Haredi Schools Heavily Censor Textbooks, Many Males Graduate Illiterate
"Textbooks from UTA acquired by DNAinfo.com New York show the heavy hand of censorship — in addition to pages of text being blacked out, full-length trousers were added to a cartoon bear to protect the animal's modesty."
DNAifo's series on the deficiencies of the haredi education system in New York State continues today with a look at the education haredi girls receive.
As most of us know, haredi girls get a much better secular education than haredi boys do, and DNAinfo's report shows this to be true.
The report also touches on the issue of censorship of the material taught in secular studies classes or placed in these schools' 'libraries' for students to read:
Textbooks, when available, are heavily censored.
…“Any reference to anything they don’t feel comfortable with they will just take out of books. Our reading books — forget about history books, the reading books were stripped,” said David, a Belz Yeshiva parent who asked DNAinfo.com New York to withhold his last name to protect his children.
“They blacked it out, took pages out. They had government books that the government gave, but even those books were stripped,” David said.
The practice is not limited to Belz Yeshiva.
Textbooks from UTA acquired by DNAinfo.com New York show the heavy hand of censorship — in addition to pages of text being blacked out, full-length trousers were added to a cartoon bear to protect the animal's modesty.
"They will censor anything that’s not tznius [modest] — pants, short sleeves, elbows, necklines, stuff like that they’ll censor," said Faye Turnheim of Williamsburg, a former teacher at UTA's girls school. "There was one head censor, and they would all get a printout of what the head censor has already done — on page 67 censor these words, on page 68 these words, cut out these pages."…
The report also makes it clear that many male haredi yeshiva students, even though they were born and raised in New York State, do not read, write or speak English – even though they are supposedly being educated in schools that pass city and state muster. But those schools do not pass muster and state and city officials know it and have essentially been covering this up for years rather than fight the powerful haredi bloc vote that will certainly be used against elected officials who challenge this form of what can only be called haredi child abuse.
Read it all here.
…“In my yeshiva and many others, you wake up around six to go learn Judaic studies, you pray, eat breakfast, more Judaic studies, lunch, more Judaic studies, dinner, and then more Judaic studies and then you go home,” said Naftuli Moster, 26, a native of Borough Park and the founder of YAFFED, a Jewish organization dedicated to improving the quality of secular education in New York yeshivas.
“Boys are in yeshiva from 6:30 a.m. until 8:30 p.m. and they don’t learn a single word of English.”…
“The only reason I was able to communicate in English somewhat when I was growing up was because my sisters were talking English to themselves and to my mother,” Moster said. “I think this is the single most destructive thing that happened to us, the fact that we don’t speak English.”
The Department of Education is responsible for making sure the yeshivas offer quality schooling.
“If a child attends a nonpublic school or is being educated at home, the board of education of the school district in which the child resides must be assured that the child is receiving instruction which is substantially equivalent to that provided in the public schools,” said state DOE spokeswoman Antonia Valentine.
But when asked to comment for this series of stories, spokeswoman Marge Feinberg said only, "We were notified of a situation last year regarding requirements. As a result, we engaged in the process outlined by NY State."
It was left unclear what the "situation" was and which school it involved.…