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Political corruption at school?

 
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amother






Post  Thu, Jun 16 2011, 12:04 pm
A family donated a scholarship award for the graduating boy with the highest grades in Gmara. The award was given to one of the worst students in class who happens to be the son of the chairman of the board of the school. Is this normal?
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tovasara









  


Post  Thu, Jun 16 2011, 12:22 pm
This is the world we live in my friend. It stinks, from start to finish.
I think about this stuff literally 24 hours a day.
What goes on in my son's school is intolerable (I don't know about awards, but other stuff that happens politically) and I just heard about the awards issue in another school in my community.

So no, it's not normal. but it's what happens.

And I still can't find in the Torah where it's ok to pander, bribe, cater only to the rich. If you find it, let me know.

till then, I remain extremely cynical.
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zaq









  


Post  Thu, Jun 16 2011, 1:07 pm
Welcome to real life.

lechaf zechus, the committee may have decided to give the award not to the one with the highest grades but to the one who put in the most effort or showed the most improvement. That this should happen to be the son of the COB seems like a mighty big coincidence, but you never know.

In any case, it's unfair to judge based on one award. Schools usually give out numerous awards, and sometimes one or two kids qualify for almost all of them. This may be totally just in the sense that these two kids performed head and shoulders above the crowd, but it's still not quite right from a social standpoint. So administrations will sometimes give awards to people who aren't the top achievers. Sometimes they'll base an award not only the grades but also intangibles like class participation and attitude. Some schools have a policy not to give more than X number of awards to any one student no matter what. Some schools try to arrange it so that most kids get some sort of award or recognition even if they're academic underachievers.
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zaq









  


Post  Thu, Jun 16 2011, 1:15 pm
All that being said, if my son had the top gemara grades and had been passed over for the award, I'd be seeing red. If I were the donor, had stipulated that the award be given to the boy with the highest grades, and the committee ignored my wishes, I'd also be seeing red.

OP, are you positive that the donor specified that the award was for the boy with the highest grades in gemara? If so, I don't see how the committee had the nerve to disregard the donor's wishes.
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sv9506









  


Post  Thu, Jun 16 2011, 1:20 pm
If the family specified that it was to go to the graduating boy with the highest grades in gemara and it went to someone else then the family actually has a legal right to get the money back. It was a restricted donation for a specific purpose and it cannot be used for any other purpose (the school cannot decide to then award it to the boy with the most effort) - only the donor can make the limitations. The family could not however have donated it with a specific person in mind (said that this scholarship should go to "so and so") - otherwise it is not considered a tax deductible donation. If it was me and my donation was used incorrectly, I would ask for the money back!!!
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amother






Post  Thu, Jun 16 2011, 1:53 pm
OP here. The boy who received the award is also the one with the worst behavior in class. Effort? he doesn't even know what this word means.

The criterion of highest grade in Gmara was publicly announced during the graduation ceremony.

The family giving the award will never complain because they are buddy buddy with the COB.

I feel like throwing up.
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tovasara









  


Post  Thu, Jun 16 2011, 2:06 pm
I don't blame you for wanting to throw up. The situation with political clout and pandering to those with money is out of control. I blame the Rabbanim for letting it happen. they should stand up for Torah values already.
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amother






Post  Thu, Jun 16 2011, 2:21 pm
amother wrote:
OP here. The boy who received the award is also the one with the worst behavior in class. Effort? he doesn't even know what this word means.

The criterion of highest grade in Gmara was publicly announced during the graduation ceremony.

The family giving the award will never complain because they are buddy buddy with the COB.

I feel like throwing up.


Is the teacher also buddies with both or one of the families?

Unfortunately, this is the way things work in some places. Where we live, it happens all the time and anyone on the outside just has to sit back and watch this garbage without complaining. And if one complains, they become targets for terrible things being directed towards them until they shut their mouths or move.

Is in normal? No, it's absolutely disgusting that supposed Torah Jews behave this way, and that there are many town rabbis who condone the behavior by never taking a stand, looking the other way, and in some instances, even contributing themselves.

But, people like this should just watch out. One day it'll all come back to haunt them in the right time.
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zaq









  


Post  Thu, Jun 16 2011, 2:50 pm
What am I not understanding? Here's the sitch AIUI:
1. Family X gives $ for a prize for the boy with the highest grades in gemara.
2. Boy Y does not have the highest grades in gemara.
3. School announces that prize for highest grades in gemara goes to Boy Y.
4. Family X, friends of Family Y, does nothing.

