Who wants to think about the new school year when we are only halfway through July? Well, it looks like there is no choice but to consider what the fate of our schools and yeshivas are going to be come September.
Now that everyone is almost naturally social distancing and habitually wearing face masks when out and about, what is the next big thing that our leaders can use to first instill fear and then control us? The answer is the decision about whether or not our schools will open as usual come the new term.
Here in New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo consistently says that he does not understand why major issues like masks, social distancing, and whether or not to open the city are being politicized. One clue might be that throughout this entire crisis, there has not been one aspect of it that has not been politicized by the governor.
Whether it is Cuomo or Governor Newsom in California or other Democrats sprinkled around the country, it seems that their main agenda item is to create as extreme difficulty as possible for people in the hope that they blame the hardships on President Trump and thereby vote him out in November.
Here on Long Island we are dealing with some Democrats, but these leaders are focused on what is good for Nassau County without taking into consideration the national political implications their decisions will have.
Lawrence District School Board President Murray Forman says that County Executive Laura Curran believes our schools should open with the arrival of the new school year. The question is how much independence from the governor Ms. Curran will have on this issue.
In New York City, Mayor de Blasio, who hops, skips, and jumps from one disastrous decision to the next, has already announced that the new school year will be a “blended” one. That means that there will be a mix of in-school and at-home classes.
This is not only a dreadful decision for the school children, it also throws up in the air the schedule of parents who depend on their kids going to school so that they can go to work.
For our yeshivas, this is a mixed bag of sorts. According to Mr. Forman, as expected, yeshivas in Brooklyn or Far Rockaway, for example, will have to abide by de Blasio’s disastrous formula. Here in Nassau County, if things stay as they are now, we can hopefully expect a conventional school year.
There is, however, another dimension to this latest way to scare and control the people. Believe it or not, the teachers — or at least the teachers’ union — are against teaching in the classroom if they can pull it off in any fashion come the new school year.
The Lawrence District teachers have been told to be prepared to teach in the classroom after the summer. Of course, steps need to be taken to safeguard the health of all students and school personnel, and that effort — along with the total sanitization of the schools — is under way in all schools, both public and private.
Once this is accomplished, the next step is into the realm of politics. It’s clear to many of the professionals who deal with children that keeping our children out of school inflicts a great deal of damage on them. Online or Zoom teaching might have been a good stop-gap emergency measure, but it falls significantly short when dealing with the youngest kids.
Putting children back in school while the world continues to work on therapeutics and a vaccine for the coronavirus is indeed possible. As long as political calculations like that of Governor Cuomo cannot be set aside, our education system and the children will continue to suffer.
Now that the U.S. has basically given the green light to Israel extending Israeli law to communities in Judea and Samaria, it is doing a bit of an end run or a zig zag itself.
U.S. officials have said that facilitating the Israeli move all along has been designed to push the Palestinians into entering into talks with Israel and reaching an agreement that allows for extending law to the settlement communities while also beginning negotiations over a Palestinian state.
Right now, the way things are developing it looks like the Palestinians will have the last word on whether Israel gets permission from the U.S. to make what has turned into an internationally controversial move. All the Palestinian Authority has to do is continue to refuse to get involved in the process, and that seemingly will stall the Israeli plan from going forward.
This places Prime Minister Netanyahu in a predicament of sorts because he promised the leaders in Judea and Samaria that extending Israeli law to these communities was going to be a high priority of his new government. Now he has several obstacles placed in his way, preventing the move.
First, there is the matter of coaxing the Palestinians into the process, which clearly is not working out.
Now the U.S. wants Bibi’s Assistant Prime Minister Benny Gantz to agree with the move, which is not likely to happen anytime soon. Gantz has agreed to consider the possibility of the policy but is still distant from giving his OK on the matter.
Then there is the matter of American Jews, the majority of whom oppose the Israeli move and would just prefer the status quo for another 50 years or more. The consensus of American Jews is more disposed to the creation and the support of a Palestinian state and would prefer that Israel not do anything that provokes anyone or incites condemnation.
There is a contradiction here between what might be best for Israel and what people outside of Israel believe is best for the Jewish state. But this is an old story. Here it is once again: two Jews, three opinions. In this case, that might be an understatement.
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