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Friday, January 06, 2006

Ridiculous Assertion

Failed Messiah puts up something I find a bit ridiculous, which purports to show a link between the performance of Metzitzah B'Peh and its causation of brain damage in children. He takes a short paragraph from this week's Forward article about the Lakewood Yeshiva community, and presents it as a possible proof of the hypothesised link between MBP and subclinical brain damage by MBP's opponents. This is the "damning " line from the Forward piece:
Earlier this year, the local chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union released a study showing that the Orthodox community used a disproportionate amount of the school district's special-education resources.
You must be kidding me, Shmarya. There are two major holes in this ridiculous assertion.

First of all, I see nowhere in the article that the large number of students from Lakewood that reportedly receive Special Ed are disproportionately boys. And I mean disproportionately, as boys recieve a far higher rate of Special Ed in even Modern Orthodox and Non-Orthodox communities - who certainly don't perform MBP. Such a ratio that is heavily boy:girl would need to present to show any sort of chance of correlation. In addition, the Forward article already goes on to explain a reason for the high number of Lakewood yeshiva children receiving Special Ed.
...the Orthodox community had organizational capabilities that no other ethnic group in Lakewood possesses.
Second, Lakewood Yeshiva community does not exclusively perform brissim with MBP. Some members do, some don't. It is far from as monolithic a practice as in Hasidic communities. There have been no statements from Lakewood Rabbinical leaders saying that a Bris without MBP is invalid, as there have been from Hasidic leaders.

Shmarya does note that this theory was first presented by Rabbi Moshe Tendler, and I had heard this before, though I have found no statements from R' Tendler saying as such, at least on the Web. What I can say is that a claim like this, that doesn't even take into account a simple detail like the vast numbers of Ultra-Orthodox girls that receive Special Ed, is one that just doesn't seem to be anything but a wild and spurious claim.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

scott should stick to trashing lubavitch. at least he gets that right.

10:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

there are more jews in spec ed bc they know how to work the system. period. in my daughters school anytime there is the smallest delay, they send girls out for evaluations. they dont do that in the public school population because they rely on the same public funding as the bd of spec ed, so the relationship is more complicated. The Ultras have nothing to lose by trolling for aid for their kids. it has nothing to do w MBP.

10:40 AM  
Blogger AMSHINOVER said...



It does take into account the vast numbers of Ultra-Orthodox girls that recieve Special Ed, RMT assumes the UO girls got "that way" via MBP just they were not on the recieving end. ;)


12:16 PM  
Blogger Shifra said...

Maybe it's just all the in-breeding...

OK you can delete my comment too.

6:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What we need are the number proportion of special ed students that are boys vs. girls for the general population and special ed students that are boys vs. girls for the Chassidish population that uses MBP exclusively.

Without numbers it is impossible to have a discussion. With numbers, there would be a good starting point.

8:36 PM  
Blogger and so it shall be... said...

Anonymous said: "The Ultras have nothing to lose by trolling for aid for their kids. it has nothing to do w MBP."

Anonymous, how about we check our misguided and thoroughly transparent prejudices at the door and instead try for some accuracy: [Parents who care about the educational progress of their children] have nothing to lose by [seeking to arrange aid that is available and that they have paid for in some part through property and other taxes] for their kids. it has nothing to do w MBP.

3:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As I responded to you on my site:

1. More money per capita for a reason – either more damaged kids or better (illegal?) manipulation of the system.

2. You do not know if the classes are equally split between boys and girls, within normal statistical parameters or not. Neither do I. Therefore, note the question mark in the close.

3. I know the rate of MBP is less in Lakewood than in Williamsburg. But it is greater in Lakewood than it is in Flatbush, and far greater than it is in the Five Towns or Teanack.

4. So, if Rabbi Tendler's theory is correct, one would expect to find an elevated level of special ed students when compared with a control group. Lakewood has such a control group and the financials seem to confirm Rabbi Tendler's theory. The next step is to see whether those financials also indicate a higher percentage of special ed students. If they do, then we have a link – one I can write about w/o a question mark.

5:40 AM  
Blogger Ezzie said...

Shmarya - wouldn't much of the special ed percentages also depend on what's available? If there are plenty of SpEd teachers, as there tend to be in UO communities, than more people would be able to utilize it even if it's questionable if it's needed. Also, the Orthodox community has far more children than most other groups, which would also lead to a disproportionate amount of funds going there.

12:13 PM  

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