In last week’s article, “The Choice of a Jewish Education,” it is unclear as to where author Sergey Kadinsky stands on the issue of mandating yeshivah students to teach secular subjects. I suspect that he is in favor of allowing these schools to opt out.
Not requiring yeshivah students to demonstrate proficiency in basic secular subjects harms nobody more than the students themselves. In today’s increasingly competitive job market, those lacking basic skills will have virtually no employment opportunities available to them outside of the chasidic community. The number of “successful businessmen” coming from these communities, though they do exist, is quite small. Providing for large families without basic English and math skills is a losing proposition that places a huge burden on the community as well as the government. I’m sure State Senator Simcha Felder, who pushed for non-compliance by yeshivos in providing basic secular education knows this. However, he is pandering to his political base, who, he must realize, is making an unreasonable request.
If a school avails itself of city, state, or federal funding, they must teach and demonstrate proficiency in providing their students with a decent secular education and demonstrate this by requiring the students to take State tests such as Regents exams.
Forest Hills, New York
In his recent article, Sergey Kadinsky has brought up the fact that not all Orthodox Jews believe that their children need a good secular education in addition to a good Torah education.
I was surprised to read that Senator Felder was insistent that the New York City Department of Education does not have the right to inspect yeshivos and their curricula to make sure that the secular educations given in those institutions is up to New York City standards.
Not requiring yeshivah students to demonstrate proficiency in basic secular subjects harms nobody more than the students themselves.
With all the news recently from graduates of some yeshivos saying that the secular educations that they received at their yeshivos has not prepared them for life as an adult, Felder’s attitude is surprising. (Perhaps leaders of these so-called “religious schools” have been supporting Felder both politically and financially?)
As a graduate of the New York City public school system, Kadinsky knows what a fine education he has received and hopes his children get the same secular education in the yeshivos they will be attending.
Forest Hills, New York