August 15, 2008 8:10 pm at 8:10 pm #588027
I met someone recently whom, I found out later, went to the same elementary school that I did. She looked like a regular goyish lady with multiple earrings and 100% untzinius clothing. During our conversation, she explained that she was orthodox at one point in her life, but during her elementary school years, her parents were divorced and they couldnt afford tuition so they sent all their children to public school. She said her brother went to a frum high school but look where her family ended up! We need to be more aware of what is happening in our schools and community! Why wasn’t this family offered a scholarship? Are scholarships only for “rebbe’s children”? Scholarships should be given to the ones who need it the most! Maybe if she didnt have to pay full price she would have been enrolled in the local beis yaakov. Maybe this is one reason why so many are going off the derech….August 18, 2008 6:34 pm at 6:34 pm #620898
There is no solution to the problem, Yeshivas will never have enough money and the breaks will never be enough for those who need them.
However, I would think Klei Kodesh (rebbes and Kollel) would be willing to sacrifice more to have a jewish education, and could do with less of a break. After all, if they are really desperate they could always go to work, and the fact that they are in Klei Kodesh shows they are willing to sacrifice for yiddishkeit. Those who are working (possibly both parents) and can’t make ends meet don’t have that luxury, and may be “more at risk” of going to public school. (principles of Triage, give the most help to the most at risk) (Please don’t jump on me for this, but it is the reality.)August 18, 2008 6:54 pm at 6:54 pm #620899
Your story of your childhood experience gives me a pang of pain and rage at the same time.
I was also subject to similar public humiliation tactics as a result of my parents financial stresses.
Yes. It is a problem. And we need to ask some painful questions:
1) Is such beahavior tolerable from an alleged mosod of Torah?
2) Have the pricinpals and admininstartors who try to combat tuiotion delenquincy by taking it out on the kids, asked a sheiloh of legitimate poskim before doing so?
Yes I understand that our yeshivos have a mammoth finiacial burden to deal with, but they are yeshivos, not utility companies.
What kind of Hashpaah do you think you have on a child when he is told that his holy status as one of klal yisrael’s “tinokos shel bais raban” is being temporarily supended becasue his parents are behind in their tuition.
I’ll tell you what kind of hashpaah it has. It is an episode of intensely painful embarrasment that stays with you even after you are a “reasonably” well-adjusted adult with a family and children of your own. It leaves you davening that your children will hopefully make it through the chinuch system without being subjected to the kind of nonsense that you were subjected to.
With that said, I will say, that IMHO, our yeshivos, teachers, and rebbeim, are by and large much more sensitive and caring than some of the disfunctional psychos who roamed the classrooms a generation ago.
May we all be matzlilach with our children.August 18, 2008 7:46 pm at 7:46 pm #620900
Gavra at work, what do you mean when you say that kollel and other klei kodesh could go to work? If you mean generating income, the other klei kodesh (like the rebbeim, e.g.) ARE working. That IS their hishtadlus.August 18, 2008 9:02 pm at 9:02 pm #620901
I have a strong feeling that the principal in most — if not all, of these cases wre acting on orders from “the board” or the bursar (money) office.August 19, 2008 1:28 pm at 1:28 pm #620902
How much does one make in Klei Kodesh?
Hishtadlus doesn’t work that you will make enough to pay full tuition if the job does not normally allow one to do so, except when the RBS”H makes a specific exception, which in that case playing LOTTO will do the same Hishtadlus. My point is that for Klei Kodesh either expenses could be cut or additional hishtadlus put in, so they have two choices, vs. the working family which only has one choice. Klei Kodesh are also expected to cut expenses, since they are willing to sacrifice more for Torah than in the case of the original letterwriter.
(If you have found a Klei Kodesh job that pays full tuition for a large family, please tell me so that I could become Gavra_in_Klei_Kodesh)August 19, 2008 1:29 pm at 1:29 pm #620903
I think that we need to “socialize” the Yeshiva system. And why not? Don’t we all have the same goals? It shouldn’t matter what municipality the school is located in, because we don’t get local funds. We get Yiddishe funds, which are “national” (with a long “a”). We should take advantage of this and employ economies of scale. A few highly qualified money managers can replace all the self-appointed (and largely untrained) money managers that exist in each individual yeshiva. They can get a decent salary and believe me, they would be worth it. Yeshivaleit fail to realize that Wall Street types are worth the money they get paid.
