New York – DOE Probe Into Brooklyn Yeshivas Over Secular Schooling Draws Skepticism From Local Groups

Brooklyn, NY – Local watchdog groups are expressing skepticism over the DOE’s plan to rely solely on data provided by 39 Brooklyn-area yeshivas currently under investigation in determining whether or not the schools are meeting state requirements regarding secular education for students.

THEJEWISHWEEK.com reports that the state opened an investigation into the yeshivas—-located primarily in Williamsburg and Borough Park—-upon receipt last week of a letter signed by 52 Jewish community members who charged that schools routinely fall dramatically short of meeting DOE guidelines.

In announcing its probe, reps for the DOE said that a “set of requests” will be issued to the schools in question “soon” and that based on the information the yeshivas provide superintendents will then make decisions as to whether or not state guidelines on secular education are being met.

Norman Siegel, a civil rights attorney for the group Yaffed (Young Advocates for Fair Education), questioned the DOE’s approach, saying that the plan will likely fall short of meeting the criteria of being “thorough, independent, and fair.”

“I’m not discounting anyone’s credibility, but it’s easy to say something on paper. It’s important for the DOE to see what’s actually happening in yeshivas,” Seigel said.

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