SEE IT: Parent of Kiryas Joel Yeshiva Student Goes on TV to Claim 5th Grade Son is Illiterate, Can’t Do Math

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Illustration photo of classroom

The following is via News12:

A parent of an Orthodox yeshiva student in Orange County is alleging the school isn’t teaching basic studies like math and English, even though it’s now required by the state.

The Hasidic father asked that his identity be concealed in a News 12 exclusive about the private school system in the ultra-Orthodox community of Palm Tree, formerly known as Kiryas Joel.

The man says his 11-year-old son goes to Yeshiva Sheri Torah on Larkin Drive in Monroe and claims the fifth-grader barely knows the alphabet, doesn’t speak English and can only add and subtract single-digit numbers.

New state Education Department guidelines require that private schools provide an education equivalent to a public school and teach subjects like math, science, English and social studies.

The father claims the yeshiva isn’t. He says when he asked about it, he was told to stop or else his son will be removed from school.

“No one can talk too much because the office of the yeshiva have the power to do what they want,” he says.

READ MORE: NEWS 12

YWN NOTES: The News12 report made an error when they mentioned that “Just last month, the community’s grand rabbi instructed followers to ignore the new guidelines, threatening to “wage war” against the state”. The Rebbe that delivered that speech was the Rebbe of Kiryas Yoel (R’ Aron Teitelbaum), and this school reportedly belongs to another Hasidic sect.

(YWN World Headquarters – NYC)




41 COMMENTS

  1. Whose fault it that your son is illiterate in English? If your son can read and write in Yiddish then he doesn’t have a language problem. Therefore you the parents are at fault. Language is learned by using it. A child who hears and speaks Yidish 24/7 will not learn English in the 6-8 hours a week of secular studies. Its your fault so stop blaming the yeshivos. Start talking English at home. There are some chasidishe kids that can speak English that is usually because there is some English spoken at home to the girls, or there is a non yiddish speaking neighbor. As far as math it has been my experience that math is a very strong point for chasidishe kids. If this child has a math “problem” then the problem is the child not the school.

  2. If he can read neither Hebrew nor Yiddish, and he has spent perhaps seven years in cheder, the child is probably somewhat intellectually challenged and will probably be unable to accomplish much in academic life regardless of what school he attends. If he is “up to grade level” in Torah studies, he is already bi-lingual, and is doing some academic studies (using ancient and medieval texts in the original language) that would almost never be taught in New York’s school before advanced undergraduate or graduate school.

    “Good students” in a cheder should be able to pick up functional literacy in English with minimal difficulty once they learn the alphabet. As people who need to work in many languages will tell you, once you learn your first one or two, picking up working knowledge of additional languages is less challenging. In fact the large number of former-cheder student who are able to function suggests this is normal (okay, it help that the public schools produce many functional illiterates, and the increasing use of “devices” may make this even more common).

    Poor students however may be a problem we haven’t been addressing. In our tradition a student with difficulty with academics will be encouraged to keep trying since “inclusion” is a well established Jewish tradition.

  3. Does it matter? If his plan is to be nisparness min hatzibbur he can have his wife fill out the welfare forms in english, and use a calculator if he needs to multiply large numbers.

  4. These mafioso school admins must be dismantled at once.
    Unfortunately this parent is not alone in this fight. It’s just a matter of time till the feds come in and show who’s boss.
    Message to be parent:
    Don’t be intimated and don’t give up the fight. !הצלחה רבה

  5. Fool! You live in Kiryas Yoel, you expect to get a college education?? You are free to live where you wish but don’t complain about the lifestyle there!

  6. Cut your nose to spite your face.

    If your kid can’t read TEACH HIM how to read. Lazy parents!!!! …but why would he if he could spend some time talking to a !@#$ female TV reporter instead?

    … is anyone forcing you to send to this yeshiva? You want a yeshiva with an upstanding secular education, move out of KJ OR START YOUR OWN YESHIVA instead of resorting to shooting yourself in the leg…

    Don’t you realize that at age 11 your son knows more gemara and has more intellectual understanding than any basic 11 year old technology zombied public school kid??

    Shame on you, mooser for losing sight on what really matters in yidishkeit.

  7. Reminds me of the anti-vax parents who sued Chabad in the NY courts to force them to let him into the school because they had “religious objections” to vaccinations, while the school had a strict vaccination policy – no vax, no entry.

