By Yaakov Kantor
It is September, and the outlook for advanced New York State Regents diplomas in yeshivos is a bit grim. Why so? Most yeshivos do not offer foreign language instruction other than Hebrew. And way back in June, while facing a funding deficit of $11.5 million for P-12 programs, the Board of Regents approved some hefty cost cutting measures. These cuts included the elimination of January regents and all foreign language regents except for French and Spanish, were dependant upon the inclusion in the State budget of the $7 million asked for by the Regents. The Italians got together and saved the Italian Regent, but Hebrew, Latin and German were still eliminated.
So what does this mean for Yeshivos and Bais Yaakovs? Well, one of three things will have to happen:
1] Either the Jewish community (or Agudas Yisroel) had better get it together and pressure the political powers that be to reinstate Hebrew
2]The Yeshivos and Bais Yaakovs can start offering Spanish for three years
3] The Torah schools can opt to only give a Basic Regent diploma and no longer offer an Advanced Regent diploma.
The downside of the third option is that now there is no incentive to make the students take more years of science and math. There is a basic rule of young people that is in immutable law of nature- if they CAN get away with it – they will. The consequences will be that our graduating classes will be less and less educated and lesser equipped to enter a growingly complex job market.
It is imperative that one of the two earlier options be exercised immediately. All high school parents who care about their children and have children enrolled in Yeshivos should bombard the offices of their Yeshivos and Bais Yaakovs now. Spanish language instruction should be offered immediately.