TWILIGHT ZONE – Israeli Education Episode 2

In last week’s episode we were waiting for a decision phone call from the man at the Education Ministry. No call.

After many e-mail and phone calls, Shelley Brinn (Ma’aleh Adumim Community Aliyah Coordinator) got us an audience with the mysterious Yoav – whose last name and title were not disclosed to us (things are very casual here)– on Monday at 1 p.m. We were annoyed that the only time they could schedule this meeting was at an hour that they knew Michael couldn’t be there – but not to worry, we are high-tech people… I called and put him on my cell phone’s speaker so he could hear every word.

Initially Yoav didn’t think transferring Yisrael to a different school was a good solution since there is violence in all schools. I acknowledged that if that were the only reason I would agree, however, our real issue was the school’s lack of responsiveness – not only to the attack on our son but also in their refusal to return calls or schedule the meetings I had requested before and after school started for the year.

He was concerned that the other school didn’t have any English speakers in the class. However, the principal told me that the boys had the ability to communicate on a basic level (as did the teacher). As I realized that he wasn’t going to approve the transfer, I told him that we would respect whatever decision he was about to hand down, however, our son was not – under any circumstances – going back to a school that refuses to communicate with parents when their child is injured in school and instead continues in their attempt to cover up the incident with more lies.

He backed down and agreed to the transfer. And then the truth came out – his assistant, Hagit, attacked! It was obvious that she was the one obstructing this transfer for the past 2 weeks. She raised her voice and told me that he must be IN school and that it’s illegal not to send him to school, and asked what we will do if we aren’t happy at the new school.

I calmly explained to her that it is not illegal for me to refuse to send him to a school in Ma’aleh Adumim, it is illegal for me to refuse him an education. And that since he has dual citizenship, he has the right to our choice of an Israeli or American education. Then I explained that if Ma’aleh Adumim is unable to provide him with a safe and good quality education, we will either send him to a private school in Jerusalem or homeschool him as I did my daughter.

Unhappy that she lost that battle, she demanded that prior to his attendance at the new school that she and I must meet with the principal to discuss my expectations and determine whether or not the school is able to meet them! This seemed ridiculous to me, since my expectations are simple and have already been discussed on the phone with the principal who agreed to them:

The school must communicate with me (in English or simple Hebrew) in a timely manner if my son:

  • Is injured or sick.
  • In need of medical attention.
  • Is not behaving properly in class.
  • Is missing something that he should have in class.
  • Is in need of extra help in a particular subject.

So to keep peace I agreed to the meeting. Then she announced that she was not available on Tuesday or Wednesday because she had a seminar to attend, and she would schedule a Thursday meeting. She called the principal and was unable to schedule the meeting because the principal didn’t have her calendar handy. She promised to deal with this on Tuesday and call me with the appointment time.

When I didn’t receive a call on Tuesday or Wednesday, I called Hagit’s cell phone and later in the day she returned my call with a 9 a.m. SUNDAY appointment because the principal is too busy on Thursday and Hagit doesn’t work on Friday. Because he has ulpan Sunday morning I asked if he was required to attend this meeting. Hagit didn’t know but said she would call the principal back – I suggested that if he needed to be there the appointment should be moved to after 11:30 and she declined that option because she has another meeting at that time (the whole afternoon?) They decided he shouldn’t miss ulpan, so I’ll be going alone to meet with them on Sunday.

In the meantime, should I go out and buy the school uniform t-shirts and can I please have a copy of that school’s book list so I can determine which books to exchange at the book store? No, I should wait until after the meeting with the principal! Which means at least an additional day of school lost because I’m at the mercy of Egged’s bus service – and the shirts can’t be purchased IN Ma’aleh Adumim.

Yisrael has missed yet another whole week of school because of their idiotic bureaucracy and incompetence! And for the next month there will only be a few days of school because of the holidays – he sure is enjoying his extended vacation watching Hebrew cartoons and playing educational computer games.

Stay tuned for the next episode of THE TWILIGHT ZONE!

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