Orthodox Jewish schools must meet education standards, New York state says – The Washington Post

by | Sep 9, 2022 | Education

Listen7 minComment on this storyCommentGift ArticleNew York state officials on Friday proposed new rules that would require private schools to prove they are meeting state education standards, a long-awaited response to allegations that ultraconservative Jewish yeshivas are failing to deliver lessons in core subjects such as English, math and science.Schools that refuse to comply could lose their designation for meeting the state’s compulsory education requirements. And school districts that fail to monitor the private schools in their boundaries could lose state funding, officials said.The rules apply to all private schools, religious and not, but they come in response to years of accusations that many ultra-Orthodox schools in Hasidic Jewish communities spend virtually all of their time studying Torah and Talmud, religious texts, leaving children without the education that state law requires they be offered in English, math, science and social studies, along with a handful of other topics.AdvertisementState officials said they expect schools and local districts to work together to demonstrate schools are meeting the required benchmarks. That may prove optimistic given the yeshivas’ contention that the entire oversight process is invalid and their resistance to past investigations and questioning.The new regulations, which are expected to be approved next week by the state Board of Regents, set up a fresh test of religious liberty and schooling, and people on both sides of the debate predicted the dispute will be appealed in court, possibly to the highest levels.They also are the culmination of a decade-long campaign led by Naftuli Moster, who attended a Hasidic yeshiva in Brooklyn as a child. Angry about the substandard education he said he received, in 2012 he founded the group Young Advocates for Fair Education, or Yaffed, to press for investigations and enforcement.Advertisement“Tens of thousands of children have been — and continue to be — denied a basic education in dozens of ultra-Orthodox Yeshivas, primarily in Hasidic boys’ schools, across New York,” he said in a statement Friday. “In high schools they provide ZERO secular instruction. There is no English, no math, no science, no social studies. Nothing.”Analysis: High court opens the door to more public funding of religious schoolsSome Hasidic leaders in New York, defending their schools, have lashed out at the effort to monitor curriculums and lessons, calling it an infringement on the right to offer religious education as they see fit. Parents, they say, are entitled to send their children to sch …

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