School official who stonewalled parental efforts to weed out anti-Semitic curriculum in Newton high schools becomes head of Boston JVS
David Fleishman, the former superintendent of the Newton, Massachusetts, school system, has resigned from his well-paid position in order to take up the presidency of Jewish Vocational Services’ Boston branch.
What JVS officials may not know — or find concerning — is that Fleishman’s nearly 12-year tenure as superintendent of Newton schools was stained by a disturbing scandal.
Fleishman, along with the Newton school committee, spent eight years stonewalling concerned residents and parents’ honest efforts to gain access to and remove, or balance, anti-Jewish and anti-Israel curriculum in the high schools.
For example, Newton parents pleaded with Fleishman for a year to stop a Saudi-funded propaganda text called The Arab World Studies Notebook from being taught in history classes. Only after steady pressure — including being told that the American Jewish Committee had condemned the Notebook as anti-Semitic disinformation in 2005 — did Fleishman issue a statement.
He said that the text had been removed from the curriculum for the 2011 – 2012 academic year — not because it accused Israelis of murdering “hundreds” of Palestinian women, but because it was “outdated.” This covered up an important instance of anti-Semitism inserted through curriculum — now acknowledged as a growing problem across the country. When confronted for this dishonesty, Fleishman sat bemused and unconcerned. (The statement concerning the Notebook’s removal was later exposed as a lie.)
As Jewish parents sought to gain access to curricular materials, Fleishman and the committee made sure that the only way they could find out what their children were being taught was through expensive FOIA requests and endless legal wrangling.
As they always made to clear to residents, the curriculum was just fine and their concerns were baseless.
Incidentally, as additional evidence of Fleishman’s character, he was also caught — by Newton student journalists, ironically — plagiarizing phrases in his 2014 commencement speech from former governor Deval Patrick’s commencement address at BU two weeks earlier. Fleishman got away with a weak apology and a fine.
Is David Fleishman really fit for a prestigious position, heading a Jewish agency?
If the JVS is unaware of Fleishman’s past, they must be informed. Below is the public contact information for the JVS leadership:
President and CEO
Vice President of Human Resources
Senior Vice President for Strategy
Vice President of Business Services
Vice President of Refugee and Disability Services
Vice President of Career Path Planning
Vice President of Advancement
Vice President of Employer Engagement
Vice President of Career Services
Please also attach this “article” from APT outlining what Fleishman did as Newton school superintendent, downloadable as a PDF here.