YAFFED Executive Director Beatrice Weber testified at the New York State Legislature Joint Budget Hearing on Education, on Thursday, February 1, 2024.
Watch her remarks below:
The testimony detailed YAFFED’s advocacy for funding of mandated services aid for schools to be expanded to include administrative costs of demonstrating compliance with substantial equivalency law, as well as support for educational remediation programming to benefit current and former students of yeshivas that fail to meet substantial equivalency standards.
Here’s what we’re advocating for, and why it matters:
- Helping under-resourced school districts: We’re advocating for an expansion of ‘mandated services’ aid for schools to include the costs of demonstrating compliance with the substantial equivalency education law. Let’s make sure that local school districts and the yeshivas within them have the resources they need to deliver a sound basic education to every student.
- Catching Up: Even with new regulations in place, there’s no plan to help the students whose yeshivas left them falling behind. That’s why we’re pushing for funding to support educational remediation programming to assist them in getting on track academically.
- Closing loopholes: Some of the pathways that schools can use to demonstrate substantial equivalency leave too much room for failing schools to avoid enforcement. One pathway that we’re particularly concerned about is the accreditation pathway. There’s a serious accountability issue when an accreditation agency is affiliated with, or run by, a yeshiva organization that openly flouts the law and has no plans to provide a sound basic education to their students.
Senator Liz Krueger of the 28th Senate District expressed support for YAFFED, saying: “This is about making sure that all schools are providing the education that our children deserve and need”
Senator Krueger also echoed a concern that YAFFED has raised regarding school accreditation agencies that are affiliated with yeshivas who advocate against substantial equivalency requirements, saying: “If you’re flunking yourself, I don’t think you should be evaluating others in our system.”
Answering a question from Assembly Member Stacey Pheffer Amato of the 23rd Assembly District regarding whether or not the rhetoric of YAFFED’s advocacy contributes to antisemitism, Beatrice had the following response:
For more ways to get involved in our advocacy efforts for Hasidic and Haredi yeshiva students, including a way to submit your own testimony to State Legislators, click here