MAILBAG: Letter Sent to Yeshiva Parents Offers Fake Report Card Option for Kids

(Friday, January 15th, 2016 11:19 AM)

rcDear YWN,

A letter has been circulating from a Yeshiva in Long Island.

It states the importance of not discouraging a child and thereby offers parents the option to solicit a fake report card for their children to see in case they would like them to see a more encouraging report card.

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This is the second year in a row this letter has been sent out.

I am curious what your readers think.

Do children need to be shielded from their own poor performance or is it important for them to know how they are doing so they can improve if need be?

Read the letter below:


January 8, 2016

Dear Parents,

Enclosed you will find your son’s report card for the first semester. Please not that report cards are only one indication of how your son is doing. After you review is carefully, feel free to contact your son’s Rebbe, teacher or the administration to discuss any of your concerns.

This report are is an opportunity to praise your son for his areas of strength, encourage him to keep up his fine efforts and to improve any areas of weakness, We are especially proud of our students who were recognized for their fine behavior.

Since our goal is to share accurate information with the parents, and not to discourage or hurt a student, great discretion must be used before allowing your child to view his report card, Certainly, report cards should not be seen by students without parental permission and guidance. If after reviewing the enclosed report card, you would like us to develop a second version of this report card for your son with higher grades, please call Mrs. [NAME REMOVED] t extension 1003.

Looking forward to continued Nachas from our children,


NOTE: The views expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of YWN


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  1. kako says:

    So wrong…

  2. Rockaway Resident says:

    “I am curious what your readers think.

    Do children need to be shielded from their own poor performance or is it important for them to know how they are doing so they can improve if need be?”

    It depends on the child. That’s what the letter said.

  3. thatsnotateacher says:

    This is a sad excuse for a school. I firmly believe the teacher and school that allows this to happen does not support or hire teachers that are knowledgable and should be called educators. A teacher needs to learn many methods of reaching her students in the broader classroom. If she/he cannot, they should not be there and allow this to even happen. Most children are not auditory or visual learners — use alternative and other teaching styles to help those that are struggling. Or if you cannot, learn how to or reach out for assistance for those children.

    Additionally, this will only foster a fake sense of self, especially as the child WILL find out later in life. No one is ever perfect.

  4. crazykanoiy says:

    Ridiculous nonsense. How will such a child ever be able to accept criticsmm from a boss or expect to function normally with the many disappointments and challenges that life throws us. Children don’t need to be codlled and shielded from the results of there own actions.

  5. Moshe1994 says:

    This is a classic Liberal idea.

  6. Bramo says:

    firstly in the letter on the top of the page there is a name i think that the whole picture of the letter should be taken off.
    now the only reason i see not to give it to the kids is because they might change the marks or maybe never give it to their parents but i dont think thats the case by most kids.Most kids knoww how they perform and they wont be surprised by their marks so why hide it from them and to get it changed and make it look better is even worse because then they know something is up

  7. ivory says:

    Might mean that they can give them an opportunity to retake some tests etc to raise their grades .

  8. smartest guy says:

    at the left of the letter of second paragraph (Photo) there still a partial of a staff members name PLEASE REMOVE!

  9. appleface says:

    שקר ALWAYS comes back to HAUNT!!!

  10. thinkingclearly says:

    I don’t know if it is a good idea or a bad idea, but I bet the administrators spent months thinking about it while the “expert” posters spent as much time as it took to log in. Maybe give it a week’s though, speak with educators then come back and post. This is not a social media type discussion. It belongs as a discussion with educators.

  11. YudelF says:

    YWN took this out of context. Nowhere does letter say they will offer fake report card. Instead it says to contact school if you want a new version- however that request might not necessarily be honored. Very possibly the school will only revise for a good argument- and often there are good arguments to raise the grade in a truthful manner (for example a child new to USA that is doing well considering his/her situation).

  12. apushatayid says:

    Clearly this person has a bone to pick with this yeshiva and has nothing in mind except getting reactions from people. If he has no kids in the school it’s not his business and if he does he obviously disagrees with their approach to chinuch and should switch his kids to another school. Why facilitate this malcontent and the bad mouthing he is looking to generate.

  13. shazam says:

    I don’t think chanoch l’na’ar al pi darko includes shekker.

    This could mess up a lot of children.

  14. interjection says:

    It’s absolutely ridiculous. The kid knows what grades he earned. When he sees the report card he’ll be confused to see that it doesn’t match up with his marks. If they think it’s traumatic for a kid to see a bad grade will they make it that these kids never get to find out how they scored on tests or reports? If they feel that the kids should be shielded from knowing their bad marks then maybe they should create a better learning structure so the kids with a harder time learning will be able to succeed. This way the students will hopefully score better in the first place.