    It’s a real winning argument to claim religious exemption and then sue the very school that represents that religion….

  8. This story has a Bad Smell. It seems to be A False Allegation and does’n’t make any common sense.
    I am sure that this “Undercover Parent” is a NOT A PARENT OF THIS SCHOOL. I say so for many reasons.
    1) I have 7 Grand-children attending this school and they all Study English and Math. All of them can talk and understand English.
    2) This School on Larkin Dr. (as shown on the Picture) is NOT the Main School in the Village of K.J. it was created by a Group of Parents who had formed the group and chosen to create the School and choose the style of the school Studies. They like the way the school program is set. No Parent in this school are forced to keep their children in this school. Every Parent or Student who doesn’t like the way the school runs, have a free choice to take the kids to the MAIN UTA SCHOOL which is the Main School of K.J.

    I suggest that the School Take a Lawyer to investigate the NEWS 12 and crack down the person who made this claim and file a Lawsuit against him.

  9. It is a parents choice where to send their child to school.

    If you don’t like what a school has to offer, switch to a different school.

    Surely there must be better ways to to address your grievances than to publicly stab a moised in the back…!

  10. Neither can many other low income residents of NYC, whether legal or otherwise. If they support liberal candidates they can receive handouts while doing absolutely nothing. So this kid is no different.

  11. this is not that complex to solve. just administer a standard battery of math and reading comprehension tests to children in various grades and publicize the results. compare various religious schools with various public schools in different communities

  12. If he belongs to the Willie part of the Satmar organization and lives in the KJ section and sends his child to the Willie faction school, there is a red flag already! Why he would bring it out to the media instead of handling it with the administration, that too indicates something is awry! Shame on him for handling it the way he did!

  13. Undoubtedly there may be schools lacking in the studies of secular subjects, literacy and numeracy instruction. That being said here is a child who for 6 years (apx) has made almost zero progress in these areas. But I must question why it took so long for the parents to recognize their childs lack of progress. Perhaps he has a learning disability or delays of some sort. Did his morah’s ever mention delays? Did his teachers? Was he ever professionally evaluated for delays? And what the heck have his parents been doing? Did they not read him stories in English? Keep him busy with age appropriate worksheets or games that reinforce English literacy and numeracy? For children growing up in homes where English is not their first language, English immersion is one of the keys for success. Pair that with active participation by parents and teachers children can be English literate in less than two years. (Provided these deficiencies are addressed at an early age.)

    FWIW I think there is more going on here than just an education deficit in secular language and numeracy studies. I wonder too if the English language teachers in this school are trained in teaching ESL.

  14. I honestly don’t understand why people are skeptical about this article. Have you ever spoken with a 10 year old full-on chossid from KJ, Monsey, or Williamsburg? They don’t speak English. Period. I don’t know what their reading or mathematics levels are like, but if it’s anything like their speaking or writing it’s probably close to a pre-school level for a Yeshivish school with full secular curriculum.

  15. The article did NOT say illiterate in English – the article say “illiterate”. If he can’t read Yiddish, or Hebrew, at that point, it suggests a serious problem unrelated to the school curriculum.

  16. STUPID parent will usually produce stupid children!!!
    The parent in this case is clearly stupid! Besides being a Moser, which carries terrible penalties with it, he also showed his total disregard for his child. If he is so concerned, why didn’t he send his child to a better school???

  17. To those blaming the parents for not teaching the kids English, most parents don’t have five hours a day to teach their kids a basic curriculum. That’s what school is for. And it sure isn’t mesira. People throw that word around a lot without knowing what it means. The school is breaking the law and harming the children and refuses to stop. The parents have no choice but to tell the government what’s going on.

  18. This stupid parent should find a school that teaches what he wants! Btw what school is this ?? I wasn’t aware there are other schools besides Satmer in Kiryas Yoel??

  19. Is he the only child in his class with such a severe deficit? If so, then this boy has a learning disability, which is not the fault of the school, and can be dealt with on a one-to- one basis. If the whole class is severely deficient in acquired scholastic skills, then the father probably would do well to transfer him to a different school, but don’t masser the school to the goyishe authorities. That is a path straight to gehenom.

