Mary Ellen Elia is the New York STATE Commissioner of Education and President of the University of the State of New York and the one proposing to implement the public school curriculum for Yeshivas. She is well respected and is responsible for the education for all New Yorkers. She has a strong background in education.
Richard Carranza is the New York City commissioner of education and a leftist radical in the mayor’s pocket. He can do what he wants to with the NY public schools, as that is the mayor’s territory. He has absolutely no say in private schools. Sure, he can try to push his agenda on private schools, but it will be shot down by the courts as we see time and time again. The courts agree, you cannot force someone in the private sector to do something that goes against their beliefs and religion. As we have seen when trying to force the Catholic Churches to offer abortions in their health plans. This is true on the federal, state and local level.
Understand there are two separate issues we are dealing with here.
1 – The curriculum better known as the “common core” standards – which is state
2 – Liberals pushing their agendas, teaching Steven (or Shlomie) has two mothers, and Mary has a father who is living with his boyfriend.
One has nothing to do with the other, as there will always be the far left pushing its agenda and the courts will keep them under control. Others want to keep the Jews out, but the courts continuously uphold the right of every group to live where they want and practice their religion uninhibited. So far, the liberals have never been successful in regard to private education. What the left is pushing has nothing to do with the requirements.
HERE IS THE NYS LAW ON PRIVATE SCHOOLS (note: nothing of Richard Carranza’s agenda):
- Instruction given to a minor elsewhere than a public school must be substantially equivalent to the instruction given at the local public school. N.Y. Educ. Law §3204.2
- Instruction may only be given by a competent teacher. N.Y. Educ. Law §3204.2.
- The course of study for the first eight years of public school must include arithmetic, reading, spelling, writing, the English language, geography, United States history, civics, hygiene, physical training, the history of New York state and science. N.Y. Educ. Law §3204.3.
- Students may be excused from health and hygiene if it conflicts with their parent or guardian’s religion and if the excuse is certified by a representative of their religion. N.Y. Educ. Law §3204.5
What should MaryEllen as the commissioner of Education for all of NY State do? She got complaints from young people who are upset they were deprived of a decent English education and are now handicapped in life. She does inquire into these complaints, completes her due diligence and indeed sees thousands of children in the chassidish Yeshivas, emerging from their respective schools with no more then a 3rd grade level of education. They have trouble writing a complete proper sentence….cannot speak a normative English ….nor can they spell…or read properly. She then realizes – there IS a problem here.
The LAW states anyone can open a private school provided they do give an equivalent secular education.
Clearly these Yeshivas were not doing so. I think all of us agree – it is fair that every child should and must get a certain level of education. Should you not agree – claiming “no one has a right to tell me what, and how much I have to teach my child, or nothing at all. Well this is the law here in America, and how did President Trump put it … go to a country where you don’t have to teach your son a thing. Try Poland or Afghanistan for starters.
Commissioner MaryEllen sees the problem and proposes to rectify it by “setting a standard” for the private schools across the board, on what their curriculum must be. By doing so, she will force these chassidish Yeshivas to finally have a proper English education. Of course, no Yeshiva, Catholic or Private school wants oversight and all jumped on the band wagon to oppose it. Better put, no-person wants someone breathing down their backs. Nursing homes, also don’t want oversight, but dealing with the elderly they have no choice, as it is a protection for the residents. Why should the education of children be any different?!
The question is what did MaryEllen do wrong?
In her mind this is the way to get the chassidish Yeshivas and any other non-complying school into proper compliance. Instead of us being angry at the few rotten apples who brought this problem upon us, we defend them and attack the commissioner that is trying her very best to give everyone a decent secular education and not be hampered in life.
To then shift and confuse this to the city leftist Richard Carranza, by saying that is also what the state commissioner MaryEllen wants to do, is just a scare tactic that is being hand feed to us. Saying, this is what is going to happen – we will be forced to learn about transgender and gays, we will have sex education with demonstration in the classrooms etc .and all that nonsense that has nothing to do with the common core that MaryEllen is proposing. This is how our community works – start an accusation that something sinister or a conspiracy is going on and get everyone to sign on.
To be fair, it is unmistakably an overkill, the time length of study MaryEllen is proposing, however she is starting from a high point and we will have to compromise to some middle ground where 95% of the yeshivas are already on board or may have to tweak their curriculum a bit. The common core is filled with getting the student to have cognizant understanding and logical arguments based on claims, solid reasoning, and relevant evidence. It also wants students to evaluate, and present complex information This skill is mostly already acquired by yeshiva boys and girls in the Hebrew department and that should cut the time down needed for these skills The Yeshivas should themselves propose taking the Common Core tests, which can prove we are indeed giving a substantial equivalent education.
This will not at all be a problem for 95% of the Yeshivas, as in the STATE WIDE public school systems only approximately 46% pass the common core tests (that is how bad NY education is – shocking!). Should the Yeshivas pass more than that percentage, there can be any complaints and we will be within the “rights of the law” without anyone breathing down our backs. This would accomplish the goal of “singling” out the Yeshivas where NO kid can pass the common core and where English is just a plain joke. Those yeshivas would then be faced with a real dilemma “shape up” or “close down.” Maybe let the parents’ home educate them (which can also be a problem, as the father or mother don’t know more than the kids)?
Look at England. Every girl from any chassidisha school can work in any office, she can write a report, take dictation, answer the phone properly etc. Also, in England all the boys with “long peyios” speak and write a proper Queen’s English. Why? Because in England there is government oversight in the secular education of Yeshivas. Now and then the leftist push their agenda, as happened recently, but it always gets struck down.
Ironically, the people trying to get us to sign petitions and demonstrate are the same ones that give a decent education to their students. Take for example Rabbi Brodny from the Mirrer Yeshiva, he gives a good English education, so why is he coming to the defense of the non-complying chassidish yeshivas. If he thinks that all you need is a Satmar level English education, then the rest of the time he is Mivatel torah from thousands of Yeshiva children – you can’t have it both ways. Does the Agudah really care for ALL our yiddisha Yeshivah boys to be able to support themselves with honor, or they believe growing up uneducated, be hampered in life and live off gov’t handouts while doing some shnooring on the side. Do they really care for k’lal Yisroel?
Let us not defend the bad Yeshivas. We can come to a just conclusion with the State Education Board. Offer to have Yeshiva boys take the common core tests to prove we are complying with the law of substantially equivalent education to public schools. Then let the rotten apples fight it out for themselves.