The New York Post 11/24/18: NY Threatening to Get Tough on Schools that Don’t Teach

Threatening to get tough (eventually) on schools that don’t teach

Years into the investigation into whether some yeshivas fail to provide the basic education required by state law, the State Education Department is threatening to get tough.

SED last week issued new guidelines on how it will enforce requiring non-public schools to offer “substantial equivalency of instruction” — that is, whether they teach basics in secular subjects like English, history, math and science.

The rules give Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia a hammer: She can deny cash (for transportation, special education and other funding) to schools that don’t teach — and also list their students as not attending a real school, which means trouble for the parents of the “truant” kids.

But getting to the penalty stage may take quite some time. The rules don’t seem to even start any penalty phase until Dec. 15, 2021.

Huh? The Department of Education has (theoretically) been investigating dozens of yeshivas for three years now. Yet last month Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza revealed six high-school-equivalent yeshivas have refused access to DOE’s evaluators. Do those schools get to restart the clock?

Even then, the guidelines call for joint action between the school and SED officials to get a problem school into compliance.

As Naftuli Moster, the activist who’s led the fight for yeshiva accountability, notes, leaving any real action until 2022 is “far too long for students who are being denied a comprehensive educational experience, day in and day out, to wait.”

All in all, it looks like New York’s leaders have punted on this issue once again.

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