ICYMI: Yaffed Op-Ed Demanding Private Schools Stop Covering for Yeshivas

NEW YORK, NY (03/27/2019) (readMedia)-- ICYMI: Today, the Daily News published an op-ed by Naftuli Moster, founder and Executive Director of Yaffed, demanding private schools stop covering for yeshivas.

READ the op-ed here.

On March 7th, eleven elite private schools, including the prestigious Brearley and Spence Schools, filed a lawsuit as part of the New York State Association of Independent Schools to stop the state from enforcing revised guidelines. These guidelines are designed to make sure that non-public schools are meeting the legal requirement to provide an education that's "substantially equivalent" to public schools. The guidelines do not differ significantly from previous versions, requiring the teaching of the basics, such as English, math, science, and social studies. A consortium of yeshivas and Catholic schools have also filed two similar lawsuits which claim religious freedom from oversight.

On Friday a Judge is expected to dismiss or accept the schools' request for a preliminary injunction which would halt the New York State Education Department from enforcing the guidelines.


In 2015, Young Advocates for Fair Education (Yaffed) New York City issued a complaint that 39 yeshivas were not teaching secular educations close to the state's guidelines. The NYC Department of Education launched an investigation shortly after. The City has yet to reveal the results of the investigation.

On November 20, 2018, state education commissioner MaryEllen Elia released the revised guidelines that require:

  • Nonpublic schools and religious schools to be inspected minimally: within the next 2-3 years and then every 5 year subsequently
  • Academically rigorous instruction in core subjects.
  • The local school board or the Chancellor to determine whether a substantially equivalent education is being provided in religious or nonpublic schools
  • The local district must work with the religious and nonpublic schools to review textbooks and ensure that each student is receiving a sound education while respecting the school's culture.

Yeshivas receive millions in state funding, but for years have eschewed the statutory requirement to provide a substantially equivalent education, leaving graduates woefully unprepared to succeed in secular society. Currently, students receive only 90 minutes of secular education in Hasidic boys' elementary schools, and none in high school.

YAFFED is an advocacy group committed to improving educational curricula within ultra-Orthodox schools. They fervently believe that every child is entitled to a fair and equitable education that is in compliance with the law. Their work involves raising awareness about the importance of general studies education, and encouraging elected officials, Department of Education officials and the leadership of the ultra-Orthodox world to act responsibly in preparing their youth for economic sufficiency and for broad access to the resources of the modern world.