2010-11-05 / Columnists

Point of View

“The Rabbi’s Personal Column” Rabbi Allan Blaine Temple Beth-El, Rockaway Park
The Mayor and the Chancellor of Education of New York have been battling the Teacher’s Union for years over the quality of education. Our youth apparently do not match up to the European system and the level of absenteeism and of lack of literacy is troubling.

Are Charter Schools the answer? Are they democratic? Are our teachers the most qualified? Are we training them to be the “cream of the crop” in math and science? Are parents fulfilling their responsibilities? Schools should not be “in loco parentis.” Are the Teacher’s Unions responsive to the crisis? Does society show respect for their children’s educators? Is the environment of the school one of learning and mutual respect and not drugs, violence or policing. Is the teacher’s task to give students the skills to make up their own minds and express their point of view based on knowledge and experience?

Bill Gates, the billionaire, recently spoke before an audience at a high school about eleven things that they did not and will not learn in school. He talks about how feel-good politically correct teachings create a generation of kids with no concept of reality and how this concept sets them up for failure in the real world.
Rule 1 – Life is not fair – get used to it!
Rule 2 – The world doesn’t care about your self-esteem. The world
will expect you to accomplish something before you feel
good about yourself.
Rule 3 – You will not make $60,000 a year right out of high school.
You won’t be a vice-president with a car phone until you
earn both.
Rule 4 – If you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get a boss.
Rule 5 – Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your
Grandparents had a different word for burger flipping: they
called it opportunity.
Rule 6 – If you mess up, it’s not your parents’ fault, so don’t whine
about your mistakes, learn from them.
Rule 7 – Before you were born, your parents weren’t as boring as they
are now. They got that way from paying your bills, cleaning
your clothes and listening to you talk about how cool you
thought you were. So before you save the rain forest from
the parasites of your parent’s generation, try delousing the
closet in your own room.
Rule 8 – Your school may have done away with winners and losers,
but life has not. In some schools, they have abolished failing
grades and they’ll give you as many times as you want to get
the right answer. This doesn’t bear the slightest resemblance
to anything in real life.
Rule 9 – Life is not divided into semesters. You don’t get summers
off and very few employers are interested in helping you find
yourself. Do that on your own time.
Rule 10 – Television is not real life. In real life people actually have
to leave the coffee shop and go to jobs.
Rule 11 – Be nice to nerds. Chances are you’ll end up working with
If you can read this…thank a teacher! If you can read this
in English…thank a soldier!!

The Jewish view of educating children is expressed over thousands of years in one simple aphorism. Talmud D’Tora Kneged Kulam. Of all the great things we can do for ourselves, for our people, for our country or for society keep in mind the one important vital thing: “LEARNING IS PARAMOUNT FOR SUCCESS IN LIFE.”


This monthly column continues with thanks to an anonymous donor.

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