די באריכט האט שוין געדארפט ארויסקומען א צייט צוריק, למעשה האט זיך עס פארשלעפט, און מ'האט געמאכט א אויספארשונג איבער דעם, די מסקנה איז אז די סיטי האל האט עס דווקא אפגעשטופט.
אלע צייטונגן גייען ספינען די באריכט, אז ס'זאל ווי מער אויסזען שלעכט אויף חרדישע אידן.
איין זאך זעט מען זיכער אז די אלע פרייע צייטונגען און די שנה ופירש'ניקס וועל אין יעדע צייט פרובירן אונז צו צאפן די בלוט, אפילו ווען מיר גייען דורך א שווערע תקופה מבחוץ. כ'מדארף שטערקער אינזין האבן ביי ברכת "ולמלשינים".
א באריכט אין די נ.י טיימס:
Why New York’s Inquiry Into Yeshivas Mysteriously Stalled
Mayor Bill de Blasio engaged in “political horse trading,” holding back a report on the ultra-Orthodox schools, investigators found.
By Eliza Shapiro and Jeffery C. Mays
Published Dec. 18, 2019
Updated Dec. 19, 2019, 3:28 p.m. ET
Over four years ago, Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration began a high-profile investigation into whether thousands of children in some ultra-Orthodox Jewish yeshivas were receiving basic secular education, including lessons on how to read and write in English.
But then, the release of a report on the investigation mysteriously stalled. On Wednesday, city investigators revealed a major reason for the delay: “political horse-trading” by City Hall.
The long-anticipated report by the Department of Investigation and the Special Commissioner of Investigation for the New York City School District found that while Mr. de Blasio’s administration did not violate the law, it did interfere with its own education department’s probe into the yeshivas.
On Thursday, the Department of Education finally released its own report. The findings were sobering: Only two of 28 yeshivas that city officials visited are offering secular education that is considered “substantially equivalent” to classes found in the city’s public schools.
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Chancellor Richard A. Carranza said that education officials had visited 138 first-through-12th grade classrooms in the yeshivas over the last few years.
He said that nine of those schools are moving closer to the goal of providing sufficient secular studies. The department found that another 12 schools are “developing” their secular education, while another five schools barely have secular studies.
Mr. Carranza acknowledged that some of the visits were incomplete, because classes about Jewish texts that yeshiva educators claimed were equivalent to national Common Core learning standards were not taught in English. The chancellor said that officials planned to revisit some schools with a translator who speaks Yiddish to better assess those classes.
The high school yeshivas presented a particularly worrying trend: City officials found little to no evidence of secular education at two of the three yeshiva high schools they visited.
Mr. Carranza said the city planned to visit the schools again next year and will ask some of the schools that are most in dire need of higher standards to produce improvement plans by mid-January.
Wednesday’s findings in particular are sure to raise fresh scrutiny over the de Blasio administration’s ethics. Federal and state inquiries were conducted into his fund-raising practices during his first term, eventually clearing him, and an internal city investigation that ended last year found that the mayor and his team solicited donations for his political nonprofit from individuals and companies with business before the city.
Mr. de Blasio’s strong relationship with the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community he represented as a city councilman from Brooklyn has sometimes landed the mayor in trouble.
Still, investigators found that the interference in the yeshiva review did not have a significant impact on the Department of Education’s report itself, but only on the timing of its release.
Freddi Goldstein, the mayor’s press secretary, defended Mr. de Blasio in a statement.
“There’s no ‘there’ there, as evidenced by the finding of no wrongdoing. The Department of Investigation and the Special Commissioner of Investigation made clear there were no findings ready for release in 2017,” she said. “In fact, the D.O.I. report accurately identifies why this process has taken so long, including ever-changing state regulations and the difficulty of gaining access to some schools.”
Sam Goldstein, a spokesman for Parents for Educational and Religious Liberty in Schools, a group that has defended yeshivas, declined to comment.
City investigators focused on the summer of 2017, when Mr. de Blasio was running for a second term and was facing a threat in the State Capitol that he believed could unravel his entire education agenda.
For the third time in his first term, Mr. de Blasio fretted as state legislators debated whether to extend his oversight of the nation’s largest public school system, under a governance structure known as mayoral control. A lengthy extension was the mayor’s top priority in Albany that year.
Shortly before the final vote during a tense special session on mayoral control that June, the mayor’s office struck a deal. They would delay an interim report about the yeshivas to appease state lawmakers who were deliberating on mayoral control. Some state politicians were facing pressure from their Orthodox Jewish constituents who considered the probe an attack on religious liberty and the broader Hasidic community.
“Only in de Blasio’s New York could the future of mayoral control of public schools depend on an investigation into private yeshivas,” said Menashe Shapiro, a political consultant.
When the report into the yeshivas eventually came out a year later, it was incomplete: Education officials had only visited about half of the schools, in part because officials said that some yeshivas did not permit them to enter. Though representatives for the schools denied that allegation, it was backed up by Wednesday’s D.O.I report.
Mr. de Blasio was made aware of the deal and spoke to at least one state senator along with members of the Orthodox community “about their broader concerns regarding oversight of yeshivas and how those concerns related to the extension of mayoral control,” the report found.
It’s not the first time Mr. de Blasio has faced questions about whether his close ties to the Orthodox community have affected his handling of public health and education issues.
