Looking beyond the survey

Looking beyond the survey

“A new Jewish high school for 2015?” (July 26) discussed Gershon Distenfeld’s proposal for a new high school. The article quoted the survey from the Affordable Jewish Education Project as a support for the need for massive educational reform.

I would encourage all readers to look at the actual survey for themselves. The survey concludes that tests are not an effective tool for assessment and that there needs to be a refocusing of the classroom into a discussion-based model. In actuality, the survey merely shows that if you ask high school kids how a school should be run, they would prefer not to have to work too hard and would rather schmooze than have class. None of these findings are the least bit surprising.

Let us apply the same methodology of the survey and its results to parenting, where I believe the flaws of this unbalanced and overly empowering approach will be more apparent. I have an almost 5-year-old daughter. If I surveyed her and her friends, I imagine I would find that in their minds I would be a better parent if I let them watch television all day and eat junk food whenever they wanted. Clearly, it would be a mistake to let them decide how parenting should work. Now, all children should have an avenue to express their feelings and those feelings need to be given their due consideration. However, blindly asking children, including teenagers, to decide how things ought to be done is not a sound approach.

So please, let us drop the survey from the discussion and have a substantive discussion about education in our community.