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January 22, 2013

Report: Many NY Haredi Schools Violate The Law, Teach Little Or No Secular Subjects

Haredi kids eyes covered croppedDNAInfo is publishing a series of reports this week on the haredi school system in NYC. What it found is what I've reported previously and which many of you know firsthand – many, if not most, haredi schools teach little or no secular subjects. By law, these yeshivas and schools have to give their students a secular education that is equivalent to what students are offered in public school. But they do not do that and the state and city look the other way, even as the federal government tries to demand accountability.

Haredi kids eyes covered cropped

Here are brief highlights from the DNAInfo report:

• Satmar's United Talmudical Academy admits that it barely reaches secular studies. “We teach math, English, some social studies and some science,” [Rabbi Sholom] Skaist said. “They do not have secular studies in all the grades, only from fourth to eighth grade.”

• Chabad's Oholei Torah does not teach any secular subjects while United Lubavitcher Yeshiva does.

DNAInfo doesn't explain why this is, though.

The reason the two schools have different policies regarding secular education is that ULY was started under the 6th Rebbe Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok Schneersohn. He told ULY to include some secular studies, in large part because in the 1940s, few if any parents would have sent their children to a school that did not have a secular studies program. The 7th Rebbe founded Oholei Torah and positioned it as a more 'frum' school that ULY. Oholei Torah was (and still is) called the Rebbe's school, and it hs no secular curriculum because Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the 7th Chabad-Lubavitch rebbe, orded it not to teach them.

• Under both New York State and federal regulations, all schools, public and private, must offer "equivalency of instruction" in basic general subjects including American history, science, English and math. (The state does give an exemption to religious students to skip evolution questions on the Regents exam. However, the religious schools still must teach science.

• NYC haredi school system is "bigger than Boston’s" and operates almost completely without oversight, "making it easily the largest unregulated school system in America."

Read part one of the DNAInfo series here.

Comments

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With districts like East Ramapo hinting about lawsuits - threatening to tighten up on existing rules such as these may well prove quite effective for the state of New York.

of course they teach all the subjects just look at the reports they send to the government or the kids transcripts when you ask for one and of course the forms they fill out to get money from the goverment

This is not new to me i knew this 50 years ago when i was growing up among the hassidim non of them went to high school its no secret i see it everyday today here in bp they cant speak proper english in fact i always ask and am suprised when they tell me they were born here i cant beleive that they are american born and they talk english like a foreigner till today i am amzed how they can get away with it,english was my 5 th language i made sure that i speak it properly even though i am not that good of a writet as you can here everyday i learn new words theese hassidim are beyond the pale they want to have their cake and eat it to.

NYC haredi school system is "bigger than Boston’s"

Well, of course; I'm not even sure why that's noteworthy. The Haredi school system here is minimal. AFAIK, it consists only of Lubavitch's New England Hebrew Academy (interestingly, they spell it "Lubavitz"; I think it might have been established under or only slightly after the previous regime) and the Bostoner Rebbe's Torah Academy. I'm not aware of any others.

This entire business should be illegal. It's a form of child abuse and a drain on society. Take the children away from them. Let them say tehillim and schrei to their imaginary friend until the cows come home.

Here in Manchester UK the situation is dire. The frum schools out do one another in fooling the government into believing that they teach secular subjects. They share copies of old work when the inspectors come around and hide their unqualified and perverted teachers and substitute the shared qualified people in the neighborhood. Satmar and Kesser Torah are the biggest offenders but they are all at it. The children think it is a great game fooling the stupid goyim, but it is these poor children who are the ones fooled as they grow up completely uneducated. It really is a form of child abuse to stop children having a basic education.

Jeff -

i think its referring to bostons entire public school system which has about 32,000 kids in grades 1-8 .

The purpose of Haredi chinuch is not to educate children but to isolate children because one of the objects of education is to give a child an enquiringly mind which only last week a Teitelbaum told a court would 'confuse' a child and must be avoided.

Ultra Orthodoxy would not survive without isolating children from external influences to deny them access to alternative viewpoints. It is most important that such isolation begin in childhood as children are particularly vulnerable to the bad effects of isolation.

