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Aaje to Probe More Effective Ways to Advance Jewish Education in U.S.

The American Association for Jewish Education (AAJE) announced yesterday it has undertaken a comprehensive study of its program, structure and manner of operation as the national service agency for coordination, research and promotion of Jewish education in the United States.

Arthur Brody, newly elected president of the AAJE, reported to the annual midwinter meeting of the agency’s National Governing Council at the Fifth Avenue Synagogue here that the study has been commissioned “to determine how leaders of Jewish community federations and local central agencies of Jewish education perceive the AAJE’s role in advancing Jewish education in their areas.”

Brody said their views “will be instrumental in helping the AAJE reorder its programmatic priorities and recast its structure to make these more responsive to the educational needs of local communities and, as well, in encouraging closer communal involvement in the shaping of AAJE policy at both the national and regional level. ” He stated that the study is being conducted with the cooperation of the Council of Jewish Federations and Welfare Funds, which is urging local federations to assist in its funding.

PROBLEM OF SALARIES

In another major policy move, the National Governing Council enacted a series of proposals affecting the AAJE’s Fellowships in Jewish Educational Leadership (FIJEL) program which are designed to guarantee participants accepting career assignments in Jewish education upon completion of their training.

The AAJE undertook responsibility and administration of FIJEL in 1976, at the request of the CJFWF, which had established it two years earlier to attract superior young people into Jewish education. However, the AAJE found that a number of Fellows did not take teaching positions after graduating the programs largely because of low starting salaries in the field.

Dr. Harry Passow, chairman of the agency’s FIJEL Advisory Committee and director of educational institutions and programs at Teachers College of Columbia University, said that initial annual salaries of $9000 in day schools and $6000 in supplementary schools “are neither adequate for modest living purposes nor comparable with the average starting salary of $13,000 in such areas as Jewish community relations, social service and group work. In fact, “he said, “they are more likely to repel rather than attract superior candidates qualified for Jewish educational leadership.”

The proposals regarding financial arrangements with initial placement–capable of providing for 14 Fellowships annually–would include placement in a teaching or related position in a Jewish school, paying a salary of approximately $6000 a years; joint part-time placement in a local central agency of Jewish education, paying approximately $3000 a year; and subsidization by the AAJE of up to $4000 a year.

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