Friday, February 15, 2008

Should Yeshivot be Teaching About Budgeting?

Interesting comment by sephardilady on the "This Won't Hurt at All" posting.

"However, I don't trust our day schools and Yeshivot to say what I think needs to be said."

That got me thinking. What possible objection could a yeshiva or day school have to teaching fiscal responsibility to the students? Why wouldn't they say what has to be said? Gee, duh! Suddenly hit me.

The word transparency applies here. Yeshivot and day schools in the large metropolitan areas don't publicize their spending. Quite frequently their budgets are "closed" documents with a "Need to Know" designation, and school parents aren't so designated. Boards are closed mouthed about the financial dealings of the institutions. Just maybe the schools like this would not want to teach about "real" financial responsibility and budgeting and prioritizing spending because then students and parents might just want to take a look at whether the institutions are following what they teach. (I'm leaving out the out of town places where there is only one school available locally. In general such places have to be far more open about their finances.)

And then there is the idea brought up by another commenter of "planned poverty." How can they teach the fundamentals of budgeting and of not living above your means when that just might mean that parents would start shopping around for schools that do fit into the budget? What practices that are encouraged by the yeshivas and day schools might not fit into a well-made budget? Hmmm, maybe compulsory time in Israel after high school? Maybe having young married men sit down to learn for years and years incurring debt for the couple and for the parents of that couple?

In short, what's the danger to these institutions of having informed consumers? I think sephardilady just might be on to something.


Anonymous said...

I think your reasons are plausible but might not there be others? I'm thinking about the caliber and qualifications of many who teach in these schools. If budgeting were to be included in the English subjects you would be dealing with many teachers who aren't college graduates or who never studied finance and have no idea about how to teach it. It's certainly not included in the curriculum for education majors.

Orthonomics said...

Prof K-Of course I'm onto something! But you blog faster than I do. I will move this post to the top of my list ASAP, but I have to give the computer back to my husband so he can bring home the super expensive chicken and meat that we enjoy on Shabbat.

I love your blog. Keep up the great work and the activism.

Anonymous said...

The yeshivas aren't capable of teaching about budgeting? Tell me something I don't know.

Anonymous said...

In a word NO! They have their agenda and that may not or probably will not be what a parent would teach or want a child to learn. When I was in fourth grade my yeshiva sent home an emergency letter that they were running out of money and needed donations quickly or they couldn't pay the teachers or keep the school open.How does a yeshiva run out of money if they were following a budget? It's not like the building had a fire or that there was a hurricane or natural disaster.