Wednesday, December 31, 2008

What is a Degree Worth?--part #2

Let me repeat the comment that formed the basis for part #1 of this posting.

"Let's keep in mind that today a B.A. is totally worthless. IMHO it is great that these girls can speedily finish their B.A.'s and get on to their Masters."


What follows will be commentary on the second part of the comment: " IMHO it is great that these girls can speedily finish their B.A.'s and get on to their Masters." The comment was made in reference to the one-year B.A. programs that have proliferated in the frum community, particularly for girls, and particularly in the fields of special education and the various therapy fields--yes, you are reading that correctly: one-year programs. Many of these programs are completed as a shana bet year in an Israeli seminary; some are particular to the US. And in some cases it takes a mere one to two years to earn both the B.A. and the M.A.

So let's look at the words "worth" and "worthless" defined as having value because something is useful. The jobs in the US that pay the most, that are the most prestigious, require a college degree at minimum; many also require a graduate degree. In that sense it is quite useful for the girls in the condensed programs to get their B.A.s and M.A.s as quickly as possible; the sooner they are degreed, the sooner they can begin working. But working where?

Many of the condensed degrees are in limudei kodesh. The others are mostly in the field of education, psychology and the therapy fields. Where are the holders of these degrees applying for jobs, for the most part? In yeshivas and in special programs geared towards yeshiva students. A few, particularly those with psych or therapy degrees, will become independent contractors, in general targeting the frum community as their customer base. Why?

One reason is that they want to "stay in the fold" while working, thus avoiding what they see as the problems in the secular work world. But when they stay in the frum world they are negating some of the benefits of having gotten a B.A. and an M.A.. In general, yeshivas do not pay salaries at as high a rate as is available in the public school system. The further right you go, the lower the salary. Many of these yeshivas do not offer benefits such as health insurance and 403Bs. So what have the holders of these degrees actually purchased for themselves? What is the value/usefulness of their condensed degrees? The value is lower than that of the "regular" degrees; their degrees cannot be/aren't used to purchase jobs at the highest levels of salary and benefits. Yes, yeshivas might pay them a bit more than those girls who come to teach straight out of one year of seminary (or none), but they are not on par with those who work in the secular world.

But what about the yeshivas more to the left, the "very MO" yeshivas and day schools? This from a principal of one of those schools: "We have enough applicants to teach in our school that we can pick from the very best. Everyone teaching in our secular studies department has at least a B.A. and from a recognized college. We don't take the graduates of the diploma mills."

But what about those who aren't going into teaching but who got degrees in psych and the therapies? At a faculty meeting last week this very topic came up, as the diploma mills are representing "competition" for the college I am teaching in. Those who teach in my department are a mix of public school/yeshiva teachers, department chairs, administrators, and those who are only teaching on the college level. They have broad exposure to the systems that would employ those girls with the psych and therapy degrees. First, the public schools won't take them; the degrees aren't "good enough." Second, many yeshiva parents, particularly those with children who legitimately require the services of a psychologist or therapist, are refusing to allow their children to be treated by the "professionals" that come out of the diploma mills. Many of these same parents were in favor of such programs until there was suddenly a link between those programs and their children's needs for treatment. These parents want the best for their children, and they aren't applying "best" to the diploma mill graduates.

Third, regarding the therapy graduates, a call to the head of therapy at SI University Hospital brought the information that for state licencing in any of the therapies a student must have gone through a recognized program of clinical internship as part of their studies. They only accept students from recognized schools that are fully accredited by accreditation associations they trust and which provide the type of education and training they believe are necessary for someone to be a competent therapist. This past year they had two interns from Touro; they have had others in the past. They have never taken in anyone from any of the overseas diploma mills, nor from the in-town diploma mills.

So, the usefulness of the diploma mill diplomas is limited. If the holders of such degrees want to roost in the frummer schools, they may find a job. After all, why would such yeshivas want to pay full price for a better credentialed teacher/psychologist/therapist when they can get one for cheaper? If they have the intention of taking their degrees out into the general working world they are going to find themselves in competition with others whose diplomas are valued higher. Years ago when I needed short term speech therapy for one of my children I interviewed a few different therapists. The first thing I asked about was their degree and their ASHA certification. Why would I have wanted to take a chance on someone whose training was not the best? I don't use a witch doctor to treat any physical maladies my family has; why would I settle for the equivalent when it comes to education/psychology or any type of therapy?

There are all kinds of costs involved in getting college degrees and in using them. Yes, a diploma from a diploma mill may cost less initially, but they are never going to earn as much for the holders as the "better" diplomas do. "Cost less" now may translate into "earn less" later. In addition, "cost less" also translates into "know less," and what is the value in that?

Just a thought: aside from the costs involved in going to college for a longer time, why would there be such a push to have girls in particular get through their higher education at such a fast pace? It should be obvious--those girls getting the "speed" degrees are going to be in the shidduch parsha either during or immediately after getting the degrees. Delaying looking for a shidduch is an absolute no-no. There is a need for these girls to be able to support their families while their husbands are learning and/or getting an education or training to be used later on.



72 comments:

Margaret said...

There are ways to speed up a college education in a credible manner. I'll be graduating from a top 40 liberal arts college this spring, after 6 semesters. If I'd planned a little better, I could have been out in two and a half. The difference is, I actually condensed the real work of 4 years into 3. I took 2-24 credits every semester and extra courses during summer and winter breaks at a local community college.

THAT is the intelligent way to accelerate your college education. I refer to the degrees from diploma mills as "Bullshit BAs." I want to go into higher education, and educational institutions like this make me see red.

Margaret said...

Er, "I could have been out in 2 and a half years (5 semesters)."

G said...

Whatever, you're creating a reality that is overly stacked to enforce your line of thought.

Dare I ask your opinion of the BTL?

ProfK said...

G,
I'm not "creating" a reality; I'm reporting what is there. Yes, what I'm reporting supports my argument. If you have other facts that support a different viewpoint, by all means give them. But let's deal in facts, not suppositions or opinions based on anecdotal stories that are "out there." Let's see some statistics on earning power. Let's see some on record statements by licenced hospitals and therapy centers as to the number of people they have actually hired and who work for them who come out of the one-year programs. Let's get some direct quotes from public school administrators saying they welcome the graduates and hire them of the one-year programs.

The BTL? Fact: some law schools--not all by any means--will take in students who have the BTL as long as their Law Board Exam scores are high enough. There seems to be the thought that Talmudic argument skills translate well to the study of law. [Note: I've made some nice money tutoring these students while in their first year of law school. They're bright enough, but their writing skills are sub-par.] Now, what else can you do with it? I have not personally heard of anyone accepted to graduate study in other fields using only the BTL. What kind of a job does a BTL prepare you for? You can't go into the fields that require specialized knowledge, such as accounting or computers or psych etc. because you don't get those skills with the BTL. In fact, tell me what fields of work the BTL does specifically prepare you for? Do yeshivas hire those with a BTL to teach limudei kodesh subjects? I always thought that smicha was the required "degree" to become a rebbi.

tesyaa said...

Your call to Staten Island University Hospital backs up the claim that diploma mills are recognized for what they are. The master's in speech therapy is not a quick course of study. I am interested because I have 4 kids receiving some sort of speech therapy. After reading a comment by Ariella on the Orthonomics blog, I tried to find out about Seton Hall's "video master's degree" for seminary students. I didn't find out anything online, but I did find that Seton Hall has joined with a yeshiva to provide classes by video hookup so yeshiva students can earn an MBA without ever leaving the yeshiva.

Two points: Seton Hall is a private university, not a public one, so someone is paying big bucks for these degrees. Also, it's a Catholic university, so it's a little ironic that the yeshivas / seminaries are so eagerly working with it.

tesyaa said...

I just want to add that Ariella's comment was not the one you quoted in your posting. Ariella described the creative ways that young ladies get their degrees without ever having to leave the walls of their seminaries.

http://orthonomics.blogspot.com/2008/11/seminary-on-butcher-block-many-jewish.html

G said...

yeah, what i figured

Lion of Zion said...

"I always thought that smicha was the required "degree" to become a rebbi."

talk about another BS degree

ProfK said...

G,dear, "what" is "what you figured"? A rather cryptic response.

Lion of Zion said...

to play devils advocate at least regarding the BA mills:

1) in the post you mentioned touro, which itself is not guiltless when it comes to charges of degree mills (both directly and indirectly)

2) many people who attend schools such as brooklyn college or YU know which classes/teachers to take so that they never need work hard (i.e., learn anything). so why even go through the motions?

3) a core curriculum and so many elective classes really are a waste of time. consider the european (and israeli) model, which has neither. you pick a "major" and that's all you study. somehow college in america has become a catch-up oppoturtunity to suplement a crappy high school education.

Lion of Zion said...

to give a specific example from my no. 3 with reference to the BTL: in europe/israel law is an undergraduate degree. why is that european/israeli lawyers are just as qualified for their professions as american lawyers even though they cut out an extra degree?

and regarding your observation that therapists from degree mills get paid less because they can only work in jewish schools: i don't think this is true. as far as i know jewish schools do not generally hire their own therapists. rather, the therapists are provided by the board of ed via a contracted outside agency.

finally, i don't understand: how do the diploma-mill graduates get a license without without completing the requisite internships?

tesyaa said...

LoZ, many of the contracted agencies are run by frum people. A frum school may accept a placement that an accredited or public school would reject.

tesyaa said...

Even here in the US there are fields where an undergraduate degree is a sufficient professional degree, e.g. accounting and pharmacy (which are impossible to get in a diploma mill setting). There are, or were, 6 year medical schools that combined undergrad and graduate school. The European and American systems are different, and I would say that Americans place more time & emphasis on liberal arts, which don't have much to do with how people eventually earn a living.

Lion of Zion said...

TESYAA:

as far as i know, there is only one agency that sends therapists to the jewish schools (it has an exclusive contract with the board of ed)

agencies in general hire anyone with the proper licensing regardless as to quality, experience, education, etc. (hospitals/clinics are more discriminating)

i could be wrong, but i don't think that the schools themselves get involved vetting therapists. therapy is an issue between parents and the board of ed.; it just happens to take place on school grounds during the school day.

Lion of Zion said...

TESYAA:

pharmacy is an undergard degree, but it will take you 6 years to get it (there are a few accelerated programs that finish in 5, but these could be phased out?). and there have been efforts to make it 7 years.

JS said...

An important point that is missing from the post is that since these degrees are mostly worthless outside the frum world, these people are forced to work in the frum community. How many therapy and teaching jobs can there possibly be in the frum world? Eventually even these sub-standard opportunities will dry up and these people will not only have worthless degrees, but no job to go with them.

ProfK said...

Lion,
Apology beforehand for the length of the reply here:

Re Touro, it is in no way a diploma mill as the term is understood generally. Its accreditation is from the Middle States Accreditation Association, the same association which accredits all the schools in New York, New Jersey and other of the states in the region. It meets all the requirements. So, diploma mill? No. Is it a top tier school? No, but then neither are most of the schools in the area. Where perception comes into play is with the yeshiva credits taken in as transfer credits and which count towards the BA/BS degree. Let me put this in perspective. The various CUNY schools will take up to 38 transfer credits earned in yeshiva/seminary programs. Touro will take up to 48. So yes, they take more yeshiva credits, but not so substantially more than other schools will take. And depending on the major, students can end up taking more than 120 credits to complete their degrees if they present the full 48 yeshiva credits. For instance, the accounting major requires 68 credits to complete. Add in all the required school core courses such as English, computer science etc. and those yeshiva credits don't buy you all that much of a shortcut.

Your #2 comment about knowing which teachers to take to have an easy ride applies to each and every school in the country. Yup, even at Harvard students have a rating system for the degree of difficulty of various courses. Why go through the motions? Because a degree is valuable, whatever that really means.

Tesyaa is correct that many of the contracted agencies are run by frum people who are giving the less credentialed degree holders a break. Re the internships, the same thing happens in some cases, with truncated internships offered by frum "professionals" in the field. And are you sure that everyone who offers their services to the frum community is actually state licenced?

Before we offer Europe as having no courses other than the courses in a major, this comes from the Oxford University site and represents prerequisites for those taking a literature degree.
Normal Prerequisites (indicated by NP)
In what follows some subjects are named as 'normal prerequisites' for the study of others. For instance: 112
The Philosophy of Kant (NP 101) means that those studying 112, Kant, would normally be expected to have
studied 101 (History of Philosophy from Descartes to Kant). In some cases alternatives are given as the
prerequisite, e.g. 107 Philosophy of Religion (NP 101 or 102) means that those studying 107, Philosophy of
Religion, would normally be expected to have studied either 101 (History of Philosophy) or 102 (Knowledge
and Reality).
101 History of Philosophy from Descartes to Kant
102 Knowledge and Reality
103 Ethics
104 Philosophy of Mind (NP 101 or 102)
105 Philosophy of Science and Philosophy of Psychology and Neuroscience (cannot be combined with 106
or 124) (NP 101 or 102)
106 Philosophy of Science and Social Science (cannot be combined with 105 or 124) (NP 101 or 102)
107 Philosophy of Religion (NP 101 or 102)
108 The Philosophy of Logic and Language (NP Mods Logic)
109 Aesthetics and the Philosophy of Criticism (NP 101 or 102 or 103 or 104 or 115/130 or 116/132)
110 Medieval Philosophy: Aquinas
111 Medieval Philosophy: Duns Scotus, Ockham
112 The Philosophy of Kant (NP 101)
113 Post-Kantian Philosophy (NP 101 or 102 or 103 or 112 or 115/130 or 116/132)
114 Theory of Politics (NP 103 or 115/130 or 116/132)
115 Plato: Republic (in translation) (cannot be combined with 130)
116 Aristotle: Nicomachean Ethics (in translation) (cannot be combined with 132)
117 Frege, Russell, and Wittgenstein (cannot be combined with 118) (NP Mods Logic)
118 The Later Philosophy of Wittgenstein (cannot be combined with 117) (NP 101 or 102 or 108)
119 Formal Logic (NP Mods Logic)
120 Intermediate Philosophy of Physics
122 Philosophy of Mathematics (NP 101 or 102 or 108 or 117 or 119 or 120)
124 Philosophy of Science (cannot be combined with 105 or 106)
*130 Plato: Republic (in Greek)
- 10 -
*131 Plato: Theaetetus and Sophist (in Greek)
*132 Aristotle: Nicomachean Ethics (in Greek)
*133 Aristotle: Physics (in Greek)
*134 Sextus Empiricus: Outlines of Pyrrhonism (in Greek)
*135 Latin Philosophy (in Latin)
An * indicates a text-based paper.
199 Thesis in Philosophy (cannot be combined with I.15, III.12, IV.5, V.5).

Note that a solid working knowledge of Latin and classical Greek is also expected for this degree.

ProfK said...

JS, sorry if it wasn't clearer but your point is what I meant when I said "So, the usefulness of the diploma mill diplomas is limited. If the holders of such degrees want to roost in the frummer schools, they may find a job." You are quite correct that the degrees don't have much worth in the outside world.

Anonymous said...

What kind of a job does a BTL prepare you for? You can't go into the fields that require specialized knowledge, such as accounting or computers or psych etc. because you don't get those skills with the BTL. In fact, tell me what fields of work the BTL does specifically prepare you for?

Uh, For one thing all the Agudas Yisroel courses in computers or accounting etc. are Master degree programs with a BTL being the undergraduate degree.Fairleigh Dickinson Universty which runs and accredits those course is hardly a diploma mill.And the proffessors who teach in both, FDU on campus and for Agudas Yisroel say the Agudah students are far superior.As far as SIUH is concerned I personally know someone who was in Telz Yeshiva's Kollel till his mid 30's, and then went on to become a MD in an accelerated manner.He is currently employed by SIUH.

JS said...

I find it so ironic that the "people of the book", the people who most pride themselves on education, are producing a generation of know-nothings who turn up their noses at education.

These diploma mills just reinforce all the terrible stereotypes about Jews. We've become a generation of conivers who are just out there to game the system. It's the same attitude with all the welfare fraud that goes on.

The attitude is that we're the Chosen People; we're better, smarter, and more deserving than anyone else. We don't have to play by the same rules as everyone else.

I've met many yeshiva guys who get their bachelors in talmudic studies. They all think they're brilliant and have somehow beaten everyone else. Some of them truly are smart, but they're not as well equiped to handle law school or the rest of the world. Their spelling and grammar are attrocious and worst of all, many think this doesn't even matter. But the biggest fault, is that they don't understand how their attitude of beating the system truly angers all those around them and that their air of privilege or their perception that everyone else is a "sucker" doesn't sit well with others.

Lion of Zion said...

JS:

"these degrees are mostly worthless outside the frum world, these people are forced to work in the frum community. How many therapy and teaching jobs can there possibly be in the frum world?"

i still don't understand this statement. either the therapist is licensed or she is not. if she is not licensed then she can't work as a therapist--in or out of the frum world--if she expects to actually reimbursed for her services.

JLan said...

2 comments on this issue:

1) There are ways for exceptionally bright individuals to shorten college, but it takes a large amount of effort. I know a young woman who graduated with a bachelors from Penn (in the Wharton school, no less) in 2 years. How did she do this? Community college classes while in high school (I believe some over the summer), which covered lot of the gened type stuff, as well as math, etc. 7 (or, I believe, 8) classes per semester, instead of the usual 5. Oh, and she got married between the years of college. It is doable, but it takes a lot of drive and rigor to do.

2) Speaking as a teacher from one of the "very MO" day schools (in the high school): my department has 7 teachers, including myself. The degrees for the people in the department are as follows, with MA(T) standing for an MA in teaching history/social studies (these are technially MA degrees, not MATs, though):

*2 BAs
*BA + MA(T) (from Teachers College)
*BA + MA
*BA + MA + MA (T) (the latter from NYU's school of Ed)
*BA + MA (T) + candidate for EdD
*BA + JD
*BA + PhD (the latter from Princeton, in the subject taught)

As the holder of the BA + MA(T), I often feel like the least educated of the bunch. And that's considering a BA from Penn and the MA from TC.

And I can promise you that when the school is looking for therapists, diploma mills are not something they're looking for.

tesyaa said...

LoZ, there is no reimbursement if therapy is paid for privately. Also, just as contractors will sometimes do plumbing work and use an outside plumber's name for the license, don't you think it's possible that agencies can play these same kind of games?

I'll make a disclaimer that I know many, many frum therapists who are excellent and got their degrees through the normal educational system.

ProfK said...

Anonymous,
I'm not saying it didn't happen re your "As far as SIUH is concerned I personally know someone who was in Telz Yeshiva's Kollel till his mid 30's, and then went on to become a MD in an accelerated manner.He is currently employed by SIUH," but there are an awful lot of details you left out. By accelerated are you referring to one of the specialized 6-7 year programs that combine undergrad with med school? Because if you are referring to one of those one-year programs in lieu of college, I'm afraid I'm not buying it. And just what is this person employed by the hospital as?

Hey, Chanukah just passed--twas the season of miracles, so I suppose that I could buy into a miraculous hiring by someone somewhere. But we are also taught not to rely on miracles.

Lion of Zion said...

JLAN:

"And I can promise you that when the school is looking for therapists, diploma mills are not something they're looking for."

in what capacity and for what purpose does your school hire therapists? maybe it's different in high school, but i thought that elementary schools don't "hire" teachers rather, rather the board of ed provides them (via the contracted agency)

tesyaa said...

For what it's worth, I just went to

http://nj.gov/education/specialed/clinics/

and clicked on the clinic that provides many of the therapists in my area. The therapists affiliated are listed with their names and dates licenses expire. The therapist working in my local yeshiva is listed as "no license".

She actually works with my daughter once a week, but my daughter has a very minor articulation problem. I didn't even request services for her and I could take it or leave it. I would be upset if I had a child with dyspraxia or language pragmatic issues who was being treated by someone unqualified.

(I do have kids with those issues ... but they are in the public schools, and I know their therapists are licensed.)

ProfK said...

Lion,
I cannot give you chapter and verse on this for right this second, but 9 years ago the Bd. of Ed rules were clear: they did not send in any support staff to yeshivas which could not provide a clearly separated area that was not used for the religious portion of the school. It violated their assessment of separation of church and state. I taught/subbed in about 12 different yeshivas not one of which received their personnel from the Bd. of Ed. All therapists were private hires. I checked with someone on the board for the yeshiva ketanas in our area and they do not receive the services of Bd. of Ed personnel now. There are certain specialists that the schools hire on a needed basis. For anything else the parents are told to either make arrangements with a local public school or hire privately.

Lion of Zion said...

TESYAA:

"there is no reimbursement if therapy is paid for privately."

99.9% of yeshivah parents whose children get therapy on an ongoing basis do not pay privately.

"Also, just as contractors will sometimes do plumbing work and use an outside plumber's name for the license, don't you think it's possible that agencies can play these same kind of games?"

some agencies play lots of games. but i'm not aware of them actually hiring unlicensed therapists. (although there are games that come close to this.)

tesyaa said...

99.9% is a total exaggeration. Many people are supplementing what they get in the schools with private therapy. Let's say 80-90% and I'll leave it at that.

Lion of Zion said...

TESYAA:

ok. we are talking 2 different states with very different practices, so no wonder we are talking past each other.

i will just add that yes, i know people in NJ (specifically teaneck) who pay out of pocket. new york is *very* different. i know *no one* who pays privately. i only wrote 99% rather than 100% lest you or someone else tell me they know of someone who does privately.

tesyaa said...

In NY they pay for as many sessions as you would like? I know kids who should get 5x / weekweek, and all they get from the school is 3x / week. In NY, you just ask for what you want and you get it??

Kayla said...

Our school, in NY, does not have a speech therapist or any other kind of therapy available in the school itself. Any parent in our school whose kids need speech therapy have to take the kids privately and pay for it themselves. Arranging anything with a local school is almost impossible. I tried it once and had a four hour wait. Not worth it to take my child there a few times a week and have him miss so much yeshiva. And our insurance is really fussy about who they will reimburse so we go with their preferred provider list. Only one frum person on that list and you might be able to get to see her sometime in 2099.

Lion of Zion said...

PROFK:

"I cannot give you chapter and verse on this for right this second, but 9 years ago . . ."

i just double checked what i am about to write and it should be accurate.

until the age of 5, children who are approved for therapy by the board of ed are entitled to therapy at home or at the facility of their choosing. at 5 y/o+ the therapy is conducted in the school. if the child is in public school then he is most likely services by board of ed employees or in some cases by a contractor. if the child is in a private school then he is served by a contractor (to be explained below). it is possible to secure an "RSA" to continue the services at home or another facility after age 5, but this is not a simple matter (it depends on the willingness of the particular school district and some, as the one i live in, are very strict in this regard and almost never permit it unless you have strong proteksiyah).

so for the private schools (including jewish schools):
in each district, one agency gets a contract to supply all private schools with therapists for a particular field. (one agency for speech, one for OT, etc.). the agency sends therapists of its own choosing to the schools and the schools have *no* say in choosing the therapists. and whatever the law was 9 years ago, the said therapy most certainly takes place inside the jewish schools' precincts. i know of therapists who work in this capacity and i see it with my own eyes every day in my son's school.

now just to clarify, all this applies to children who are approved by the board of ed for services (which again, is 100% of the kids i know of who get therapy). if a school wishes to hire a therapist on its own to provide therapy to students who are not approved (or to provide additional therapy to approved students), then this is a different matter. but why would a school do this?

JLan said...

LoZ-

As ProfK pointed out, in NY the BoE will not send out personnel unless there's a clear non-religious instruction area.

As for private services- the school at which I work has what they call the "SP" program, where students get extensive amounts of help (this is, again, on the high school level). Those parents pay in addition to the standard tuition. When I say "extensive", I'm talking multiple periods a day, along with certain classes either cancelled (foreign language) or modified (limudei kodesh, usually). A lot of preteaching for secular subjects is done as well. There is a program for students needing a bit of extra help/tutoring, which is 3 periods per week, standard class set, and those students pay the standard tuition rate.

Anonymous said...

Because if you are referring to one of those one-year programs in lieu of college, I'm afraid I'm not buying it

You are correct.He did not become a MD with a one year course.However the BTL which you are claiming doesn't prepare you for anything did allow him to skip many years of college training towards becoming a MD.And the institution you refer to as a benchmark in this post (SIUH)had no issue with that when it came to hiring him.

I must stress however the focus of a Yeshivo is Limud Torah L'Shmo and being Koneh Olam H'ba.Wheter or not, or to what degree, one shares that value, Yeshivos are not to be thought of or compared to job training schools.

Lion of Zion said...

TESYAA:

"In NY they pay for as many sessions as you would like?"

no, it has to be approved by the board of ed

KAYLA:

if your child is approved for services, why doesn't the board of ed send a therapist?

and why do you care that the one approved frum therapist is not available until 2099?

Lion of Zion said...

JLAN:

"the BoE will not send out personnel unless there's a clear non-religious instruction area."

it's called the hallway.
and i've never heard of a school that couldn't get therapists because they couldn't find a "clear non-religious instruction area."

"As for private services . . ."

ok, the program you describe is *not* the type of therapy that comes into play as per the context of this post (as i understood it). most frum girls are going to be doing either early intervention, working the public schools as employees or working as board of ed contractors in the private schools.

and how are you commenting if you teach in a school? :)

JLan said...

"and how are you commenting if you teach in a school? :)"

Because those "very MO" day schools, like the one I work at, feel that it's dmb to avoid Christmas for Christmas' sake and give us breaks that generally align with those of the public schools.

ProfK said...

Lion,
Re "it's called the hallway.
and i've never heard of a school that couldn't get therapists because they couldn't find a "clear non-religious instruction area." First, Yeshiva of Brooklyn could not get the Bd. of Ed providers. Although honesty compels me to admit that they also asked Bd. of Ed. at one point if the people they sent would be dressed in sleeveless and pants, which they would not allow in. And the hallways in most yeshivas would not qualify as a non-religious instruction area--they are full of "rebbi pictures" and religious posters and other religious "artwork." And personally Lion, I would not accept a hallway as the best place for someone to be offering therapy services to my child. When you are stuck you take what you can get, but otherwise, how is a hallway an adequate educational setting?

Anonymous,
I never said that the BTL does not prepare you for anything--I asked what it prepares you for, a wholly different question. Re "did allow him to skip many years of college training towards becoming a MD" I'm going to take that to mean that he did have to go to an undergrad college before going on to medical school, just not for as many years. That being the case, then the BTL is a misnomer--it would more rightly be called an ATL--Associates in Talmudic Law, equating to the two-year degree that some schools offer. Any student needing/wanting more courses has to go on to a full four year program to earn a BA, but he spends less time in earning it since he already has part of it completed.

As to "Yeshivos are not to be thought of or compared to job training schools" they put themselves in the position of being thought of that way when they start offering BTL degrees, something whose only worth is in the job field. Know of any yeshivas in Europe that used to give out BTL degrees? They regularly played games with governments over what a yeshiva was, mostly to protect their students from army conscription. Just as Christian ministers are known as being a Doctor of Divinity, those with smichas harabonim were entitled to be called "Herr doktor rabbiner."

Lion of Zion said...

JLan:

believe me, i wish my son's ostensibly MO school would be more in line with your "very MO" school.

PROFK:

regarding touro:
1) accreditation doesn't necessarily mean anything. look at all the jewish high schools that are "accredited"
2) pointing to the fact that CUNY gives 38 credits for yeshivah is not a defense. whether 38 or 48 credits, either way it's a joke. (not that i didn't take advantage of it, until my major change made the extra credits irrelevant)
3) every school has a student rating system for teachers. this says nothing about the relative (real) academic expectations at various schools. i was a history major at brooklyn and later came back to take sciences. in no way can you compare what was expected of me with what was expected of my friends in either field at the "better" schools
4) every division of touro is different
5) i apologize and did not mean to single out touro from other local colleges as a diploma mill. some of the areas in which touro is lax applies equally to other local schools.
6) (and i'm pretty sure that touro did, at one time, get involved with a program specifically designed to get seminary girls into therapy programs by helping them meet the requirements in a most perfunctual way. a psychology class, for example met only six times (and not for five hours at a time) and was taught by someone whose only psych experience was a BA from BC (and she took half her classes with a certain very sweet professor who i am sure is familiar to some readers here).

"Because a degree is valuable, whatever that really means."

not if the sole purpose of the said degree is really only to be able to get another degree

"Tesyaa is correct that many of the contracted agencies are run by frum people who are giving the less credentialed degree holders a break."

i don't know what you mean by "less credentialed." either you are licensed or you aren't (it's like being half pregnant)

and the oxford curriculum for a lit degree does not at all prove your contention. of course a lit student needs some coursework in philosophy and history, just as i, a history student, needed work in lit, philosophy and languages. but it's a far stretch to say that the ability to pursue an interdisciplinary approach for a lit student requires grounding in statistics or geology. and indeed, the supposedly well-rounded oxford lit degree you cite really isn't that well-rounded and is restricted to the expected (related) liberal arts coursework.

Kayla said...

Lion, as JLan and the prof have been trying to tell you the board of ed won't step into any place that is used for religious instruction and I don't know how your school gets away with the hallway being okay but they sure didn't consider it by us. We thought we might be able to use the lunch room but when they came to visit it was during lunch and the kids were bentching out loud so they said no to the lunchroom.

I wasn't specially looking for that frum speech therapist. I only mentioned that there was only one on the list. If the one year degrees were so accepted I would think that the insurance company would have more frum people on their list because there are lots of frum speech therapists out there. The insurance only takes both certified by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association and also state licenced. No one on their list doesn't have both.

tesyaa said...

Kayla, what LoZ and I don't understand is why someone would prefer a frum therapist to a non-frum or a non-Jewish therapist.

Lion of Zion said...

PROFK:

"how is a hallway an adequate educational setting?"

agreed 100%. i was apalled when i brought my son to school late one day and and saw a PT doing wheelbarrows down the main hallway. (all this is aside from the question of pulling a kid out of regular classes)

but anyway, so many frum kids get therapy (dare i say it's de regieur, although in the interests of disclosure i should add my son gets it) that there is simply no excuse for a yeshivah not to take whatever steps are necesary to ensure that there one dedicated therapy room that satisfies board of ed room requirements. (and i'd be really pissed off if i were a YofB parent.)

Kayla said...

I wasn't saying that I preferred a frum therapist. Again I only mentioned it because we have so many girls going into speech therapy that you would think that more of them would appear on the insuranace provider list. But I could see why someone might want a frum therapist. One of the kids in my oldes't class comes from a home where yiddish and hebrew are mixed in with English all the time. A frum therapist I think might be better at recognizing where there is a real speech problem and where some of the problem comes from the Yinglish that lots of kids speak or when they pronounce things.

Lion of Zion said...

KAYLA:

i'm not sure why everyone is so surprised that a yeshivah can get therapists. i'm telling you that there is a specific agency in each district that is charged with supplying therapists to private schools (which in brooklyn essentially means jewish and catholic schools). i know girls (and some guys) that work in these schools. if you don't believe me, call up the board of ed.

now if your school does not want to accept the therapists because of צניעות issues (as with YofB), then you have live with that, raise a ruckus or choose another school.

similarly, if your school can't find one empty room to serve as a dedicated therapy room with no religious paraphenalia, then either live with it, raise a ruckus or choose another school. (personally i plan to go with the second option when my son turns 5 next year and he gets therapy in the school. i don't want him doing wheelbarrows down the hallway. i will raise a ruckus.)

JS said...

Lion,

Not quite sure what your point is.

Are you trying to say there aren't these frum diploma mills?

Are you trying to say these 1 year schools offer as good an education as other accredited schools?

Are you trying to say they must offer at least enough to get a license?

Not sure exactly what you're arguing about so vociferously.

Lion of Zion said...

KAYLA:

"But I could see why someone might want a frum therapist. One of the kids in my oldes't class comes from a home where yiddish and hebrew are mixed in with English all the time"

for this there are bilingual therapists, although be careful because most frum therapists are *not* bilingual certified. (actually, in situation where the child is exposed to more that one language i think the board of ed techincally mandates that the evaluator be bilingual certified; i don't recall if the providing therapist also has to be certified binlingual)

ProfK said...

Lion,
the Oxford curriculum was in reference to your statement that in European colleges "you pick a "major" and that's all you study." The prerequisites clearly show that that is not all you study.

Re high school accreditation, the requirements are different for high schools than for colleges. And there are more accreditation associations that are involved with high school accreditation. So far as I know in Brooklyn only Shulamit and Flatbush were Middle States accredited at one time--I don't know their status right now.

No, you are correct, not all divisions of Touro are "equal," but they were never intended to be. Machon l'Parnoseh comes to mind. But no one at Touro, including the students, equates Machon to the various Lander colleges.

Re the psych course, I'm appalled, truly. That is not representative of the regular types of teachers that are hired. You need a MA minimum to teach in my department, and a number of those are adjuncts rather than full-time tenured instructors.Plenty of us either in grad school in PhD programs or who already have a PhD. Our chair has her PhD with honors from Columbia.

Re the accepting yeshiva credits, this morphed out of the "year abroad" programs that most schools accept for credit. What started out with equating a seminary/yeshiva year of study in Israel to other year abroad programs somehow has changed into accepting yeshiva credits earned here. It also stems from the "life experience" credits that many colleges started accepting. Do I think all this playing around is good for the education our younger generations are getting? Hell no!

Lion of Zion said...

JS:

"Not quite sure what your point is."

i'm not sure anymore either. i was originally throwing out some devil's advocate arguments, but i think i might have convinced myself.

to clarify: i think that someone should get the best training they can in their particular field. so no, i certainly don't approve of the diploma mills that provide the actual professional degree for OTs/PTs.

but i'm really starting to question the value of the BA. in general i think it serves one of 3 purposes:
1) it gives luftmenschen a chance to figure out what they want to do with their lives.
2) it gives a chance to those of us who slept through HS to catch up
3) it serves as a weeding out process for grad schools.

but ideally we should have the european system where are the above 3 are satisfied in the high school years.

ProfK said...

Lion,
Sigh, and that brings us right back to the very real problems with so many public and yeshiva high schools here.

Re the European system, they are very clear that university is not for everyone, nor that it should be. Peruse listings of what the British call colleges and you see many more technical/trade schools than you see in the US. Our egalitarianism here in the US has brought some true benefits that are missing in many parts of Europe, but it has also brought us the messy college condition we have. Why do so many diploma mills flourish here that aren't seen in this great an abundance elsewhere? Because we've bought into the idea that college is for everybody. Since it isn't true, the diploma mills have a built-in customer base. You simply did not see or hear of these mills when I was in college.

Lion of Zion said...

PROFK:

what does it mean if a high school is regents accredited?

i will assume that that many (most?) year-abroad programs are not that serious, but still, at least there is some structure (?) and something on paper to give credits for.

i still don't think it's fair to compare england to america. maybe i should have referred to picking a course of study rather than a major. but regarding the the lit. curriculum you pasted, it is not at all as variegated as what would be required in an american school; and as i've already said, philosphy/history coursework is relevant to a lit major. an oxford student is basically spending almost the entire 3 years of college studing literature or courses that bear on it. in america, lit. requires 30 (maybe 40 credits in some situtations), i.e., only one year is spent "mastering" the subject and three years is wasted with electives and core requirement.

take a look instead at the law degree. what's the difference between someone who gets a BTL and gets into law school and someone in england who goes strait from high school into law school? what exactly about going to college for 4 years first makes american lawyers any better?

Lion of Zion said...

oops, i just missed your comment.

ProfK said...

Lion,
Regents accreditation basically boils down to a school's being state approved to offer a New York state high school diploma. It means that the school offers at least the minimum of the types of courses that the state requires and that it is allowed to give Regents exams--necessary for the diploma. There are top notch private schools in the city which are not Regents accredited. Their curriculum, and when and how it is administered, is superior to that of the public school system. Their graduates get a diploma which has the school's name on it, not the State's. Regent's accreditation has nothing to do with how good a school is--those public high schools on the State and City "failing" list are all Regents accredited high schools.

SubWife said...

Lion,

I have been asking the same question again and again. Why should it take seven years to become a lawyer, a minimum of 11 to become a doctor, 6 to become a therapist, etc? It is way too long, and for the first 2-4 years of their education, they hardly learn anything useful in their chosen fields. While I still believe there are some liberal courses required for all majors in European universities, the emphasis is much less on them. Mostly one learns subjects relating to their majors.

Bas~Melech said...

Oh sheesh. I just wrote a long, intelligent comment and Blogger lost it. :-P Time for bed...

(Briefly, my point was that life is not always fair and logical, and mill-diplomas can work nicely for many people, especially if they know important people or have a lot of initiative. And that I agree that BA's are basically superfluous)

nmf #7 said...

Wow, after reading this, I'm glad I went to Touro and got a degree that's recognized, intead of one of the quicker programs that may or may not have worked out.
Although, I do agree with the poster about the European degree system. I got a degree in Science, and now when applying for graduate school, I wish I had even more credits towards my major than what I got. If we had more focused BA's then there would be no need for graduate school just to get a job.

tesyaa said...

nmf#7, you make a good point. It's helpful to know what you plan to do with your degree while you're still in school, so you can choose your courses accordingly. What's a degree in Science? I recall majors such as Biology, Chemistry, Physics, etc., but not a generic "Science".

Louis said...

Parts of the frum olam still think that working is somethiing someone else should do. So they are being forced to go and get a job. The shortcut programs make sense when you look at who is taking them. For the most part it's the group that doesn't want to work to begin with. And that includes the women. My niece believes that she should be at home not working and raising her kids by herself. But she also believes that her husband has to sit and learn as long as possible. So she is stuck working. Her answer was also to take one of those Israel based courses. She was looking to put in as little effort as possible. And she is getting nowhere near the amount of monetary return on her school investment that she thought she would. But then you can't have things both ways.

Lion of Zion said...

regarding the discussion above about the board of ed sending staff into religious schools: when i dropped off my son today i remembered that there are 2 (3?) kids in his class who have SEITs ("shadows"). i am pretty sure the SEITs are paid for the board of ed . . . and they sit *in* the classroom

Anonymous said...

Med school is 4 years.

Pharmacy school is 4 years.

The very, very least minimum undergrad for those is 2 years I believe, but for med school suually at leats 3.

Basically, doctors have our highest amount of trust/honor on their shoulders. The more training, the better.

Period.

SubWife said...

Anonymous, I agree. the more training for doctors, the better. But training in what? Sociology/theology/music appreciation/literature? Because that's what they largely learn in the first two years of undergraduate school. Why not send them directly to medical school for six years, the way it is done in many European countries? Here, I do not know anyone who had less than four years of undergraduate studies before being able to apply to med school. And for the first two years, they mostly took liberal arts.

ProfK said...

SubWife and Anonymous,
Training and study in one discipline and one discipline only can lead to a myopic vision of what the world is and how it works. Obviously we need doctors to be highly proficient in medical studies. But we also need to remember that doctors don't only treat diseases; they treat patients.

Doctors, and others in college, need broad exposure to the thinkers and thoughts of other disciplines. They need exposure to what the world in total is like. To understand a patient and all that impinges on that patient's life you need to know more than bacteria X is killed by antibiotic Y. To treat a patient "correctly" they need to be able to communicate what is going on in language intelligible to that patient (English and Speech), need to assess the costs to the patient, both monetarial and mental (Economics, Mathematics, Psychology), assess what society will find acceptable or unacceptable (Civics, History), be capable of navigating the vast regulatory beauracracy (Logics, Law, Political Science)and understand the patient's societal connections, which will affect how or when or even what type of care will be accepted by the patient (Anthropology, Sociology, Cultural Studies, Geography). They need to be able to think out of the box that is their own narrow discipline when solutions aren't forthcoming through utilizing their own way of thinking.

SubWife said...

ProfK,

I did not suggest eliminating ALL liberal arts requirements for doctors, lawyers, etc. Obviously, no one wants to be treated by a narrow-minded individual. However, I do not see why someone who has decided to become a doctor can't go straight to medical school, where the school will decide which liberal arts are necessary for a well-rounded physcian. (It is hard to imagine that medical schools would omit psychology, mathematics, courses in ethics and law.) By the way, even now many colleges (prestigous among them) reduce liberal arts load on certain majors due to the heavy course load of those majors' requirements. It is done now, and I don't think those who miss out on a few sociology courses are any less well rounded than other students.

In addition, it is kind of ridiculous to me that history, english, writing, literature and geography have to be taught in college. I might be talking from a perspective of someone receiving European high school education, but those should all be done with there.

KT said...

(I was the Anonymous. Too lazy to sign into my account.)

Well here's the thing. I agree. Future med students probably don't need to take Music Appreciation and all that stuff in college. And I know some people knew since HS that they wanted to be in medicine and so they were able to shorten their time in undergrad by bulking up in science.

We all have a choice. It's not B&W. You don't have to do 4 years in undergrad (if you plan it right).

The liberal arts reqs aren't that high I believe. Of course one has the option to *choose* to take a lot of they like.

I also think that going to med school is the type of thing that it better to go into with a couple more years of maturity under your belt; i.e. 22 instead of 18

KT said...

*But I'd have to check if one can really shorten premed to 3 yrs*

ProfK said...

KT,
CUNY had (don't know if it is still in existence) a 7 year program for the BS/MD in the public health medicine field. The same for Johns Hopkins. I do remember that the requirements to get into the program were very stringent. Not everyone who wanted an "education shortcut" was going to be accepted.

Of course you are correct that college doesn't have to take 4 years. But to shorten the time requires taking more credits per term and taking summer courses. Those who are working while going to school may not have the time for this type of acceleration. And it also takes a highly motivated and organized student, not to mention a "fast" study, to take an accelerated course. My objection is not to students of this ilk; it is to the diploma mills that offer forshortened degrees to anyone. It is to those who claim that a one-year BA equates to a 4-year BA in every way.

KT said...

Ah I see, thanks.

Anonymous said...

ProfK,
For what it's worth I know someone who completed a BTLat a yeshiva, then took required pre-med courses at a state university (as evening classes, so he could still attend yeshiva). He was accepted at & completed medical studies at a well-regarded med school. He's mentioned that most schools were not concerned about his BTL, maybe because of his MCAT scores. I know this is only one anecdote, but I just wanted to say it's possible though unusual to do this.

Lion of Zion said...

"I also think that going to med school is the type of thing that it better to go into with a couple more years of maturity under your belt"

certain health programs in israel require applicans to be 20 years old. i think i read recently that this is being challenged now in the courts by arabs (most don't serve in the army and this means they have to wait a few years after high school)

JLan said...

"CUNY had (don't know if it is still in existence) a 7 year program for the BS/MD in the public health medicine field. The same for Johns Hopkins."

I believe that Brown does as well. There are a few other programs that are similar, but I don't remember them off the top of my head.

Anonymous said...

Training and study in one discipline and one discipline only can lead to a myopic vision of what the world is and how it works. Obviously we need doctors to be highly proficient in medical studies. But we also need to remember that doctors don't only treat diseases; they treat patients.

Doctors, and others in college, need broad exposure to the thinkers and thoughts of other disciplines. They need exposure to what the world in total is like.


In that case, the University would be the worst place for them to get this exposure!

Mark

ProfK said...

Sigh Mark,
Let me broaden the statement you take exception to. Broad exposure to thinkers and thoughts of other disciplines needs to include the past as well as the present, and the University is the perfect place for studying the history of other disciplines. You need to know what was and what is before you can go on to what will be. It's a truism but apt nonetheless: those who do not study history--all history, not just their little corner of it, are doomed to repeat it.