Someone sent me an interesting email last night. In it the writer made the following comment: "We talk about the high cost of yeshiva education and of the waste that we are sure that administrators must be making in their spending. We talk about the school days being too long. We talk about all the things that we see wrong with the yeshivas. But what if money were no object? What if everyone had and could pay yeshiva tuition with no problem? Would we still see problems or would we say not my problem?"
That last is an interesting question. If we had all the money we wanted or needed to spend would we be complaining that things are not right? Would we ask if yeshivas were over spending or under spending? Would we complain that the school day and week have gotten longer? Would we complain about the number of services that a school provides? Would we complain that there were larger and more ornate buildings being built? Would we care how many administrators were being hired? If school tuition were perfectly affordable for us because we had more than enough money to pay for it, would we care the way we care now, when paying the tuition is a problem? If a school day is too long now, then why should having money make it not too long?
There seems to be a connection between how well we believe things are functioning and our ability to pay for those things. When money is absent, we find fault; when money is present we don't look. When money is absent we find halachas to bolster our opinion that something is wrong for Klal to do. When money is present we say nothing.
If something is wrong then shouldn't it be wrong with or without money? What do you think?
Note: Just to extend our thinking a bit, lots of people are cutting down or cutting out meat because of the expense in their budgets. Then they add that it is healthier not to eat meat. If they didn't have to watch the pennies would they still cut down on the meat and talk about health?
It's not always that we think something is wrong when we say to cut it out or cut it down. It's that we have no choice because the money is not there. When there is no money then you cannot purchase as many special programs as you would otherwise like in the schools. When there is money then you buy all that you think is necessary.
The school day is another issue altogether. Why did we wait until tuitions got out of hand to complain that the kids are in school for too much time? Maybe because no one would listen before now. Still not sure they would listen even now when money is tight.
I have been complaining and will continue to complain about a school day being too long, and too many school days, and schools open on national holidays.
Unlike what most people think, children are parents' responsibility. In order for parents to feel a connection to their children there needs to be a bond, a relationship. How could children bond with their parents if they are in school too many days, and their vocation days do not correspond with their parents'.
Isn't that just human nature? When things go well we don't ask why or question it. When there is lots of money you buy the pretty package and you don't really worry about anything else. Now a lot of people don't have the money and they are looking into the box and saying not everything in that box needs to be here right now.
My objection to such long school days and a six day week has nothing to do with money. I think it is extremely important for children to have down time, to have time for their own special interests, to have time to exercise while there is still daylight, and (most importantly) to have a quantity of time to be with their family.
Regarding ornate buildings, I think there is something to be said for functionality and modesty. I see no reason why doing to school should rival a stay in a more upscale hotel. Our schools don't need to be in a competition for a feature in a commercial architecture publication. Yes, if money was not an object, I would like to see some of the amenities and offerings that are standard in many public schools from full functioning science labs to vocational training to a variety of athletic facilities and equipment.
Even if money were no object in our own home, I wouldn't build a 15bedroom home complete with fancy state of the art everything just because I can. But, if building a nicer home with more amenities gives the family some needed space and enhances our family life, I'd consider that amenity. I wouldn't buy a $1000 stroller when a lesser priced model serves the same purpose. I don't need a $500 handbag when I can get something attractive and functional for far less. And, I'd say it is good chinuch for my children not to think they must have designer everything.
Functional, yes. Ornate, no.
Post a Comment