Thursday, January 28, 2010

Understanding The Goals Of Yeshiva Education

In a previous post,  I listed what I felt were the goals of the Modern Orthodox yeshiva system.  I believe that thinking about and really considering these goals would help our community understand several things:
1) How well are our yeshivas meeting these goals?
2) If we need to make budget cuts which will impact the achievement of these goals, which goals are less important such that making these cuts is preferable over other cuts?
3) In considering alternatives to the current yeshiva model, what goals are better met and what goals are not met as well or at all?

Below, I regrouped these goals under headings.  I placed the headings in order from what I feel (for me) is the most important category of goals to the least important category of goals.  Within each heading, I then placed the goals in order from most important to least important (to me).  Obviously there are cases where a goal from a first category is deemed more important than a goal from a second category even if the first category as a whole is less important than the second category as a whole.  Such is life.  This is meant to be broad and hopefully we can discuss particulars in the comments.

As you continue reading, consider how you would group these goals or whether you feel any goals are missing or should not be goals at all.  Also consider how you would separate goals into "core" and "extra."  Finally, how would you rank the goals within each heading?  Feel free to place your ordering in the comments.

I will hopefully explain my ordering a bit in the comments - stay tuned.

This goes to the heart of the matter of what we expect from our yeshivas, whether they are delivering, and how we view alternatives.

Core Religious Continuity Goals
36) Ensure children will not intermarry
2) Ensure that children remain frum
7) Make frumkeit (and Judaism) interesting and engaging
35) Separate children from non-Jews

Day To Day Religious Skills Goals
11) Teach (and teach by example) midot and how a Jew should behave
10) Teach that we should love all Jews regardless of affiliation or practice
6) Teach davening skills and the meaning of the prayers
5) Teach practical halacha
16) Learn to bench and say brachot
37) Ensure proper separation of the sexes (even if the school is co-ed)

Core Secular Educational Goals
19) Provide secular English studies
31) Provide excellent math and science education
33) Teach strong English language and grammar skills
32) Provide excellent American and world history and social studies education
34) Educate children so they are well-versed in English literature

Post-Yeshiva Secular Educational goals
20) Ensure students earn top SAT scores
21) Ensure a large percentage of kids go Ivy League or equivalent universities

Core Religious Educational Goals
1) Provide religious Judaic studies
12) Impart a memorable and lasting body of Torah knowledge
13) Learn significant portions of Torah, Neviim, and Ketuvim
17) Be immersed in a Jewish environment  
9) Create a love of Israel
15) Become familiar with "big name" commentaries and "famous" interpretations
14) Become versed in gemara learning

"Extra" Religious Educational Goals
4) Teach Hebrew language skills
3) Teach HOW to learn
18) Learn Jewish history

"Extra" Religious Continuity Goals
8) Inspire children to be active in Jewish life
39) Create bonds with rabbis and classmates that last a lifetime
40) Inspire children to consider aliyah when older
38) Help create a "yeshiva culture" that unites frum Jews

"Extra" Secular Educational Goals
28) Have accredited teachers with advanced degrees in their field
24) Provide a large number of AP courses

Post-Yeshiva Religious Educational Goals
22) Ensure a large percentage of kids go to YU or Stern
23) Ensure a large percentage of kids go to extra yeshiva study in Israel

Miscellaneous Goals
25) Provide a large number of extracurricular groups and activities
27) Have top-notch science labs
29) Have large gyms and other sports and exercise related fields, courts, tracks, etc.
30) Have kosher cafeterias and/or lunch programs
26) Have top-notch computer labs


Lion of Zion said...

"Have kosher cafeterias and/or lunch programs"

Have *healthy* kosher cafeterias and/or lunch programs

Anonymous said...

Healthy? Now that is just asking too much. We'll solve the tuition crisis faster than we come up with healthy kosher cafeterias and lunch programs.