Sep 11, 2009

having your cake and eating it too

There is a local public school run in the Chabad style, designed for Chabad families, that opened the school year with a strike. The parents are upset that the Ministry of Education appointed a principal that is not Chabad. They demand a Chabad principal and will not allow the school to open until they get one. the Ministry of Education has certain rules how it appoints principals and administrators, via tender and qualifications, and this guy won.

At first, this story didn't interest me. Their own school should be run the way the student body wants it - if it is Chabad, the principal should be Chabad. But I didn't really care - what does it have to do with me? they are fighting for a little more control of their own piece of the pie, and it is more or less not connected to anybody else.

And in humor I told people that it is not so bad that Chabad kids stay a home a few extra days while they work this out. All it means is a few days less of inculcating in these kids that the rebbe is mashiach. So no big deal that they are on strike.

Nothing really changed, and they are still on strike, and the story is still not that interesting, but now I started wondering about how this works.

This is a public school. Why do they get to run a public school as if it is private? They get the benefits of public school (free and whatever else), and still control it as if it were private.

That does not make sense. Why can't the school I send my kids to become a public school and still be run by the combination of the adminstrative staff and the parent body? Then we can have our private school with the benefits of being officially listed as public school.

if the Chabad people want to run the school and make their own decisions, and not be restricted to the rules and methods of the Ministry of Education, let them open a private schoollike everyone else.

Perhaps the MoE should have as part of its criteria in choosing administrators the consideration of worldview of the families that attend the school and look for someone within the same sector of society. It makes sense to me. But in the meantime, with the school being public and under the authority of the MoE, I see no reason why they should have the right to run it like a private school.

You want private education, open a private school like everyone else in the world does.


  1. Would that it were as simple as "private vs. public schools" here in Israel. There is no such thing as completely private school in Israel. Even chinuch Atzmai, where you probably send your kids and enjoy a principal that is from your sector, is 55% supported by the Government (Unofficially recognized schools, semi private, is 75% supported). Given your logic, you should go to the school now and demand that they give back that money to the government, because according to the law, your kids's schools are supposed to be teaching a core curriculum in exchange for that money, which I doubt they are.

    If up until now the school has had Chabad principals and all of the sudden they don't, I think they have a right to expect that the norm up until now would continue, especially if the MoE has given Chabad the right to run schools and kindergartens (my daughter just started a Chabad gan here and, no, they are not meshichist.)

  2. Whatever the case may be, the parents went to the Supreme Court, which ruled in favor of the school, that a Chabad school should have a Chabad principal. They are now having a michraz for a new principal, presumably from Chabad applicants.

    And yes, there are most definitely meshichist teachers in that school.

  3. Commenter Abbi,
    The funding formula is based on meeting certain MoE criteria. As log as a school is meeting the ministry requirements for their level of funding there is no reason to criticize the school.

    If you want to critize the formula than that is a different story. Ontario is the perfect example of stupid school funding.

  4. BBS- i have no idea whether that school is or isn't meshichist. I was speaking about my daughter's gan, which isn't meshichist.

  5. You have the story totally wrong. Misrad Hachinuch fired the current principal WITHOUT issuing a Michraz. The 'new principal' was kicked out of two other schools last year and they had to find him a job because he has tenure.

    The Supreme Court was fuming at Misrad HaChinuch for replacing a principal without a Michraz.

    In any case the Lubavitcher Rebbe Zatzal had an agreement going back 50 years with President Zalman Shazar that the Chabad schools in Israel will operate in Mamlachti Dati under the auspices of the Chabad school system in Israel, Reshet. Misrad Hachinuch's actions broke a status quo of 50 years.

  6. as I said, a chabad school should have a chabad principle.
    I was not aware of the history. why is chabad different that they get to run their own public schools within the ps system?
    about the cheders takign money yet running their own curriculu, I happen to agree with you that it is ridiculous that they get to take money and not follow the rules. But the government allows it and that is called politics. If the govt would one day change their mind, I would not support a strike - you want the money, follow the rules (for the most part - I am sure there are exceptions to things that cannot be dictated just because of some money given)

  7. Just like a dati-leumi school can insist on a dati menahel and not an MOE imposed Hiloni, so can Habad insist on a Habad menahel

  8. Shimon - why does chabad get to run their own schools within the PS system, and not have to run their own schools as private schools?

  9. Rafi,

    I really don't understand your point. Just like a Dati Leumi school should have a Dati Leumi principal, and a school specializing in the sciences should have a principal well-educated in the sciences, a Chabad school should have a Chabad principal. Do you expect the students to teach the principal Tanya and Chassidus, or is it the principal's job to lead the school?

    Chabad has no problem leaving the Memlachti Dati system if they are being forced out, but that is not the way of Chabad. Chabad is about making a dwelling place for Hashem living in this physical world, not living in a ghetto. The Supreme Court judges screamed at Misrad Hachinuch asking them why they are trying to throw out Chabad who are the only Chareidim in the Mamlachti Dati system.

  10. I don't understand your position Rafi. Ahavas Yisroel calls themselves Charedi Leumi and they have...Leumi staff and a Leumi manahel (and manahelet on the girls side).

    Two years ago Chabad in RBS had a weak principle. The parents worked with the MOE to follow procedure and replace him with someone better, which they did. The school made great strides and improvements in the past year as the new principle replaced many under-performing teachers.

    Just as things are getting decent, the MOE steps in and just fires the guy, replacing him with someone from a different community?

