YAFFED + Advocates Demand Private Schools Stop Covering for Yeshivas

Elite private schools are suing NYSED over guidelines, in turn protecting yeshivas

NEW YORK (03/24/2019) (readMedia)-- On Monday, YAFFED, yeshiva and nonpublic schools graduates, and good government groups will join together to demand private schools stop covering for yeshivas by attempting to circumvent reasonable state oversight.

In early March, Catholic and elite private schools including the Spence School and the Brearley School filed a suit against the new New York State Education Department (NYSED) guidelines for nonpublic schools. The schools argue the guidelines, which include a requirement to teach five core classes and welcome an inspection once every 2 to 3 years, are an overreach of the State's power. If the private schools win their suit, they are, in turn, helping yeshivas who refuse to meet the the State's guidelines as well.

A judge's decision - or a possible injunction - is expected any day.


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: once within the next 2 to 3 years, and once every 5 years thereafter.
  • Academically rigorous instruction in the core classes: English, History, Science, Mathematics, and Civics to develop critical thinking skills.
  • The local school board or the Chancellor to determine whether a substantially equivalent education is being provided in religious or nonpublic schools
  • The school district to 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.


Naftuli Moster, Executive Director of YAFFED

Former Manhattan Borough President Ruth Messinger

Yeshiva Graduates

NYC Private School graduates

Susan Lerner, Executive Director of Common Cause/NY

Jonathan Soto, Associate Vice President of Strategic Initiatives at Union Theological Seminary

David Bloomfield, Professor of Urban Education at Brooklyn College



YAFFED, yeshiva and nonpublic schools graduates, and good government groups will join together to demand private schools stop covering for yeshivas.

WHEN: Monday March 25, 2019 at 11:00AM Eastern Time (US & Canada)
WHERE: Steps of City Hall
Manhattan, New York