.

ZIM Piraeus isn’t Israeli-owned or flagged, incidentally, it is Greek operated.

Foolish me, thinking the goals were the destruction of Hamas thereby giving peace a real chance.

The free-spirted lifestyle didn’t hold your interest; the needs of your people did.

And why would the U.S. align itself on these issues with Turkey and Qatar, longtime advocates of Hamas’s interests?

Several years ago the city concluded that the metzitzah b’peh procedure created unacceptable risks for newborns in terms of the transmission of neo-natal herpes through contact with a mohel carrying the herpes virus.

The world wars caused unimaginable anguish for the Jews but God also scripted a great glory for our people.

Judging by history, every time Hamas rebuilds their infrastructure, they are stronger than before.

His father asked him to read Psalms from the Book of Tehilim every day.

(Reposted with permission from author’s website) Moderate truth-teller Daniel Pipes (Dream) has further moderated his stance on Islam by actually entertaining the idea of “Moderate Islamism”, with Andrew C. McCarthy- whom I’ve debated about this- giving it some credence. We’ve gone from Naming the Enemy -Nazism, Communism- to Renaming the Enemy – “Islamic Totalitarianism”, “Radical Islam”, “Islamism”, […]

Maimonides: “Your 1 mitzva may tip the scales and bring redemption to the entire world and creation”

Jerusalem has been aware of the importance of China to its growth and security.

More Articles from Marvin Schick
Front-Page-040414

We now are in the season of advocacy of preschool, referring specifically to the education of children who are four years old.

Front-Page-112213

Two months ago, the Pew Research Center issued a comprehensive study of American Jews and ever since the American Jewish community has been debating the findings. I have contributed my share to this debate, which concerns matters of critical importance.

As the Torah teaches, poverty will never be eradicated, nor will our obligation to assist those in need.

As we commemorate the fiftieth yahrzeit this Friday, the second day of Kislev, of Rav Aaron Kotler – the greatest Jew, in the opinion of even many of his fellow Torah luminaries, ever to set foot on North American soil – we are obligated to reflect on his achievements and the lessons he taught.

A major sociological characteristic and consequence of modernity is the tendency for people to join together in associations that express a common goal or interest or a shared experience. The United States has been a nation of joiners from day one and perhaps even before independence was declared. Alexis de Tocqueville described this tendency in Democracy in America, the epic prophetic work published a century and three-quarters ago.

There is constant talk of a tuition crisis, of the growing number of yeshiva and day school parents – and potential parents – who say that full tuition or anything close to it is beyond their financial reach.

Where children are emotionally and socially when they are not in school is a matter of growing concern for educators, especially in Jewish schools and other religious institutions.

It often seems that it’s always open season on teachers, that they are available for target practice in the form of harsh criticism or verbal and written abuse from current parents, former parents, current students, former students, administrators, lay leaders and, in the case of public education, public officials and the media.

    Latest Poll

    Do you think the FAA ban on US flights to Israel is political?






    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/front-page/the-alternate-world-of-jewish-education/2012/08/08/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: