There are approximately 1,000 chareidi children nationwide entering first grade that are in need of special education. According to Jerusalem City Hall, there are 90 special ed children supposed to enter the system this year but there are only two classrooms, each with a maximum of 12 slots. This leaves 42 children without a first grade slot in the special ed community and the Ministry of Education is not willing to open additional classes for these children.
The daily Yated Ne’eman reports that it is important to understand we are dealing with children who are in the system prior to first grade and have been tested and subsequently classified as requiring special education so this is not the issue at hand.
Parents have sent a letter demanding classroom space, which the law states they are entitled too. They question how dafka these children, those with unique needs are left out in the cold. The parents angrily inquire just how the ministry can claim it lacks the budget to address the natural growth of the chareidi population, which also includes children with special needs.
The Yahadut HaTorah faction in Knesset met to discuss a matter of pressing issues on Monday, 18 Menachem Av 5772, including this matter, deciding that the MKs will not compromise on this issue which is tantamount to abandoning these children. MK Rav Uri Maklev is quoted by Yated as saying “once again they strike out against the weakest sector, the special needs community… Cutting this funding is tantamount to losing the progress made with these children to date”.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)