New NY Private School Oversight Rules, Yeshivas expected to be approved

New oversight rules that would make it easier to crack down on religious and other private schools are expected to be approved by state education boards on Tuesday.

The New York State Board of Regents is scheduled to vote on the guidelines, which sailed unanimously through the committee on Monday.

The regulations would require private schools to offer instruction that is “substantially equivalent” to what is offered at their public counterparts.

Non-public schools would be subject to scrutiny by local education authorities, as well as less intrusive means, to ensure they met academic standards – such as: B. Department-approved exams or accreditation bodies.

The rules, which apply equally to all private schools, have been heavily criticized by those who serve the state’s Hasidic Jewish community, who argue it is a violation of their right to religious education.

The draft guidelines released earlier this year have sparked 350,000 public comments since the spring, with tens of thousands defending yeshivas, according to the latest government figures.

ultra-Orthodox Jewish families
The regulations require that private schools provide instruction that is “substantially equivalent” to public schools.
AP/Bebeto Matthews

Jim Baldwin, deputy chief of the state Department of Education, countered that the move “does not regulate religious instruction.”

“Religious studies can still be taught as the private school sees fit,” Baldwin told reporters before the committee vote.

Those who do not comply with the regulations risk having their school designation withdrawn and thus the loss of public funding.

Officials declined to say whether the state would close a school that failed to meet standards, while noting that a school not recognized by the state could have trouble recruiting and retaining students.

Hasidic Jewish community
The Hasidic Jewish community sees the demand as an encroachment on their right to religious instruction.
William Farington

Yeshiva advocates, bent on maintaining the status quo, have criticized the state’s recent attempt at control.

“Those who want government control can choose the public schools,” said a statement from Parents for Educational And Religious Liberty in School. “Parents who pay for private or church education do so because they believe in the mission and pedagogical approach of the leaders of those schools.”

Advocates of secular studies in yeshiwas welcomed the committee’s vote, with Naftuli Moster, founder of the group Young Advocates for Fair Education, calling it “a huge step forward in ensuring that all children attending non-public schools receive the education to which they are entitled.”

The vote follows a report in the New York Times that found that some yeshiva students were denied basic education, such as science or social studies, and were being subjected to physical punishment — all while schools have more than Raised $1 billion in government funds.

yeshiva education
A yeshiva in Flatbush, Brooklyn.
AP/Mark Lennihan

State education officials this month released a 142-page file summarizing public comments and responding to questions raised by the draft policy.

Those summaries, reviewed by The Post, contained backlash from the New York City Department of Education — including that the agency’s regulations do not provide “clear definitions or definitive standards” for conducting reviews of the non-public schools.

An unnamed DOE official called the timelines for essential equivalency determinations “inadequate” — and said the penalties for the agency, as the body responsible for those determinations, were “draconian and misplaced.”

“We believe these regulations place an undue burden on our public school system,” said spokesman Nathaniel Styer, adding that the agency will continue to “faithfully implement” state guidelines.

Eric Adams
Mayor Eric Adams is solely focused on the city’s review of yeshiva education.
Daniel Williams McKnight

The state Department of Education made no significant revisions in response to the comments, but added flexibility for non-public schools that demonstrated “good faith progress” toward substantial equivalence.

Mayor Eric Adams, speaking at an independent Manhattan news conference on student education, said he was “not concerned” with the Times article’s findings — and that the city would complete its own review of local yeshiva education.

He added, “Any form of corporal punishment…is unacceptable,” and that parents should report such incidents to investigators.

Kathy Hochul
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul claims she has no say in school decisions.
Matthew McDermott

An earlier investigation into the city was called into question when The Post revealed that former Mayor Bill de Blasio was personally involved in a deal to delay a long-awaited report on yeshivas in exchange for civic control of the city’s schools.

Gov. Kathy Hochul took responsibility when asked about the Times’ investigation on Monday, saying the issue was “outside a governor’s purview.”

“There is a regulatory process, but the governor’s office has nothing to do with it,” Hochul said. “But I know local officials will work with that and they need to do the right thing to ensure every child has a good education.”

https://nypost.com/2022/09/12/new-oversight-rules-for-ny-private-schools-yeshivas-expected-to-be-approved/ New NY Private School Oversight Rules, Yeshivas expected to be approved

JACLYN DIAZ

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