July/August 2022 Church & State Magazine

N.Y. Religious Schools Resist Efforts At State Oversight

  N.Y. Religious Schools Resist Efforts At State Oversight

Religious schools in New York are resisting efforts by state officials to ensure that private schools provide basic education.

Under draft guidelines issued by the New York State Education Department, private schools would be required to apply for accreditation or demonstrate that their students are making academic progress on state-approved exams, reported the New York Post.

The proposal is intended in part to ensure that religious schools are providing a proper education. In recent years, complaints have arisen about some yeshivas in New York that focus almost exclusively on studying the Torah. Critics say that students who emerge from these schools aren’t equipped for any jobs other than serving as rabbis or religious teachers because secular subjects are slighted.

Education Department officials say they want to ensure that students who attend private schools receive an education that is “substantially equivalent” to what is offered in the state’s public schools.

The Post reported that the department is being flooded with letters from Orthodox Jews and others opposing the new guidelines. Officials with the state’s extensive Catholic school network are also resisting the move.

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