  20. Yeserbius 123. I don’t think anyone suggest parents spend 5 hours a day teaching a child core curriculum. But they should be able to give the child 30 minutes a day of reading. Read them a story that is age appropriate, point out words, buy a See and Say practice writing with them. Have them count the number of eggs you need for a challah recipe, slices in a pie, divide or multiply recipes.

  21. The guy who went on TV in the above story, (with the TV reporterette keeping him anonymous by not showing his face and disguising his voice), turns out to be a YAFFED prankster non-frum non-Yeshiva parent who pretended to be from KJ.

  22. Yseribus: Your view of mesira, like your view of Halacha in general, is based on the Conservative movements so-called interpretation of Halacha, not that of Torah Judaism.

  23. Schools do not teach their students how to speak or understand the English language. They start off by teaching kids how to read and then how to write properly. The only schools that teach the actual English language are those in heavily immigrant communities so English is taught as a 2nd language. So the whole idea that schools are responsible to teach American born children basic English is something this parent made up.

  24. “Just last month, the community’s grand rabbi instructed followers to ignore the new guidelines, threatening to “wage war” against the state”
    like the muslims wage war on the western enemy?

  25. To MamashAshocker:
    Don’t call an 11 year old kid a “rotton apple” for his failure to acquire reading and math skills. If this story is true, blame the school administrators and the parents who failed this child. Its not the kid’s fault.

  26. 1. Why send your son/kids to a school which barely teaches English ( provided that we believe his side) if he wants his child to get more secular education? Many Chassidishe mosdos teach more English. Nobody is forcing him to send his child to that particular school, or even to live in Monroe.

    2. Today most Chassidishe chadarim provide a very basic secular education, teaching basic math and English. If you want your kids to know more, or schooling in cheidar is not effective then get frum children’s magazines in the English language of which there are plenty of today. Get English books, especially novels, that you approve of, that your son can read. In yeshiva there’s no time for reading but boys have still have the time when they are in cheidar.

    In worked for me. We are a Yiddish speaking household and my sons who are top learners in yeshiva, know English well, although they do speak with an accent after going through years in yeshiva without brushing up on their English language skills. But they write and speak English fluently only because they read English books and magazines until they entered Yeshiva.

    Although I am a proponent of not only chedarim, but also Yeshivas teaching a basic secular education consisting of basic math and English language skills, if you send your kids to a place that doesn’t do that, it is your own choice. Maybe you can complain to the hanhala, you can even get parents together to try to put pressure on those in charge of the school to teach at least basic English, but certainly nobody has any no right to be a Moser and run to the secular media or the government. There’s a special place in gehenim for these people.

  27. This story is bull from its first sentence: First of all i have 3 kids at that school and they all have great marks in English studies. They know how to Calculate,read english , and the know that Albany is the capital of New York.
    I agree that they dont get the same education like a Torah Vodath child therefor i hire private tutors to help them the extras i want them to excell in english.
    They learn many yiddishe subjects that require alot of math calculations and they can anytime compete with any Goy who lears in Monroe-Woodbury school system. Yes maybe they cant play basketball or soccer but give the a Rock and watch how far they can aim.(lol)
    This guy on TV is either a phony fraud or just a jew hater

  28. SATMAR ON LARKIN DOESNT HAVE LIKE THE UTA CHEIDER ENGLISH FOR LIKE AN HOUR OR HALF HOUR AFTER YIDDISH STUDIES THEY GO HOME

    I UNDERSTAND THAT FATHER IS TRYING TO SAY THEY DONT TEACH THIS MINIMUM ENGLISH THAT ANY CHEIDER DOES

  29. These types of schools are pushing the wrong buttons mostly in the eyes of the government.
    If they keep it up, I can assure you that it won’t be a pretty picture for the yidden.
    Just remember, a child should be getting an education which would allow him to sustain himself as he/she grows older.
    If you don’t speak the american English language like a normal American,(assuming you are born and bred in america), he/she is bound to have issues later on.
    As far as spelling and math, that goes for any language and culture.
    Due your due diligence and g-d will help.

  30. To Gadolhadorah:
    I never comment on here. I find most of the comments dumb and just full of inner emotional bias. I only made myself a username because whenever I do read the comments you dont fail to show what lack of intelligence you have. I assume you are privileged to have the title “Gadolhadorah” either due to your big mouth or plus size clothing; neither of which are what to brag about!