  15. Softwords says:

    Clearly this school does not seek Rabbinical advice from Gedolim. I’d pull my kids out immediately!

  16. BarryLS1 says:

    The only ones being fooled is themselves. A child knows exactly how they’re doing. So exactly what are they learning from this?

    Whitewashing things prevents a child from either working harder or accepting additional help, if needed.

  17. differentshoes says:

    One should not judge this school without proper knowledge of the school and the community and parent body it serves. No one has the right to pass judgement on a delicate subject pertaining to anyone other than themselves. To state that this is wrong without knowing the situation is simply foolish gossip. In my opinion this article has no place on a public forum and should be removed.

  18. bahby says:

    It is NEVER a good idea to lie to your child. When he becomes aware that you lied to him, he will never trust or believe you again! Tell it like it is, and help him figure out what he needs to do to improve.

  19. brooklynhocker says:

    Pure Loshon Hora. It’s none of the readers right to comment. If you are a parent of this Yeshivah you already know why they do what they do and it’s not for the public opinion to decide right or wrong. There are a lot of things posted here on Yeshivah World that I don’t agree with but I don’t ask your opinion.

  20. jessica says:

    Shame on yeshivaworld for providing a forum for loshon hara against a Yeshiva that teaches Torah to our children and unlike many other institutions has an administration and staff that work tirelessly to ensure academic success in all areas while preserving the self esteem of the boys. It’s very easy to criticize and take things out of context. With so many tragedies in k’ llal Yisrael you would think we had something better to do with our time.

  21. someone with an opinion says:

    As a Rebbe I feel compelled to reply to this criticism. Would I criticize my electrician or accountant without being trained? Where do these know-it-alls (particularly arrogant commenter #3) have the gall to comment in a field where they have no training or real life experience? NO, having your own children doesn’t rate.
    This yeshiva is reversing a shameful trend of false reporting. What justification is there for sending an inflated report card to begin with? All the negative comments should be addressed toward that liberal policy. The one yeshiva which only offered it as a POSSIBLE alternative when the situation calls for it is the last yeshiva that should be criticized! How dare Rabbeim hide the truth from the parents. (Why are these “hiders” better than Bernie Madoff? One Rebbe after another tells the parents “all is well” until the boy can’t get into a decent mesivta because the boy wasn’t really doing well. Now, in Eighth Grade it’s almost too late to do something about it. Bernie Madoff also made people think their money was safe and doing well, until it was too late.)
    Regarding #3, trying to reach every student is what yeshivos are all about. That’s what they have resource rooms for. But if every kid gets a good report card, why should parents ever “stigmatize” their child. Kudos to this wonderful Yeshiva for their courage in changing an unfortunate status qou!

  22. Kleegshaft says:

    I strongly believe in teaching children the different types of smartness there is out there (common sense, street smart, emotional intelligence…), it’s not all about being book smart!!!

    IMHO, it’s so vain to teach them that it’s all about getting a top report card.

    My parents always made a big deal out of “the other side of the report card” Effort, Midos, Derech Eretz, Responsibility…

    You can flunk Science, History…and be a successful adult.

    I know, because I was that kind of kid.

  23. really pashut says:

    They should also say it actually occurred 4 times in 5 years – and grades moved from like 55 to 64, to make a kid feel like he’s close to passing with just a little more effort. Truth is that anyone with a scanner can do it on their own. This is a lot of noise about NOTHING.

  24. Bentzy18 says:

    So the moral of the story is that if you don’t like a particular concept or aspect of your Yeshiva then it is OK to tarnish the reputation of the school for your kid and everyone else who attends in a forum that will reach millions. (I’m not kidding about Millions because this letter has reached other blogs that have not been so nice to block out the name of the school and the staff). I’m not saying that I agree with the motivation of the letter but clearly the damage that has occurred as result of this “sharing” is far worse. You don’t like the letter then make a phone call, call for a meeting, even switch schools if you feel the need but to create such a chillul Hashem is nothing to take lightly. We as a nation need to distance ourselves from such discussions and not add hate or anger to an already bad situation.

  25. ravzev says:

    The blogosphere has gone crazy condemning the school for what appeared to be a flagrant disregard for reality. Most seem to comment that if the child didn’t deserve the “developed” grade, the school was complicit in sending the wrong message to its students. In essence, the school seemed to be saying that “No problem; you don’t like THESE grades, then how ‘bout we show you a different set of grades over here!”