Very weird. I, with my convoluted imagination, come up with the following: Father Y confides in Father X that his son, who is doing very badly in school in all areas, mentioned something about wishing he would get an award at graduation. Father X says, I was planning to give your son a very generous graduation gift, but how about if I give the money to the school and have them give it to your ds as an award? What kind of award do you think he'd appreciate most? Father Y says "He's at the bottom of the class in gemara and he'd be over the moon if he got a prize in that." Father X says "consider it done" and works out a deal with the administration to do this.

Ya think?

However, before we all go off the deep end here, let's consider that we have only amother's word, a very sketchy description of what went on. It seems to me very odd that the school would so blatantly violate the terms of the donation. There's bending the terms of agreement and then there's ignoring them entirely. I find it very hard to believe that they would do something so out of line in such a public and obvious way. There must be more to this story than meets amother's eye.
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Barbara









  


Post  Thu, Jun 16 2011, 3:04 pm
amother wrote:
A family donated a scholarship award for the graduating boy with the highest grades in Gmara. The award was given to one of the worst students in class who happens to be the son of the chairman of the board of the school. Is this normal?


If you are the teacher, then you should definitely speak with the administration.

Otherwise, I'm not sure how you know who has the highest average in the grade.
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zaq









  


Post  Thu, Jun 16 2011, 3:06 pm
Barbara wrote:

Otherwise, I'm not sure how you know who has the highest average in the grade.


Yep, that's one of the things that don't meet the eye.
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Fox









  


Post  Thu, Jun 16 2011, 3:28 pm
Everyone has made good points here, both the cynics and those urging us to be dan l'chav zchus.

I believe the problem is bigger, however. Hey, you know me -- I find a societal issue worthy of a doctoral dissertation in virtually everything!

But here goes:

IMHO, frum Jewish schools lag significantly behind the rest of the educational world in this ridiculous emphasis on prizes, awards, and titles.

Fine, it has long been traditional to recognize the valedictorians/salutatorians in high schools. But my local BY elementary school names valedictorians, too. Of course, since the school gives grades like "E" for "Excellent" and does not attach those grades to a quantitative scale, there is no objective way to name the top students. So how do they do it? "Well, the faculty get together, and they know who the best students are, and they choose someone who represents the school," explained one principal.

Need I say more?

Then they proceed to hand out dozens of bogus-sounding "awards" for everything from "Exemplary middos" to "Hardly Ever Suffers From Body Odor." The students roll their eyes, and the parents don't know how to respond.

There is a phrase that was taught to me long ago, and I say it at least once a day to my kids: Lions don't need to roar.

Many Ivy League and other top-tier colleges absolutely refuse to rank their graduates or name valedictorians. If you ask them, they will stick their noses in the air and say, "Any student who graduates from our rigorous program is exceptional." Maybe that's true, or maybe they're smart enough to realize that there is no point in comparing a student who arrived on campus sporting every advantage and chose to take the easiest program available with a student who overcame significant challenges and pushed him/herself at every opportunity.

If our goals are really to produce learned, yiras Shemayim Jews, then why do we encourage these ridiculous comparisons. There's nothing wrong with recognizing every student who has survived a day school curriculum, which is demanding. Yes, some did better than others; so what?

However, if our goals are to ape non jewish academic customs, then let's at least mimic the elite rather than the bottom-feeders!

As for this ridiculous scholarship, it was wrong from the beginning. The school should have refused to honor such a request. If the family wants to donate scholarships, they can divide the money so that every graduate going to mesivta receives a small scholarship.

Oh, and don't worry about the students who really are the best. Everyone generally recognizes their excellence and effort, and they'll receive plenty of recognition as they go through life.
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shanie5









  


Post  Thu, Jun 16 2011, 11:12 pm
zaq wrote:
Barbara wrote:

Otherwise, I'm not sure how you know who has the highest average in the grade.


Yep, that's one of the things that don't meet the eye.


Agreed. And how do u what his effort is or how he behaves in class? If you are his gemara teacher then I would say you dont belong on imamother. If u are hearing about his behavior from others, then its loshon hora u have accepted from your son/brother/nephew.

Sounds like sour grapes to me.
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alpidarkomama









  


Post  Fri, Jun 17 2011, 1:40 am
Fox wrote:
IMHO, frum Jewish schools lag significantly behind the rest of the educational world in this ridiculous emphasis on prizes, awards, and titles.


I completely agree with you. I have always found this over-emphasis on prizes perplexing and ineffective and at its worst, even destructive. Yes, recognizing things like class valedictorian, when it has been well-earned, is appropriate. But all that other stuff? BLEAH. Was this so common 30 years ago???????
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