Tuesday, April 12, 2016

How much of BMG's grant app was legit?

Yesterday we discussed the deeply disingenuous article published on 4/7 in the Wall Street Journal by Avi Schick in which he attempts to argue that Beth Midrash Gavoha* is an ordinary school, and the contested $10.6 million state grant it received was used to build an ordinary library.

Today I  took a quick look at "Beth Medrash Govoha of America Application for Building Our Future Bond Act Funding for Construction of Library and Research Center", the very long document used by the yeshiva to apply for this grant.

A lot of it looks fine, but some of it seems to stretch the truth a little.

Let me share my questions with you. See what you think,

(1) Does BMG have a writing resource center, and a department of Hebrew Studies? What is a Student Pathways to Success Center? My gut feeling is the none of these things exist, or that - whatever they are - they have been given fake names, but I'm happy to be corrected. As soon as I have accurate information I'll update the post.

(2) I don't doubt that BMG attracts talented out of state students from places like Brooklyn, but the most talented never do much to "build up  the state's workforce."  At BMG the talented students stay at BMG into their 30s.

(3) What does the author of the application mean when he suggests that there are "course offerings" at BMG? Is this a legitimate euphemism, or a deliberate attempt to deceive?

(4) On page 26, the grant describes several offices that will be situated on the new library's third floor. Where are those departments located now? I'm particularly interested in BMG's Student Writing Center and their Department of Hebrew Studies. Who can tell us more about the purpose of these two departments?

(5) Is BMG really going to offer student's access to Internet ready computers in its library?

(6) Will BMG students really and truly be using the library to acquire the sort of research skills that can prepare them for a STEM career?

(7) Is it fair to call Lakewood a college town? Is this a legitimate use of a euphemism or a deliberate attempt to deceive?

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