OU Missing In Action Over Yeshiva Issue

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    The OU that claims (in their own words) to be “the nation’s largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization”, has been totally silent on this entire issue about the horrible police imposed on Yeshivas.

    Disgusting. Shameful. Appalling.


    I don’t know why they are silent.
    I do have a guess though. The solution to the problem is quite obvious .

    As has been highlighted in several publications, our test scores are higher than public school’s. However as we all know this is only a partial truth. There are many yeshivos that fail (or would fail if they offered said tests) with flying colors. It is largely because of those institutions that we are in this mess at all.

    It is hard to argue, that the goverment has a right to mandate nitty gritty education details when we are doing as well as the public school system
    However it is also hard to argue that all yeshivos fall into that category. and it is hard to argue that the State has no vested interest in insuring that all chidren (especialy if govt funds are involved) recieve some basioc education.

    So were does that leave us?
    Should we pressure all yeshivos to offer greater secular education?
    Should we keep waving the high scoring ones in the air and hope the state doesn’t notice our bait and switch?
    Or should we bury our heads in the sand and pretend that the above isn’t true?

    The latter is the easiest

    Dr. E

    Do you hold by their Hashgacha, including Pesach and/or support their organizations? if not, why does this bother you?

    sara imeinu

    I hold by the OU. Everyone does. Every hashgacha on the globe relies on the OU.

    But that is irrelivant.

    Teach NYS (the OU) claims to be at the forefront of protecting yeshivas. They charge $5,000 a year per Yeshiva. Doubt you knew this. Now you do. What have they don? Nothing. Radio silence from the OU.


    How can Teach NYS force any Yeshiva to be a member?

    Regarding the law, we should — and are — petitioning the NYS legislature to loosen NY’s public school equivalence law to match the vast majority of other US states that have no such requirement on private schools.

    The OU can join the Agudah and others in this holy mission.


    I don’t know if it is fair to say that the OU is not doing anything. You can not make a statement such as this unless you are “in the know”. The main angle in fighting this thing will be done by lobbyists behind closed doors in Albany, not by ads or letters to the editor in newspapers. For all you know the OU is full steam ahead with their lobby power.


    Teach NYS only existed to elect David Greenfield.

    Now that he’s gone, why should they do anything?


    Teach NYS just released a statement about the issue. They said they didn’t say anything before now because they wanted confirmation on what they believed to be correct. Here is what they said:

    To: Teach NYS Member Schools

    On November 20th, 2018, the New York State Education Department (NYSED) issued its Substantial Equivalency Guidance regarding curriculum requirements for non-public schools. Since the issuance of this Guidance, TEACH NYS, a project of the Orthodox Union, has been working with our school partners, leadership and advocates in Albany to understand and begin to address these requirements and enforcement measures. Concurrently, we have been communicating with government officials and others in Albany to help them understand and address the myriad issues relating to the guidance.

    In summary response to the questions our member schools are asking, there are two issues that we are prepared to report on now. First, with regard to high schools, NYSED’s Guidance provides that all registered high schools are already in compliance and have no further obligations. Virtually all of the high schools in the TEACH NYS network are registered with NYSED. Second, in response to our inquiries, NYSED provided written clarification that the mandatory units of daily secular study are not more than one per grade for core subjects (English, Math, Social Studies and Science). This translates to 3.5 required hours of required instruction per day (not counting physical education) for grades 7-8. We held off distributing this important information until we could confirm this clarification at senior levels of NYSED – which we received from multiple sources at NYSED yesterday.

    Philosophically, we believe that there are additional open issues that need to be addressed. First, we are extremely concerned about government regulation of the curriculum of religious day schools and Yeshivas. Our educational institutions should have the right to fashion our children’s education in a manner consistent with our Torah values and a curriculum that fosters the inculcation of such values and our religious tenets. Second, we are extremely concerned that the locus of enforcement authority with respect to State mandates sits with local school authorities. To the extent that workable guidelines are to be formulated, they require clarity and consistency which can only be achieved by centralized formulation and implementation.

