I won’t be blogging about:
- My conversation with the principal about the school supply list. After she asked me twice whether I have a baaya kalkalit (financial issue) I said that I have permission to complain about unnecessary expenses even if I’m not desperate enough to ask for a scholarship.
- Waiting until after 8:05 for the first grade teacher to show up on the first day. The principal came in and told the parents that they could go to work, with no word about the whereabouts of the teacher. My son told me to go home, and I did because my husband was with my 3yo and needed to to go to work, and I knew the principal was around, but I wish I had stayed. Some of the kids were brought by older siblings, and none of the other parents seemed bothered. Don’t worry, I will complain.
- My son in yeshiva, who reluctantly came home for Shabbat, and whose siblings were so excited to see him (not to mention his parents).
Instead I will share with you a conversation that took place recently, between a female teacher and a father, each of whom has children in the private school system. The teacher teaches in a mamad (public religious school) in another town. The father was shouting at the teacher about the schoolbook system, which I have blogged about before. To her credit, the teacher remained completely unfrazzled, even when the conversation switched to an attack on bad teachers, the teacher-training system, faulty promotion of teachers, and more. The parents agreed that their private school has only a few very good teachers, and that they wait for their kids to have a lucky year. Diplomatically I refrained from pointing out that good teachers like herself prefer the public schools, because they get incomparably better benefits.
The teacher took over the discussion proceeding to criticize the Misrad Hachinuch (education ministry). Apparently, recent cuts have seriously hurt the system and there will be only one supervisor for 30 (!) schools. (I again diplomatically refrained from mentioning that the private schools have no supervisors from outside their system.) She said that the Misrad Hachinuch has lost all credibility and they may as well lock the door and go home.
At this point the father’s wife interjects: “The only solution is the private system.” There’s a moment of silence while everyone digests this. Her husband says, “Nu, gam haprati lo hatzlacha gedola” (“the private system is not such a great success either”). The teacher sums up by saying that the only reason the private system works is that “We gave birth to our children, and the “chevrah” (group of friends) supports them.”
A woman I met recently explained that the issue of mixed swimming determined her choice of schools. The private school expects the families they accept to only swim at beaches and pools with separate hours for men and women (we observe this also). She didn’t want her sons to be conflicted about it when they got older. She would feel differently if she weren’t the “only one.” I guess people like me don’t count.
We in the religious community are so unsure of ourselves and our ability to retain our children that we feel we must send them to expensive, inferior schools to avoid exposing them to kids whose level of observance is lower than our own. As I wrote in a related post giving more background on this issue, if the private school parents could all get together and send to the mamad, they would be the overwhelming majority. It’s not like the religious views of the parents differ from the mamad’s. The mamad doesn’t encourage mixed swimming, or uncovered hair (in fact, covering hair is a requirement for married, female teachers).
I know the demographics differ from community to community, but what goes on around here is ludicrous. I did notice that many parents with older kids in private schools sent to the mamad this year.