Emphasis on ‘Pass’

In his article discussing the return to school and results (“On Second Thought,” Hamodia Prime, August 12, 2020), Joel Rebibo states that his grandchildren who have learning issues are upset at the thought of returning to school. “School is torture. It’s where they get to spend an entire day feeling like failures.”

This appears to be an astonishing indictment of the schools his grandchildren attend, as well as the Israeli education system. Are the Rebbeim/teachers so unskilled, untrained and uncaring that they are unable to provide any opportunities in an entire day for less-able pupils to feel some sense of achievement? Are there no support systems in place for children with learning obstacles? I freely admit that I have very little knowledge of Israeli schools, but I find it hard to believe that school is “torture.”

If indeed this is the case, surely the parents of Mr. Rebibo’s grandchildren should look for alternative solutions for their children’s education.

May the new academic year bring success and happiness to all schoolchildren.


Mr. Rebibo replies:

I would never accuse the teachers/Rebbeim in my grandchildren’s school of being uncaring or unskilled. They’re very dedicated, well-trained individuals. And they work very hard. But the classes are large, over 30 kids, and the teachers are under pressure to live up to the lesson plans they’re required to submit to their principals each week and teach a specified amount. That leads some kids to feel like failures all day long, and that’s something that we as adults would never put up with, and it is also totally unnecessary.

I think we have to look at the whole child and ask ourselves whether we are doing him justice in the current system. If not, maybe we can improve it by introducing pass-fail for some classes, or some other ideas that could be generated by a healthy public discussion.