New Guidelines to Add Oversight Of New York Nonpublic Schools

ALBANY -

New York state is about to begin closely monitoring its broad network of nonpublic schools under an as—yet undefined list of guidelines that will likely include regular inspections and a regimen of testing on par with their public school counterparts.

News of the guidelines, which will be clarified in the coming weeks, was announced by Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia at an annual conference held Monday for representatives of New York’s nearly 1,800 independent and religious schools.

Rabbi Chaim Dovid Zwiebel, the executive vice president of Agudath Israel of America who attended the forum at the Marriott in Albany, told Hamodia Tuesday that Elia was nonspecific in her public remarks but he was looking forward to hearing what the guidelines entailed.

The announcement comes as New York City is preparing to issue a report on the state of secular education in dozens of yeshivos in Brooklyn.

Elia told several hundred people at the New York State Coalition of Independent and Religious Schools conference that school district heads would be informed that they have the legal obligation to ensure that nonpublic schools are giving an education that is “substantially equivalent to that provided in the public schools.”

“We will be sharing the updated guidance … soon,” Elia said. “Superintendents, she added, “have the responsibility to visit and know that the nonpublic schools are, in fact, delivering an equivalent education.”