It is now beyond doubt that the future of Jewish education is one of the most frequently discussed subjects around the community’s proverbial “water cooler.” The epicentre of the discussion usually focuses on the tuition costs of such education.
Affordability is the key issue of the discussion on Jewish education. Tributaries of related subjects, however, flow from it. For example, many educators, educational administrators and educational policy planners are currently directing their minds to rethinking the delivery of education as a way to make schools more affordable to the large swath of middle income families without compromising the provision of an excellent education.
Hillel David Rapp, Director of Education at Bnei Akiva Schools of Toronto, has recently joined the discussion with an essay entitled “Will we support the day school of tomorrow?”
Rapp combines educational and business expertise and background to challenge us into re-imagining the Jewish day school system of the future. “Instead of working to sustain this system, we should be thinking about redesigning a better system. Along these lines, the edifice of our broader education system may be beginning to show cracks,” he boldly writes.
But rather than simply point to the “cracks” in the current system, Rapp commendably offers a prescription for the possibilities of tomorrow. To his credit, he does not retreat from making suggestions that some might find controversial. He advocates a full embrace of Artificial-Intelligence-Supported Online Learning. Many others do as well in this day and age. Others are more cautious with the integration of on-line learning. Perhaps most provocative is his reference to our current educational system as “yesterday’s school”. The reference is out of regret not out of derision.
Rapp’s essay is a worthwhile read.