Bill Aims to Force Yeshivos to Provide ‘Adequate’ Secular Education

On the heels of the class action lawsuit filed recently against New York State and the East Ramapo School District, a Rockland County assemblyman is set to introduce legislation that seeks to add teeth to a 90-year-old law – which has never been enforced – that requires private schools in New York State to provide their students with a secular education on par with the state’s public schools.

From VIN News by Glen Silver: reports that Assemblyman Kenneth Zebrowski (D-New City) said his office had been researching an existing an obscure 1928 law which allows the state to enforce penalties on private schools not offering a legal standard of “substantial equivalence,” but the lawsuit filed by East Ramapo families forced his hand in speeding up the process of writing the bill.

“I don’t think parents or students should have to resort to the courts in order to receive a quality education in New York,” Zebrowski said.

The current 1928 law—-which State Education Department spokeswoman Jeanne Beattie admits has seemingly never been enforced—-holds district superintendents responsible for ensuring that private schools in their district meet state guidelines. Zebrowski’s new bill would transfer that responsibility to the Commissioner of the State Education Department.

Zebrowski’s new law would broaden the available penalties for the commissioner to impose on schools not meeting state guidelines, running from “imposing a corrective action plan within the district” to “permanently revoking a school’s registration and prohibiting it from operating.”


  • 1. Pedant wrote:

    This is very good. Another problem for the government to solve. Government solves lots of problems. And this is a problem. So the Government will solve it. Then it wont be a problem.

    I am so excited. So very, very excited. The Government will ensure–because the Government is very good an ensuring things–that our kids will get secular education on par with NY state public schools.

    That is very exciting. Because who does not look at kids graduating from state public schools and think about how nice it would be if our kids would be educated just like them. They are very educated. And our kids will be educated just like they are educated. The Government will ensure that. At the problem will be solved. Because Government will have solved it.

    This is great news.

  • 4. old timer wrote:

    #1 is on to something good here. considering that new york city public schools can boast that 65% of their students are illiterate and well below their grade level in math and reading, jewish schools shouldn’t have a hard time keeping up with standards…

    • 7. not #1 wrote:

      But the public schools are not exactly a raving success. Honestly, if you want to get a public school education, send your kids there. If you want a public school education in a Jewish environment, well start that school. Private schools are PRIVATE, and as far as I know and hope we still live in a somewhat democratic country with some freedoms as set forth by the Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution.

  • 8. ARI wrote:

    i think this a opportunity for the yeshiva’s to excel in giving a secular education, when someone is doing something wrong he can’t turn to someone and state that its ok to do something bad because someone else is doing it, it doesn’t make it less wrong.The education provided by the yeshivas is below par for anyone with a high rate of illiteracy and a lack of basic math skills even though math is taught in the torah and the talmud so there must be something wrong if a person cannot grasp even those problems.

    • 9. Milhouse wrote:

      Chinuch al taharas hakodesh is not something bad. On the contrary it’s a good and desirable thing that our Rabbeim insisted on where at all possible. Limudei chol is very much a bedieved; our schools out of town teach it only because without it parents won’t send their children. The Rambam says that such subjects are like sessert, and should only be studied after one has ‘filled ones belly with bread and meat”, i.e. shas and poskim.

  • 10. CA newbie wrote:

    Maybe help all our young men who can’t make a living and drop out. Our kids are smart and can learn a lot faster than the average public school kid. Crash courses in secular subjects can be taught in an hour or so a day especially practical subjects like math, writing,history and geography. We owe it to our kids.

  • 11. Education is Fundamental wrote:

    We need to support and lobby for public funding to teach job-preparing skills for Yeshiva students so they and their future families IYH can live and learn properly.

    We should also support Rubio’s suggestion to bring back vocational education where and when appropriate.

  • 12. Tuition !???? wrote:

    Are they offering $22,000 a student, as they do in the public school system???? Or their just doing what they do best, get into people’s PRIVATE business

  • 13. Anonymous wrote:

    Can the schools be compelled to provide an adequate limudei kodesh education?

  • 14. jason wrote:

    I don’t like when the US government tries to mandate education in private schools. When private individuals bring a lawsuit to the courts, this is the backlash of what happens…With today’s media and number media/social outlets, don’t expect this type of negative publicity to be any less.

    Time to give these kids a proper education.


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