The Fight over Religious Education
The debate in New York state surrounding a state law that requires private and religious schools to provide a curriculum that is “substantially equivalent” to that provided in the local public schools first began in 2015. A group called Young Advocates for Fair Education (YAFFED) petitioned education officials to look into what they claimed was the lack of substantial equivalence at 39 Brooklyn yeshivas for boys located in Hasidic or Haredi neighborhoods. Their complaint resonated with many in New York, including the editorial boards of the city’s three major dailies, who wrote in favor of investigating these schools to assure that their students were getting a full secular education alongside their religious studies. It quickly became an issue of national concern.
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Ray Domanico is a senior fellow and director of education policy at the Manhattan Institute. Check out his recent issue brief, New York State vs. Hasidic Schools: Placing the “Substantially Equivalent” Curriculum Debate in Context.
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