    Process concerns us also. Subsequent to the issuance of the November 20th Guidance, a number of organizations, coalition partners, heads of school and Roshei Yeshiva appropriately reached out to NYSED to seek clarification on a number of issues. Teach NYS likewise reached out to NYSED. While some of our questions have been answered, we have been in contact with our coalition partners, including prominent Roshei Yeshiva, and are advised that others, including these prominent Roshei Yeshiva, have made specific inquiries and requests that have yet to be responded to. We have urged NYSED to reach out to all parties to deal with these inquiries; an open discussion with all parties is important to avoid further aggravating an already difficult and confusing situation. Lastly, we note that the written responses we received from NYSED (which are set forth in full below) were accompanied by a commitment by NYSED to incorporate this and other clarifications into its Guidance. To date, no such revised Guidance has been issued. We urge NYSED, in the strongest terms possible, to clarify its Guidance as it has committed to do.

    To conclude: We have been, and remain extremely concerned by state regulation of Yeshiva and day school curriculum. We strongly believe that any enforcement of the Guidance should be at the State and not local level. We call upon NYSED to issue their revised Guidance forthwith, and to make a concerted effort to engage with all organizations and groups that seek to engage with them.

    Moving forward: Over the coming months, Teach NYS will work together with our coalition partners to seek appropriate clarifications and modifications of the Guidance and will continue to report to you on a regular basis with respect to our progress. In the interim, if there are any questions regarding this advisory, or any other aspects of the Guidance, please feel free to contact Maury Litwack, our Executive Director, with any questions.

    Set forth below are the details of our correspondence with NYSED.

    QUESTION: How many hours of instruction are required per day?
    Based on the mandatory units of study found in “Appendix A”, Teach NYS informed NYSED that the new Substantial Equivalency Guidance requires at least 7.2 hours of instruction each day for grades 7 and 8. 7.2 hours far exceed the NYS compulsory education law requirement of 5.5 hours. Teach NYS informed NYSED of this inconsistency in the Guidance and requested an explanation.

    ANSWER: NYSED responded by email informing us that the language in “Appendix A” of the Guidance was not clear and would be clarified to explain that students are to receive such instruction by the end of grade 8.

    For example, two units of study for English language arts must be completed by the end of grade 8 (one unit in grade 7 and one unit in grade 8). Two units of study in English language arts are not required in each grade, 7 and 8. This pertains to all of the requirements, with the exception of library and information skills. What this means is that a school must only offer a minimum of 180 minutes per week (around 36 minutes per subject per day) of English, Math, Social Studies and Science for grades 7 and 8.

    QUESTION: Teach NYS informed NYSED that the law only requires grades 7 and 8 to meet the units of study hourly requirements; the units of study do not apply to grades 5 and 6. Teach NYS requested that NYSED confirm that grades 5 and 6 are not required to meet the units of study requirement or provide an explanation with the supporting regulation.

    ANSWER: NYSED responded that they will work through how to resolve differences in the structure of State intermediate learning standards and current regulation. A clarification will be posted shortly.

    Additional Views

    Judaic Curriculum and Equivalency: It continues to remain unclear which parts of our Judaic studies curriculum will satisfy the New York Learning Standards based equivalency requirements as determined by NYSED Guidance. The NYSED Guidance states: “In nonpublic schools, the unit of study requirements may be met, or their equivalents may be met, by the incorporation of the State learning standards of such subjects into the syllabi for other courses. Such integration must be documented in writing and kept on file at the school.”
    How this Guidance will be applied remains to be clarified.

    Non-academic subjects: Further discussion is warranted to determine the specifics of non-academic subjects like Career Development and Occupational Studies and physical education, among others.


    ou… johnny come lately.

    pathetic losers. trying to undermine what the gedolim are working tirelessly for weeks on. shame on moshe bain and company.

