You can read a very good defense of this HERE.
Education: Prepared for What?
That’s their purpose.
And yes, until Mashiach comes, there will always be resentful alumni who feel that the frum system held them back and forced them to work harder to catch up with their secular counterparts and, in general, caused them a great deal of unhappiness and frustration. Some even say it was like growing up in a cult.
Likewise, until Mashiach comes, there will also always be Jews like me who feel that a non-Torah (whether assimilated, Christian, Conservative, or Reform) upbringing held us back (and caused us to make extremely harmful decisions that can never be taken back), and forced us to work harder to catch up with our frummer counterparts and, in general, caused us a great deal of unhappiness and frustration. Some (like me) even say it was like growing up in a cult.
Some people start on a higher floor than others. Many people feel they got a wonky start to life.
Hashem gives everyone the challenges they need to grow in the way best for their neshamah and to complete certain tikkunim.
That’s no comfort to those who don’t accept the idea of a Wholly Omnipotent All-Knowing & All-Compassionate Creator or the idea of the exalted human soul, but this is nonetheless the Truth, whether people choose to believe it or not.
So that’s Argument #1.
Why Target Davka the Torah Education?
Throughout Jewish history, you find that Jew-haters specifically leech onto the idea that the Jew must be absolutely perfect at all times. Everyone else’s sins can be forgiven, but not the Jew’s—especially the sins of the Torah Jew.
And no matter how bestial and evil the acts of anyone else, and no matter how light and less the mistakes of the Torah Jew, everyone else’s brutal deeds are ignored and the relatively light lackings of the Torah Jews are spotlighted and magnified.
This is done on a national level with the world against the State of Israel and this is done on an individual level or a group level. This is done by non-Jews and also by self-hating Jews.
And it’s a historical pattern.
So I actually learned skills that I still use now, like spelling, reading, printing, cursive, memorized multiplication tables, proper sentence structure, geography, the names and locations of capital cities, and so on.
But after sixth grade, I’m not sure I learned much. The most educational lesson I remember from junior and high school graduation is from an English teacher (whom I really disliked) who emphasized the importance of varied sentence openings and avoiding passive voice in writing. That’s good advice that I still utilize today.
And that’s basically it.
The junior high I attended drew a crowd from neighborhoods that didn’t take school or decent behavior seriously.
I remember water balloon fights in the back of the classroom during a math lesson and a seventh-grade boy who regular came to school drunk by 8 in the morning. One girl had to deal with growing up as the biracial daughter of a white unwed mother, which was still unusual at that time in that place. (It actually took me a year to realize that she was biracial and the result of an out-of-wedlock pregnancy, and no one ever said anything to her about either issue—I only figured it out because of her extreme self-consciousness about it.) Another girl confided in a teacher that her stepfather had thrown all her clothes into the fire place—while there was a fire going. And yet another boasted that she’d chased her mother around the house with a knife.
It was also the first time I realized that nothing really horrible happened if you didn’t do your homework.
Due to peer pressure (the long-haired punks actually jeered at you out loud in front of everyone if you handed in your homework), a math class that started the year with almost everyone (except 2 students) handing in their homework saw only 3 or 4 students handing in their homework by spring.
Most of the teachers were also older and experienced, but struggled to teach uninterested kids from dysfunctional families. The long-haired, neglected youth wearing heavy metal T-shirts were a far cry from the more clean-cut student body these teachers had started out with in the Fifties & Sixties. And when they were actually allowed to teach, they did quite a good job.
Another problem with some older teachers is that age brings its own challenges.
Your friends and family members start dying. Both you and them suffer health problems and decreased energy. One English teacher constantly looked like he was on the verge of tears throughout the 2 years I attended. One day, his students decided to open the drawer of his desk. They found a best-selling non-fiction book of indecency and a six-pack of beer. That teacher later died of AIDS.
Perhaps if their students & surrounding culture had been halfway decent, the teachers would have been able to set their personal problems aside and focus just on teaching. But everything together was too overwhelming.
The art teacher exploded every so often and stated outright that he wished he could just quit already, but was waiting out the next couple of years until retirement so as not to decrease his pension.
High school was better than junior high, but not of the same quality as elementary school.
And this increasing failure of schools to teach is endemic throughout America.
And she tells them: “I know you see me as being mean and unfair. I know that it seems especially unfair because I’m not even your English professor, so why am I making a big deal about your writing when your English professor doesn’t even do that? I know that you’ve never had a teacher or professor do this to you before—and that’s exactly why I do it. I’m afraid that if I don’t teach you how to write, no one will. All I’m doing is teaching you what your teachers should have taught you already. I’m afraid you’ll graduate college without ever learning how to write.”
Yeah, this professor officially teaches the history of ancient Greece & Rome, but she needs to teach her students English composition too because no one else has and no one else will.
But who cares about the entire country? Let’s only go after the yeshivah schools for not having an up-to-par secular curriculum!
The thing is that private schools do teach certain basics like English and math better than public schools, but they mix in a lot of garbage too. Many are highly politicized. For example, students will graduate with the conviction that evolutionary theory is absolutely true and that man-made global warming is not only completely true, but one of the most pressing problems facing mankind today (AND that it can be reversed).
And many private-school students also come out with poor middot and values. Society doesn’t care, especially since mainstream media and entertainment adore these poor values and middot. But it’s still a problem whether you recognize it or not.
One such problem is that the faculty for private schools and schools for the gifted condition their students into an elitist mentality.
This mentality makes for a very poor work ethic. Why? Because these people feel entitled to high-paying high-level jobs while doing the very minimum required of their position. To their mind, anything beyond the bare minimum is for peons and therefore, they dump all the rest onto their overworked underlings.
(If you look at struggling or failed institutions and businesses, you’ll see that this is often the underlying dynamic.)
I didn’t say that all products of such schooling behave this way. There are some stunning exceptions. But many do possess this elitist real-work-is-for-peons mentality.
- A school system that does not teach proper fundamentals (while emphasizing social mores and unproven theories)
- An elitist-entitlement mentality that discourages a healthy work ethic
But hey, let’s ignore all that and go after the less than 1%!
So the point is that the secular curriculum among frum schools is the least of America’s problems within its educational system
Yet they’re targeting the frum school system.
And we know what that really means.
Jewish Education in Crisis—Leave Our Yeshivos Alone. Period.
Jewish Education in Crisis – A Torah Perspective
Could You Pass the 8th-Grade Exam of 1895?
The Decline of American Education
Creating a Victim Mentality: A How-To Guide