In Israel, people are paid based on the level of education they aquire. This means two people doing the same job and performing at the same exact level will be paid differently if one has a B.A. degree and the other does not. Haredi schools that get government money follow (at least on the books) this regulation, and haredi teachers without B.A. degrees in education or related fields get paid less.
A few years ago, programs were opened that catered to haredim seeking education degrees, and many haredim, mostly women enrolled. This year, haredi leaders, led by Rabbi Yosef shalom Elyashiv, banned women (or men) from attending these programs and from getting college degrees. They also shut down the Beis Yaakov school system, putting thousands of girls on the street, as way of forcing the government to change its regulations and pay haredi teachers a higher salary, even though they lack credentials.
The government used to allow haredim with a "B.A. equivalent" to be paid the same as a teacher in other school systems with a real B.A. But this was not enough for Rabbi Elyashiv. Why? Because he wanted to keep haredi women away fom higher education. And so, we now have this:
…Until now, teachers with an academic degree earned higher salaries. The Education Ministry had long granted the same salary increase to Haredi teachers who had a "bachelor's equivalent," but now, even this will not be necessary: All graduates of Haredi seminaries will be paid as if they had a bachelor's, as long as they teach only in Haredi schools.
The ministry also canceled the rule that instructors in Haredi teachers' seminaries must have an academic degree. Instead, instructors will now be required only to have "expertise" in their subject.
To be deemed "experts," they will need to have teaching experience in their field and take 720 hours of supplementary classes.
Of these supplemental classes, however, 180 hours can be devoted to Jewish subjects rather than whatever field the instructor is actually teaching.
In addition, all the supplemental classes will be taught by Haredim, and the Rabbinical Education Council will have to approve the curricula.
The agreement followed months of negotiations that began after leading Haredi rabbis shut down the Beit Ya'akov chain of teachers' seminaries for two months and forced it to cancel its academic degree programs, dismiss some of the staff and accept rabbinic supervision of its curricula.
That move elicited a storm of criticism from independent Haredi newspapers, but has now essentially been ratified by the Education Ministry.…
In other words, a haredi "science teacher" will take one or two semesters of science classes taught by other haredim with a ciriculum censored by the haredi rabbinic leadership. This is like having Rev. Jerry Falwell's followers write, teach and supervise the science education of public school science teachers. And all of this is being done by Ehud Olmert, who is busy trying to ensure haredi participation in his coalition so it can survive the anticipated withdrawal of the Labor Party after its new election results are finalized. Here is how Olmert's government tries to spin this disgraceful issue:
…Sarah Ziv, who heads the ministry's teacher training department, insisted that the changes were merely "semantic."
"An academic degree is a red flag for the rabbis," she said. "But our flexibility [on this issue] is a semantic matter; it is not very substantive. The requirement is that every lecturer have an appropriate education; the issue of the degree doesn't matter that much." …
But the deal is not done yet. Why? Haredim want more. What do they want? This:
…The only issue still under negotiation is certification for guidance counselors.
Thus far, the ministry has refused to waive its demand that counselors take psychology courses and study issues such as prostitution, alcohol and drug abuse among teens.
Yup. Just want you want. "Guidance counselors" with no knowledge of psychology or alcohol and drug abuse.
Rather than foster positive change in haredi society, the policies of successive Israeli governments generally promote the most regressive elements with haredi culture. This is disasterous for both haredim and the people of Israel.
Haredi poverty continues to deepen and widen as haredi men still largely refuse to work. Haredi leaders encourage separation from wider society even in things benign. Haredim neither fight to defend the country or do social service to make up for that deficiency. Even in times of war, haredim sit on the sidelines, content to let others less regreeive fight and die to protect them. secular and non-haredi religious Jews pay for haredi slothfullness with their cash and their blood.
I do not believe Israeli society cannot continue to function this way for much longer. Something must be done to change the status quo. Do you have any thoughts on this? Readers?