Most of 28 yeshivas checked flunk NYC secular studies review

Only two yeshivas of those reviewed provide substantial secular education, report says.

Cnaan Liphshiz, JTA ,

Yeshiva students (stock)
Yeshiva students (stock)
Aharon Krohn/Flash90

Most of the 28 religious Jewish schools investigated by New York City officials since 2017 fail to teach required secular education, according to the city’s Department of Education. There are 275 yeshiva in New York City.

Among the 28 Brooklyn-based yeshivas, or religious schools, reviewed by the department, only 11 are providing the required instruction or are well on their way, according to a department letter released Thursday and reported on by the Forward.

Twelve schools are working on improving their secular education, while five 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 state Education Department.

Only two of the yeshivas visited were considered entirely substantially equivalent by the city department, the Forward report said.

“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 inspections of 28 yeshivas since 2017 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 complainants have left the haredi community.

Of the 25 elementary and middle schools visited in the inspection, 17 taught science and only three taught gym.

The department will send its findings to each of the 28 schools and ask for a timeline of “next steps” to be delivered by Jan. 15.