Friday, September 08, 2017
The Department of Education has vetted only six of the 39 ultra-Orthodox Jewish schools under investigation for failing to provide secular instruction — despite launching its probe two years ago.
Critics have questioned the DOE's appetite for the matter, claiming Mayor de Blasio has delayed meaningful action because he doesn't want to alienate the powerful Hasidic voting bloc.
According to an August letter from DOE attorney Howard Friedman to a lawyer representing the yeshivas, Avi Schick, department officials visited the small batch of schools last spring and hoped to vet the remainder this year.
Young Advocates for Fair Education, an activist group lobbying for yeshiva reform, held a press conference at City Hall earlier this week calling the probe a "charade."
YAFFED founder Naftuli Moster said he was shocked that only six of the 39 yeshivas were contacted — and speculated that they were the milder offenders.
Moster noted that the visits occurred well after the start of the probe.
"This goes to show that because they didn't feel any pressure they didn't bother to conduct the investigation," he said.
The group has argued that yeshivas aren't teaching rudimentary academics, in violation of state education law that requires basic secular instruction.
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