As the 2011-2012 school year is begins, there's no better time to think about Jewish education. (Reminder: we're celebrating the publication of the International Handbook of Jewish Education with a symposium on September 19th.)
This week, from the J-Vault: The Study of Jewish Education in the United States (1960)
Summarizing a national study of Jewish education conducted in the late 1950s, the author applies a metaphor borrowed from Mark Twain: "a river that is a mile wide and an inch deep."
The article discusses access (the study found that 80% of Jewish children had Jewish schooling of some kind), teaching quality (poor job security and career prospects led to an ineffective pool of teachers), and curriculum (an ambitious range of topics crammed into not nearly enough time). The author also argues that denominational differences should not be a barrier to joint (cross-denominational) education programs, to maximize efficient use of education funds.