Following an incredible response to his previous letter, Rabbi Chaim Rosenstein of Monsey NY publishes a clarification, doubling down and highlighting the issues with the Department of Education’s proposed guidelines:
The letter that I wrote on August 29th expressed the points that needed to be conveyed to the NY DOE. I received a tremendous amount of positive feedback from most of the readers. There are some readers however that seemingly failed to understand what I was attempting to convey.
My main point is: I reject having a Government agency without any experience in running a yeshiva dictate our children’s educational requirements! The purpose of the Government is to serve the needs of the people, not infringe on our rights to make decisions. The Government has the right and obligation to step in to schools in instances of abuse.Teaching a curriculum of Judaic studies does not constitute abuse.
New York parents have the right to choose how they wish to educate their children. A parent’s choice to have a full or partial day of Judaic studies for their children, should remain the parent’s prerogative. If a parent wants their children to have an education dictated by the NY Board of Education, choose the free option: Public School.
My secondary point is:
A public school education often does not prepare children for success in the workplace, does not teach children to innovate, and does not teach children the skills of critical and independent thinking.
Yet, the public school standards are the basis for the proposed guidelines for Yeshiva’s and private schools?
The following data was published on the NY DOE website; https://www.schools.nyc.gov/about-us/reports/doe-data-at-a-glance
The 2018 results for NYC students were:
Less than half “(46.7 percent) of NYC students are proficient in English Language Arts with NYC students continuing to outpace their NYS peers in 2018. 42.7 percent of NYC students are proficient in math, narrowing the gap with NYS in 2018.”
Are we supposed to be impressed by these numbers? If this is the outcome of what the public school system offers, are we supposed to use the public schools as a model for our children’s education? Does the NY DOE have statistics on Yeshiva graduates that reflects a higher or lower illiteracy rate than those that graduated or dropped out of public school?
My previous letter shows that success in the workplace is not necessarily dependent on the type of education provided. Success is achieved by using our G-d given talents, abilities and strengths to pursue our passions. It is achieved by hard work blessed by G-d.
In addition to articulating my previous points, I wish to add that Yeshiva graduates, Private school graduates, and Public school graduates can each succeed or fail. Some people are blessed with higher intelligence while others are less intelligent. However, the vast majority of my Yeshiva classmates are Doctors, Nurses, Lawyers, Rabbis, Dentists, Accountants, Real Estate Developers, Financial Professionals, and Business Owners.
Lastly, Mr. Moster who is championing for the DOE regulations to apply to the Yeshiva system has risen to prominence despite the education he deplores.
If you have yet done so, please go to https://voice.yeshivosbychoice.org/#letterText and submit a letter. If you have already signed, please ask your family and friends to do so as well.
The deadline is tonight at 11:59 PM
Wishing you all a happy and sweet new year,
Rabbi Chaim Rosenstein