Critics said he moved too slowly to declare a public health emergency that would have required vaccinations after a measles outbreak spread through Hasidic neighborhoods in Brooklyn.
In 2015, the mayor eased rules on a circumcision ritual that was infecting some Hasidic babies with herpes, though he eventually changed course. The mayor also signed legislation to funnel $20 million to security at private and parochial schools, including yeshivas, prompting an outcry that public schools were being shortchanged.
Rabbi David Niederman, the executive director and president of the United Jewish Organizations of Williamsburg — and an ally of Mr. de Blasio’s whom the mayor referred to last week as “someone I have known for decades and respect highly” — has called criticism of secular education at yeshivas “a smear campaign against our community and what it stands for.”
Investigators found that the agreement over yeshivas and mayoral control was far from the only cause for the long delay in releasing the report on the yeshivas.
Attorneys for the yeshivas themselves sometimes did not turn over information about their curriculum requested by the city. But the review also dragged on because of the “accommodating approach taken by the [Department of Education] to that conflict,” the report found.
By the time the deal on mayoral control was struck — two years into the probe — city officials had only visited six yeshivas. The city has now visited all 28 schools it vowed to investigate.
The issue of secular studies in yeshivas was thrust into the spotlight following a 2015 legal complaint filed by yeshiva graduates who said they had not learned enough English or secular subjects.
An advocacy group called Young Advocates for Fair Education charged that Hasidic boys are being trapped in a cycle of poverty. Without a firm grasp on English, it is extremely difficult for Hasidic Jews to find work outside their low-income neighborhoods, where the predominant spoken language is Yiddish.
The quality and quantity of secular education varies widely across different types of yeshivas. Advocates for more secular education in yeshivas say some Modern Orthodox schools, which split the day between religious and secular studies, could be a model.
Naftuli Moster, the executive director of Young Advocates for Fair Education, called Wednesday’s report “a disgrace.”
The investigation, he said, demonstrates that “the city is willing to trade away the education of tens of thousands of students for power and political influence. These findings also raise concerns as to whether the city will provide an accurate assessment of what is happening inside yeshiva schools when it finally releases its report.”
But Simcha Eichenstein, a Brooklyn assemblyman who formerly worked for Mr. de Blasio’s legislative affairs team in Albany and represents the Hasidic community, highlighted the finding that no laws were violated. “Nothing newsworthy here,” he said.
דאס איז פון די פארווארט'ס
More than half of the yeshivas investigated by the New York City Department of Education over the past two years are not providing the required amount of secular education to students, according to a Department of Education letter released today.
The Department visited 28 schools and wrote that of that number, 11 are providing the required instruction or are well on their way. There are 12 schools currently working on improving their secular education, and five that are considered “underdeveloped,” meaning they do not provide sufficient secular subject instruction and have not demonstrated they are planning to improve, according to the letter, sent to the New York State Education Department.
Only two of the yeshivas visited were considered entirely substantially equivalent by the department.
“All students deserve a high-quality education, and we stand ready to work collaboratively with schools to improve instruction,” said Miranda Barbot, press secretary for the city’s Department of Education in a written statement. “We will work with the schools to close any gaps quickly.”
The letter comes after the Department inspected nearly 30 schools since 2017. The inspections were the result of a 2015 complaint in which a group of yeshiva graduates and parents alleged that their schools were not teaching secular subjects like English and math.
The complaint letter and the subsequent inspections have sparked a debate over a state law that mandates “substantial equivalency” for private schools — meaning, effectively, that nonpublic schools must teach certain subjects also taught in public schools.
The state’s Board of Regents is weighing regulation changes that would affect how frequently private schools are inspected, and what the consequences could be for schools failing to teach certain subjects.
In today’s letter, Richard Carranza, the city’s education chancellor, wrote that for some classes in elementary and middle schools, secular studies were entirely embedded in Judaic studies classes. Some elementary and middle school classes had no supplemental materials, like textbooks, for math instruction.
17 out of 25 elementary and middle schools visited taught science, and only three taught gym.
Of the three high schools inspected by the Department, one told the inspectors it did not offer any courses in secular subjects. At another, representatives did not witness any secular subject instruction, even though the school claimed secular subjects were taught. At the third school, representatives observed secular subjects being taught in English.
All 28 schools visited were in Brooklyn.
For the five schools that are underdeveloped, the department wrote that the yeshivas did not have plans to achieve adequate secular education, did not demonstrate they had a relevant curriculum and did not teach subjects in English.
The Department will send its findings to each of the 28 schools and ask for a timeline of “next steps” to be delivered by January 15, 2020.
The chancellor said all schools in the inquiry will be expected to provide adequate secular instruction within three years.
“The yeshiva system continues to outperform the City’s public schools by every metric,” said a yeshiva spokesperson, Sam Goldstein, in a written statement. “As with all school systems, yeshivas always strive to improve and adopt best practices. They will continue to do so.”
Yesterday, two city agencies published an investigation that found that Mayor Bill de Blasio had agreed to delay the release of today’s results in exchange for political support in the state legislature.
אין טאג כ"א כסליו וואס השי"ת האט מציל געווען דעם רבין זי"ע להציל את שארית הפליטה מני שחת, בעט מיר דעם רבש"ע כי לא ירעו ולא ישחיתו בכל הר קדשי, וכשם שעשה אז ניסים כן יושיענו עתה במהרה בימינו.