State Agency Finds NYC Hasidic Yeshiva Is Failing To Provide its Students with “Substantially Equivalent” Secular Education, Breaking Century-Old Education Law. Names Numerous Infractions.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Shira Dicker: firstname.lastname@example.org
+1.917.403.3989 (via WhatsApp until 10/14)
October 13, 2022 (New York, NY) — In the middle of the Jewish festival of Sukkot, Yaffed —a non-profit organization whose mission is to improve secular education in Hasidic and Haredi schools — had a new reason to celebrate: a historic ruling by the New York State Education Department (NYSED) in the groundbreaking case of Weber v. NYSED.
Since its founding in 2012, Yaffed has been working to improve secular education in New York and beyond for Hasidic and ultra-Orthodox children and to ensure that city and state officials enforce a decades-old NYS education law — Section 3204 — which mandates that children who attend non-public schools receive education in a manner that is “at least substantially equivalent” to that of local public schools.
In 2019, Beatrice Weber, a mother of ten children raised and educated within the New York Hasidic community, and Yaffed’s newly appointed executive director, brought a lawsuit on behalf of her youngest child, then age six, alleging that the school — Yeshiva Mesivta Arugath Habosem (YMAH) – was failing to teach her son the secular subjects mandated by New York’s education law. Her lawsuit languished for years and was dismissed by NYSED, with the agency claiming that it did not have “jurisdiction” over the Yeshiva. Ms. Weber appealed and in June of this year Acting Supreme Court Justice Adam Silverman issued an historic opinion annulling
NYSED ’s dismissal and ordering it to complete its investigation of the Yeshiva by October 6, 2022.
Following the court’s order, last week, NYSED issued a “determination,” concluding that YMAH was not complying with the law’s substantial equivalency mandate. The ruling is the first time in New York State history that an agency has ordered change at a Hasidic boys’ Yeshiva. Specifically, NYSED found “that there was little evidence that instruction in such areas (math, science, English language arts and social studies) was regularly and meaningfully delivered to students.” In its ruling, NYSED also strongly rebuked the NY CDOE for its investigative techniques. Implied was a criticism of NYC Mayor Eric Adams, who has provided cover for failing Hasidic schools. Yaffed is committed to making sure that NYSED’s determination in Weber v. SED will have a broad impact, leading the way for other failing schools to improve their substandard quality of education.
“I could not have achieved this success without the support of Yaffed, and the vision and passion of its founder Naftuli Moster,” Ms. Weber stated. “Yaffed connected me with David Shapiro, who served as legal counsel for my lawsuit. David and Yaffed were invaluable, providing us with ongoing support and resources.”
Ms. Weber’s attorney, David Shapiro, stated that NYSED’s determination was remarkable for many reasons.
“Aside from being the first of its kind in New York State,” he said, “like all historic decisions in the Civil Rights movement (think Brown v. Board of Education), it tells a story that is not written in the pages of the decision. Everyone failed Beatrice: the school, the politicians and the agencies. It took an independent Supreme Court Justice to order action.”
For further information about this story or to request an interview with Ms. Weber or Mr. Shapiro please contact Shira Dicker at email@example.com or at +1.917.403.3989 (until 10/13/22) and 917.403.3989 thereafter.
Yaffed is a nonprofit organization founded by individuals raised within Hasidic and Haredi
communities and is committed to improving secular education within these schools. Visit
https://yaffed.org/ for more information.