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It’s Monday and These Publicly Funded Religious Schools Are Failing Their Students

A New York Times investigation on private Hasidic yeshivas, Mayor Adams drinks water, and more links to get you up to speed.

9:54 AM EDT on September 12, 2022

A group of trade union labor members march in the Labor Day parade behind a banner that says "New York City Labor Chorus"

The Labor Day Parade was on Saturday, September 10, 2022. (Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)

For years, New York's public officials have failed to show any real interest in investigating serious claims showing that private yeshivas are failing to provide generations of students with an adequate secular education. A 2015 investigation by the de Blasio administration dragged on and then sputtered after the mayor bowed to pressure from prominent members of the Hasidic community.

On Sunday, the New York Times did what state and local politicians have long avoided, and published a comprehensive investigation into the private Hasidic yeshiva system. In interviews with hundreds of people, the report shows how tens of thousands of children somehow lack any basic math or reading skills at schools that receive hundreds of millions of dollars in public funding. Former yeshiva students reported being beaten by their teachers, and feeling utterly unprepared after graduation. The report, which was translated into Yiddish, notes how this system is propped up by politicians who look the other way in exchange for bloc votes (a spokesperson for Mayor Eric Adams told the Times that his administration would finish the de Blasio investigation into the yeshivas).

Powerful supporters of the yeshivas have weighed in on the Times story, as did Texas Senator Ted Cruz. Reactions from other politicians have been more scarce, even as they found time to tweet about the anniversary of the September 11 attacks.

The speaker of the city council, the council's education chair, and the council's Jewish caucus were all silent on Twitter about the report, as was the leader of the state assembly and the state senate. A spokesperson for Governor Kathy Hochul told the Times that hey, she doesn't control the standards set for private schools, the Board of Regents does.

On Tuesday, the regents will vote on a set of proposals that could require private schools like the yeshivas in question to increase their standards or lose public funding.

What else is happening?

    • City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams released her public comments on congestion pricing, and she apparently wants an exemption for low-income New Yorkers outside of Manhattan. You can read all of Hell Gate's proposed exemptions here.
    • Politico reports that the draft city council redistricting maps are looking pretty good for the city's Republicans.
    • Errol Louis correctly notes that New York's leaders are "sleeping through a housing emergency" yet does not mention that Good Cause Eviction exists to help address just such an emergency.
    • Religious leaders in Harlem took some $2 million in payments from developers, even as they pleaded poverty to their congregations, and the attorney general is investigating, Patch reported.
    • A Brooklyn surrogate judge was removed from the bench after making racist remarks, according to the Daily News.
    • On Monday night, Mayor Adams will deliver remarks at the "David Lynch Foundation’s Meditate New York announcement."
    • Cowboys blow.
    • The Yankees are cops.
    • We've been practicing this maneuver for years, so it's gratifying to see someone pull it off:

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