Sunday, October 21, 2012

Education, Education, Education

I would say that the most important issue facing Israel today is that lack of education. Secular schools are not teaching Judaism and "ultra-orthodox" schools are not teaching the basic secular subjects needed to get a job in today's market. Both of these are absolutely necessary for the survival of Israel, whether as a secular-Jewish state or as a religious-Jewish state.

Secular Jews need to understand why they are here, what the importance of the country is to them as integral members of the Jewish people and what our historical and religious connection is to the place. They need to respect that the basis for the Jewish people in the land of Israel is based on the Torah and religious doctrine. Whether they choose to follow the laws or not, they need to be educated to respect this basic foundation.

"Ultra-orthodox" Jews need to understand that learning all day is not a profession. The kolel system is a modern invention that had its place in the early 1900s, when the landscape of Torah scholars was barren after the holocaust. It was never intended to become the norm, whereby people live there lives on tzedaka. If it is considered education, so that people can become teachers, it must be set up as an education track, which will get people in and out the door as fast as possible, earning a living. The Torah, mishna and gemara are full of warnings as to what will happen if you spend your life studying Torah and do not earn a living as well. In order to get a job to support your family, which is the basic obligation of the husband and father of a family, you must learn basic secular subjects.

Given a choice of any ministerial position, I would suggest taking the Education portfolio. We don't have to change the secular into Orthodox or the "ultra-orthodox" into secular, but we do need to give the next generation the tools to ensure the survival of Israel as a Jewish country.


traintalk said...

My vote is for outlier education.

No, I don't mean out-and-out liars (we tried that for too long already...)- I mean recognizing those who, for whatever the reason, deserve recognition - and not for their level of education but for what they have to offer and/or what they are capable of delivering.

The trick is finding them and getting them up and in there.

This is the interesting thing about politics or, for that matter, any other secular or religious framework - who "floats" to the top and why?

But the even more interesting thing is that among those who float to the top - who "delivers" product?

Not the majority, that's for sure. Even where the mobility is totally due to values of meritocracy meaning best grades and most degrees. And not even where the mobility is mostly high ranking or charismatic army or shabak officers.

Education is a human right. Even an existential right if you listen to our President. And it should be free, at least the first university degree. Why not secondary and tertiary degrees too? Why hold back a person with talent or skill who can or wants to develop further?

Let's face it, though - excellence is not a matter of education or of stature.

If the problem with workers is their employers, then the problem with citizens is their country.

We are the country so let's start by being good citizens. Sometimes that means calling a "club" a "club" (like the Queen of Clubs?)- and doing something to fix that.

I'm trying to be politically correct, so whoever gets it gets it. (And I'm not sure which is worse...color or ethnic or social or family or political or academic or other "club" favoritism.)

Can we level the field beyond all that and do something together?

That would mean - for one thing - one school track for all.

Not Education, Education, Education - one for each track.

One track.

For instance.

rockofgalilee said...

I'm not sure I agree. I think recognizing things for their potential has the side effect of giving nobel peace prizes to people who think they would like to do go stuff. Case in fact.
If the people who were getting the free 2nd degree actually are of the elite they should be able to prov it in the free market system and then be able to afford the education. I don't know that a society holds back its people as much as the people themselves hold it back.

As you said, "excellence is not a matter of education or of stature"

One track for school means teaching everyone the same way even if their excellence can only be found in other methodologies. his would be going back to the brick schoolhouse where all the classes learn in the same room and the school master is busy rapping all the boys on their knuckles with her ruler.

I will keep foraging towards educationx3