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Convention of A. A. J. E. Sees Jewish Education in U.S. Facing Crisis

Jewish education in the United States is facing “a real crisis” because of the “deplorable economic status” of the teachers in Jewish schools, it was reported at the two-day annual convention of the American Association for Jewish Education which concluded here today.

The report, submitted by Professor Leo L. Honor, of Dropsie College, was based on a recent survey undertaken by the Association. It established that in 1955, there were still some Jewish communities in the United States which were paying a beginning teacher with a temporary license less than $2,000 per year and a beginning teacher with a permanent license less than $2,500 for a work load of twenty hours or more per week.

“No wonder,” Dr. Honor said, “that the supply of new teachers has been dwindling down to alarming proportions. There are at least 5,000 new teachers needed for the next ten years, but, according to all indications, not even 20 percent of the required personnel will be available.”

The convention also heard a progress report on a study of Jewish education in the United States, financed by the Association and carried out by an independent commission under the leadership of Professor Oscar I. Janowsky of the College of the City of New York. In an overall review, Prof. Jarwsky pointed out that of the 85 cities and towns which constitute the sample of Jewish communities being studied, 50 have been or will be covered by the end of this school year.

Prof. Janowsky emphasized that “evidence is mounting in disproof of the assumption that the children are hostile to the Jewish school, that parents are disinterested and community leaders unconcerned or unfriendly. We have found that the vast majority of Jewish children receive some form of Jewish schooling and that they like the Hebrew school. The vast majority of the parents, too, attended some Jewish school, and they are concerned with the Jewish education of their children. The community leaders are eager to extend and improve Jewish education.”

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