Floating the third set of guidelines in order to ensure that Yeshivas meet proper educational standards, the New York State has once again proposed new educational regulations for private schools, which will, in turn, affect yeshivas.
The NY Education Department is proposing several options for private schools to demonstrate that their secular studies are “substantially equivalent” to public schools. The proposed regulations were released Thursday by Education Commissioner Betty Rosa, and if the guidelines are ratified, most Yeshivos would be able to avoid inspections and reviews.
These regulations will likely be challenged by religious groups once again, on the grounds of violating the schools’ religious freedom. According to the proposal, one option would allow private schools to give students state-approved tests in core subjects like science, math, social studies, and English, to show students’ academic progress. Another option would be to earn accreditation that is approved by the state. Unlike past proposals, the new guidelines would not include a mandate of a minimum number of hours of specific subjects.
Responding to the proposal, Agudath Israel said, “For a yeshiva to be judged on the quality of its educational program without taking into account these religious studies would make a cruel mockery of the review process. By ignoring this essential component of yeshiva education, the proposed new regulations may result in yeshivas having to make major changes to their school day schedules to be deemed substantially equivalent. This is entirely unacceptable.”