Hasidic Schools Accused Of Sub-Standard Educational Standards

220px-NYC_DOE_Logo_City Council member Daniel Dromm, chairman of the education committee, will reportedly push an investigation into Jewish schools after reports of shockingly sub-standard educations at the 39 hasidic yeshivas in the city. The schools have been accused of spending little relative time on basic education in favor of religious studies — to the point that they have produced graduates who cannot read or write English or do basic math.

In July, education officials reported claims of sub-standard secular instruction from 52 former students, teachers and parents of children enrolled in the religious schools. State law required private and parochial schools to provide instruction that is “substantially equivalent” to what is offered in the public schools.

However, graduates have stated that most boys get just six hours of secular education a week. When they became 13, they said that all secular education ended and they only attended religious instruction. Ironically, due to the different treatment of Hasidic girls, the girls actually came out ahead because they cannot study all the religious texts. The result is that they reportedly got more actual education.

There are many top flight religious schools that excel at secular education. However, there have long been complaints that some schools focus more on religious indoctrination rather than conventional education. However, officials are often reluctant to evaluate such programs in deference to free exercise rights. Yet, the state law is unassailable from a constitutional standpoint in demanding the same foundational education for both public and private students.

In a flip side of this story, the controversy in Israel is the preference given yeshivas over non-Jewish private schools. Demonstrators have taken to the streets over the slashing of funds for Christian schools. Christians charge that Israel has been pressuring them to join the public school system and now has cut funding for their schools while continuing the funding for Jewish schools. There are some 33,000 students in 47 schools have been on strike over the cuts and raised the full funding of ultra-Orthodox schools.

Source: WNYC

18 thoughts on “Hasidic Schools Accused Of Sub-Standard Educational Standards”

  1. Tin Ear

    What about: Canada, France, Great Britain, Italy, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, etc, etc, etc. Most of these countries are as multi-cultural or more multi-cultural than the US. The difference is that only the US has this dysfunctional system kowtowing to some mythological value of the independence of the smallest unit.

    Your argument about how other countries value education more than the US is well founded. The US rests on its laurels. In the minds of most Americans, they won every war, make the best cars, are second to none in absolutely everything. You can’t argue with that. Just look at Trump. You can’t argue with a billionaire. The successful American becomes the complacent American, becomes second then third place and then becomes the angry American blaming anyone and everyone.

    However, while America rests on its laurels the rest of the world, with their backs to reality and their focus on the best they can be, are the ones being the best that they can be.

  2. Isaac: I believe there is more to it than curriculum. Culture is critical. The countries with the top students, based on international testing standards, are always Japan, South Korea and Finland. Those three are always at the top in math and science. I believe those countries do not have to deal with the multi-cultural and poverty issues existing in the U.S., and they all have cultures which place a high value on education and set high expectations for their students. The U.S. will never be in the top because the groups in the country with low achievement and low expectations will always pull down the averages. Also, and perhaps most importantly, I don’t believe that Americans take education as seriously as they claim to. Even in the poorest, third world countries, students wear uniforms and boys and girls are taught separately. Discipline is maintained and teachers are respected. In the U.S., a lot of kids seem to view school as a place to socialize and little more. It’s no surprise that so many parents have abandoned the public school system.

  3. Chief consort

    It’s not the subject matter but how it is taught with what emphasis on what subjects related to which students do better in those subjects and making sure that every student starts off with the BASICS.

    In Japan, the public school system is vastly superior to that of the US, the teachers are responsible for the curriculum. Next year’s curriculum starts with the specific teacher, then goes to the grade teachers, then the subject department, then the school in general, then the parents and then the administration. In the US it works the opposite way.

    The country is so dysfunctional that the administration farms out most of the critical moves to the private sector, which has no interest in the child but only in their profit. The US system is a** backwards. The levels of accomplishment of US students compared with the countries that do it with the child in mind, proves this statistically and has done so for decades.

    The smart person learns from their own mistakes, the mistakes of others, and most importantly the successes of others. The smart person does not learn so much from their own successes, does not rest on their laurels.

  4. The schools have been accused of spending little relative time on basic education in favor of religious studies — to the point that they have produced graduates who cannot read or write English or do basic math.

    Luckily this outcome is wholly unknown among public schools.

