Belgian haredim fight secular education

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A bitter struggle over the autonomy of Jewish education in the Belgian city of Antwerp led community activists to seek an injunction last Friday against the introduction of a secular core curriculum into haredi (ultra-Orthodox) schools.

 

Leaders of the city’s Yiddish-speaking haredi minority consider new regulations on home schooling to be a form of religious coercion, while educational authorities have cited higher-than-average poverty rates as the rationale for their reforms.

The parents of 1,269 pupils asked the city’s district court on October 4 to suspend a decree that the government of Belgium’s autonomous Flemish region issued in July, imposing the requirement.

The decree states that home-schooled students need to either pass state exams at the ages of 11 and 15, or be enrolled in public institutions.

Parents also are required to supply the government with detailed curricula.

Earlier this summer, the Flemish government issued decrees that would force both state-funded and private Jewish schools to teach mandatory curricula that include evolutionary biology, human reproduction and other subjects considered taboo.
 

Written By: Sam Sokol
continue to source article at jpost.com

24 COMMENTS

  1. Let me see here, they are allowed to school their children at home but when pressed to prove that they are actually doing it; they balk?

    Wow, where are the homeschool advocates that usually beat my ear on this site? This is the exact problem. PROOF.

    As an american educator, I am subject to scrutinization of my students test scores. In some places, the teacher PAY is influenced by the kids performance. These people can just say “NOPE, my kid is above all that, I do not have to prove myself…” BULLSHIT.

    • In reply to #2 by crookedshoes:

      Wow, where are the homeschool advocates that usually beat my ear on this site? This is the exact problem. PROOF.

      I know someone who recently decided to take on homeschooling their kid. I asked why and the father told me that they weren’t really down with having their son go the academic route. That’s what he said, the “academic route.” Until that experience, I didn’t know the body could function without a brain but there it was.

      Mike

      • In reply to #4 by Sample:

        Until that experience, I didn’t know the body could function without a brain but there it was.

        Relax… it’s just his brainstem talking. ;-)

        @OP: Put their feet to the fire!

        Steve

    • In reply to #2 by crookedshoes:

      Let me see here, they are allowed to school their children at home but when pressed to prove that they are actually doing it; they balk?

      Wow, where are the homeschool advocates that usually beat my ear on this site? This is the exact problem. PROOF.

      As an american educator, I am subject to scrutinization of my students test scores. In some places, the teacher PAY is influenced by the kids performance. These people can just say “NOPE, my kid is above all that, I do not have to prove myself…” BULLSHIT.

      Crookedshoes, big fan of your posts for a long time, however as an Australian teacher trying to fight teacher pay being linked to performance I feel obliged to comment on the negative effects this potentially has on student outcomes. Last thing we need is teachers unwilling to teach kids in difficult schools or learning support situations where much of your time is spend getting kids to be civilised and able to work together (because some parents won’t) before you can even begin to think about them showing improvement in standardised testing.

      As for home schooling I think in general you are right, in that most home schooling is done because they are trying to push an ideology on their students. Australia has vast distances with no cities or towns and massive cattle stations were we have school of the air for about 1hour per day and essentially home schooling after that. But students follow a state approved work program with resources and so forth, these kids do very well when they come in to Universities. Motivation seems to me to be key.

      Cheers

      • Hey Reckless,
        I could not agree more. The pay for performance looms large on the horizon here in Pennsylvania and has been adopted in other places as well. Under this system, a guidance counselor (they do the scheduling in our school) could have a problem with a specific teacher, and load their classes with kids who do nothing but underachieve. Then, that teacher, who may work harder than everyone else in he school will be paid less than every one else.

        So, my two children’s lives will be impacted negatively (less food, less recreational money, less for college, less, less, less) because OTHER parents aren’t raising their own kids the right way? What the fuck kind of system is that? Also, it begs me (as the teacher) to LOWER my standards, to falsify my results, and to promote kids who do not deserve to be promoted.

        In California, the state tied a $25,000 bonus to kids test scores. They then uncovered many teachers erasing kids answers and then replacing them with the correct answers….. (see the book Freakonomics for the details)…

        It stinks and you hit the nail on the head with your insight.

        In reply to #19 by Reckless Monkey:

        In reply to #2 by crookedshoes:

        Let me see here, they are allowed to school their children at home but when pressed to prove that they are actually doing it; they balk?

        Wow, where are the homeschool advocates that usually beat my ear on this site? This is the exact problem. PROOF.

