Regulating Private Schools

An advocacy group objects to new New York State guidelines.

To the Editor:

More to Fear for Yeshiva Students” (editorial, March 8) is critical of the Orthodox Jewish community. Its allusions to politics, lobbyists and other tropes are a diversion from the troubling new State Education Department guidelines that are its subject.

Those guidelines dictate what classes private schools, including yeshivas, must teach, how and for how long they must be taught and even who can teach private school students. That is why they are being challenged by every sector of New York’s private school community.

Decades ago, the New York Court of Appeals struck down a less invasive effort by the state’s Education Department to regulate private schools, declaring that “it would be intolerable … to hand over to any official or group of officials an unlimited and undefined power to make such regulations.”

Nothing has occurred in the intervening years to empower the state to impose invasive mandates on private schools.

We live in an era that places a high priority on an increasing array of rights and values, including diversity. It would be odd if a parent’s pedagogical preference is no longer her prerogative.

Avi Schick
New York
The writer is a lawyer for Pearls (Parents for Education and Religious Liberty in Schools), which promotes Orthodox Jewish education.


Source: The New York Times