The New York Times recently took yet another shot at yeshivas with a front page report on July 1 about the New York City Department of Education’s alleged “findings” that some of the Jewish religious schools do not provide adequate instruction in secular subjects. It was the type of one-sided hit job one now expects from the publication. While there may not be much of anything new in this latest hit piece, it was still intriguing nonetheless.

The story claimed, once again, that the schools were in violation of the New York Compulsory Education Law, which calls for non-public school students to receive a secular education “equivalent” to what public school students are supposed to get. In the intervening time since the first allegations of violating the New York Compulsory Education Law were made, however, a New York State Supreme Court justice ruled that this is simply not the case.


In its first sentence, the July 1 article says this: ‘Eighteen private schools run by the Hasidic Jewish community have been breaking the law by not providing their students with an adequate secular education, New York City officials said on Friday.”

But here is what Justice Christina L. Ryba found earlier his year in a case before her:

“Since 1895, New York State has required parents to enroll their school-aged children competent teachers incertain specified common courses of study, and has required that instruction provided “elsewhere than public schools shall be at least substantially equivalent to the instruction given to children of like age at the public school of the city or district in which such child resides …

However, the statutory scheme places the burden for ensuring a child’s education squarely on the parent [italics in original], not the school …

Most importantly, there is nothing in the Compulsory Education Law that limits a child to procuring a substantially equivalent education through merely one source of instruction provided at a single location. So long as the child receives a substantially equivalent education, through some source or combination of sources, the Legislative purpose of compulsory education is satisfied.”

The Times ignored this virtual “open door” for parents to make their case, whatever the yeshivas may teach; and its not as if the article’s author pretended to miss the news about Ryba’s ruling. “[E]arlier this year,” the article mentions, “a judge hearing a lawsuit brought by some yeshivas ruled that that the state could not close schools for being noncompliant.” Whether the state could close a yeshiva down was not the essence of the ruling; rather, it was about about who was responsible for complying with the compulsory education law.

Apparently The Times could not waste an opportunity to slam yeshivas once again. In fact, it should be noted that while the print edition headline was “Many Yeshivas Breaking Law, City Concludes,” the online version was headlined, “18 Hasidic Schools Failed To Provide Basic Education, New York City Finds.”

The Gray Lady’s imperiousness should fool no one.


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