Letter to the Editor
Josh Krisch’s shrill Opinions piece, “MYP Double Secret Probation,” belies fundamental misunderstandings of the Mazer Yeshiva Program which must be publicly corrected.
To begin, Mr. Krisch’s shock that poor MYP shiur grades can cause academic probation while failure in a lone college class cannot is misplaced. MYP shiur is not simply another class–it is an entire second curriculum (doubtless Mr. Krisch came across the phrase “dual curriculum” during his agonizing web searches), awarding separate credits in a separate program. The University penalizes students who fall short in their general studies program; it should not slacken its expectations for the Judaic program.
For the same reason, Mr. Krisch’s repeated gripe about penalties for those who do not “take shiur for credit” is irrelevant. Granted, the University allows students to transfer up to three shiur credits to their YC totals, but regardless, all MYP students take shiur for MYP credit. The “16.00” credit hours written on the MYP transcript are not just there to decorate the page.
As for the definition of “unsatisfactory attendance,” the University may not have a precise definition like my high school did; its students are not teenagers. But we know unsatisfactory when we see it. MYP rebbeim go out of their way as it is to help students avoid probation, so if one gets slapped with a penalty for poor attendance, we all know that he had really poor attendance. As an MYP veteran, I’ll do a public service and issue a warning: if you haven’t attended shiur yet this semester, that qualifies as “unsatisfactory attendance.”
Ironically, Mr. Krisch inadvertently supports the probation policy later in his diatribe. As he points out, students taking 17.5 credits plus a rigorous Judaic program are terribly busy. If some are too heavily engaged to attend shiur, notice bechina [shiur exam] dates, or achieve a decent grade, shouldn’t the University reduce their workloads for the sake of their own academic success?
The shame is that Mr. Krisch does sprinkle some constructive criticism. Perfection MYP has not yet achieved, and students can help improve it. It is ours. However, we can contribute only if we express sincere dedication and devotion to our program’s welfare. Spraying a froth of fury at the University for actually holding MYP to basic academic standards does not help. It just moves the administration to throw out the baby with the bathwater.
Noach Goldstein (MYP/YC ’13, English & History)