Education issues and the CRC

by | Aug 16, 2012 | Other News

In 2010 I was asked to chair the Community Relations Council’s (CRC) education committee. Eliot Weinstein serves as vice chair.

This committee assists with common education situations in our local school systems both public and private. Our goal is to provide a united position for the Jewish community on issues important to Jewish students and Jewish school employees. Over the years, most of these issues have related to appropriate handling of student or employee absences for Jewish holidays, textbook issues, and concerns of separation of church and state.

We seek to help and offer suggestions for parents, employees, or students experiencing issues with a school. Over the past few years we have heard only a few complaints and concerns and have addressed those we thought needed addressing and gritted our teeth and ignored those we thought should be ignored.

Living in a military town, we all understand the concept of chain of command. Some situations need to be dealt with from the top down, but most need to be dealt with up the chain of command. Even when you solve a problem yourself, we want to hear about it and at what level it was resolved, so we can look for patterns and bigger issues where we may need to provide education to the school systems.

If your child is experiencing a problem in the classroom, or you as a school employee are experiencing a problem at school, the appropriate place to begin is with the lowest possible person in the chain of a command. For a student, this would be the teacher. If the matter cannot be resolved with the teacher, then try either the guidance department or the assistant principal, followed by the principal. If that does not work, try an assistant superintendent for that level of school, then up to the superintendent of schools, and finally the school board.

For employees, the chain of command would be an immediate supervisor at the school level—which might be a department head, followed by the appropriate assistant principal or principal, then perhaps the human resources department.

While the education committee addresses issues on a regional level, we need help to know when situations occur. For example, if you see a textbook that contains anti-Semitic material or presents a distorted history of the Arab-Israeli conflict, please let us know. If you cannot provide a copy of the textbook, please copy (1) the ISBN Number or the relevant pages in the front of the textbook with the title, author, publisher, copyright date, etc; and (2) the pages containing the problematic material. Public School textbooks are generally adopted by the City’s school board, and are placed in service for five to 10 years. We would like to be certain that textbooks are reviewed prior to their adoption. We would appreciate volunteers to help us review textbooks as they are put on display for the public to review. If you are interested in helping review books, please contact me at, Eliot Weinstein at, or Robin Mancoll, Community Relations Council director, at

On the other hand, you may see an issue where others do not. Some may perceive you as thin skinned for seeing anti-Semitism where none was meant. Sometimes when you see an anti-Semitic act, it is best to ask others whether they see it as well before taking action. The CRC is here to ask such questions and get that second opinion. We hurt our position when we are perceived as “crying wolf”—you might have been offended, but please allow us to speak and respond as a community to the big issues and let small unintentional slights fade away rather than being worried into a new issue.

If you are interested in assisting the education committee or have an education concern, please contact any one of the members of the committee: Neil Rose, Eliot Weinstein, Harvey Eluto, Linda Hoffman, Sue Ellen Kaplan, Rabbi Gershon Litt, Rachelle Luna, Roberto Luna, Rabbi Michael Pantiz, Bethany Prince, Judi Rohn, Miriam Seeherman, Mark Solberg, Kevin Tabakin, Larry Weinstein, Laura Wingett or Robin Mancoll.

—Neil L. Rose, Community Relations Council Education Committee chair