Report: New York City Questions English, Math and Science Taught at Yeshivos


classroomThe New York City Department of Education plans to investigate whether roughly three dozen private yeshivas are providing an adequate education in secular subjects like English, math and science, in response to a letter from parents, former students and former teachers expressing concerns, the department said this week, Kate Taylor reports in the New York Times.

The letter, which was sent to seven local superintendents and the schools chancellor, requested that the department not make public the names of the 39 yeshivos it cited, which are in Brooklyn and Queens, or the names of the 52 people who signed it.

Norman Siegel, a lawyer whose client, Young Advocates for Fair Education, organized the effort behind the letter, said that by keeping the list of yeshivos private, he hoped to defend against the charge that the writers were trying to undermine Jewish religious education.

“The city takes its responsibility to address any complaint very seriously,” Harry Hartfield, a spokesman for the Education Department, said. “Everyone is held to the same standard, and there is zero tolerance for the kind of educational failure alleged.”

There are roughly 250 Jewish day schools in the city, the Times reports.

The letter states that at the 39 yeshivos, children ages 7 to 13 receive only an hour and a half of English and math instruction combined four days per week. Other secular subjects are not taught at all, and English instruction for boys stops at age 13, the letter states.

The letter notes that girls tend to receive a better secular education.

The Education Department said it was finalizing requests that the superintendents would send to the yeshivos mentioned in the letter. If, based on the responses, a superintendent determines that a yeshiva is not providing instruction substantially equivalent to that in public schools, the superintendent will work with the yeshiva to develop a remediation plan. In the worst case, if the department determines that a school’s instruction was not equivalent, ultimately, children who attend the school would be considered truant, the Times reports.

{Gavriel Newscenter}


  1. Historically, when Jews involve non-Jews in internal issues, said non-Jews act with harshness unintended by said Jews. Al tiftach peh li’Satan. …When will we learn?!

  2. OUTRAGEOUS!the gov’t should be providing money to each yeshiva so it can fund the secular studies!otherwise,it shouldn’t require what it isn’t funding!

  3. In the 1960’s, when I went to school, the right-wing yeshivas taught secular studies. No frills, no extras, but the required basics were taught, and the students were expected–by the school and by their parents–to do well in their courses and on their Regents exams. This enabled them to attend college if they chose, and among my classmates are doctors, lawyers, scientists, and businessmen, as well as rabbis. I don’t think that this arrangement was so terrible.

  4. I don’t see why the chasidesher and litvesher schools should not be providing a basic secular education as mandated by halacha that a person must teach his child a parnasah and unfortunately in today’s competitive market without a formal secualr education its very hard to compete.