  5. Religious schools generally have done a very good job of providing secular education, in addition to an hour or so a day of religious instruction. Catholic schools and colleges have been instrumental in elevating generations of poor and working class Irish, Italian and Hispanic immigrants into the middle and professional classes. A Hispanic friend who is a prosecutor with the District Attorney’s office told me that were it not for Catholic schools, he would be pumping gas or bussing tables for a living. His parents were both illiterate farm workers from rural Mexico. It used to be that Jesuit colleges were considered the cream of the crop of Catholic institutions. Unfortunately, Georgetown, Notre Dame and the University of San Francisco, are now pretty much just your typical ultra-liberal propaganda factories; Catholic in name only. I don’t believe they even ask the applicant’s religion anymore, which was mandated when I applied in the mid-1980s. Perhaps there are not enough Catholics anymore to fill the classrooms, so they dropped their Catholic identities to keep going as an institution, long after their original function ceased to exist…..

  6. The core problem with America’s public education system is too many administrations, a dysfunctional system of developing curriculum by those administrations and not the teachers, and the lack of a government/societally supported profession at the level of other professions called teaching.

    As long as everyone has this or that right to teach what they want based on their peculiar religious or local ideas, some kids will suffer. You might end up a great thumper or an irritating and argumentative theorizer, but you won’t be of any use except among others of your sort.

    If I can’t start my own school and teach basket weaving all day long then why should these religious fanatics be allowed to go outside of the law and teach fairy tales all day long?

    In most, if not all, of the more advanced nations with public school systems that work, there is a strong central organization governing the system with a professionally developed system of developing teachers who can look forward to decent pay and substantial involvement and responsibility in their profession.

    The problem in the US is that the public education system is a political pawn that is affected as much, if not more, by right wing ‘do it yourselfers’ than by those who count, the teachers. You don’t run a system based on the few who manage to navigate the sewer to actually perform. You clean out the sewer first. There are plenty of successful paradigms to look to. Of course I may simply be ignorant of how things are done, the Constitution, Rights, etc, etc.

  7. What all is included in the realm of “religion” that is protected from government interference? Animal/human sacrifices, denying medical care to children, slavery for religious reasons, starvation, torture? Seems like govt should intervene whenever a child or adult is subject to physical or mental injury, but then that might include almost all religious practices.

  8. Chipster:

    Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz (also Godefroi Guillaume Leibnitz,[4] /ˈlaɪbnɪts/;[5] German: [ˈɡɔtfʁiːt ˈvɪlhɛlm fɔn ˈlaɪbnɪts][6] or [ˈlaɪpnɪts];[7] July 1, 1646 – November 14, 1716) was a German polymath and philosopher, and to this day he occupies a prominent place in the history of mathematics and the history of philosophy. Most scholars believe Leibniz developed calculus independently of Isaac Newton, and Leibniz’s notation has been widely used ever since it was published. It was only in the 20th century that his Law of Continuity and Transcendental Law of Homogeneity found mathematical implementation (by means of non-standard analysis). He became one of the most prolific inventors in the field of mechanical calculators. While working on adding automatic multiplication and division to Pascal’s calculator, he was the first to describe a pinwheel calculator in 1685[8] and invented the Leibniz wheel, used in the arithmometer, the first mass-produced mechanical calculator. He also refined the binary number system, which is the foundation of virtually all digital computers.

    In philosophy, Leibniz is most noted for his optimism, i.e., his conclusion that our Universe is, in a restricted sense, the best possible one that God could have created, an idea that was often lampooned by others such as Voltaire. Leibniz, along with René Descartes and Baruch Spinoza, was one of the three great 17th century advocates of rationalism. The work of Leibniz anticipated modern logic and analytic philosophy, but his philosophy also looks back to the scholastic tradition, in which conclusions are produced by applying reason of first principles or prior definitions rather than to empirical evidence.

    Leibniz made major contributions to physics and technology, and anticipated notions that surfaced much later in philosophy, probability theory, biology, medicine, geology, psychology, linguistics, and computer science. He wrote works on philosophy, politics, law, ethics, theology, history, and philology. Leibniz’s contributions to this vast array of subjects were scattered in various learned journals, in tens of thousands of letters, and in unpublished manuscripts. He wrote in several languages, but primarily in Latin, French, and German.[9] There is no complete gathering of the writings of Leibniz.[10]

  9. And you know if this was about Madrassa’s they would have been forced closed long, long ago…

  10. Daniel Dromm has opened a hornets nest. Taking on the Hasidic Jewish community might be his undoing, despite the rightness of the investigation.

  11. Parents who send their children to such schools should be branded with a tattoo on the forehead which says: Dumb Schmuck.

  12. NO RELIGIOUS SCHOOLS SHOULD RECIVE ANY TAXPAYER FUNDING. if a parent wants to send their child to a religous school they should pay for it.

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