Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Take a few moments tonight and tomorrow to mourn for our school system, because it's terminally ill.

There are probably upwards of 100 UO and Chereidi schools that have not paid their teachers in months, some not for the last couple of years - yes, years. It doesn't take a PhD in rocket science to see this can't last forever. This group of teachers, fed up, quietly complained to the state wage and labour board, apparently. We should support their courage, because they will no doubt be reviled as "informers" for the heinous crime of wanting the Torah upheld. You know, the Torah that says it is against God's will - a SIN, class! - to withhold people's wages from them? That Torah.
Salaries unpaid at academy in Marlboro
By Alesha Williams Boyd • FREEHOLD BUREAU • July 28, 2009

...Staff members have filed a complaint with the state Department of Labor about the school's failure to pay them at least two months' salaries.

...the state "has the right to go in and inspect (a business') books, and we try to get the wages back for the employee" if a business is in violation of labor laws.

Comments on this story at VIN and conversations with others at Orthonomics and other Jewish webpages reveal that some schools have not paid their teachers for all of last year and some schools have not paid for two years or longer. The practice appears to be widespread and growing - including other fields, as we recently discussed.

But a person can't go forever without being paid. Having tried in vain to get school boards and principals to listen to them and enforce Torah, teachers have little recourse but to finally appeal to the State to enforce employment laws instead.

The end result will be the collapse of these schools. There simply is no money available anywhere to pay these teachers what they are owed - not even to pay them their current salaries, in most of these cases.

The Chereidi/UO school system is on the brink of collapse, and we should mourn for the lost opportunities of both the teachers, the parents, and the students. We should mourn for the money that was wasted already and for the students who received little to no academic education.

The Temple was the center of Jewish life in Eretz Israel, and the schools (however inadequate) have been the cornerstone of many communities. As more and more schools fail, the leaders and parents will be faced with a similar problem as the Yavneh Sanhedrin after the destruction of the Temple in 70 CE - what do we do now? How do we educate now? What new system can we build from the ruins of the old one?

Mourn, class, because the Chereidi and UO leaders are incapable of answering these questions. They have built their house of cards and have no other foundation to work with. And the children will suffer for it, as usual.


SJ said...

ROFL doesn't perkei avot say that it's wrong to benefit monetarily from torah? XD

Ahavah Gayle said...

Yes, it does say that.

I think that probably refers more to Rabbis and shuls than to teaching school-children. After all, it does say "you shall teach them to your chilren," and we can infer that hiring somebody to do so is also permitted (after all, not all parents would know everything themselves).

For Rabbis and other shul officials, I'm rather in favor of the the xian teachings - they should get a day job, not be moochers off the congregation, LOL.

As for the administrative positions in schools, they are clearly used as nepotism, the people in them are often if not mostly unqualified, and are generally overpaid (according to what I hear). I can't see how it should take more than 4 or 5 people to administer a school, since 5 of us (two part time) administer our whole Federation plus Family Services. There are way too many people who are not teachers employed by the dayschools, in my opinion. (In Japanese k-12 schools the kids even do the cleaning themselves at the end of every day.)

American kids would faint.