    Just plain weird.

    BTW, the school doesn't go way out of their way on the meshichist path, and under the new principle backed off significantly from such things. Yes some of the staff follows that path, but as a school position it's being de-emphasized.

    All in all, this was MOE protexia games and completely inappropriate. Replacing a principle who's improving a school for no reason?

  11. Rafi,
    Why should the Dati-Leumi tzibur be allowed to run their own schools within the PS system and not Habad?

  12. I have no position, and I have said I think 3 times already (too lazy to go back and count) that a chabad school should have a chabad principle. I don't understand why chabad gets to run a public school the way they want rather than the way the govt wants. that is all I said. in brief.

    Ahavas Yisrael - isn't that a private school? if yes, they can hire whomever they want to run it, and they don't have to answer to anybody other than the parent body. Are they public? I have no idea.

    and mosh - them being involved in this world doesn't cut it. yes, they generally are. but here they are running a public school for their own people. they are not attending a mixed public school with others. so they want to run a public school the way they want rather than the way the MoE wants.
    If the MoE agrees, then what do I care. But when the MoE doesnt agree, that is the reason everyone else makes private schools - because they dont want the MoE to dictate to them. Here, the Chabad want their own Public School and don't want the MoE to dictate. As long as they don't dictate all is hyunky dory. The problem with a Public ASchool is that you never really have the final word - the MoE does. Sometimes they will implement something not to the liking of the parents. The pitfalls of public school.

  13. Shimon - someone has to run the public school system. If the PS Torani system is attended mostly by DL, then it makes sense that the govt (MoE) would put the control of it in their hands.

    Again, I have no problem with them appointing a chabad principle. I do think that once that wasnt done the chabad people shouldnt really have much say. that is the negative aspect of using the public school system.

    if they can get the MoE to agree, great. But keeping kids home from school as part of this fight seems to me like if their demands are so strong and they want so much control of the school that the MoE should not have any say in how it is run, then maybe they need to switch to a private school rather than public.

    BTW, someone just told me the specific principle brought in has a history of hitting kids, which is why he was fired from other schools.
    If that is true, he should be out of the educational system entirely. this posrt was in no way a defense of him. I have no idea, nor do I care, who he is or anything about him,

  14. Rafi, it's fairly simple. Anyone who has an amuta can start a school that is part of MoE (MM"D or Mamlachti) as long as the school is prepared to follow the MoE guidlines and curriculum. The Amuta is allowed to add extra stuff and more hours at their own expense. BUt hte basics of math science, dikduk, english etc must match MoE curriculum standards. This is how many schools work - this is also the basis of the New Square public school that all the new square chasidim attend for free. The local "charedi" schools here in Israel don't want to follow the MoE curriculum in any way for political reasons and every macher wants to run his own place even if he doesn't have a college degree or a degree in edu. so they can't get recognition as an official MoE school.

  15. Rafi, Ahavat Yisrael is a Mamad with a special status, similiar to the Chabad school.
    What bothers folk in three different instances in RBS (once in Chabad, once in Ahavat Yisrael and once in Harel) is the fact that the Misrad HaChinuch and the Iriya are more intersted in filling positions based on their needs (jobs to long-standing people) rather than the needs of the school.
    US Public School are run an elected school board, which is not the case here.
    Why should people that want a school that hires based on the interest of their children be forced to send to private schools?

  16. I don't really understand much about how public schools work...
    This post was about that lack of understanding. I dont understand how the parents have a right to fight a MoE decision in a public school. Of course parents can fight any decision, but to go on strike because you don't like a decision I don't understand.

    yes, a good school would have the kids needs in mind and the parents would be involved. But in my mind, once the school is a public school, at the end of the day the MoE is the one with the final say. Sometimes you can get that changed, sometimes you just have to accept it.

    I guess I just dont understand how it works.

  17. Rafi,

    I don't get what you don't get. Taking your logic further, if you live in a certain country accept that the government of that country has the final say. Period. No strikes, no protests, etc. against decisions you disagree with in any realm.

    Something tells me this is not your position with regard to other areas of "rules" that those represented don't like. This is what civilized poeple in supposedly representative governments do to register their protest, and a good government will listen to the will of the people it purports to represent.

    I think your question really is, what is a chabad public school? why can't I start a chareidi public school? Not why do these people feel they have the right to protest.

  18. you always have a right to protest and oppose government policy that you don't like.
    Striking with kids is generally considered extreme and unacceptable. Keeping kids home from school, especially for so long, is pretty extreme.
    I would think such protest would usually be in the form of trying to use politics and connections to get this resolved, while sending the kids to school.

    of course they can try to get a decision changed.

    And you are right, as I asked, why do they have their own public school, and why can't anyone else just open one. dafneighbor pretty much answered that further up though.

    But still, you can protest all you want. what are you going to do though? protest forever? keep the kids home forever? at the end of the day it is a public school and the MoE has the final say.

  19. Even if Lubavitch made a deal with Shazar 50 years ago (and that's a big if), firstly Shazar (a President not a Prme Minister) had no right to make political deals, and secondly even if the supposed deal had the agreement of the government, it in no way binds future governments from making different and more sensible decisions.

    There is no way that Jewish tax money should be given to christological schismatics.

  20. Rafi,

    You got the title mixed up (common mistake). The expression is "eating your cake and having it too". It means that once you've eaten your cake, you no longer have it.

  21. the kids were never striking at home. the classes just took place in shuls during the 'strike'


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