Cell Towers At Schools: Godsend Or God-Awful?
Jewish headstones were toppled in cemeteries in Missouri and Pennsylvania in recent weeks. This week, Jewish schools in Florida also have received automated bomb threats.
In all, more than 70 bomb threats have been called in to Jewish institutions since January, according to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.
According to data from the Virginia State Police, anti-Semitic acts are the most common hate crimes motivated by religion in the commonwealth.
“There’s something very wrong in our national climate when hateful individuals feel empowered to threaten our children like this,” Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring (D) wrote in a statement. “This recent wave of anti-Semitism is cowardly, it’s disgusting, and we must make it clear that we as Virginians unequivocally reject it.”
Rabbi Mitchel Malkus, head of the Charles E. Smith school, said in an interview that recent threats at other schools led his administration to be more vigilant.
“Given what’s been going on around the country, we were very well prepared,” he said. “We knew exactly what to do.”
Malkus said police arrived less than five minutes after the school notified them about the threat.
He said that the perpetrators’ goal appears to have been to “raise tension and anxiety in the community, and unfortunately that’s what happens when you have these threats.”
Malkus noted that dozens of Jewish institutions have had similar experiences.
“There’s been a significant increase in anti-Semitic incidents and threats in the Jewish community over the last year, and I believe that’s directly attributable to the political climate that exists in our country,” Malkus said.
He noted that President Trump last week addressed the recent rise in hate messaging against Jewish groups and condemned the vandalism of Jewish graves.
“I do welcome what the president said,” Malkus said. “He wants to make sure these incidents do not continue. I would like to see more of that in a clearer message.”
De Blasio’s Plan for NYC Schools
Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York has introduced a plan to change the way students will be chosen for eight of the city’s elite specialized high schools. Under his proposal, 20 percent of seats at the schools would be reserved for students from under-resourced middle schools who score just below the cutoff score on a standardized test, which is now the sole criterion for entry.
Eventually, his goal is to eliminate the exam, called the Specialized High Schools Admissions Test. Instead, top students from all of the approximately 600 middle schools in the city would be admitted to the elite high schools. This would make the student bodies of these schools — among them storied institutions such as Stuyvesant and Bronx Science — more closely resemble the city’s wider public school population in terms of race and class.
This is not just a good thing. It’s the right thing.
Unfortunately, some Asian-American parents in New York are protesting this proposal, arguing that it is anti-Asian because it would decrease the number of Asian children in elite schools. They are on the wrong side of this educational fight.
The mayor’s plan isn’t anti-Asian, it’s anti-racist. It would give working-class parents — including Asian-Americans — who can’t afford and shouldn’t have to find ways to afford expensive test prep programs a fairer chance that their child will be admitted into what’s known as a specialized high school. True, taking a test prep course doesn’t guarantee admission to such a school, but it does offer clear benefits and is widely understood to be essential to test-takers.