Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Why won't they teach Jewish kids math?

This is the sort of Tweet I write after discovering that four of the last seven Cross Current posts are criticism of Natan Sharansky's admirable attempt to make the Kotel a welcoming place for all Jews, while nothing at all has been said Naftuli Moster's Op-Ed post about the deplorable state of secular education in NY yeshivas.
Each year, approximately 32,000 boys in New York City [DB: and another 18,000 in upstate NY.] are not being taught science, history and geography among other subjects. If they’re lucky to be under the age of 13, they get 90 minutes of English and math, taught by untrained and unlicensed teachers. 
Alarmingly, when these boys turn 14, most of them spend 14 hours a day in school, from around 6:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., yet learn no general subjects at all. An estimated 17,500 additional boys attending schools in Rockland and Orange Counties are subjected to the same. 
That is because they are attending ultra-Orthodox and Hasidic yeshivas, private religious schools where the primary focus is on Judaic studies, almost to the exclusion of non-Judaic studies. (This problem is most prevalent among boys. Girls aren’t expected to engage in intensive Torah learning, so they are allowed to study secular studies for the practical benefits.)
Something is desperately wrong with our communal priorities.

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