The New York Jewish Agenda (NYJA) on Thursday afternoon Zoom-hosted NYC mayoral candidates including city comptroller Scott Stringer and the man believed to be the front runner, Andrew Yang. President of the American Federation of Teachers Randi Weingarten moderated the forum.
Yang made headlines (at least in the NY Post) when he told the forum that yeshiva schools should not be forced to include secular subjects in their curriculum.
The moderator, Weingarten, asked him: “As mayor, how would you ensure that every child receives what the New York State Constitution calls a sound basic education on secular topics, including not just the public schools, but including the yeshivas and other religious schools.”
To which Yang responded “When I looked at the yeshiva question, Randi, the first thing I wanted to see were — what were the outcomes, what is the data,” Yang responded. “I do not think we should be prescribing a curriculum unless that curriculum can be demonstrated to have improved impact on people’s career trajectories and prospects afterwards.”
“If a school is delivering the same outcomes, like, I do not think we should be prescribing rigid curricula,” Yang said, and shared this about his own in high school experience: “I will also say that when I was in public school we studied the Bible for a month. Bible as literature. If it was good enough for my public school, I do not see why we somehow are prioritizing secular over faith-based learning.”
In a recent op-ed in the Forward, Yang wrote: “As mayor, I will always respect religious freedom including the freedom of parents to do what’s best for their kids educationally. Thus, we shouldn’t interfere with their religious and parental choice as long as the outcomes are good.”
Watch the complete video: