web analytics
January 26, 2015 / 6 Shevat, 5775
 
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post


Attaining Both Torah U’madda


Respler-081514

Dear Dr. Respler:

I am a specialist in a specific field who worked in a charedi yeshiva in a well-known charedi neighborhood. As a person who is shomeret mitzvot, I was absolutely appalled at the level, or lack thereof, of secular education that exists in that school. As part of its “hashkafa,” the school insulates its students from the ills of the outside world. In my opinion, this policy does the students more harm than good.

Secular studies begin at 3:00 p.m. after an entire morning and part of the afternoon devoted to learning. Interspersed are two breaks and lunch. The classes overflow with 30 boys per class. The all-male English teachers are not certified, and are not college-educated. There are no assistants in the classes. This leads me to only imagine how many of these students fall by the educational wayside.

Being a woman, I was not allowed in the building, and thus worked with two other female teachers, both certified, in a trailer in a self-contained class consisting of four boys. These boys apparently stood out so negatively to these uneducated teachers that it was decided they be separated from the regular school population.

The company I worked for only allowed trade books to be used for reading. There could be no Jewish-themed books and, as such, the lack of knowledge these boys displayed in regards to many of the topics we read about was clear. This was a fifth-grade class, and many did not know their English birthdays, the months of the year, the full name of the president of the United States, and the number of U.S. states. There were no textbooks, no resources and an educational trip never took place. For these boys, some of whom were severely dyslexic and dealing with processing and focusing issues, starting their secular studies program at three in the afternoon was like trying to add more water to an already waterlogged sponge. For alertness purposes, secular studies needed to begin at 1 p.m.

Worst of all was the inability to teach American History, and the boys learning nothing about certain American holidays like President’s Day. The final straw was when I found out fairly late in the year that most of the boys would not continue any secular studies education after completing elementary school; the high-school curriculum would be comprised of Jewish studies only.

I was very disturbed that these boys were on a third-grade reading level upon finishing fifth grade. As a result, they will become illiterate adults, not even capable of filling out an application for a driver’s license – along with being unable to do a lot more. I do not understand how parents are okay with this. Knowing how to read and write English, and having a basic understanding of how America works, is crucial for living here as an adult.

My question: Just as no one would go to a doctor or dentist without proper training, how do parents entrust their children to uneducated “educators” who do not know how children learn, and who do not understand that all children learn differently (not robotically)? For the record, I do not blame the teachers in these types of schools, but rather the schools’ administrations for allowing their schools to have such low standards.

A Perturbed Educator  

Dear Perturbed Educator:

Most charedi schools do not generally prepare their students for the outside world because they do not expect them to be working in the secular world. Whether I agree or disagree with this policy is irrelevant since I am not charedi. Additionally, I do not fully understand the lifestyle and needs of charedim. But I do know that there are many Orthodox schools that teach a lot more secular studies subjects than what you have described.

About the Author:


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.

3 Responses to “Attaining Both Torah U’madda”

  1. Orah Peer says:

    I agree with Dr.Yael that this is rather a personal matter….i believe Parents know exactly what the educational level will be in x School & they’re responsible for the choices they make. Parents who want a good English ,secular education for their Kids they will make sure to check the curriculum before enrolling the kids there,I know Parents who tell their kids to skip english-secular studies altogether not even for Regents…& i know some that prepare the kids ONLY for regents with private Tutors…skipping classes,avoiding homeworks etc….I advise this Teacher to look for other yeshivas where she can meet a more normal acceptable standard of learning & she won’t be so frustrated,since after all, work doesn’t have to be a torture…you get to enjoy your Job…you are clearly not happy there ,you have your profession, the sky is the limit.hatzlacha.

  2. Orah Peer says:

    I agree with Dr.Yael that this is rather a personal matter….i believe Parents know exactly what the educational level will be in x School & they’re responsible for the choices they make. Parents who want a good English ,secular education for their Kids they will make sure to check the curriculum before enrolling the kids there,I know Parents who tell their kids to skip english-secular studies altogether not even for Regents…& i know some that prepare the kids ONLY for regents with private Tutors…skipping classes,avoiding homeworks etc….I advise this Teacher to look for other yeshivas where she can meet a more normal acceptable standard of learning & she won’t be so frustrated,since after all, work doesn’t have to be a torture…you get to enjoy your Job…you are clearly not happy there ,you have your profession, the sky is the limit.hatzlacha.

  3. Orah Peer says:

    I agree with Dr.Yael that this is rather a personal matter….i believe Parents know exactly what the educational level will be in x School & they’re responsible for the choices they make. Parents who want a good English ,secular education for their Kids they will make sure to check the curriculum before enrolling the kids there,I know Parents who tell their kids to skip english-secular studies altogether not even for Regents…& i know some that prepare the kids ONLY for regents with private Tutors…skipping classes,avoiding homeworks etc….I advise this Teacher to look for other yeshivas where she can meet a more normal acceptable standard of learning & she won’t be so frustrated,since after all, work doesn’t have to be a torture…you get to enjoy your Job…you are clearly not happy there ,you have your profession, the sky is the limit.hatzlacha.

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Amazon drone delivers to the door..
Drone Found on White House Lawn
Latest Sections Stories
Dr. Esther Rose Lowy

Dr. Lowy believed passionately in higher education for both men and women and would stop at nothing to assist young students in achieving their educational goals.

book-Lincoln

It’s almost pointless to try to summarize all of the fascinating information that Holzer’s research unearthed.

The special charm of these letters is their immediacy and authenticity of emotion and description.

Why is there such a steep learning curve for teachers? And what can we, as educators and community activists, do better in the educational system and keep first-year teachers in the job?

Teachers, as well as administrators, must be actively involved in the daily prayers that transpire at a school and must set the bar as dugmaot ishiot, role models, on how one must daven.

Often both girls and boys compare their date to their parents.

We love the food, the hotels, and even the wildlife. We love the Israelis.

Few traces remain of the glory days of Jewish life in the kingdoms of Sicily and Naples, but the demise wasn’t due to the eruption of nearby Mount Vesuvius. Rather it was a manmade volcano called the Edict of Expulsion from Spain – and not even an invitation to return in Shevat of 1740 could […]

Garbage in your streets, my city
Wind-blown litter, lonely men

I love you in your blazing heat
my aching feet
dragging in your streets.

These monsters constantly attack
When we dare to try to fight back

With so many new cases of ADHD reported each year, it is important to help children learn how to sit still.

More Articles from Dr. Yael Respler
Respler-011615

Often both girls and boys compare their date to their parents.

Respler-logo-NEW

The Moroccan wife’s chief pride is showing that she ought to win the prize for the most attentive and solicitous spouse and mother.

Both parties need to become more tolerant of one another.

I think a major problem within the “single” community is the pressure to get married ASAP.

How many potential shidduchim are not coming about because we, the mothers, are not allowing them to go through?

I so desperately want to have a loving relationship with my stepsons.

Isn’t there anyone making a simcha who understands that loud music can cause hearing loss?

My mother thinks of herself as a superior person, has very little feelings for other people, and probably suffers from a deep lack of self-esteem.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/family/marriage-relationships/attaining-both-torah-umadda/2014/08/15/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: