In a landmark decision, a federal appeals court has ruled that children have a constitutional right to literacy, dealing a remarkable victory to students.
The ruling comes in response to a lawsuit brought by students of five Detroit schools, claiming that because of deteriorating buildings, teacher shortages and inadequate textbooks, the state of Michigan failed to provide them with the most fundamental of skills: the ability to read.
For decades, civil rights lawyers have tried to help students and families in underfunded schools by arguing that the U.S. Constitution guarantees children at least a basic education. Federal courts have consistently disagreed. Until now.
The ability to read and write is “essential” for a citizen to participate in American democracy, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Thursday. One cannot effectively vote, answer a jury summons, pay taxes or even read a road sign if illiterate, wrote Judge Eric Clay, and so where “a group of children is relegated to a school system that does not provide even a plausible chance to attain literacy, we hold that the Constitution provides them with a remedy.”
This was Posted as a Comment – We Are Posting it As a Feature –
NATIONAL EDUCATION AND SHARING DAY, USA
“For members of Chabad, the year is 5781.
This what Brooklyn, NY resident Chaim Levin wrote on Huffington Post about National Education Day in April 2012:
Yesterday was proclaimed “National Education and Sharing Day, USA” in tribute to the late Chabad Lubavitch Rabbi Menachem Schneerson’s birthday. President Obama wrote:
For centuries, the pursuit of knowledge and the cultivation of character have driven American progress and enriched our national life. On Education and Sharing Day, U.S.A., we renew our commitment to these timeless aspirations, and we rededicate ourselves to fostering in our sons and daughters inquiring minds and compassionate hearts. In a global economy where more than half of new jobs will demand higher education or advanced training, we must do everything we can to equip our children with the tools for success. Their journey begins early, and it demands stewardship from throughout the community — from parents and caregivers who inspire a love of learning to teachers and mentors who guide our children along the path to achievement. Our Nation’s prosperity grows with theirs, and by ensuring every child has access to a world class education, we reach for a brighter future for all Americans...
Reading the President’s proclamation deeply saddened me as I thought about the education I missed out on in the Chabad school Oholei Torah (Educational Institute Oholei Menachem) in Crown Heights. Basic reading, writing, spelling, math, science and history were not part of the curriculum at any of the Chabad schools I attended. My classmates and I did not have access to a world class education.
I have profound respect for the late Rebbe and his legacy. However, I remember very clearly those talks that he gave — the ones we studied every year in elementary school about the unimportance of “secular” (non-religious, formal) education, and the great importance of only studying limmudei kodesh (holy studies). As a result of this attitude, thousands of students were not taught anything other than the Bible throughout our years attending Chabad institutions.
Until this day, Oholei Torah and many other Chabad schools — particularly schools for boys and a few for girls in Crown Heights and in some other places — do not provide basic formal education. It pains me to think of all the the doctors, lawyers and other professionals and leaders that could have come out of these institutions. These institutions have cultivated the character, compassion, cooperation and goodwill the President also speaks of, producing thousands of shluchim (emissaries) for Chabad all over the world. However, that is the goal of such schools; if you do not become an emissary, you fell through the cracks and are not prepared for anything else. The mantra of Oholei Torah, what most people say when asked why they send their kids to such a school is: “That’s what the school wants for their students, and that’s what their parents want; they hope for their kids to become emissaries of the Rebbe.”
The big question remains unanswered though: What happens to all of us whose futures do not involve becoming emissaries? The majority of students do not go on to become emissaries and lack even a basic formal education, and, hence, the brighter future the President refers to is difficult to reach. As I attempt to make up for a lack of education in anything other than the Bible and a language not relevant to the workplace, I have more and more questions about how such a harmfully unbalanced educational system still exists.
Four and half thousand people have become emissaries, a few people have managed to go on to college and a few Chabad schools do include formal non-religious curricula. Many people within the community of Crown Heights still rigorously defend Oholei Torah, excusing the failings of the school by pointing to the “many success stories.” Yet, they fail to notice the largest crowd, those of us who have been ignored, who miss and always will miss the basic education that the President extols.
In honor of National Education and Sharing Day, we should examine whether we are doing everything we can to equip our children for success. Failure to provide basic formal education cripples children within Chabad communities. We cannot ignore the harm done, and I refuse to remain silent. By opening discussion on education, we risk only improving the Chabad community and honoring the Rebbe’s humanitarian legacy as an advocate for youth.
On National Education and Sharing Day, I hope we all reach for a brighter future for everyone and strive for schools that cultivate not only character, compassion, cooperation and goodwill, but basic education and tools for success. As we celebrate Passover and overcoming the chains that held us back, I hope we reflect also on things things that keep us from personal freedom today.”
Orthodox Yeshivas Claim to Need STEM Funding To Hire STEM Teachers. But, They Do NOT Teach Their Students STEM Subjects.
STEM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. We are the first to advocate for, if not demand the teaching of STEM subjects to ALL schoolchildren. We believe that it is fundamentally neglectful that children are not raised on a core curricula including STEM subjects. But, dream as we may…
That advocacy is all for naught. Yeshivas do not teach their students science, technology, engineering and math. They do not allow their students on the internet (unless it is Kosher) and they do not by implication teach STEM subjects. They therefore should not be getting money geared toward the hiring of STEM teachers, when that money will inevitably and inherently not be used for that purpose. It is the same scam as e-rate, which was money intended to be used for computer equipment. It’s an oxymoron, Jumbo Shrimp – so-to-speak.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Thursday, February 10, 2020
Contact: Liza Dee, firstname.lastname@example.org |860.304.2294
YAFFED Statement on State Education Department’s Delay of New Private School Regulations
Today, the State Department of Education decided to seek another round of stakeholder feedback on regulations that govern the state’s oversight of private school education, including instruction at Orthodox Yeshivas. This adds yet another delay to what has already been an inexcusably long process. The following is a statement from Naftuli Moster, founder and executive director of Young Advocates for Fair Education (YAFFED):
“New York State already conducted an extensive public engagement process, met with stakeholders and visited Yeshivas. There is no longer any question tens of thousands of students are being denied a basic education required by law. A recent New York City DOE report found that 26 of 28 Yeshivas investigated are failing to meet the very minimum threshold of substantial equivalency. And it’s safe to say there are more out there. Every day we delay enforcement is another day children aren’t receiving the skills promised to them and their families.
“Earlier today, during the commemoration of Black History Month at the Board of Regents meeting, a Frederick Douglass quote was cited: ‘Some know the value of education by having it. I know its value by not having it.’ It’s astonishing to me, a Hasidic Yeshiva graduate, to hear those words at a Regents meeting surrounded by a dozen Yeshiva lobbyists who are trying to keep tens of thousands of children from receiving the education they are entitled to by law and are granted in our state constitution.”
From The Monte Scoop
Couple in Quebec Sue to Obtain for Others, What They Themselves Were Denied, an Education!
‘They aren’t seeking money. They want a declaratory judgment which, if they win, would force the province to take steps to ensure children who attend private religious schools are taught the provincial curriculum.
Yohanen Lowen, who first launched the legal action, alleges that, when he finished school at 18, he could barely add or subtract, couldn’t read and write in English or French and was left unequipped to find work outside his community.”