Parents have the legal right to send their children to religious schools. But at the same time religious schools have the legal responsibility to provide an education “at least substantially equivalent” to that offered by public schools. That’s why what is happening in New York City warrants a closer look (“The ugly attack on N.Y. yeshivas,” New York Daily News, Nov. 15).
There are more than 110,000 students enrolled in 275 Jewish schools there. Allegations have arisen that they fail to teach enough secular subjects. As a result, Young Advocates for Fair Education charge that “the average young Hasidic man leaves the yeshiva system completely unprepared for life outside.”
Whether that is true is the subject of debate. But if it is true, yeshivas are in clear violation of N.Y. State law. So are states that allow the use of public funds for Catholic schools when their constitutions contain the Blaine Amendment. In the final analysis, I think parents are shortchanging their own children. But once again, that is a decision they alone need to make.
The opinions expressed in Walt Gardner’s Reality Check are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.