Questions raised about education in NYC religious schools

- It has been 3 years since Naftuli Moster says he blew the whistle of several New York City Yeshivas. In July 2015 his organization, YAFFED, filed a complaint with the Department of Education listing 39 ultra-orthodox Jewish schools in New York City.

The complaint alleges that the “Yeshivas are not providing their students with an education that it at least substantially equivalent to that of public schools,” Moster explains. 

One of those schools was Yeshiva Kehillat Yakov.  

“We would start school around 7:45am, start with morning prayers... and then we would have religious studies until 4pm,” Chaim Fishman, a former middle school student explains, “and then, after that, we’d have about an hour and half of what we would call English.”  

Three years ago is also when New York City said it would investigate these claims. On Wednesday the city’s School Chancellor, Richard Carranza, addressed the long delay in this investigation. In a 14-page-letter to the State Education Commissioner he called the lack of access a, “serious concern,” and requested further guidance.

“It is disconcerting that this all the city has got after more than 3 years,” Moster responded. 

Carranza’s letter also notes that investigators had only managed to visit about half of the schools on YAFFED’s list. 15 Yeshiva’s apparently denied the city access. 

A representative for PEARLS, an organization which represents these Yeshivas, denied these claims. 
“Any suggestion that the yeshivas were less than cooperative in arranging the remaining visits is false,” a statement reads in part. 

New York State’s Education Department says it will be releasing new guidelines for measuring the progress of Yeshivas in the coming months.

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