Administration, regulatory compliance, grant writing and other common requirements that a yeshiva has can be taken care of centrally by professionals (because it’s foolish to have these specialties taken care of by anyone who does not specialize), saving huge amounts of money. Yeshivos may even find that they have money to manage and that they can get ahead of their budget. Then maybe people would start thinking about handing over large endowments to Yeshivos, as has been suggested.August 19, 2008 1:36 pm at 1:36 pm #620904
Perhaps you are right about the principal acting on intructions for the bursar. Perhaps I can understand the bursar’s perspective. He is a financial officer not a mechanech. However, if the bursar has a “Rabbi” in front of his name (which I’m sure he does) how can he engage in such behavior? How can the principal be complicit in it?
If I were the principal, I would have said to the bursar, “Rabbi so and so, I understand that you would like the children of Mr. so and so rounded up like criminals and sent home. Please go round them up yourself, or have your assistant do it. I am not going to take part in being mevayesh these little neshomos over money.”August 19, 2008 8:37 pm at 8:37 pm #620905
“If I were the principal, I would have said to the bursar, “Rabbi so and so, I understand that you would like the children of Mr. so and so rounded up like criminals and sent home. Please go round them up yourself, or have your assistant do it. I am not going to take part in being mevayesh these little neshomos over money.””
Then the principal would lose his job. If no one was willing to do it, the school would close and no one would have a school. That may be better than embarassing a child, but the money must come from somewhere. Some chovos (electric, insurance, etc.)(teachers!) must be paid or the school will close. If this is a way to get the parents to take responsibility and raise the money (via a Tzedaka drive, possibly (as I have seen done)), this may be the only way.August 19, 2008 9:52 pm at 9:52 pm #620906
My parents split up when I was nine years old. Shortly after the split, my mother became frum, and my sibling and I did with her. I was enrolled in a yeshiva for the first two years but it became apparent that this wasn’t the right school for me (many Russian kids, of whom the vast majority were not frum). My mother had some difficulty finding a place for us, but she did find one.
In high school, my mother became disabled and could not work. My father would not provide the money for us to go to Yeshiva. Now, I despised my high school — it was clearly not the right school for me hashkafically — but this much credit I must give them — they kept me in the school for years without my mother paying one dime, because she was simply not able to. For that, I have hakaras hatov to them, despite my overall feelings about the school.
The WolfAugust 20, 2008 1:10 pm at 1:10 pm #620907
“Then the principal would lose his job. If no one was willing to do it, the school would close and no one would have a school. That may be better than embarassing a child, but the money must come from somewhere. Some chovos (electric, insurance, etc.)(teachers!) must be paid or the school will close. If this is a way to get the parents to take responsibility and raise the money (via a Tzedaka drive, possibly (as I have seen done)), this may be the only way.”
I realize that there comes a time when sensitivities come up against hard financial realities. If that were the case something would have to be done. However, speaking from personal experience I can tell you that I was subjected to these “embarasment tactics” on more than one occasion, and I assure you that the situiation was far from desparate and far from having exhausted all other avenues. When I was singled out, my parents had not been given any advance warning that this would take place. I suspect that Shindy’s family’s experience was similar. All I’m saying is that we are running Yeshivohs not loan sharking establishments.
And BTW, I doubt a principal would lose his/her job for, politely, expressing such a sentiment. Let the adminitrator’s office do their own dirty work.August 20, 2008 2:01 pm at 2:01 pm #620908
When I lived in a smaller Jewish community, I had 2 children in school. My husband & I were not earning much; I was earning a little more than him, & nearly all of my salary after paying for childcare for my 3 younger children was used to pay tuition. We also gave most of our maaser money to the school, adding up to 2 years of tuition. This ended when I lost my job after my boss found out I was expecting another baby.
My husband & I met with the school administrator to tell him I’d lost my job & would no longer be able to pay full tuition as we’d been paying. The executive director told me to “just find another job”. I told him that though I was trying, I was having some trouble, due to my husband’s long work hours & the fact that I visibly pregnant. He suggested that if we had more mesiras nefesh we’d manage to find the money anyways. Years before I’d given up my once-weekly cleaning help & a replacement shaitel in order to pay full tuition; by this point I’d resorted to feeding my children powdered milk instead of fresh. (Once it was clear that I wouldn’t find a job I removed my younger children from daycare & kept them home with me; we also qualified for WIC services, which allowed me to feed my children B”H). So I asked the administrator in what areas he expected me to economize so as to afford full tuition. His reply was that we weren’t trying hard enough.
