Sunday, October 28, 2007

Our Kids Don't Count

The teachers' strike is now entering its third week. Again. Every year there's a strike. And every year, give or take an issue, it's about the same thing. It's disgusting. We're not talking about the salaries of teachers here. We're talking about the future of our country. The average person in Israel understands this, but like always, the average person in Israel is ignored.

Don't get me wrong. That problem is not "Israel specific". We all know that the average person in all countries is ignored. But, I live in Israel so I can only tell you what goes on here.

We need to give our teachers more money. We need to give our teachers enough money so the profession of teaching is not considered charitable or philanthropic work. We need to increase the hours in the school day. We need to do that now. Because of Israel's low salaries and high living expenses, our country is already experiencing a brain-drain of good people going elsewhere to make a living. That "Zionist thing" still works for me and keeps me here (along with Carol and my kids), but I guess that isn't true with everyone. So, if we've got a brain-drain, and we're not educating our kids...we're screwed.

Our Education Minister and our Finance Minister claim we don't have the funds. Well, yes we do. If we take away the money we're doling out to the ultra-orthodox yeshivas, we'd have the money. I'm talking about the huge amount of yeshivas that refuse to abide by the requirement of having a core curriculum. I'm talking about the huge amount of huge yeshivas that don't teach practical skills, and give sanctuary to draft dodgers. If we took away all that money and gave it to our secular school systems, including our universities, there would be no reason for a strike and the best and brightest minds in the world would be nurtured right here in Israel.

But that won't happen. And it won't happen for a very practical reason. You see, the teachers and the school system can only strike. They only have the power of depriving our children of their necessary education. The kids won't be ready for their matriculation exams, but so what? Very soon there will be a back to work order from the courts and that will be that. Until the next strike, and the children will suffer even more. But that's all they've got. A strike. Big deal. Olmert hasn't given this situation even a fleeting thought. He doesn't care. He doesn't need to care.

The ultra-orthodox situation is another story. We wouldn't dare touch their money for their school system. As a matter of fact, they'll get more if they ask for it even during the secular school strike! Because if they don't get their money...they'll bring down the government. That, my friends, is what counts.

Our kids don't have representatives in the government. Our kids don't have their own political party to protect them. All they have are a bunch of spineless, self-serving bureaucrats whose only ambition is to protect their own government position. Can you imagine if the Labor party stood up and said, "Hey! Take the money from the ultra-orthodox school systems that won't abide by the laws, and give it to the secular schools! Or we'll bring down this government!"

I smiled to myself as I just wrote that, because when I envision Labor party members in this government, the image of a cowering wimp always comes to mind. He (or she) is shivering in the corner mumbling, "Just don't take away my Volvo".

Don't believe a word of what the treasury or the education ministry says. The money is there. They just won't take it.

Submitted by Charley


SabraP said...

Charley you should go into politics. You'd be a true man among the wimps and I'd vote for you.

I wish our politicians had a little more spine and integrity and a little less desire for position and popularity.

Pro Zion News said...

I'm a teacher in the UK.
When I meet Israeli friends and tell them this they look at me with pity and ask what else I do. They cannot believe that teaching is a full time job in the UK. It's a sad state of affairs in Israel

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