Common Cause/NY to DOE: "Enforce the Law"
NEW YORK, NY (12/19/2019) (readMedia)-- In response to breaking news that the NYC Department of Education (DOE) released its four year investigation into dozens of yeshivas, Sarah Goff, Deputy Director of Common Cause/NY issued the following statement:
"The Department of Education (DOE) report confirms what advocates have been saying for years: dozens of yeshivas are skirting the state's substantial equivalency requirement for private schools while taking public monies. Lawmakers and leaders need to put the education of thousands of young boys ahead of their own political interests and enforce the law."
In May 2019, Susan Lerner, Executive Director of Common Cause/NY, and Columbia Professor Ester Fuchs penned an op-ed in The Forward, calling for the state to enforce the laws governing substantial equivalency.
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.