Common Cause/NY Responds to DOI Report: "It Is A Straight Up Shanda and Scandal"
NEW YORK, NY (12/18/2019) (readMedia)-- In response to a report from the Department of Investigations (DOI) that Mayor de Blasio and the State Legislature agreed to delay an investigation into 39 yeshivas in exchange for an extension of mayoral control of city schools, Susan Lerner, Executive Director of Common Cause/NY, issued the following statement:
"The Department of Investigations (DOI) is unequivocal that the city relegated the education and wellbeing of thousands of yeshiva students to a position subservient to the Mayor's political interests. To accept this corruption as just politics as usual is a gross perversion of the city's responsibilities. It is a straight up shanda and scandal, and the city must release the report without further delay."
In May 2019, Susan Lerner and Columbia Professor Ester Fuchs penned an op-ed in The Forward, calling for the state to enforce the laws governing substantial equivolancy.
Earlier in June 2018, Common Cause/NY, Workmen's Circle, and Yaffed, wrote a letter demanding that then Public Advocate James and New York City Comptroller Stringer use their respective oversight powers to launch an investigation into the City's failure to hold yeshivas responsible for skirting state educational standards. Stringer has not publicly responded, and James only said at the time that would look into it when pressed at a press conference.
According to New York State law, nonpublic schools must provide an education that is "substantially equivalent" to that of public schools. Of the nearly 60,000 children attending a Hasidic yeshiva in New York City, most boys under age thirteen receive a paltry amount of instruction in English and math each week. Students are frequently taught by unqualified teachers while other core subjects are simply not taught at all.
Nearly four years ago, the Department of Education announced an investigation into thirty-nine yeshivas for failing to meet the most basic educational standards. The results of the investigation have yet to be released.