Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Fight the Power...Oops, Too Late

For Kindergarten and grades one and two, the city has a program called the "Eleventh Month," whereby the school year is extended one more month, it is called camp instead of school, and parents have to pay extra for it.

The theory behind this option is solid:  kids they know, the place they know, and staff they know, with a more relaxed environment.  Raphaela had a wonderful and full experience last Summer, even though there is no pool or amusement park on the program.

This year, the responsibility for organizing and funding was transferred from the Jerusalem Municipality, to local authorities instead.  In a letter that one of the parents only chose to share one day before camp is meant to begin, it states that the local authorities cut the budget, making it next to impossible for the staff to have enough supplies to keep the children busy in a meaningful and deep way. "Glorified babysitting," the letter called it. Instead, they are apparently skimming off the top to cover their annual budget, and asking parents to kick in extra money;  because they know that working parents have no other options, and that we want the best possible experience for our children.

To add insult to injury, the Ultra-Orthodox camps are almost fully subsidized by the taxes that we regular citizens pay.  So the group of people that as a whole takes advantage of the Israeli government, their kids will have a better camp that our kids, and we are paying for it.  I personally know several families who have a difficult time paying for two months of camp for their multiple children, and they are not Ultra-Orthodox.

Who is to blame here?  The City, for outsourcing to a corrupt organization.
No, the corrupt organization, for taking advantage of desperate parents.
No, the state government, that continually gives into the demands of the Ultra-Orthodox.
Or perhaps the parents committee can take some of the blame, having informed the rest of us when it was too late to choose another camp, or protest the current situation.

Who suffers here? Our kids.

No comments: