Got Orthonomics in your Email Box?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Seminary on the Butcher Block

Note: Please keep asking questions on the Tuition Crisis Shiur thread. Thanks!

Many Jewish publications have been running letters decrying the seminary year. Earlier in this year, the Yated had weeks worth of letters decrying the cost. YWN recently ran a letter that generated 181 comments and it appears the consensus is that parents are none too happy about this "required" expense. ProfK recently posted her own opinion (see here and here) that seminary (and yeshiva) year is a luxury that the Orthodox community as a whole can no longer afford and it time for it to hit the butcher block.

Personally, I can't imagine getting our own children through the 6th grade (we should be so lucky), much less paying for an additional year or two of seminary/yeshiva at the cost of $20,000 in today's dollars plus extras (I'm told Shabbat meals are one of those "extras" for girls, while boys get fed). Housing and tuition already dominate the frum budget to the point where I'm surprised so many have been able to undergo the seminary cost up to this point. So I'm quite sympathetic to the arguments against undergoing this massive cost. And make no mistake, the cost is tremendous, especially as it follows 13 years of private schooling and the coming costs of college and/or vocational training are waiting in the wings.

However, I have serious reservations with the "no seminary" movement which seems to be picking up steam. And that issue is that if some superfluous cost is going to be on the butcher block (and we have what to choose from), why in the world it is a year of post-high school Torah school that has hit the firing line, with so much appeal, first?

The arguments against seminary are not just financial, but if we are only talking dollars and cents and real cash money exists (I have seen debt recommended to fund the seminary year, but I generally take exception to debt financing), I'd say spend the money for the wedding on a year of concentrated Torah learning, and then proceed to serve cake and punch for the wedding. I'd say that putting the seminary year on the cutting board before the typical Orthodox wedding hits the butcher block just isn't right.

On a related note: I think parents do a real disservice to their children when they pay for an expensive wedding and leave their children to pick up the tab for their education. There are frum men and women carrying around tremendous amounts of student loan debt who were married off "in style." I'm sure we could spend hours discussing parents' obligations to fund higher education. I am just pointing out that it makes no sense to me to spend money on a stylish wedding at the expense of introducing more financial stress into the couple's life.

52 comments:

Ariella said...

I agree with you that education should take priority over an expensive simcha. Learning is an investment for life. But for those who are only sending their daughters to seminary as a qualification for getting married, along the lines of the "accomplishments" expected of young ladies in the past, the wedding is what they are really after. If seminary is merely a means to the shidduch, it would not be valued enough to warrant such expense.

SephardiLady said...

Agreed. I'd say all the stuff done *only* for a shidduch might as well hit the butcher block. Too many hidden costs.

SuMMy said...

SephardiLady,

Interesting post. Before we take 2 random expenses and cut- lets look at the big picture and cut in order of priority.

Here's a list (everyone please add) in no particular order.

* lavish wedding
* chosson watch
* callah pearl necklace
* callah silver candelabra
* Callah expensive engagement ring
* Yeshiva Tuition
* Seminary
* Learning in Israel
* Fancy Car
* Fancy House
* Meat on shabbos

What's your rank?

triLcat said...

I think that if you want your children to be independent, then it's clear that education is the key.

I'm not a big reader of Kohelet, but really, all the rest is vanity. If I were still lighting tea lights in the little holder cups my sister got me at the dollar store, dayenu. (two of my brothers got me silver candlesticks for a wedding gift).

If I had college debt hanging over my head, that would be a true burden.

mother in israel said...

Great post.
The girls' seminaries expect the girls to get home hospitality every Shabbat from the locals, a problem on many levels.

happyduck1979 said...

WE host local sem girls on a fairly regular basis and are appalled by what they are not getting with their tuition. To me, if they are paying room and board (and often paying more than the local yeshivas!) they should be getting just that. One meal a day "on most days" should not qualify as "full accommodation".

Full disclosure. I did not do a year of seminary because I did not want to. I was made to feel less than human by a number of people whom I had previously looked up to as teachers and mentors. The fact that it has becomes such a "do or die" sort of thing, even for kids for whom it is not suited is a disgrace.

anonymousmom said...

I can attest to the fact that it is a problem for Yeshivish Shidduchim too not go away for seminary. Wonderful relative of mine, exceptional daughters, all bright and with fine middos was forced to send them to seminary out of town because she could not afford to send them to Israel. Still a big cost, but it had to be done because they felt so much pressure. The one that came home because she was homesick always has to explain herself to people and yet she is probably the best of what anyone could hope to marry in all respects. It is a sad state. Like I said before. They have all lost their marbles.

Miks S. said...

The discussion mixes up several issues. The difference between seminary pursued for educational value vs 'becasue every one goes" or "because you have to to get a shidduch" is one issue. You can imagine that girls who go for the latter reasons get much less educational benefit that they might otherwise. The value, if any, of lavish weddings. And whether seminaries provide the promised room and board.

The first two are both variants of the problems caused by the crushing pressure for social conformity in the frum world.

SephardiLady said...

MominIsrael-Are you volunteering a guest post on the subject? I know we spoke about this subject before.

mother in israel said...

Okay, give me a few days.

Lion of Zion said...

"why in the world it is a year of post-high school Torah school that has hit the firing line, with so much appeal, first?"

1) some parents are not happy that their kids return with a new hashkafah/observances at variance with the way they were raised.

2) some parents know that for their kids it will be more about having a year fun than a year of learning

3) even if child really will be learning seriously, why do they have pay extra to have them doing it half way around the world.

4) enough is enough. what exactly was the $20k paying for year after year? there is a real problem (scam?) that after 12+ years of jewish education a child is not prepared to enter the "real" world without yet another year of school.

the 4 reasons i listed are all very different, yet only one has to apply for a parent to get fed up with the seminary idea. this answers you question (imho).

SephardiLady said...

LOZ-All of those are certainly reason enough for a parent to keep their child closer to home.

I just find it distasteful to exchange education while maintaining all of the conspicuous consumption. That is why I added the additional note. (Another note: I know of someone whose parents where less than interested in helping him pursue a vocation, yet more than happy to take out a loan to make a wedding like the Goldberg's).

The same crowd trying to put seminary on the butcher block didn't listen when the simcha guidelines came out. So the seminary debate doesn't seem appropriate quite yet.

tesyaa said...

I have a couple of years left to convince my husband that seminary is unnecessary.

To my mind, it is mostly a fun year (and I speak from personal experience, 1984-85), but the opportunity to live in E"Y is a WONDERFUL thing and leads many to aliyah.

But the seminary learning is probably overrated. I would be happy if my daughter chooses some type of work or volunteer experience, or a year of college, in Israel. (She is studying Russian in HS, so maybe she could use that in some way).

triLcat said...

There's a program called (I believe) "sherut l'am" which is similar to the standard Sherut Leumi program, but designed for non-citizen ladies.

I don't know the details, but it is certainly a valuable experience, volunteering and living in Israel, and I'm certain it's much much much cheaper than seminary.

Giving up the year in Israel seems like a mistake to me. There's so much to be learned by living in the land.

Then again, I'm a die-hard Zionist.

Thinking said...

If the cost were somewhat more like what most yeshivos in EY cost the argument could be made that "at least they get college credits". Currently CUNY schools charge about 175 per undergraduate credit. Assuming a seminary girl will come home with 26 college credits, I believe that is the maximum that CUNY schools will accept, one could justify $4,550 for that. Double that to include room/board/extras and you could possibly justify $10-12K per year.

The truth is here is what has happened, this is similar to what is currently going on at many schools in the US. The founders of the seminaries, who typically founded the seminaries when they were in there 30's and 40's, 20-30 years ago now have grown children. Getting only one salary out of the school is no longer enough. Per each grown child that needs to be supported another 1K is added on to the annual tuition cost. That is how you get from $10k to $20k.

Families are so brainwashed into thinking that seminary is necessary, that I have seen families overlook the fact daughters #1, #2 and #3 got nothing out of seminary (no job, no shidduch and in some cases even no credits) and are still sending daughters #4 and #5.

Unfortunately, I believe this trend will only be broken when shadchanim stop asking about seminaries. Today's parents are so nervous about shidduchim, they are willing to do the craziest things! Seminary is just one of them.

Ariella said...

I just want to say that I went to seminary to learn, not to get a shidduch, and I do believe I accomplished that goal. And I did get 36 credits toward my Queens college degree for my studies. as for cost, yes, it was higher than college alone, but I saved the cost of 12th grade tuition by leaving on early admissions. By also taking summer courses , I manged to finish my degree at 19.
Today's approach to finishing your degree is as follows:
The "New Seminary" arranges for girls to get Adelphi BAs after just a year and a summer or 2 of classes, the girls' parents pay top dollar to get a degree obtained in a "kosher" way -- no co-ed classes, no Torah Umadda classes, etc. They grant a full year of credits for seminary in Israel (essential if they are to finish the following year) if the girls had registered with a college (I suppose Touro)while going. The girls also get 12 credits for taking an exam on Hebrew and CLEP their way to additional credits on top of getting something like 25-30 credits a semester because their seminary classes in the morning are fully accredited by Adelphi for the degree program. The only time they have to step outside the seminary walls is for the summer classes on Adelphi's campus, but htey are assured they will have their own classes there and not have to come into contact wiht any nonJews or males other than their instructors.

And this program is so effective as a shidduch magnet that the girls tend to get engaged and married within the same semester -- of course, it is expected that at least 2 weeks time off and extensions for assignments are granted, for they are, after all, fulfilling the real goal.

tesyaa said...

ariella, are these the same girls who are then going on to get an MS in speech-language pathology? The MS in speech is an intensive program, I think. Are they prepared? Or do the future speech therapists go to real colleges? I'm not making fun (though I am kind of shocked), I just don't know.

Ariella said...

tesyaa, these are the very same girls. The majority go into ST, OT, or PT, while a minority go on for a degree in education and a very few in accounting (given the large number of blanket credits the program grants, adding on the 60 or so required for accounting gives them far more credits than the usual). The New Seminary even offers the girls a chance to get the grad. degree within the same insulated environment as a distance degree from Seton Hall. They pay full tuition to see a video broadcast of the classes. But some must go on to their graduate degree elsewhere.

ProfK said...

Sheesh, and people think that the Mafia, Italian and Russian, are the experts at running rackets. They have nothing on the seminaries. Just ask yourself if c"v you were seriously injured and needed physical therapy so you could function properly again if you would be so overjoyed to have a therapist whose undergraduate major was basically Tanach supplemented by some CLEP tests and whose graduate degree was obtained basically through watching a video without the interaction with the clinical instructors that is so necessary and the hands on experience under the vigilant eye of an experienced practitioner. Talk about getting degrees in a Cracker Jacks box.

tesyaa said...

Interesting. I take it that since these girls are so sheltered, they mostly want to work in frum environments when they are done with their degrees. That's probably why, in my experience, the therapists in the public school system are better qualified than those in the yeshiva jobs.

tesyaa said...

I want to retract what I said a little. My last comment was not fair. I have found that ALL the therapists I have dealt with in the public schools have been stellar. I do not know enough about the ones working in the yeshivas to say that they are less qualified. However, they are all frum.

SaraK said...

It is extremely disconcerting to me that there are a huge number of therapists who have these mickey mouse degrees. We are not talking about a profession where you can wing it until you learn on the job (accounting or graphic design, perhaps). ST, OT and PT require a tremendous amount of schooling and clinical work. CLEP and video and on-line classes just don't cut it.

anonymous mom said...

No one realized this before. We currently have a movement of hundreds of young women entering "helping fields" that typically require years of intense training from competent professionals, completely unprepared. This has been escalating recently, but has been a problem for years. I work among them. They are young, unprepared and often unprofessional. They get jobs easily in our Yeshivas and in OT/PT "agencies" run by older versions of themselves. Sometimes, they are qualified and good. Those of us in education know the right questions to ask when it is time to find a therapist for our own children. But, for everyone else, buyer beware. This is a scourge. The Special Ed departments of many Yeshivas are overpopulated with them too. It is truly the dumbing down of our society and our own children get the raw end of the deal. Don't even get me started on this.

tesyaa said...

anonymous mom, yes, the frum children get the worst of the deal, especially since a lot of frum parents automatically prefer using a frum therapist ("she teaches him brachos! she teaches him about yom tov!"). Not many people like me are willing to go the maverick route and use the public schools. I just happen to think that the public school services are better for many kids who have issues. I see a lot of parents struggling to keep their kids in yeshivas (not just financially), by giving in to school demands that their kids be held back, that a shadow be hired, insisting on extra tutoring. My goal is to make my children healthy, functional adults, not to conform to the yeshiva system at all costs.

Lion of Zion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lion of Zion said...

TESYAA:

"a lot of frum parents automatically prefer using a frum therapist . . ."

a lot of frum parents don't really care who treats their kids because for them it's more about government-funded babysitting than therapy

"I see a lot of parents struggling to keep their kids in yeshivas . . ."

i have a good friend whose son has special needs that could probably be better met in public school (and certainly financially, as tuition is almost 50k). but he is has thus far resisted transferring his son. he says he knows his son is already on the margins the community because of this special needs. sending him to public school would only make it worse. (and my friend is not one who generally lives according to the community's expectations, but that's how much pressure he feels in this regard.)

Lion of Zion said...

ANON MOM:

"Those of us in education know the right questions to ask when it is time to find a therapist for our own children."

uh huh. my son gets services at a local center. when i first spoke to them i had a long list of things that i made it clear we would not put up with.

i hope my son won't need the services long term for two reasons. one is because i hope his issues resolvse. the other reason is that once he hits school age he will be at the mercy of whichever agency has the contract to service the schools.

Anonymous said...

Let's keep in mind that today a B.A. is totally worthless. IMHO it is great that these girls can speedily finish their B.A.'s and get on to their Masters.
In my OT program there were more than 10 girls from Touro and they were all not a day older than 21 some younger...There was even someone who had gotten her B.A. through Empire State. She had only taken her science/lab classes at her local community college!!
I think a lot of new therapists need more experience, hence, seemingly not up to par... However, I would not say there is a differentiation between non/frum therapists.
It is not just about the theoretical learning, it is about giving oneself over to learn the 'tricks' of the trade in ones profession...
We should all be happy that these girls are encouraged to get their degrees and have a profession :)

Sara

tesyaa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
tesyaa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

uh huh. my son gets services at a local center. when i first spoke to them i had a long list of things that i made it clear we would not put up with.

i hope my son won't need the services long term for two reasons. one is because i hope his issues resolve. the other reason is that once he hits school age he will be at the mercy of whichever agency has the contract to service the schools.


This is a big problem. A few years ago, when one of our daughters reached the age for first grade, we considered a few schools. All had interviews of some sort, but one school also required an interview by a psychologist. We took our daughter to the psychologist, and she wasn't able to get our daughter to speak much to her. Most of the topics were not covered, but she wrote a report anyway. We objected, but to no avail, and she also insisted that we pay her fee ($200 for about half an hour of nearly nothing) even to the extent of having a lawyer send us a letter. In the end we paid the bill because getting a lawyer to fight it would have cost us a lot more, and because we aren't fighters. BUT, we didn't send our daughter to that school, even when they specifically approached us before second grade to recruit her. Their loss because we pay full tuition of almost $14,000 a year for each of out children (and we have 5 children). The school is nearly out of business, I give them another year or two.

I don't know what people do when they only have one choice of Jewish Day School.

In my experience, it is very difficult to find a "good" psychologist, especially one well-suited for children. But there are good ones out there, and this is one case in which extended perseverance really does pay off.

Mark

Ariella said...

the school psychologist test has become fairly standard in yeshivas, I believe. I know that Shulamith in the area requires it before acceptance and TAG administers it to students in Pre1A. What I find mildly annoying is that we are billed for the test ($80 at TAG a couple of years ago) but never get to see the results or any sort of discussion about it. I suppose this is an instance of "no news is good news."

The real problem is not the test so much as the blatant ignorance of the people who make decisions in school who don't understand standard deviation and statistical variance. Thus, if a child's score on an IQ test is even a couple of points short of 100, they will label that child below average. Even a very elementary math course would clarify that 100 as average comprises a range from the 90's to a bit above 100. A child with a score of 95 could prove to be an even better student than a child with a score of 110.

The fact is that though one of my children scored higher than the other, the one with the lower score has much better school habits, while the one with the higher score is prone to carelessness and is much weaker in Hebrew.

Lion of Zion said...

ARIELA:

"the school psychologist test has become fairly standard in yeshivas"

i remember being tested by a school psych to get into kindergarten in YoF back in 1979 (holy crap that was a long time ago). but it was done in house.

the school my son started this year didn't require any sort of psych testing. should i worried about who his classmates are?

Lion of Zion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lion of Zion said...

MARK:

i don't understand what you were responding to in my comment, but in any case,i agree 100% with this comment of yours:

"I don't know what people do when they only have one choice of Jewish Day School."

this the second biggest reason i would hesitate to leave the new york area. (the biggest reason is my mother-in-law would kill me.)

it's also a reason i cringe when people talk about combining schools to alleviate the "tuition crisis."

i understand the economic reasons for school consolidation, but it would only be to the detriment of kids and their parents

Ariella said...

Lion of Zion,
I'm not sure whether the school regard the psychologists as "in house" or not. They have us make out checks separately for the testing, but they always use the same person, as far as I know - not an outsider from the district or such. Are they then independent contractors? But how independent are they when they depend on the school for the income to come from testing all the students?

I can tell you that I am less than impressed by the so-called experts I've encountered in yeshivas, and I'm sure many have earned full degrees. I did once have a far lengthier evaluation from someone from the district who admitted that parental education was a far more accurate predictor of academic success for a child than any of the areas tested, which could, at best, merely identify areas of relative strength and weakness.

Anonymous said...

i remember being tested by a school psych to get into kindergarten in YoF back in 1979 (holy crap that was a long time ago). but it was done in house.

Even more years before that (1971 or 1972), I was psychologically evaluated by Yeshiva of Flatbush for entry into third grade (I was attending Etz Chaim in Boro Park at the time) and they said I was too immature. They were right, and I still am (too immature), but it keeps me young :-) But regardless of being immature, I was a very good student throughout.

Mark

Anonymous said...

MARK:

i don't understand what you were responding to in my comment,


I was just responding to the general sentiment in your post.

but in any case,i agree 100% with this comment of yours:

"I don't know what people do when they only have one choice of Jewish Day School."

this the second biggest reason i would hesitate to leave the new york area. (the biggest reason is my mother-in-law would kill me.)

it's also a reason i cringe when people talk about combining schools to alleviate the "tuition crisis."

i understand the economic reasons for school consolidation, but it would only be to the detriment of kids and their parents


I am not so sure that school consolidation would solve anything. Do schools (today) with more students have lower tuitions than schools with fewer students? No.

The "problem" of high tuition has many more reasons behind it. It's been discussed ad nauseam here and elsewhere.

Mark

tzip said...

Getting back to the seminary question...

There are two major segments of the jewish religious world that send their daughters to seminary in israel - the "yeshivish" and the MO. I am somewhere in the MO world, so I can not comment at all on the yeshivish seminary experience. (although i would presume that all the comments on YWN were from yeshivish parents who dont want to "waste" $20K on their daughters getting another year of learning. They just want to marry them off the next yr anyway and let them be secretaries...)
In the MO world, where ALL the girls are going to college afterwards at the tune of $8K (state schools) - $50K (Ivy) per year, another year of intensive learning, learning to live independantly, focusing on middot and growth and preparing them for the secular lifestyle in colleges is extremely worthwhile. As mentioned earlier, in many schools you will get college credit (obviously full credit in stern/touro, queens gives one semester, brooklyn gives a whole year...)
There is definitely a flaw in the MO day schools that their education is "incomplete" and they rely on this year in israel. but some of the blame is the immaturity of the students and not being able to think independantly from their family and lifestyles that they are in. in israel they are on their own, not overshadowed by their parents way of life, and able to make decisions and commitments to yiddishkeit that would have been impossible when they were younger or in their parents home. the vast majority of the girls come back with a greater commitment and appreciation of torah and yiddishkeit. thats is well worth $20K IMHO.
And don't blame the seminaries for these jacked up prices. in israel (and especially with the low dollar rate right now) rent, food, slaries are a FORTUNE. the schools want low teacher/student ratios - so yes there is a high amount of slaries to pay. but the $25/hour the teachers get paid is hardly excessive. their are tiyulim, shabatonim and many other expenses. the comments that ppl have made that the seminaries get rich off these girls is preposterous.
there are definitely reforms that can and should be made - the system is far from perfect. but seminary is still an essential part of a girls religious development.
(sorry for all the typos, my baby is crying and i'm trying to finish up this post. i know i'm a bad mother)

Anonymous said...

i live in the mo world and i have to tell you that i am seeing a large number of MO girls who went to frisch, ramaz etc who go to college, ( parents spend 40-0 k per year for stern barnard etc) these girls plan on a career sometimes med school etc, ) but they get married while in college and have a baby, and before you know it, 160K is down the toilet because they give up their former career plans.
in the MO, at least the husbands are getting jobs and making enough to support a family.
but these 'educated' women are basically throwing thier degrees away to become mothers. ( time will tell if they use their degrees in the future and return to the outside world)
im not saying it a bad thing, but if all you are going to do is finish college and raise a family, it seems like a big waste of money
as far as semianry is concerned, i dont think the year of "indepednece" is so real, since all they do is go from their paretns homes while in high school, spend a year in stern etc and then to a husband. and they still need support from their parents. how many of these girls actually go out and work and support themselves after college, have to budget, pay rent, and woory about coverting their expense. all the time having tuitin paid for by mommy an daddy. ( unless their get a stern scholarship-cause youre not getting one to the ivy leagues) they all seem to get married while still in stern or barnard.
( i my self have two nephews who married while still in college and thier wives who were premed or had big carrer dreams, had children wihtin a year and have settled down to become housewives. )
it strikes me that maybe college is a waste of time and money and that ( i never thought id say this- but maybe seminary or learning in israel instead of college might not be such a bad thing)
now however, with the bad financial sector, all of the teaneck/englewood kids will no longer have the pot of gold from the financial sector awaiting them after 4 years or less of real college. and longer graduate schools may have to be considered ie medical shcool law shchool etc.

mother in israel said...

As one who "threw my degree away" to become a mother, I don't think it was a waste. Nor did my parents--they valued education for its own sake. And the people and organizations who have benefited from my education and skills over the years, certainly did not. I am so grateful that my parents paid for my education and left me free to make my own choices in life. As for rejoining the career world as my children grow--again, my education gives me so many opportunities.
Anyway, now more than ever, there is no guarantee that a girl will get married, have children, stay married, or be able to rely on her husband's income.

Anonymous said...

just a thought about the preschool psychology "interview". Inappropriate for the child to be "interviewed"; the psychologist's place in preschool evaluation is in the expertise to administer and score certain standardized tests, the knowledge to evaluate what those scores mean (statistically for the population cohort and for this individual child) and to ascertain the child's maturity and readiness for school based on those results - only in a limited way supplementing that information with observation of the child during the testing period. Getting the child to speak to you in the context of administering the tests is a skill borne of experience and training. Charging $200 for an "interview" of a 4 year old is absurd and useless. PS I am a New York State licensed psychologist from a "real" school.

shanamaidel said...

About those MO college girls:

A) Ivy and Ivy-level finacial aid, depending on the family, can be huge. I'm surprised more families with "those sort of kids" are not applying, because for the right sort of parents, the financial aid packages can be extremely generous, more generous than at state school. Plus, certain schools are now competing for frum kids, some of which would surprise you.

B)A good chunk of my married friends give off the impression of too young, including the ones with babies. They seem to lack to feeling of "How to struggle with choices." Some of them go with the flow a little too much.

C) Unlike anonymous, I disagree that the guys are making enough long term. Money is a little bit of an out there topic to them, and they do not have the training to fully understand how it works. A good chunk of my parent's neighborhood was bought out with minimum down payments by parents and grandparents, not children. There also is very little understanding of how the "goyish" world works, because very few of them have non-Jewish peer friends in college (for those who do not go to YU/Stern)
D) Orthodox Jewish women, across the spectrum, have more children than the national average, and definitely more than the Jewish average. Modern Orthodox women could only do so if they dropped out of the job or work part time, which inherently is a problem, because it creates job instabilities. One of the major reasons their college educated peers get married comparably late is because it is impossible to get a career really established enough to not get fully Mommy-tracked until you are say, 30.

Even with that, I will tell you something, you look at the top officers at fortune 500s, equity and non-equity partners at the top law and accounting firms: almost none of them are women, and of those, very few have children. I doubt if they have, their husband have high powered jobs,and that they have 4-5 children.

Jobs take time- so do children.

And Yes, Mother In Israel, they will look at the gap. You've not kept with the game in the time you've taken off.

The "easy" path for MO women is to not work, or to do low skill jobs.

Long term: It won't work. Most of the successful parents I knew, even if the mother wasn't working, was still out of the house. Better to bring home money- and stop thinking of it as his/her cash, as a model to make it ok to get women to work who need to work.

mother in israel said...

You make it sound like it is the ultimate goal, for male or female, to be an officer in a Fortune 500 company (tuition needs notwithstanding).

"And Yes, Mother In Israel, they will look at the gap. You've not kept with the game in the time you've taken off."
Thanks for the warning.

triLcat said...

shanamaidel: many educated women who are full-time moms manage to keep in the game in various ways. I'm certain that MII could land a job quickly and easily even if it isn't the kind of job that she could have had if she'd had a career the past x number of years. A college education never disappears, nor does basic aptitude.

Anonymous said...

trilcat, it's that first foot in the door that is SO hard. I speak from experience. After 9 years as a stay at home mother, the only reason I was able to go back to work was because I had finished all the actuarial exams and had decent work experience on my resume. And I took a job below the level I had left 9 years before. It's true that within 18 months I received a promotion, but I think I'm still underpaid due to the time off. But how does someone with less qualifications even get the foot in the door? I'm not bragging about my great qualifications, but having a recognized professional credential (as opposed to a degree) helped a lot.

triLcat said...

anon: my degree is in English Literature which doesn't help much... I've been working part-time since I got married to keep up a resume - part time being 5-8 hours a week.

I agree that if you leave the market, you do lose your place, but you can recover, and having skills to begin with is the only way you'll have skills later.

That said, if you plan to be a full-time mom, maybe med school isn't the right choice for you.

Commenter Abbi said...

"Most of the successful parents I knew, even if the mother wasn't working, was still out of the house."

What's the successful mother doing out of the house if she's not working?

Also, your definition of successful might not match every other MO woman's definition. There are people who prefer doing without Pesach in Florida, a new car every other year, or even living in the NY metro area so that one spouse can afford not to work or work part time.

My husband works 18 hour days so there was no way I could or would work a full time job that's even 8 hours a day. I work 5 hours, from home, very flexible so I am available for my children from 3:30 till bedtime. I could have moved up in the ranks of my company and taken a management position, but I chose not to because that would mean less flexibility and less time with my children. The money isn't worth the stress to me. I make enough money working part time to make a significant enough contribution.

Apparently I'm not alone in this thinking because this website is apparently very popular.

anonymousmom said...

Love this site. Nothing like it. Thanks all for the meaty conversation.

JLan said...

"Plus, certain schools are now competing for frum kids, some of which would surprise you."

You should, of course, list some of them. Off the top of my head, Washington & Lee in VA is pushing heavily for Jews. Franklin Marshall in central PA has a small Jewish community but includes a full kosher meal plan (and they're real meals, not airline ones). There are definitely others as well out there.

shanamaidel said...

Mine also is slowly trying. (and doing ummm an awfully awkward job at it, but I am still proud of them) We're getting a new kosher dining hall next year in addtion the the kosher dining station we have now! Go University of Chicago Maroons!!! (I realize this is an odd school to have practically no Jewish undergraduates, but they all want to cut town *shrug* A bunch come back for grad school, but none live in the area.)

Though from what I have heard, Vandy also really wanted to attract Jewish Students as well. They build a new hillel in the center of campus....

As for working moms not being full time moms. That's a weird though. You are a full time mom even if you have a full time job. Just like you are a full time Dad if you have a full time Job. What that means varies from person to person.

And this is not about going on vacation. This is about the cost of meat, fresh vegetables, and tuition, and a house. Estimates out there put the cost of being able to do so if you have 3 kids at around 100 grand. No savings. Nothing.
To put this in perspective, the median salary for a lawyer practicing for 9 years (many lawyers drop out) doesn't hit that mark. It is 88,390, with a good chunk probably lower (the mode starting salary is actually on par with a college grad, 42,000) The 60,000 mark for a lawyer is a mid tier firm in a medium size city- or an average job that a good, well educated frum yid could hope to get.

You will need a second equal salary to make the cut. You will need a second equal salary to make ends meet.


As for mom's outside the house- they volunteer- they are social with the community. People are not designed to stand their like statues....

Anonymous said...

"The real problem is not the test so much as the blatant ignorance of the people who make decisions in school who don't understand standard deviation and statistical variance. Thus, if a child's score on an IQ test is even a couple of points short of 100, they will label that child below average. Even a very elementary math course would clarify that 100 as average comprises a range from the 90's to a bit above 100. A child with a score of 95 could prove to be an even better student than a child with a score of 110."

You seem to be confusing standard deviation and variance with reliability. Test-retest reliability tells you the number of points someone might vary by if they took the test again. However given that iq is a normal distribution with a standard deviation of about 15 or 16, a score of 100 puts you at the fiftieth percentile, a score of 115 puts you at over thirty percentile points higher! The fifteen point difference is a big difference in where they stand relative to others.
Also, bear in mind that the average ashkenazi IQ is 115, a full SD above the usual average. So a child who scores below 100 is at the average for the national population, but a full SD below the average ashkenazi student.