Monday, July 17, 2017
The city investigation into accusations that ultra-Orthodox Jewish schools fail to provide basic secular lessons will not be finished by the end of this summer, a school official said Sunday.
The city's Education Department will issue an "interim report" before Sept. 22.
But the investigation, which has been going on for close to two-years, is ongoing, and there's no end in sight.
"We take this very seriously," said DOE spokeswoman Toya Holness.
Pro-secular-education Jewish group Yaffed triggered the review in July 2015 after sending a letter to education officials, identifying 39 New York City yeshivas it says do not provide academic instruction required by state law.
The review has lagged, according to critics, who accuse the city of purposely stalling.
"The DOE has remained mum and evasive on details since the beginning," Yaffed said Thursday.
The group claimed that the yeshivas inspected were tipped off before the visits were made.
"Consequently, our confidence in the ability of the DOE to produce anything objective or accurate has been greatly diminished," Yaffed said.
At stake is an estimated 25,000 students at the male-only schools, according to Yaffed Executive Director Naftuli Moster. Many who graduate lack basic reading and writing skills. Some struggle to speak English as the classes are primarily in Yiddish.
DOE has ducked questions about the probe.
The department rejected a Freedom of Information Law request filed by the Daily News for documents related to the investigation, citing the ongoing probe.
Yaffed announced Thursday that it is working on its own report.
"We still look forward to reviewing the findings of the DOE," the group said. "Yaffed hopes for nothing short of a comprehensive and truthful report that will lead to improvements in Hasidic education, and not one which seeks to cover up educational failings or fabricate make-believe progress."
The organization urged the DOE to create a detailed plan for improvement with clear benchmarks to help the schools become compliant.
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