Friday News Roundup: Educating the Educators

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It’s a love-hate relationship in the world of religion and education today.

I KNOW that either Mark or Jessica will write more about both of these next week, but I had to bring you the articles themselves while they’re fresh.  Some people are getting it so right…and some people are getting it so wrong.

On the right side of things:  There was an uproar a few years ago when the New York Department of Education scheduled the Regents’ Exams over the Eid al-Adha, one of Islam’s 2 holiest days.  It eventually ended with the passage of a law barring any exams from being scheduled on religious holidays.  Tanenbaum was one of the organizations that spoke out, paving the way for the eventual happy ending.

This week, the New York City Council went a step further: The Education Committee voted 10-1 to close New York City public schools on the Eid.  The recommendation goes before the full Council on June 30th, and if passed, will then go to the mayor for approval.  (You can read the full text of their resolution here.)

Unfortunately, another issue’s cropped up in the New York City public education world: several papers reported this week on Li Morse, a senior at a public high school in Harlem who is unable to attend her high school graduation because it’s being held tomorrow – a Saturday – when she’ll be observing Shabbat.

The school did try to come up with a solution: “[She] was invited to march down an aisle of the school library by herself on Friday.” Unsurprisingly, this wasn’t acceptable to her or her family, who called the proposed alternative “peculiar.”

The city eventually came up with an accepted alternative:  A private ceremony at the Tweed Courthouse, where Morse will personally receive her diploma from Department of Ed Chancellor Joel Klein.

No word on what the students at the school think – are they fine with this?  Will graduation be marred with protests?  We’ll see what the news says on Monday – and you’ll get an earful from our Education team next week, no doubt.