A Surprising Development in a Landmark Court Case
Noson, this is not a great post. Of Course Dr. Adina Schick knows that Noah's Ark does not represent contemporary scientific thought, but she is doing her best to negate the NY school board from dictating curriculum to Torah schools. I personally, as you know, am very knowledgeable in most of the sciences (for a layman) and I laud the teaching of science in frum schools. But on the other hand, I'm sure you agree that Torah is more important than science, and some Chasidim (and even Yeshivish as in Lakewood) eschew extended education in the sciences. I don't agree that is the best educational profile, but as long as the schools produce Torah educated fine individuals, I think it is wrong to pressure them to change. However, I don't want the secular authorities to get a foot in the door of curriculum in Jewish schools; that happened when the communists took over Russia, and they wiped out Torah education. I don't care if they cut funding, as long as they leave us alone.
Here, I don't think the many of the applications of the Noah's ark story are actually a poor match to state standards. Here is a link to the standards, which they have for kindergarten, first grade, etc.
You can expand each, and sometimes see examples of each. How does a kindergartener accomplish the subgoal of "contextualization"? Their sub-subgoal examples is: Identify similarities between home and school; identify similarities between him/herself and others; describe an event in his/her life.
These goals each have fancy names, but break it down, and the way they suggest one meet these are things one might write a substack criticizing as too basic. In reality, these are all basic. They don't require grappling with how kangaroos got on the ark. (Midrashim asking how the re'em fit on the ark, or how Og survived could be similar.) Asking how Avraham was similar but different from Noach in terms of righteousness. Describing an event in the parsha. And so on. Yes, expectations should shift by grade, but these aren't *really* kvetches, any more than typical assignment of what is taught is matched to these standards.
Wow! Dr. Schick's statement reads like something straight out of The Onion magazine, rendering her a highly suitable candidate for the Nobel Prize in satire.
I have very much enjoyed reading most of what Rav Slifkin has written over the past several years. It has even directly led me to purchasing 2 more of his books.
I have a lot of blogs and sites which I enjoy reading for free and others which have turned into paywall protected sites. Unfortunately, I cannot afford to fork out month after month the money requested by all those sites which have gone the paid subscription route.
So I will have to make due with what is published for free. At least I hope that Rabbi Slifkin will remain market savvy enough to us skinflints and keep promoting the causes and books of his own works and of others whom he recommends. ברכה והצלחה.
You should not feel the need to defend your decision to charge. Creating content takes energy and resources and thus is valuable. Keeping that in mind, I wish you would remove the IP theft that is on your site in the form of stolen graphics.
With regards to this post, this phrase stuck out: "I don’t know why they are trying to help them". Perhaps it's worth asking? There are many reasons mostly having to do with freedom of religion and ensuring that the state doesn't overreach. There is the possibility of forcing on schools troubling curricula that run antithetical to religious values. And as others here have commented, it's not like NY Public Schools are turning out stellar students. Their overall literacy/numeracy rates don't even hit 50% of the expected standard. So the topic is far more complex that you may grasp not being immersed in the American frum community.
Btw the funding that the schools receive has little or basically nothing to do with education ("strings attached") but to do with benefits for needy families (food etc.). Public schools have essentially be social service agencies, but that a whole other topic.
Receiving billions of dollars of Government aid almost always come with strings attached. Also, in todays day an age young people not achieving basic academic skills will severely hamper their options later in life. Maybe it is child abuse. Sacrificing your own children for religion.
This is a great post. It's clear, erudite, and to the point.
I just wanted to say thank you for all your free content. I really appreciate it and have read it. (I have also bought all your books, plus some of your digital monographs). However, 8 dollars a month for mere digital content seems a little steep to me. I would happily purchase a book based on the blog posts, because I have something to keep, even if all the blog posts in it remain available for free (it could look like "Second Focus").
Like other readers I deeply value this blog even though I regularly disagree on some issues. I certainly agree science should be taught from scientific books.
I also do not deny the author's right to demand money for his work. However, the price is too high for me.
Anyone who objects to the new freemium model is endorsing theft and parasitism. Rav Slifkin has a perfect right to demand payment for some of the intellectual property he creates. Time is money.
I chuckled at the "creating models (e.g., drawing a picture of the ark)" quote.
Fascinating stuff. Can you please share a link to the original source?
I'm having trouble finding the affidavit from Dr. Adina Schick online.
im so grateful you have given away so much for free. im a broke student and i dont know where i'd be without you, but probably a lot more foolish.
You need not feel a need to explain yourself for charging a fee to view content that you created. It is nice that you use the proceeds for charity but that doesn't justify your claim any more than if you would have said that it belongs to you and it is available to read for whoever wants to pay.
What's your answer for how kangaroos got to the ark?
U say: "Rav Aharon Feldman told me, when I asked him 25 years ago how kangaroos got to the ark, that I shouldn’t be bothered by such things."
That is ALWAYS the rabbinic response when u ask a good question: Do not worry about that stuff! The Torah system that Haredim teach is incompatible with the real world. Forget "science"! Even without science, any intelligent person can see the Torah is NOT consistent with itself or with reality!