Mother Speaks Out: Who Knows Best for Our Children?

Letter by Mrs. Ruthie Sperlin: “On its face it seems as though a ‘reputable’ organization wants to add basic subjects to our children’s curriculum so that they can be ‘productive members of society’. Their motives could not be further from the truth.”

By Mrs. Ruthie Sperlin

Dear fellow concerned parents,

I write this letter with the intention of opening the eyes of my fellow community members and parents. My hope and my prayer are that everyone reading this considers a perspective that may not seem obvious, and then be motivated to act. Make no mistake, action is necessary.

By now most of us have been inundated with information about the important, impactful and effective campaign to Protect Our Chinuch. Our children have come home with letters, our friends have sent us WhatsApp’s and we have in turn sent/forwarded the pertinent info to family members all across the United States. Boruch Hashem, Klal Yisroel has garnered close to 200,000 signatures.  

Why have we done so? Why is this campaign so crucial? Why have Yidden from diverse communities come together in this united way, for this issue? The purpose, at this time, is to show our opposition to the Government interference in the education of our children. Yes, that is the basic, simplified reason. In reality the issue is in fact more complex than that.  

Allow me to propose a different premise. After all, we need to question the premise of any debate and the motives that are behind it. Through it all I’d like you to keep in mind this basic question. Who knows what’s best for my child?

On its face it seems as though a “reputable” organization wants to add basic subjects to our children’s curriculum so that they can be “productive members of society”. Their concern is seemingly altruistic. Their motives could not be further from the truth. I will demonstrate that fact for you.

Ask yourself this question. Why would so many people from outside our community care about how I educate my child? Would you trust a stranger to make decisions for your family? Why would an organization put so much time, money, and effort to push the government to pass laws and legislation that affect my child/ our children? What interest do they have in my child? Do they know my child, my family values?  

As I looked more closely at the proposed guidelines, I came across something rather sinister. You may have heard the term “substantial equivalence”, the term that underlies all the proposals. It sounds innocuous, unobjectionable. There should be a standard of equal education for all students. What could be the issue?

It may seem as though the only concern is Math, Science and Social Studies. That those basic subjects are all they are concerned about. That is NOT the case. Once we allow them to dictate ANY part of what we teach in the name of “substantial equivalence”, that same standard can then be applied to EVERY area of the public-school curriculum that may come down in the future.  We would be bound to teach that as well. In the interest of modesty and morality I will not go into the details here that the curriculum coordinators think young children as young as kindergarten need to know. The depravity, and complete lack of a moral compass is evident in the proposal. This will be the standard imposed on our children.

Those who oppose our way of life understand one fundamental basic truth. In order to get what they want; they MUST start with the children. They must influence the children. They must control what they learn, what they see, and who teaches them. Only then are they able to achieve their true, unspoken goal, which is to move our children further away from true values of Torah.

We know Torah is Emes. Torah is what guides us. The moment we allow even one small part of their agenda into our schools we have failed. It is NOT about a better education. It is NOT about being able to be a productive member of society. That is the “silk kapotta” they clothe themselves in.  

Do not be fooled. Open your eyes to the bigger picture. Government, whether at local or state level, cannot have the authority to make decisions about your child’s chinuch. How could they? Do they know your values? They want to exert influence to affect our children for generations to come. So, I ask you again, what interest does a random person have in my family? None! Why do they care about my chinuch decisions? They don’t! We must recognize it for what it is: a sinister interest.

In this country we have a basic right to freedom to practice our Torah way of life without interference. This is interference at the highest level. Only we can stop it!

Now that you are aware, what’s next, what can you do?

1) Know what to answer to those insidious, disingenuous questions, and criticism of our way of life, whether they come from inside or out. You do not need to respond to others, but having an informed response is critical.  

Objection: Every child needs a good English education

If you choose to respond, try this.  

If something bothers you about your children’s education, please research schools, speak to principals and choose the best scenario for your child. Thank G-d my children are well adjusted individuals. They were each given a wonderful well rounded Torah education that taught them invaluable skills. But I appreciate your concern.

Objection: The orthodox only take from the system and don’t give back.

Try this response.

It’s difficult to take your concern seriously as the facts on the ground show the opposite. My family, my neighbors, my community, and I have paid for a private school education that we value. We pay taxes, we contribute to the community on a humanitarian level and a business level. We have a zero-crime wave in our community, we have a very high graduation rate, and many of those graduates go on to hold high paying jobs and run communities across the globe. We are confident that if you would compare our schools to the local public-schools borough wide, the success rate of the Yeshiva system is demonstrably evident. 

Perhaps your energies and the energies of the State would be better served if you would focus on how to fix a broken system. Clearly our Torah way of life doesn’t need your input. We would be happy to help guide and lend assistance to show how to create true success.

Objection: The Frum communities are insular due to their limited religious only education.

Try this response.  

The religious world that I live in is quite broad and very much out there in the world. We contribute, we do business with, we donate our time and resources to help those around us. On the contrary, our Torah teachings are what guide us when it comes to helping those around us. Our Torah values are what influence us to be moral and right.

2) Sign the petition!

3) Talk about the petition

We need to come together as parents so that we can continue to have the opportunity to receive a Torah-only education.  An education that we choose! Subject matter that is in line with our beliefs! As time runs out to respond, we need to put aside our reservations, “I-can-do-it-later” thoughts, or fear of nudging others.

If every person we know signed this petition, we would quickly surpass our goal.  We all need to be ambassadors. Who can you remind, right now, about this important conversation?

This is too precious a matter to stay silent.

Click here to sign the petition.

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