NY private schools must show they’re teaching the basics
ALBANY - Private and religious schools in New York face greater scrutiny after state education leaders approved rules Tuesday requiring them to prove their academic programs line up with those of public schools.
The unanimous vote by the Board of Regents follows several years of debate that began with complaints of children graduating from ultra-Orthodox Jewish schools lacking basic academic skills. The rules apply to all of New York’s 1,800 nonpublic schools.
State law requires that instruction given in nonpublic schools “be at least substantially equivalent to the instruction” at public schools.
The guidance approved Tuesday outlines several ways that private schools can show they meet the longstanding mandate, including by using state-approved assessments or undergoing a review by the local school district.
Private schools that fall short of the threshold will be given time to adjust their instruction, state education officials have said. Those who may refuse to comply could lose state funding.
Supporters of some ultra-Orthodox schools, called yeshivas, have opposed the rules as infringing on religious freedom and parental choice.
A New York State education department spokesperson provided the following statement:
“State law requires every child in New York state to have access to an education that allows them to meet their full potential academically and provides the necessary skills to contribute to their community and participate in civic life. The Department presented the final regulations relating to the substantially equivalent instruction for nonpublic students to the Board of Regents. The regulations were approved by the Board’s P-12 Education Committee and unanimously adopted by the full Board. We are pleased to be moving into the implementation phase of the regulation process. We will continue to work with all stakeholders as they endeavor to adhere to the new regulations.”