For years, critics have claimed that the state’s Hasidic schools fail to comply with the state law that requires them to offer a basic secular education in addition to an Orthodox Jewish religious education. Investigations have gone nowhere because of the political power of the Hasidic community, which tends to vote as a bloc. Politicians seek their endorsement, as NYC Eric Adams did. (On election night, the new Mayor had representatives of the Hasidic community by his side.) in the Legislature, a representative of the Hasidic community had a decisive vote when the State Senate was equally divided between Democrats and Republicans.

Dr. Betty Rosa, State Commissioner of Education, broke the stalemate. Hasidic groups undoubtedly will sue to block her order. They will say that the law interferes with their freedom of religion. They will say that they should not be required to teach their children in English or science or mathematics or social studies.

Bravo for Commissioner Rosa!

Question: Will the Supreme Court rule with the Hasids? Does the state have the right to tell religious schools what to do? Should these schools collect hundreds of millions a year a year from the state while defying state law?

The New York Times reported:

In a profound challenge to New York’s private Hasidic Jewish schools, state education authorities have determined that a large boys’ school in Brooklyn is violating state law by failing to provide a basic education.

The ruling marks the first time that the state has taken action against a Hasidic boys’ school, one of scores of private academies that provide robust religious instruction in Yiddish but little instruction in English and math, and virtually none in science, history or social studies. It also served as a stern rebuke of the administration of Mayor Eric Adams, whose education department had recommended that the school be found in compliance with a law requiring private schools to offer an education comparable with what is offered in public schools.

The decision, which was issued last week by commissioner Betty Rosa and has not been previously reported, stemmed from a lawsuit brought by a parent against the school alleging a lack of secular education. The ruling requires city education officials to work with the school, Yeshiva Mesivta Arugath Habosem, in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, to come up with an improvement plan, something that many Hasidic schools have long fought to avoid. State officials will have final say over that improvement plan, putting additional pressure on city officials who have previously avoided intervening in the schools….

“The state did right,” said Beatrice Weber, a mother of 10 who brought the suit against her youngest child’s school and has since left the Hasidic community. “Hopefully now things will actually change.” Ms. Weber was recently named as the leader of Young Advocates for Fair Education, a group that has pushed for more secular education in Hasidic schools.

The decision will also provide the first test of a new set of state rules aimed at regulating private schools, including Jewish schools, known as yeshivas, which, like other religious schools, have largely been allowed to operate without government oversight for decades. Those regulations, which went into effect just two weeks ago, hold that schools that do not follow state law could lose their public funding.

Hasidic leaders waged fierce opposition to the new rules before they were approved by the State Board of Regents last month, casting them as an existential threat to the community. Earlier this week, a group of yeshivas and their supporters sued the state over the rules. Many of the plaintiffs were non-Hasidic schools that provide secular education and would likely not be affected by the regulations. The lawsuit has not been previously reported….

“Yeshivas are the central and irreplaceable pillar of the Orthodox Jewish life in New York,” reads the lawsuit, which seeks to have the regulations overturned.

On Wednesday, a spokesman for one of the groups that filed the lawsuit, the Parents for Educational and Religious Liberty in Schools, defended Yeshiva Mesivta Arugath Habosem.

“Educators from the city’s Department of Education visited the school several times and determined that it met the substantial equivalence standard,” said the spokesman, Richard Bamberger, referring to the state law. “It is disappointing that political appointees at the state education department won’t accept the city’s findings.”

Last month, The New York Times reported that more than 100 Hasidic boys’ schools in Brooklyn and the lower Hudson Valley have collected at least $1 billion in taxpayer dollars in the past four years, but many have denied their students a basic secular education.