New York Judge Strikes Down Rule Over Private And Religious School Inspections

SHUTTERSTOCK/ karen roach

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Neetu Chandak Education and Politics Reporter
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A New York judge struck down a rule that allowed public inspection of private schools Wednesday that could have potentially put Jewish Orthodox schools at risk of losing government funding for certain services if they did not comply with guidelines.

Judge Christina Ryba ruled that the updated guidelines were not enacted in line with the State Administrative Procedure Act (SAPA), The Associated Press reported Thursday.

The New York State Education Department introduced the set of guidelines in November 2018 to check if private schools were hosting “substantially equivalent” education programs to public schools. Private schools that were not deemed to give the “equivalent” education could lose state funding.

The guidelines could have affected yeshivas, or Orthodox Jewish schools. Yeshivas have been criticized for not providing adequate instruction in subjects like math and English, according to the AP.

A pro-yeshiva group and a group representing Catholic schools challenged the guidelines in lawsuits, the AP reported. (RELATED: More Than 2 Dozen Possible Graves Found At Infamous Florida School)

Parents for Educational and Religious Liberty in Schools (PEARLS), one of the groups that filed a lawsuit, released a statement on Twitter celebrating the ruling.

“This stops in its tracks SED’s [State Education Department] effort to radically transform the relationship between the state and its private schools,” PEARLS said in the statement Thursday.

“We very much appreciate that the judge recognized the merits of our legal arguments and agreed NYSED must immediately suspend its ill-conceived regulations forcing local schools officials to review all nonpublic schools throughout the state of New York,” NYSAIS said, according to a press statement given to The Daily Caller News Foundation.

A group that wants to reform yeshivas was not pleased with the decision, however.

“Removing the revised oversight signals to ultra-Orthodox yeshivas that they can continue business as usual and fail to provide basic instruction in math, English, science, history, civics and other subjects that are keys to a sound basic education,” Young Advocates For A Fair Education executive director Naftuli Moster said, the Gothamist reported.

“We are reviewing the court’s decision and will determine the appropriate next steps,” NYSED spokesperson Emily DeSantis told TheDCNF over email Thursday.

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