So in honor of my first day of unemployment I have decided to blog! woot! woot!
This morning, while going out for my first bagel and iced soy chai latte of freedom I happened to buy a NY Times. When was the last time I actually read a real paper (e.g., not am NY)? So while sipping my latte and enjoying a p-funk, I noticed this article on the front page. It was obviously a not so subtle hint from the power(s) that be that I have been neglecting my blogosphere responsibilities.
In Broward County Florida, (Ft. Lauderdale area, incidentally about 45 minutes from my parents) an Orthodox Rabbi and his cohorts have started what he claims to be the first English/Hebrew charter school, i.e., free, tax dollar payed for, public school that teaches classes in both English and Hebrew. They are being seriously watched for any mention of religion, which, as anyone who knows a bit of Hebrew may be aware of, is quite hard. Hebrew is littered with sayings that have a literal religious connotation but in everyday speech is used quite secularly. So anyway, evidently while Miami is referred to as "Little Havana," parts of South Florida could also be called "Little Jerusalem." (oops.. wasn't that Vilna back in the day?)
I guess my problem here is that I don't really have too strong of an opinion. And that bothers me. If we were discussing a right wing, bible belt public school that teaches creationism, I would be up in arms. But I think my heeb status is once again making me instinctively side with the Jews. Probably why it took me until Sophomore year in college to have a real opinion on Israel/Palestine (but I'll save that for another day, shall i?)
They say they are trying really hard to teach Hebrew as a language for students whose parents often primarily speak Hebrew. There are TONS (and I mean tons) of charter schools across the country that are dually Spanish and English and I think they are a great idea. They are found most commonly in South Florida, Texas and California and my cousin (heeb like me) is in one. His parents think its important for him to learn a language young. There are tons of studies that show that students who learn dual languages (or more) as a small child will be benefited intellectually etc.
But, I am pretty glad that officials are at least giving them a hard time to ensure the complete lack of religious content. I mean, look at the controversy in NY over the Khalil Gibran International Academy, a charter school in Brooklyn that plans to teach a dual Arabic/English curriculum. The crazies over at the Sun (I had to deal with those reporters in college over numerous political skirmishes, and I feel 100% justified in calling them crazies... or at least always ideologically driven, which is, in my opinion, an awful way to run a newspaper) have painted it as a terrorist training school. Which is ridiculous.
So here is what I make of this- Dual language schools are wonderful (and I wish I had gone to one) and I hope this school survives... if it is just that, a language school. So proceed with caution, and be damn sure to let in any child who wishes to attend. Why does my gut instinct tell me that they sneaking in a few brachas :)
On a last note - in mid/high school my language options were French, Spanish, Italian or German. In this world, besides Spanish, I'd say the next most useful would be Arabic. Can we separate language, religion, culture and politics?