Welcome to the Hebrew Language Academy of Midwood, Brooklyn, New York City, the city’s first Hebrew language charter school.
One third of the students are black and Hispanic. The city of NY pays for it. Currently the school has 150 students. The school’s organizers say it has been so successful that they plan to help create dozens like it, pledging to spend as much as $4.8 million next year to seed schools in Phoenix, Minneapolis and Manhattan Beach, Calif., in addition to one set to open next fall in East Brunswick, N.J.
The school has had a difficult history with many locals opposed to it. Rallies and demonstrations against the school were held but ultimately it flourished.
The city also has Arabic, Chinese and other such charter schools.
At the start, a few parents pulled out their children, alarmed, as Maureen Campbell, the school’s principal, put it, “at the diversity.” But most remained.
Some parents who are not Jewish said they applied because they were simply eager for their children to learn a second language. But others gave reasons the school would be unlikely to cite in its recruitment brochures.
“By going to school with Jewish children, they are going to be getting a good education,” said Mr. Moody. “In that community there’s no foolishness when it comes to education.”
Even among non-Jewish parents, religion can be an attraction. Antoinette Burnett, who plans to enroll her son Rohan Nanton Jr., 4, next year, said she was envious that he would be able to understand a language she had struggled to make sense of in her church in Mill Basin.
“I am a child of God, and you know the Bible was originally written in Hebrew,” Ms. Burnett said. “When you understand it in Hebrew, it’s a totally different meaning. To be able for him to have that would be amazing.”
[tweetmeme source=”Jewish Daily Report” only_single=false https://jewishdailyreport.wordpress.com/2010/07/01/ny-public-school-in-hebrew/%5D
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