New York’s Yeshiva Students Deserve Better

By the New York Times Editorial Board

In 2015, concerned parents, teachers and former students filed a complaintto New York City’s Department of Education charging that 39 ultra-Orthodox Jewish schools in the city failed to give children a basic education, violating state law that requires instruction to be “substantially equivalent” to that in public schools.

Three years later, virtually nothing has been done to hold the schools to legal standards, as politicians have ducked their responsibility rather than challenge leaders of one of the city’s most powerful voting blocs. In a city with low turnout, candidates often covet the support of these communities, which reliably tend to vote based on the guidance of religious leaders.

Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration says it has visited only 15 of those schools, called yeshivas, and been denied access to 15 others. It said nine others that were subjects of the complaint were either closed or didn’t offer K-12 education. A lawyer for a group representing the schools denies that investigators were barred and said the accusations were unfounded in the first place.

In the schools that investigators did manage to visit, they essentially confirmed the critics’ complaints. Many of these schools receive public funding.

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