Secular education in yeshivas debate turns contentious in Rockland

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There was name-calling and finger-pointing outside the Rockland County Courthouse Friday over whether the state should enforce a law requiring private schools like yeshivas to teach some secular subjects.

Both sides of the debate showed up at an event with local lawmakers held by YAFFED, or Young Advocates for Fair Education.

The nonprofit is urging people to support the state's proposed regulations that would enforce curriculum standards in yeshivas, Catholic schools and other non-public educational institutions.

“The fact that we have tens of thousands of children not getting an education is a serious problem,” says Naftuli Moster, of the Young Advocates group. “But it's also a human rights violation because these children grow up totally ill-prepared for the workforce. They can't pursue a higher education.”

Advocates say high school boys at yeshivas get no secular education at all while middle school and elementary school boys receive 90 minutes of secular learning four days a week.

Not everyone agrees with those statistics, including Legislator Aron Wieder, who said “Moster is perpetuation the biggest lie in the state of New York.”

Parents of yeshiva students told News 12 that they are worried their children aren't getting an education that will prepare them for work – let alone life outside the Hasidim.

Public comment for the proposed regulation end on Sept. 2.

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