Senior United States Judge of the Eastern District of New York Israel Leo Glasser last Wednesday threw out a lawsuit filed last July by the Rockland County-based, anti-yeshiva education advocacy group Young Advocates for Fair Education (YAFFED). On Saturday, the group was featured in a NY Post article (NYC yeshivas collect more than $100M a year in public funds) that rehashed all their points.
Specifically, the article juxtaposes the overall public funding to yeshivas in NY City, the inquiry about a small number of Chassidic yeshivas accused of refusing to comply with state curricular requirements, and, I believe, infers that NYC yeshivas are somehow not entitled to the funding they get from the system.
The NY Post’s Susan Edelman reports that “the city Department of Education gave Jewish day schools $97 million for teachers, books and afternoon busing last fiscal year […] but that’s only a partial accounting of the largesse.”
“Of $84 million spent on academic instruction in non-public schools with low-income kids last year, the DOE gave $36 million to yeshivas […], as well as $7 million in books and $54 million for busing after 4 PM,” Edelman quotes a DOE official.
At which point Edelman drops in the inevitable attack statement from YAFFED founder Naftuli Moster: “If you add the state and federal funding, it would be at least twice as much.”
YAFFED’s argument is that as many as 39 NYC yeshivas are not complying with the DOE’s core subjects requirement, which throws a dark shadow on all the city’s yeshivas.
We recommend you read the Jewish Press report from mid-December (Regents Data: Public Schools Lag Behind Yeshivas), which shows that not only have the vast majority of yeshivas adopted the state’s core curriculum, they lead the pack in studying it:
The Regents examination scores obtained by The Jewish Press under a Freedom Of Information Law request show yeshivas at 19 out of the top 20 average private school scores in New York’s English Language Arts exam.
In the Algebra 2/Trigonometry exam, yeshivas earned nine of the top 10 private school scores in the state.
And seven out of the top 10 private school scores reported in the Global History Regents exam were also earned by yeshivas.
There is no reason to doubt Moster’s account of his own yeshiva education experience, and those of his affiliates. But casting a dark shadow of suspicion over all the city’s yeshivas which are striving for academic excellence — as defined by the DOE — is arguably harmful.