In New York, the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community wields power because it votes as a bloc. Governors and mayors do their bidding. Their religious schools receive millions of dollars of state and federal aid for various services, yet they are completely unregulated. The absence of any oversight has enabled the most sectarian of schools to avoid teaching English, science, and other subjects that are considered foundational to basic education. A few graduates of these schools have led a campaign to force the state to set minimal standards for schools receiving public funds.

The New York State Education Department attempted to do so, but stirred up a hornets’ nest. Outstanding independent schools, whose graduates are prepared for Ivy League colleges, sued the state to block oversight, fearful that they too would be supervised by the state.

The yeshivas sued and won in court yesterday because the State Education Department failed to release appropriate regulations for oversight.

Will the state try again?

In New York, separation of church and state means that religious schools get public money with no public accountability.