        As an american…

        • In reply to #21 by crookedshoes:

          You see how that’s a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” scenario? It’s that way intentionally. There is a movement in America (and elsewhere) to end government-provided schooling and replace it with privatized job-training mills. The intent is to break public education so badly with “reform” that sounds effective until you look at it closely that they will be able to point at it and say “The government had its chance, and it failed! Privatization is the only way to save your kids!”

          Something’s gotta be done about that.

  2. If “home schooled” children cannot pass the same exams that everyone else does, then by definition they are not schooled.

    In that case the state has not only a right, but an obligation, to intervene.

  3. Its incredibly sad that these adult human beings blatantly fear to allow their children to have a broad, open education and mix with others outside of their community.

    They know that if their children are exposed to either of these things, they will begin to question what they are told about their religious beliefs. They must also know all too well that their religious beliefs have so little basis in fact that a child with a reasonable education could easily see right through them.

    Their answer? Lets not question why we believe things on such thin grounds – Lets just block out the real world so that we can perpetuate our belief system without question.

    How incredibly sad.

  4. The three ‘great’ monotheistic religions’ fundamentalists,all repudiating a secular education because they are shown up for what they are, insular and ignorant.

    Backwardness like this should not be tolerated.These people are doing their children a great injustice,crippling them,because of their worship of an imaginary deity.

  5. Next to organized religion, Diamonds and other expensive jewelry are the biggest waste of money on the planet. With the world economy being what it is, the only people who can now really afford useless ornamental tchotchkes are the ultra-rich, who these chasidim are simply not likely to come into contact with very often. Once they are seriously strapped for cash, perhaps then the emphasis on their education will begin to skew towards something useful like computer repair or auto mechanics. Hunger is a great motivator.

  6. That arrogant state won’t accept passing on ignorance as schooling, so is telling them their kids are entitled to an education (as measured by exams).
    Hence the outrage, that the kids won’t be as thick and ignorant as their parents. Think of the insult to their asserted “superiority”!

  7. Those bloody hats are as bad as the burqas. Both religions considers women as just breeding machines. A view I heartily disagree with !

    We are the chosen ones !

    Therefore people like me are beneath contempt. Thank you so much, have a nice day now !

  8. uptil I saw the bank draft which said $7850, I didn’t believe that…my… mom in-law truly bringing home money in there spare time from their computer.. there brothers friend has been doing this 4 less than 18 months and just paid the dept on there mini mansion and bourt a gorgeous Fiat Multipla. navigate to this site……….http://tiny.cc/f39s4w

    • In reply to #15 by jenni29451785:

      uptil I saw the bank draft which said $7850, I didn’t believe that…my… mom in-law truly bringing home money in there spare time from their computer.. there brothers friend has been doing this 4 less than 18 months and just paid the dept on there mini mansion and bourt a gorgeous Fiat Multipla. n…

      You appear to have posted similar comments on a number of threads. Apart from the fact that they make no sense at all, they seem to be suggesting some form of internet money making scheme? Hardly appropriate!

  9. This is actually a form of child abuse, though the children might not notice right away:

    To get by in Belgium you need French, Flemish and English. If these kids learn only Hebrew, they will be shut out of national life. Belgium is a high tech society who make food far too delicious for the national health.

    I don’t know how the parents are earning a living, perhaps horse shoeing. But those jobs will disappear. The kids will be as helpless as had they been retarded.

  10. “Why yes, the government wanting to make sure that we aren’t complete idiots and that our children are at the same level of other children who actually had an education is an affront to our religious freedom! Don’t we have the right to be idiots?!”

  11. This whole thing is about ‘in group’ identification keeping the loonies in the asylum lest they take a peek outside and realise the ‘out group’ have got a better deal. Education has to be similarly cloistered with proscribing books and the illegal messing around with regulated exam papers.

    Hard to fake acts of commitment can be pretty impressive, we should be glad that it is only confined to their head gear and hair and the rest is kept out of sight. If they go through a phase of having to go around all day proving they don’t have a foreskin then things could get really interesting.

  12. Perhaps someone with experience could share with those of us who don’t have it, exactly what happens when you home-school your kids. Do you have to register or something, or provide some sort of proof that you will do more than explain the difference between day & night ? Do you get to avoid education taxes ? Does anyone EVER check to see that something is being done ? Does anyone ever say “Hey, we had a kid registered in school last year from this address, and he did not appear in the next grade higher, in September ? Where did he go ?” Truancy, I remember it being called. Does that check stop after a certain age ? In Canada, the school is paid some fee by the government for each student who attends, I think.

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