The Jewish Press is persisting in its efforts to get to the bottom of the New York State Education Department’s unprecedented efforts to take control of the curricula of our yeshivos. We continue to believe that there is far more to this story than anyone suspects.
There have been no answers offered about what prompted the New York State Education Department to act so summarily and abruptly. The department enacted the new guidelines with hardly any input from those who run our schools or from the askanim who have taken on the responsibility to serve as our liaisons.
Since the issue broke, The Jewish Press has consulted with several key figures from our community who have now assumed leadership roles on the issue – most notably Rav Yisroel Reisman, a rosh yeshiva at Torah Vodaath, and Rav Elya Brudny, a rosh yeshiva at the Mir. They have met with state education officials, but were lectured to rather than heard. We have also reached out to several NYSED and Board of Regents members and will report on the results of the discussions when they are completed.
Several weeks ago, The Jewish Press featured an article that walked our readers through some facts about the relative performance of public and non-public students on Regents examinations. The comparisons were often startling and revealed that yeshiva students invariably outperformed their public school peers. The test scores derive come high schools, not elementary schools, but surely students cannot ace Regents examinations if they attended poor elementary schools. So, to paraphrase an old aphorism, “If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.”
The Jewish Press has now filed several formal requests with NYSED for information, pursuant to the Freedom of Information Law and the Public Officers Law, asking for copies of all relevant communications between NYSED and Governor Cuomo’s office, other NYS officials, and legislators, as well as between NYSED and Mayor De Blasio’s office and other NYC officials and legislators.
NYSED is legally required to promptly comply with our requests and send the information. Let’s see what turns up. Our readers will know soon after The Jewish Press does.