YAFFED 7/19/19: Urgent Request for Public Comment on NYS Education Dept. Proposed Regulations Governing Non-Public Schools

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How many times have you thought to yourself “I wish I could do something for the tens of thousands of Jewish children who are being denied a basic education and robbed of their futures?” People ask us all the time what they can do.

Never has there been a clearer answer! Right now, just two minutes of your time can make all the difference.

New York State Education Department is soliciting comment from the public on proposed regulations that, if implemented, would drastically improve the education system in all Yeshivas that are currently failing their students.

We have created an easy website for you to submit comment. You don’t need to be a Yeshiva graduate or a parent of a current student. ANYONE can submit public comment. And given the gravity of the problem, we urge you to think of it as your DUTY to speak up on behalf of these helpless children.

Visit our website here to submit your comment.

P. S. Some elite private school parents have expressed concern about the effects of these regulations on their schools. Here’s an information sheet that answers some of their questions and responds to some of their concerns.

Yaffed’s board president, Anita Altman, and Executive Director, Naftuli Moster, recently sat down for an interview with Ronnie Eldridge, host of the prestigious Eldridge & co. show on CUNY TV.

This is the most thorough summary of the issue of secular education in ultra-Orthodox and Hasidic Yeshivas, and if you were previously unfamiliar with the issue, please take the time to watch it in its entirety.

And feel free to share it with friends and colleagues.

Click on the picture below:

YAFFED 7/11/19: Naftuli Moster Interviewed by Ronnie Eldridge about Secular Education in Ultra-orthodox Yeshivas

View this email in your browser
Yaffed’s executive Director recently sat down for an interview with Ronnie Eldridge, host of the prestigious Eldridge & co. show on CUNY TV.

This is the most thorough summary of the issue of secular education in ultra-Orthodox and Hasidic Yeshivas, and if you were previously unfamiliar with the issue, please take the time to watch it in its entirety.

And feel free to share it with friends and colleagues.

Click on the picture below:

Lohud 7/22/19: Cuts to East Ramapo School Busing Angers Parents

Cuts to Ramapo school busing anger parents

The district has, for many years, provided students who attend non-public schools, such as yeshivas, with multiple busing routes in the morning and afternoon.

A group of parents is questioning the motives of a Ramapo Central School District plan to trim transportation offerings next fall to private school students, with some saying it is an attempt to oust the Jewish community from an area that’s seen a growth in the Orthodox and Hasidic population in recent years.

For many years, the district has provided students who attend non-public schools, such as yeshivas, with multiple busing routes in the morning and afternoon. But school officials say rising costs caused by an increase in the number of students who seek busing has prompted them to search for a more cost-effective way to manage the multi-million dollar transportation budget.

“It reeks of something else,” said Andrea Jaffe, whose child attends Bais Yaakov of Ramapo. She added that she suspects there is “a discomfort with changing demographics in neighborhoods” within the Ramapo Central District, which serves Airmont, Hillburn, Sloatsburg, Montebello, Suffern and part of Monsey.

AP 11/20/18: Ultra-Orthodox Schools Face Pressure Under New Rules

Ultra-Orthodox schools could face pressure under new rules

November 20, 2018

NEW YORK (AP) — Private and religious schools that don’t provide instruction substantially equivalent to New York state’s public schools will be threatened with loss of funding for textbooks, transportation and other services under new state Education Department rules released Tuesday.

The guidelines released Tuesday apply to all private schools but could have the greatest impact on ultra-Orthodox Jewish schools, called yeshivas, that critics have accused of providing little or no instruction in secular subjects like English and math.

“Although we are still reviewing NYSED’s guidelines, we have always believed that updated guidelines are an important step toward bringing about useful oversight of secular instruction at ultra-Orthodox yeshivas in New York,” said Naftuli Moster, the founder of Young Advocates for Fair Education, or YAFFED, a group that advocates for improved secular education at yeshivas.

The pro-yeshiva group Parents for Educational and Religious Liberty in Schools said it worries local school districts may use these guidelines “as license to intrude into the fundamental working and mission of religious schools.”

The group said in a statement, “Any attempt to impose uniformity on the almost 1,800 nonpublic schools in New York State, however well-intentioned, is only going to succeed if it appropriately accounts for the uniqueness of our schools and our educational system.”

Under the guidelines, staff members from local school districts will visit each nonpublic school once every five years and will determine whether the schools are providing enough instruction in required subjects including English, math, social studies and science.

Read more…

Lohud 11/20/18: Yeshivas Could Close if Academics Fail State Reviews

Yeshivas could face closure, eventually, if academics fail state reviews

CLOSE

Lohud’s Nancy Cutler interviews Yeshiva education activist Naftuli Moster, June 12, 2018 in New City. Tania Savayan, tsavayan@lohud.com

Private schools that don’t comply with state requests to improve academic instruction as part of a new review process could face sanctions that would, in the worst cases, effectively shut a school.

On Tuesday, the SED issued its long-awaited guidelines on determining whether private schools, particularly Hasidic yeshivas, are complying with state law when it comes to teaching secular academics.

Based on the new standards, schools districts will be required to start conducting substantial equivalency reviews during the 2018-2019 school year of religious and independent schools within their district. The Education Department expects districts to complete initial reviews by Dec. 15, 2021, and to revisit schools on a five-year cycle.

The review process will be slow moving, in part, because there is no additional funding for school districts that have to review private schools.

Read more…

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.

Spectrum News NY1 1120/19: NY Outlines Regulations for Private School Teaching

A school

A file image of a yeshiva in Brooklyn. Regulations that state education officials announced Tuesday on what private schools teach could have the greatest impact on yeshivas in the city that, according to critics, provide little or no instruction in secular subjects like English and math.

EDUCATION

NY Outlines New Guide­lines for What Private Schools Must Teach

By Lindsey Christ New York City

NEW YORK (AP) — Private and religious schools that don’t provide instruction “substantially equivalent” to New York state’s public schools will be threatened with loss of funding for textbooks, transportation, and other services under new state Education Department rules.

The guidelines released Tuesday apply to all private schools. But they could have an immediate impact on Orthodox Jewish schools that critics have accused of providing little or no instruction in secular subjects like English and math.

An estimated 115,000 children attend Orthodox Jewish yeshivas in New York state.

Read more…