A Shande Far Di Goyim

There is an investigation in New York state over allegations that Orthodox Yeshivas (Jewish religious schools) are not providing an adequate education.

Specifically, there are allegations that these schools are not providing an adequate education on required secular subjects like math, science, history, English, etc.

About half of the Yeshivas have refused entry to inspectors:

Three years after the city launched an investigation into whether certain ultra-Orthodox Jewish schools were providing an adequate education in secular subjects, it revealed on Thursday that it had made little progress. In a letter to the state’s Education Department seeking guidance, Richard A. Carranza, New York City schools chancellor, acknowledged that investigators had managed to visit only half the schools involved.

The inquiry began in the summer of 2015, when a group of parents, former students and former teachers at yeshivas told the city that 39 schools were not sufficiently teaching subjects, like math, science, and English, leaving students ill-prepared for adulthood. The Education Department then launched an investigation of 30 of the schools, after determining the others were either no longer operating or did not fall under its jurisdiction.

As part of its investigation, the Education Department interviewed some of the parents and students who brought the complaint, who had experience at 11 schools. Most of those interviewed said the boys schools taught math and English for at most 90 minutes a day until boys turned 13, at which point secular instruction stopped. Some said attendance during secular instruction was voluntary. And while occasional science experiments might be done in class, they said there was no science curriculum. New York state law requires that nonpublic schools provide an education that is “substantially equivalent” to that of public schools.

Education officials also made announced visits to the schools, but, they said, 15 yeshivas did not allow them inside. “The D.O.E. has made repeated attempts to gain access to the schools,” Mr. Carranza said in the letter. “The long delay in scheduling visits to this group of 15 schools is a serious concern.”

Naftuli Moster, founder of Young Advocates for Fair Education, a vocal critic of secular education at the yeshivas, said in a statement, “It is disappointing, but not surprising, that nearly half of the schools to be investigated refused entry to the Department of Education. Reading between the lines, it’s hard not to conclude there is both a lack of secular instruction going on in these schools and that these schools believe they are above the law.”


Fifteen of the schools, he [NY Mayor Bill de Blasio] said, “welcomed us in, participated in an ongoing dialogue, made a number of changes, and according to our educational leaders, are doing well, and/or are making additional changes to do better. There’s another 15 that would not allow D.O.E. officials in the door and that, to me, is not an acceptable state of affairs.”

Let me leave you with Pirkei Avot 4:7, “Rabbi Tzadok used to say: Do not make the Torah a crown with which to aggrandize yourself, nor use it as a spade with which to dig.”

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