Monday, March 08, 2004

Excluding Service

It is a sad fact that Purim is the time when corruptions reigns free in our schools. It has become a tradition for our parents to give their boys’ Rebbes an envelope with the Mishloach Manot. We all understood why the council forbade giving the dustmen a tip round Christmas time yet the only ones who seem to understand why this is wrong is those with a different excuse for each collection plate.

The moment the handing of a gratuity stops being a voluntary mark of appreciation and becomes a prerequisite for continued good service it loses all legitimacy. It cannot be acceptable that a child should be discriminated against because his father could not afford to compete in the tipping stakes with the highest flyer in his class. The teacher’s attention should not be for sale and our overly expensive education must not become concentrated upon the highest bidder.

One school did for a while insist that all parents put the money they want to give into one envelope so the Rebbe need not know what each individual had given. This was eventually scrapped, according to the headmaster because “The Rebbes complained that they were getting much less.” Oh really, is that so? You would think the most studious one percentile of the cleverest race would be able to figure out why that proves the problem.

I must admit that I don’t always have the courage of my convictions. Like everybody else I too duly handed in my protection money. I cannot subject my children to the risk of being ignored by their teacher but I shudder to think what it teaches them about values.

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