    Most condemned the school for sending the message that mommy and daddy can fix whatever you can’t seem to get right. Others said that the school was not allowing kids to learn to deal with failure. And on and on…some had positive things to say and others merely let loose with a caustic litany of words and phrases that was pure Sinat Chinam. Cries of Chilul Hashem and raising the flag of dissension for others to salute was cause for alarm and caused me to pause as I watched these things stream by on my news-feed.

    I also felt I wanted to put in my two cents (or 50 agorot!). And then, I read a letter of rebuttal and reply from the school that made me stop. Below, I reprint the entire letter. But first a couple of points: I DO NOT BELIEVE a child should EVER base his or her self-image on grades. As I have said for over 16 years, I wish we could teach without having to give grades. However, grades are indeed a necessary evil. As such, they need to be dealt with by schools and in some cases some schools have a novel approach in that arena.

    I do not endorse what this school does. However, PLEASE read their background and explanation, and do not take just that one sentence from their letter out of context.

    While there are NUMEROUS opinions about this letter, about this approach and about what this school should/should not do, there is one thing that we ALL can agree on: We do not need to fan the flames of Sinat Chinam any more than they have already been fanned. This letter, which in my humble opinion should never have been sent out to the general public, has caused undo harm to many people and beyond that has caused immeasurable damage to us as a people. Sinat Chinam, as we know, was the cause of the destruction of the Second Bet HaMikdash.

    Do we really need to take action that continues to prevent the Third Bet HaMikdash from being built?
    Yeshiva Ketana of Long Island

    Although in general it is prudent not to respond to public displays (or any form) of foolishness or folly, the recent flurry of interest in Yeshiva Ketana of Long Island’s (“YKLI”) report card letter has generated such obscene reaction that I feel compelled to reply.
    Unfortunately, many schools do not grade report cards honestly, thereby generating a false positive for talmidim that could prove to have devastating consequences in High School / Mesivta. To address this false-positive grading issue, YKLI’s administration made a conscious decision to report to parents “honest grades” and true, transparent progress of their son. We feel it is the right of every parent to know the truth, and the responsibility of our school to tell. Although parents were surprised the first year to see a contrast in their son’s grades compared to previous years, the overwhelming majority were very pleased and comforted by the fact that YKLI was rolling up its sleeve to address weaknesses in a child’s study rather than sweep them under the rug.
    In transitioning to this system of full disclosure, we recognize that for certain children – who are trying hard to accomplish at their level – honest academic grades could be demoralizing and frustrate a student’s resolve to keep trying harder. We therefore offered an option to the parents to present an “inflated” report card to be used as a tool of positive reinforcement in addressing their children’s emotional and psychological needs, all while working with their partner, YKLI, in addressing the child’s continuing weaknesses.
    Indeed, some children would be forever discouraged to see zero progress or result from their very hard work purely because the grade-point average mathematically prohibits the Yeshiva from doing so. For those parents who have used this tool, they have seen resounding affects from both a learning perspective as well as an emotional and psychological standpoint. (You’d be surprised how much self confidence factors into studying and test-taking skills.)
    All who are familiar with the inner workings of our school are aware of the unusual amount of time dedicated by our teachers and staff to address the needs of EVERY student. Truth be told, last year, with 300 students receiving 3 report cards over the year (total of 900 report cards), only five were sent for special cases, only after extensive consultation between the parent and their partner, the Yeshiva. Yeshiva Ketana is very proud of its educational and chinuch system, and would encourage other schools to follow our lead. (Perhaps the silver lining from this fiasco is that more parents will demand the truth and more schools will begin honest reporting).
    To find out that our Yeshiva is being cast as NOT reporting honest grades is absurd and preposterous! The exact opposite is the truth. This entire incident highlights the clear dangers of social media and the many irresponsible contributors to this menace. It is shameful that this clear and self-explanatory letter was taken out of context (many actually admitted that they did not read the entire letter, only the underlined part) without its anonymous critics availing himself or herself of any background information or knowledge of the dedication of our outstanding staff.
    The perpetrators used this letter for no other reason other than to embarrass and humiliate the Yeshiva. It furthered no other fathomable purpose. Imagine when just spoken “words” between employees, spouses or friends are posted with no context or clarity! I could not be more pleased or proud of our dedicated staff and committed parents! Our emphasis on excellence in education is a model for all. Pay no attention to the screams of the misinformed. We have nothing to be ashamed of, other than a member of our community who would post our letters and CREATE such an impression.
    Wishing you all a wonderful Shabbos!
    Rabbi Tzvi Krigsman
    Yeshiva Ketana of Long Island
    321 Doughty Blvd
    Inwood NY

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