Special Education Services in Yeshivos Issues?

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    Y.W. Editor

    The following was not written by YWN, but received via email from a reader:

    Attention all Yidden in New York City:

    There is a major effort being undertaken these days in NYC which will affect our children. This effort is below the radar, and most of us will wake up one day to find out that our children have been undercut by our Mosdos and by Agudas Yisroel.

    There is a national company called Catapult Learning which is slowly taking over the special education in our Yeshivos and Bais Yaakovs. One by one, schools are being pressured into agreeing to accept this company as the sole provider of special services to our kinderlach. The problem is that this company is known nationally for extremely underpaying their teachers.

    What this means for our teachers: A special ed teacher who until now was getting $50-$60 an hour will now get $15-$20 an hour.

    What this means for our kinderlach: The best teachers will simply leave the Yeshivos and Bais Yaakovs and work in the public school system. Our kinderlach will be left with second class teachers who cannot get jobs elsewhere. Our kinderlach will be the big losers.

    Guys, this is serious. Ask any special ed teacher from Lakewood. Catapult Learning has taken over special ed in Lakewood, and all special ed teachers in Lakewood now receive $15-$20 per hour. We KNOW that Catapult has told prospective teachers in Brooklyn that they will receive $15-$20 per hour.

    Many principals are aware of this, and are trying hard to resist the pressure from Agudas Yisroel. However most principals are not aware of the consequences of this decision. Please notify the principals of what may happen if this company will be allowed to monopolize Jewish education in NYC the way they did in Lakewood.

    Spread the word! Call principals! Call NYC BOARD OF ED!

    Most of all, call Agudah at 212-797-9000 x328 and tell them to keep Catapult Learning out of NYC!


    think 613-how does Catapult Learning pressure your institution to accept their program? Who is in charge of their program? Is it possible to legally fight and challenge them?


    Bait and switch? Offer high salaries to flood the field with people trained in special ed and then pull the carpet out from under them? Sounds possible. I mean, $50-$60 an hour is not the highest salary I’ve heard for special ed teachers but even that is quite high (if you compare it to what most jobs with equal amount of training pay – I don’t want to offend the myriads of B”Y girls and their husbands).

    $15 is ridiculously low, but supply and demand will enable them to get away with it, at least for a while. In the long term though, it’s dumb because no new teachers will go into the field. But there’s obviously a budget behind this agenda.


    The problem is that it sounds like this Catapult is trying to get monopoly control and force their will on the teachers. What happens when some bureaucrat decides to forward a specific agenda through these teachers?


    As far as I know, Catapult learning doesn’t do anything to pressure people into using their program. They don’t have to. The reason why yeshivas will go for it is because it enables them to control the program.

    Currently, with the exception of a few schools testing out the Catapult system, schools that accept the Department of Ed services have to receive them on the DOE’s terms. This means that the teachers work the same hours and days as the public schools, and they are hired by the Department of Education. Privatizing the services benefits yeshivas by enabling them to: a. Hire the teachers they want (presumably frum ones, men for the yeshivas and women for the BYs) b. Get the services at the times they want (e.g., not having students pulled out during limudei kodesh) c. Follow the calendar they want (observing Jewish holidays and providing services through government holidays)

    If not for the pay situation, this could be a boon to teachers as well. Frum certified teachers could work in a frum environment and get vacations at all the right times (in public education, you have to take days off for Succos and others unless they happen to fall on a weekend)

    It’s a disgrace that highly qualified teachers are being offered just a bit more than minimum wage. Becoming a certified teacher takes long, hard work, and it’s not a cheap process either. In the Department of Education, we could get $50k per year plus benefits such as health insurance for the whole family and leveled bonuses. However, if the special ed related services industry becomes privatized, there will be MUCH fewer DOE jobs available. (They are already not too easy to get; this would probably cut the demand in the DOE by about half)

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