For years now, ultra-Orthodox Jews have been in charge of a public school district in East Ramapo, New York in addition to the private Jewish schools in the community. It’s led to plenty of debate over, among other things, whether the Orthodox Jews who don’t want to pay property taxes for public schools their children don’t attend should be allowed to decimate the system for the kids who don’t share their faith.
The latest twist in the story is that a class action lawsuit has been filed by plaintiffs who think they were shortchanged a real education in the area’s yeshivas:
Seven plaintiffs charge the state, the school district and four yeshivas with failing to offer adequate secular coursework for boys, and seeks to require them to do so as soon as the next school year. It also seeks unspecified money damages for former students who, the suit contends, were failed by the state and local administrators entrusted with their education.
The claim contends that four Hasidic yeshivas in Monsey, Spring Valley and New Square do not teach English, “basic literacy, calculating, and verbal skills necessary to enable children to eventually function productively as civil participants.”
The 42-page document also addresses the schools’ reliance on taxpayer finances. It says the yeshivas received federal, state and local funds, and that grants must be used to supplement secular education, “not supplant it, and certainly not to be used for religious education.”
You can read the full lawsuit here.
The plaintiffs want something they shouldn’t have to ask for: A few hours of secular education a day, taught by teachers who know what they’re doing. They also want remedial courses offered to graduates of the school who didn’t get a proper education.
Realize that, if these claims check out, taxpayer money is being used to preach Orthodox Judaism to students. They’re not learning the information they would need to know to succeed outside their bubble, forcing them to remain trapped in the Orthodox world. It’s a complete abdication of responsibility from the adults in charge — and there’s reason to believe it’s all on purpose.
(via Religion Clause)