The Ultra Orthodox method of isolating children from external influences without actually physically removing them includes dressing little boys in the penguin outfits, curling their side-locks, subjecting them to dietary taboos, making them spend all week reading the Talmud, and telling them that others are Tumah and evil. Isolation and refusal to consider alternative ideas become goals in themselves because they create an emotional and psychological impairment in that child so that he fears breaking away and becomes his own gaoler. It is an undeniable fact that most people who have been brought up as members of a extreme sect would, if they only knew what they are being denied, have preferred to remain outside it. Given that almost no one who was not brought up this way volunteers to adopt the faith later in life. In short Ultra Orthodoxy is not something that someone who has access to the free and open market of comparison and criticism of ideas would take on and for its very survival ultraorthodoxy needs to psychological impair its children (which will last to adulthood) so as to not want to have access to this market of ideas. It has become a central plank of their belief system that they must not let themselves be defiled by mixing with others. When, because of their faith, all they want to hear is one voice, and all they want to read is one text. When they treat new ideas as if they carry infection. When, later, as they grow more sophisticated, they come to deride reason as an instrument of Satan. When they regard the humility of unquestioning obedience as a virtue. When they identify ignorance of worldly affairs with spiritual grace. . . In such case, it hardly matters what their minds may still remain capable of learning, because they themselves will have made certain they never again use this capacity.

Children have a right not to have their minds crippled by exposure to other people’s bad ideas—no matter who these other people are. Parents, correspondingly, have no god-given licence to inculcate their children in whatever ways they personally choose: no right to limit the horizons of their children’s knowledge, to bring them up in an atmosphere of dogma and superstition, or to insist they follow the straight and narrow paths of their own faith any more than they have no right to knock their children’s teeth out or lock them in a dungeon. In short, children have a right not to have their minds addled by nonsense which we as a society have a duty to enforce.

We as a society have a duty to protect children from being psychologically impaired by religious fanatics including curtailing the advantage of a parent's temporary power over a child’s mind to impose this faith by abusing this power and acting wrongly by refusing to refusing to educate their own children. It is a matter of regret that the US Authorities neglect these children by not enforcing their own laws making education compulsory.


Maybe it is high time to fund private schools like public this way they can have more say and control. They want their cake and eat it by demanding standards yet not participate in the funding toi meet the standard.

Posted by: Efraim

another one of your posts lacking logic and thought.

the state requires that all children are given a basic education in math, science, history etc. the state ALSO has an obligation to provide free schools where these subjects are taught. these public schools are open to all. the state allows those who wish, to send their kids to private schools which they will fund on their own. they are still REQUIRED by law to meet the minimum state education standard.
restaurants are required to uphold certain food safety standards as per the local health dept.requirements. only a fool would think that a restaurant owner could demand that the state pay for his new freezer or for an exterminator when his establishment is deemed unsafe.

So the Haredim are producing child after child with no academic or social skills. The New York State educational authorities need to place an investigator in every private school in order to ensure that the core cirriculum is taught. The parents may not like the fact that their children are learning to read, write, add, subtract and learn a bit about science and history, BUT at some point in the child's life they may want to go out to work. Maybe it's a good thing not to unleash more welfare cases. As much as the Haredim wish to ignore it or circumvent it, the law is the law.

Oh. You're right; that does make more sense.

It's as I keep saying; this is a parochial little town. I know a Russian woman who moved her mother up here from Brighton Beach. She was very unhappy here; she told her daughter, "It's a big village!"

".....I know a Russian woman who moved her mother up here from Brighton Beach. She was very unhappy here; she told her daughter, "It's a big village!"....."

Her complaint gives me a chuckle. Brighton Beach is a Russian enclave with an elevated transit line running thru it; Coolidge Corner is a smaller one (Boston-sized) with a trolley line running thru it. Qualitatively the same; only the size of the population differs.

Soon after Chaim Levin started his blog on the Internet, I called the New York State Department of Education in Albany to find out whether his former Yeshiva (Oholei Torah) could teach next to no secular subjects and still be in compliance with state law. The woman I talked to who compiles data on religious schools in the State told me that based on prior court decisions, religious schools that are affiliated with a church, synagogue or mosque cannot be regulated as far as course content in New York State. The schools were free to teach what they wanted to and that it was up to the parents to decide whether the curriculum was suitable for their children. It was a case of buyer beware.

As Chaim noted in his blogs, he left school with the equivalent of a grade 3 secular education and even that minimal level was only made possible because his father provided him with a part time tutor at home.
So what jancsibacsi wrote above makes perfect sense.

We all pay for the functional illiteracy of the Haredi. Most of them earn very little money or maybe don't work at all in the regular economy. So they pay very little in payroll or income taxes. Most of them appear to receive various government handouts including Section 8 housing vouchers, food stamps, Medicaid and in some cases cash assistance if they don't bother to register their Jewish marriages with the county.

Ah-pee-chorus and SR, the education requirements you are talking about apply to public schools and to non-religious private schools. Feel free to call Albany to double check my information.

The politicans are obviously afraid to tackle this growing problem. So may the parents of the public school students in the East Ramapo School District may end up forcing the issue. The District includes the Haredi communities in New Square, Kaser and Monsey. The Haredi controlled School District appears to have diverted excessive funds to benefit Haredi students in religious schools and shortchanged the public school students, mostly minority students.

"So may the..." in the last paragraph should read "So maybe the ..."


Rocky -

i think you were given wrong information. below is just a partial list of requirements for ALL private schools.


"CURRICULUM & ACADEMICS
Applies to all private schools

English must be the language of instruction and textbooks must be written in English.
•State law mandates the following course requirements per grade, although the law allows
some minor alterations at the high school level.
oGeneral instruction is mandated for all elementary and secondary schools in
patriotism and citizenship, including the U.S. Constitution, the history of the
United States and New York state and health education regarding abuse of
alcohol, drugs and tobacco, highway safety and traffic regulations, fire drills and
fire prevention.
oIn grades one through six, instruction mustbe given in reading, spelling, writing,
English, arithmetic, geography, U.S. history, science, health education, music,
visual arts and physical education (for at least 120 minutes a week).
oIn grades seven and eight, requirements are given in terms of units of study. A
unit of study is 180 minutes of instruction a week throughout the school year or
the equivalent. Instruction must be given in grades seven and eight in English
(two units), social studies (two units), science (two units), math (two units), health
(a half unit), art (half unit), music (half unit), physical education (half unit),
technology education (one unit), home and career skills (three-quarters unit) and
library and information skills (one period a week). The learning outcomes of
technology education, home and career skills and library and information skills
may be incorporated into subjects in other courses; this integration must be
documented in writing and kept on file at the school.
oIn grades nine to12, the following units of credit are required to meet state
requirements for a Regents diploma: English (four units), social studies (four
units), mathematics (two units), science (twounits), health (a half unit), art/music
(one unit), a second language (three units) and sequences and electives (two
units). In addition, physical education must be taken each year a student is
enrolled in high school at the rate of a half credit per year or the equivalent.

www.edchoice.org/.../SchoolChoice/Private-Schools.../newyork.pdf

Ah-pee-chorus: The rules you sighted do not apply to religious schools that are affiliated with houses of worship. At one time, New York state tried to get the religious schools (Haredi) to adhere to its private school curriculum rules but lost in court based on the "freedom of religion clause" of the US constitution. The woman I talked in Albany to was quite clear on this issue. The Department of Education's hands are tied. So for the time being, Oholei Torah can continue to turn out graduates who probably have difficulty reading an English language map or even a bus schedule. How sad.

Perhaps SR would like to look into the relationship between the Department of Education and Haredi schools further. "No child left behind" does not benefit Haredi children. How sad.

Rocky-

if thats true its outrageous. i havent been able to find any sites which refer to the house of worship exemption. separately, if they dont adhere to the required curricula, i think the students arent recognized as high school graduates.

Rocky-

if thats true its outrageous. i would think those who attend couldnt even be called h.s. grads under the law.

Ah-pee-chorus: Read here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_York_State_Education_Department

excerpt: "...Office for Nonpublic Schools - is the only such office in the United States, i.e.,a distinguishable office for Independent and religious schools within a state education agency. This has relationship to the fact that NYS is second in the U.S.A. as concerns the numbers of children attending such schools, as well as the additional fact that the University of the State of New York has, since its creation in 1784, authorized the Board of Regents to charter, incorporate and register such schools. This office works cooperatively with the NYS Council of Catholic School Superintendents, Agudath Israel of America, the Board of Jewish Education of New York, the NYS Association of Independent Schools, the Lutheran Schools Association, the New York Christian Schools Association, three different associations of Seventh Day Adventists, the Islamic Schools Association, the Historically Black Independent Schools Association, American Christian Schools International, the Greek Archdiocese, and the foreign consulates and ministries of education from throughout the world that either operate Independent schools in NYS, or, who are developing policies concerning foreign nationals seeking to develop Independent and religious schools in their countries...."

It works co-operatively with religious schools but it does not regulate them.

thanks rocky.

Jeff -

easy to err there.

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