Yeshiva World reports:
In line with the policies of Education Minister Rabbi Shai Piron, his director responsible for Chinuch Atzmai Schools, Meir Shimoni, is responsible to make certain all schools affiliated with the chareidi network are including core subjects in the curriculum in the upcoming school year. The new policies of the ministry will compel the schools to include math, science, English and other subjects in their curriculum.
Schools currently in the system today that are unwilling to comply with the new directive will be compelled to leave, as they will not be accepted by the ministry and they will no longer be eligible for the current level of funding. Officials in the Chinuch Atzmai system explain this will have disastrous results for students will drop from the current 75% funding to a mere 35%. Chinuch Atzmai CEO Rabbi Avraham Lazerson released the facts, explaining he is distressed over the new reality which will impact thousands of talmidim.
In an interview with the weekly BaKehilla, Rav Lazerson explains this is a continuation of the government’s blatant and unwanted interference in the chareidi education system nationwide.
Chinuch Atzmai schools are referred to as “recognized/unofficial” schools that receive state funding. When the individual schools submit their paperwork to renew their status and entitlement to funding, if they are not 100% in compliance with the new directive, they will not be accepted and lose most of their funding. The permits of all Chinuch Atzmai schools expired and every school will have to apply for eligibility once again, and those failing to comply with the new curriculum will be without the majority of the schools’ funding.
Shimoni explains he is simply enforcing a May 2013 cabinet decision. BaKehilla adds there is no such cabinet decision. There is however a decision by the current administration that state funding for schools will be commensurate with compliance with the state mandated curriculum.
Rabbi Shmuel Goldberg, who runs the Lev Simcha Talmid Torah in Ashdod, explains the current situation is “a tragedy”. He explains his talmid torah has 3,000 talmidim, the largest in Israel, and the loss of funding will have catastrophic results. The talmid torah employees over 100 staff members, questioning how he will find the lost millions in funding to keep the school running.
Rabbi Lazerson stressed that Gedolei Yisrael Shlita have insisted that Chinuch Atzmai remains independent of the state curriculum at any and all cost. He points out that in the past, even the most anti-religious education ministers never attempted to change the system’s curriculum, emphasizing the gezeiros of today are unprecedented.
Many if not most Chinuch Atzmai schools will not be impacted since the girls schools comply with the curriculum but some thirty schools will have to decide how they will act prior to the new school year getting underway. Rabbi Lazerson adds that for him it is clear, and schools clinging to the instructions of Gedolei Yisrael Shlita will not have an option. They will have to refuse to comply with the ministry directive and bear the consequences. He adds that it is likely that hundreds of teachers will have to be dismissed from the system.
In the large chassidic courts there is no question, for they will not even consider complying with the ministry’s directive. They will have to find the funding but they will never compromise and permit state intervention in the chinuch of their children.
The truth is that many haredi yeshivas even at the grammar school level fail to teach their students secular subjects like science, math, computer science, civics, history, English, Modern Hebrew grammar, etc.
This means that a haredi boy can attend 13 or 14 years of school, 'graduate,' and commonly be unequipped to hold even menial jobs in modern Israeli society. They're also so poorly educated, th efew that enlist in the IDF usually need special remedial education and training in order to qualify be able to apply to be trained for any IDF position except basic foot soldier.
But that doesn't mean these haredi students graduate with a high level of Jewish studies knowledge – many don't, as almost any social worker who deals with these communities will tell you. In these yeshivas, especially in the the hasidic ones, they learn by rote, and a surprising number are close to illiterate in Jewish studies.
Haredi rabbis insist that government continue to fund this poor education, even though it is bad for Israeli society, for the economy, and for the kids who are robbed of an actual education.
The government has long tried to find ways to get haredi schools to comply with the law that requires the country's core curriculum to be taught in all state-funded schools.
But for years, haredim have stalled, lied, rioted, and cheated their way out of every compromise. And that has to end.
Even now, the government offered these schools a graduated funding scheme and the ability to censor some of the core subjects. Schools that teach less than 100% of the core curriculum but over a certain percentage will still get some funding in a sliding scale that gets lower as compliance gets worse.
But even this compromise is too much for haredi rabbis who say they worry about decreasing the amount of Torah study but who really worry even more about what will happen when Mendel and Shloimie can actually function in secular Israeli society at a level high enough to allow them to go to college or technical school with ease.
Will the end of government funding for noncompliant haredi schools be a disaster financially for the haredi community?
Yes, of course it will.
But that looming disaster (haredi rabbis had many months warning) is a disaster created wholly by haredi rabbis, and if they insist that Mendel and Shloimie not learn math or chemistry or history or civics or the "evil" computers, then they'll have to find legal ways to make up the millions of dollars in funding their schools will lose.
No government should be paying for an education that is so totally deficient, it is essentially child abuse.