Earlier this year, the New York State Department of Education said it would issue guidelines on state oversight of private schools. What occasioned this decision were reports of the academically weak curriculum offered by some yeshivas operated by Orthodox Jews.
When this was announced, I expressed concerns that while there are legitimate state interests in seeing to it that standard academic courses are being offered in every school, it was also important to guard against state encroachment on the autonomy of religious schools. Now there has been a new development.
The budget that was recently passed in New York addresses the issue of state oversight of private schools. Of concern to the Catholic League are passages within it that appear to provide less state scrutiny for yeshivas than other parochial schools. This would not only be patently unjust, it would be perverse: the trigger for more oversight was not the Catholic school curriculum, it was the one used by some yeshivas.
To read my letter to the New York State Commissioner of Education, click here.