City and state education authorities have been ordered to complete an investigation into whether a Brooklyn yeshiva is providing students with a solid basic education.
A New York Supreme Court judge has ruled that departments have waived their responsibility to investigate whether the school — Yeshiva Mesivta Arugath Habosem — offers an education that is “substantially equivalent” to the public school system, court documents show.
“The court’s ruling should send a clear message to the NYC DOE that it is their responsibility to complete their investigations into noncompliant yeshivas in a timely manner,” said Naftuli Moster, executive director of Young Advocates For Fair Education, a prosecular education in the Yeshivas group, on Wednesday.
The case involves Beatrice Weber, a mother of 10, who left her ultra-Orthodox Jewish community but was forced by a family court order to send her child to a yeshiva in Brooklyn — her ex-husband’s school of choice.
Weber filed a petition against the DOE and the yeshiva with the New York State Education Department in September 2019, alleging that her then 8-year-old son did not receive the secular education required in the state.
State Education Commissioner Betty Rosa dismissed the petition, suggesting it was premature pending the city’s investigation into the allegations – prompting Weber to appeal to the New York Supreme Court.
This week, Judge Adam Silverman ordered authorities to complete their investigation into the Brooklyn yeshiva by September 2022.
“Although this case has dragged on and my son has lost valuable years of learning, I feel very validated by this judgment and hope that other parents will be inspired by my actions,” said Weber.
The decision comes after yeshivas sent out thousands of letters opposing draft state oversight rules for non-public schools before voting on a final policy later this year.
While state officials claim the proposal will ensure students a fair education, yeshiva letter writers said it hampered their ability to provide religious education to Jewish children.
David Bloomfield, a professor of education law and policy at Brooklyn College and the CUNY Graduate Center, called this week’s decision “historic in two ways” — that it denied individual parents who allege a lack of secular education under state law access to judicial Legal protection granted, and that the court ordered the state and city to stop towing.
“The only question is how many parents will take advantage of this opportunity,” Bloomfield said.
“The parents of ultra-Orthodox students, for the most part, know and seem content that the necessary secular education is not in place, making it all the more important for the state and city to enforce the law,” he added. “Even if a parent says I want my child to know the Talmud and Torah, that’s not in the law.”
Bloomfield also commented on its impact on investigations into other yeshivas after allegations against former Mayor Bill de Blasio said he delayed reports of their quality to his political advantage.
“Mayor Adams has allied himself with ultra-Orthodox yeshivas and there is no indication at this time that he plans to advance the necessary investigations, which have been similarly delayed under de Blasio,” he said.
The state education department is evaluating the decision and waiting for the city to complete its investigation, said Emily DeSantis, a spokeswoman for the agency.
https://nypost.com/2022/06/08/state-city-ordered-to-finish-investigation-of-nyc-yeshiva/ State, City instructed to complete NYC Yeshiva investigation