A friend of ours, who was a pediatrician, told us that when she had enrolled her children in the same school years before, this administrator told her that he expected her to work additional shifts so she could pay extra money to the school in addition to full tuition for her two children.
The problem was that in this school about half of the students didn’t pay any tuition because they were children of kollel members, teachers, or administrators. Therefore the administration was forced to balance the school budget on the backs of those who were not klei kodesh. We never wanted anything for free, but after I lost my job we were earning much less than these klei kodesh & were simply unable to pay full tuition anymore. B”H eventually the administrator agreed to give us a discount; however, this humiliating treatment was one reason we decided to leave the community when my husband finished his training & found another job.August 21, 2008 5:51 pm at 5:51 pm #620909
anon for this,
That must have been a horrible experience. I hope this admin finds a heart or loses his job.August 21, 2008 9:59 pm at 9:59 pm #620910
He’s still there; I don’t know if his attitude has changed. But, B”H, we’re not there anymore. The most ironic part about my experience is that while I was working outside the home, many of those in the school community criticized me because I worked & was not a teacher, secretary, or nurse; however, those jobs did not suit me & would not have generated sufficient income to support my family. (For what it’s worth, I had a white-collar, respectable job).
This experience has taught me to be more tolerant of others & to truly appreciate the community I’m living in now.August 21, 2008 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm #620911
tvt: The parents should always be asked NICELY first why they aren’t meeting their chov to the school, and if they really can’t afford it (eg: loss of job) work it out after the school year is over. Obviously an araingment had been made at the beginning of the year or the student would not have been let in. Facts on the ground changing in the middle is not a reason to kick a child out in the middle of the year, as the child will not cost them any additional money to remain (since the spot is already taken). “Embarasment tactics” should only be used after asking a non-nogaih Rov, (from outside the community) and only in cases where there is no reason why the family stopped paying.
Anon: In your case, I would of considered home-schooling, since the school was obviously taking advantage of those who supported it.August 22, 2008 6:12 am at 6:12 am #620912
gavra_at_work, I briefly considered taking my kids out of school but felt that the socialization was important. Also, even though I am B”H well-educated I feel that I’m better equipped to supplement my kids education at home than provide all of it myself. There are lots of opportunities to reinforce their learning at home & I try to take advantage of these as well as I can.
When I lost my job my husband had only 16 months of training left, so I knew this situation would be of relatively brief duration, which made it easier to deal with. Also, after that first humiliating meeting, during which the administrator justified his behavior by saying “this is how the schools in ‘specific much-larger Jewish community’ collect tuition” I think he must have talked to some people in that particular community & found out that this wasn’t the case (I know someone who’s on the tuition committee in the main yeshiva k’tana in the community he named, & this person told me that this scenario would never have occurred there). In any case, during later meetings he seemed more understanding.
He never actually kicked our kids out of the school, & our children were not aware of what happened at the meeting. If he would’ve done that I probably would have home-schooled my children.August 22, 2008 4:24 pm at 4:24 pm #620913
“Embarasment tactics” should only be used after asking a non-nogaih Rov, (from outside the community) and only in cases where there is no reason why the family stopped paying.”
Just as a point of curiosity, I would love to know the name of any Rav who would be matir embarrasing the children under ANY circumstances involving the parents failure to pay tuition.
Have a Good Shabbos.August 22, 2008 7:40 pm at 7:40 pm #620914
I recently read in a local paper, some ideas that can be done to group the schools purchases together which would lower the overhead, which would mean lower tutition. However with all of the different schools and board of directors out there it is not likely that this will happen nay time soon. It is a reall shame that we are too blame for our own demiseAugust 25, 2008 2:01 pm at 2:01 pm #620915
Hope you are right, but Lakol Zman Veis. (possibly if the children are showing off their wealth).
I know some kids who are home-schooled and are very social, but you see there are those who are not, so it depends on the child. Good for you that you decided that your children’s needs was the major consideration.August 29, 2008 9:07 pm at 9:07 pm #620916
just to add a point about embarrassement, what about the child (or in this case girl ) who is hurt because no school will take them . It’s not about money but due to politics and the fact that their parents are not as Yeshivish as the rest. If a student has a good record for good middos and modesty , has a good work ethic and would like to go to such a school, what right do they have to deny her an education? Plus being on the blacklist since no schools are taking her at this late of date, imagine how she feels watching all her friends buy thier uniforms and books while she is waiting…and waiting to see if she has any school to go to.
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