13 September 2022

A Shande Fur Die Goyim

Following an expose by the New York Times on how New York's heavily publicly subsidized, to the tune of about $¼ billion a year, Yeshivas (Jewish religious schools) are refusing to give even the most basic instruction on things like English, Mathematics, and History, the New York State Board of Regents will be holding a vote to enforce minimum standards for secular education of students at private schools.

This is a good thing.

While most Yeshivas do teach their students in English and mathematics, a small group of the most extreme schools refuse to do so, graduating students who are incapable of supporting themselves and their families. (Kyiriat Joel has the highest levels of poverty and public assistance in the nation, for example)

This offends me because this is an affront to Judaism from hypocrites who maintain that they are the only true Jews.

Jews are obligated to support themselves and their families as best they can and to engage the world to improve it.  As is says 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." 

Hopefully, the public subsidies will end, or the schools will start graduating students who actually have the wherewithal to support a family:

New York public officials faced questions on Sunday about their lack of oversight of private Hasidic Jewish schools after The New York Times revealed that the schools collect large sums of government money but deny many students a basic education.

One official, Brad Lander, the New York City comptroller, pointed to a state education board decision that is expected this week as a potential key moment for officials who have for years failed to intervene in the schools, known as yeshivas. Mr. Lander noted that the state Board of Regents was scheduled to vote on new rules for holding private schools to minimum academic standards.


Under the proposed regulations, which are expected to be approved by the state board on Tuesday, the Hasidic schools could face the loss of public funding if they are found to be failing to provide children with a basic nonreligious education.

The state board action comes at a potential inflection point for the Hasidic yeshivas, with critics of the schools demanding that secular studies in the schools be bolstered and supporters flooding state offices with hundreds of thousands of letters imploring officials to keep out. The Times investigation on Sunday showed that Hasidic boys’ schools, in particular, are systemically denying some 50,000 children a decent education, an apparent violation of state law.

Though the schools generally offer only rudimentary English and math and little, if any, science or social studies, they have received more than $1 billion in public funding over the past four years alone. Some use corporal punishment to keep children in line during long days of religious study, The Times found.

And Governor Hochul is trying to avoid anything connecting her to this whole matter:


Asked about the Times findings last week, a spokeswoman for Gov. Kathy Hochul noted that the governor does not control the Board of Regents.

There is no need to worry.  It looks like the Regents will pass something toothless:


Although Tuesday’s Board of Regents vote could mark the first time in decades that state officials have taken action to make it easier to crack down on yeshivas and other private schools, the proposed rules have been significantly watered down since the state education department began working on them four years ago. The state has not outlined clear consequences for schools that do not comply with requirements for providing basic instruction in English, math, science and civics, and the rules do not set a minimum amount of time that a school must dedicate to nonreligious instruction.

The rules would apply to all nonpublic schools, but they would perhaps have the greatest effect on the yeshivas. Many of the schools offer just 90 minutes of reading and math a day, only four days a week, the Times investigation found.

If they want to be schnorrers (beggars) I guess that it's their right, but doing so while demanding hundreds of millions of dollars in subsidies while refusing to uphold the most basic standards of education is beyond the pale for me.


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