    The little I know


    Don’t be foolish. OU is not Johnny come lately. They are waiting to be fully informed before jumping into the arena of public comment/action, they are looking to work with the other players instead of public opinion. I commend them for this. There is a serious issue here, and playing the cards correctly is critical. You gotta know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em.


    It is no coincidence that Cuomo visited the Satmer and Square Rebbes before the November elections while the edicts came from Cuomo after the elections. Very sneaky. Did he get the votes he was looking for from these communities? if he did, it seems the chasidic leaders did a terrible job.

    Neville ChaimBerlin

    I’m not stranger to harshly criticizing the OU, but I actually don’t think there’s such an issue here.

    Like CT said, they could very well be doing stuff in the background. But also, it might not be as obvious as you guys think to ally your organization with the opposition publicly. Where this could be headed is the state offering up a very reasonable number of hours, and having the Orthodox world still fight back against it. It could very well be that exactly what the seculars want is the ability to have a NY Times headline reading “NYS Offers up Only 10 Hours a Week of School; Yeshivas Still Can’t Handle That!” Do you realize how that makes us look to the masses? Have you considered the possibility that people are trying (and succeeding) at getting us to admit in a public arena that Yeshivas teach far fewer hours of secular studies than public schools? You might think that goyim know everything about us and our schools, but they don’t. People hear “private school” and assume it’s a good thing. It’s definitely damaging yeshiva’s reputations to have this discussion out in the open.

    If the next number is, as the open letter on the homepage said, 17.5 hrs per week, then that already probably doesn’t concern MO day schools (meaning the OU has no stake in any further debate). So, I don’t see them getting involved any time soon.


    @DaMoshe: Any way to link to that statement? or a URL?


    It’s on Cross Currents. Unfortunately, we can’t post links here.


    The more Chasidish schools generally give 2 hours a day/4 days a week of secular studies while the Litvish yeshivos (and some Chasidish yeshivos) generally give 3 hours a day/4 days a week. There isn’t a major difference between them; and that is wholly sufficient.


    The newly clarified state educational requirements of 17.5 hours a week is far more than even the Litvish yeshivos give at 12 hours a week.


    My mistake: The Litvish yeshivos offer less than 3 hours/day (12 hours/week).

    Darchei Torah, for example, 7th grade secular studies begins at 2:30 and ends at 5:15. And they have breaks in between. Four days a week. That’s less than 10 hours/week of class time.

    That’s Darchei Torah that does much better than NYC public schools. And, yet, NYSED wants to force them to almost double their secular time to 17.5 hours/week. Under the newly clarified regulations today.

    ☕️coffee addict

    My question is

    Where is all the “frummies” that we voted in


    The ones that should be helping us


    ☕️coffee addictParticipant
    My question is

    Where is all the “frummies” that we voted in


    The ones that should be helping us
    Your question is precisely your answer.
    We need “ehrlich” polititions not” frummies running.
    You ask where are they?
    Same place where como is!
    They got thier votes and thats all that counts.
    Next time vote with” seichel” and not with $$$ signs and not with block votes like a buncha sheep on thier way to getting slaughtered


    Felder is powerless now, because he caucused with the GOP and the GOP lost the NYC Senate (and Many Democrats were angry with him for doing so) they are going to punish him come January

    Neville ChaimBerlin

    “they are going to punish him come January”

    What does that even mean? If he’s still in office what can they do? Take him out back and rough him up?

    ☕ DaasYochid ☕

    NCB, he’s the only Democrat in the Senate who won’t chair a committee or subcommittee.


    So what? Felder is no worse off now than had he officially been a Republican all along. The Republicans will be giving him minority chairs, as they do for other Republican senators.

    Felder smartly milked his power for all it was worth when he was THE ONE deciding member. And he’s lost nothing now as a result.

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