MAILBAG: Why Are We Giving Our Principals A Blank Check?

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To all parents of children in yeshivos and girls schools,

Like many of you, I am the father of children who attend yeshivos and Bais Yaakov schools in New York, and I have been shocked at the response – or rather – the lack of response – from parents.

I’m not here to argue about the use of Zoom for teaching or not – everyone has heard enough of that. But how it could it be that principals could tell me that they haven’t heard much from parents on the issue?!

In the past week, I’ve spoken to quite a few principals, some of whom allow the use of Zoom to teach, and some who are strongly against using it. After telling me their slew of reasons why they don’t allow it (the kids fool around on Zoom, they are learning well on the phone, school is starting on May 15th anyways (!!), most parents don’t have internet in the house, we don’t want the kids getting used to holding a tablet, etc.), I asked them what other parents have had to say about the matter.

And most of them told me that parents, for the most part, have not spoken up one way or another.

Really? Is this how we deal with our children’s chinuch – by being silent?

During this period of time, when we are getting an unprecedented look into our children’s chinuch – we should be speaking to principals regularly. Most of them give out their email – and you can always leave them an old fashioned voicemail for those few who don’t.

Let the prinicipals know what you feel – its your job to speak up. And yes – it does make a difference.

Don’t give them a blank check in how to be mechanech your children – which is your own job after all.

Yes, I want my children to be taught with Zoom. I see with the ones that are using the phone how little they are learning – if at all – while the ones on Zoom are doing well.

I know that if done right – Zoom can be used to create a permanent virtual school – as this interview with the principal of the Online Shluchim School shows (Full disclosure: I am the host of the show).

But whatever your opinion is – whether for or against, or whatever else is on your mind. Let your principals know. They might not always follow your suggestions, but they are most definitely listening.

Sincerely,

Aaron Parnes

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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3 COMMENTS

  1. There’s no question zoom classes are better than phone classes. This from a mother of both: I have children doing zoom and others doing teleconference learning. The zoom children are focused and are eager to join and happy when class is over where as the other children sit and plotz. I am nudging them on. There’s not much retention when a child has to learn this way. Every rabbi and morah must be encouraged to do it via zoom. My heart goes out to them because it is far from easy. They must be exhausted when their 90 minute session is over but the children are learning much better. The principals are working their tails of all throughout. The yeshivos and schools have really proven their dedication and commitment to our children’s chinuch in these unprecedented times. The waters were uncharted and they proved how dedicated and caring they are. May they be blessed with all Hashem’s blessings.

  2. I just don’t like the wording of the headline/punchline. WHY ARE WE GIVING OUR PRINCIPLES A BLANK CHECK!!!!!
    Umm, I hate to break it to you, but that’s what you sort of do when you enroll your child in a school. And, it’s not really a blank check. There’s a board. There’s rabbanim (hopefully.) You are always allowed and (sometimes) encouraged to voice your opinion to the staff and hanhallah of a school/yeshiva, but at the end of the day, it’s THEIR decision.
    If you don’t like it then join the board and make your own decisions. This is a crazy time for all and there is no cookie cutter answer. Your principle has to decide on an over all answer for all at once.
    It’s a thankless job and it’s not made any easier by loudmouthed opinions like yours that are aired on public forums. If you have an issue then either ignore the school curriculum (you are home and can make the decision you want) or speak privately to those in your school who do make the decisions.