In April 2016, New York State promised yeshivas and other private schools millions of dollars in funding for teaching science, technology and math.
A Yeshiva World News investigation has uncovered that more than two-and-a-half years later, the State has still not distributed the first dollar to a single institution.
But this is worse than merely taking credit for something and failing to follow through. Politicians do that all the time.
What the State engineered here was a far more devious and damaging bait-and-switch.
Earlier this year, the State solicited applications for the new STEM funding from private schools. As part of the application process, all the private schools had to complete a questionnaire asking questions about their curriculum and had to attach their daily schedule of classes.
Here’s what happened next:
The State didn’t give out any money, but it did issue new guidelines requiring yeshivas to transform their schedules and to change their curriculum.
As Yeshiva World News has previously reported, these new State guideline require yeshiva elementary schools to provide nearly seven hours a day of secular studies classes.
The State held out the promise of money to get yeshivas and other religious schools to share their curriculum and schedules, and then used that information to impose new regulations on yeshivas, and all without actually giving yeshivas a nickel.
The new guidelines for yeshiva curriculum were announced with great fanfare by the Education Commissioner at a press conference in which she threatened that if yeshivas do not comply with her edict, “parents would be notified they need to transfer students within a reasonable time frame of six weeks to two months,” and that “if a student remains at the school after that, they’d be considered truant and that’s another whole process that gets triggered.”
What about the money promised to yeshivas?
On September 5, the Commissioner posted that “Due to the high volume of responses, the anticipated reimbursement date of late fall 2018 may need to be extended. Applicants are encouraged to check back here for further updates.”
In the three months since that time, she has gone radio silent. The Commissioner seems not to care about enforcing State Education Department obligations when she is the one violating them.
It is clear that the yeshiva community has been played for fools by the State. The only question is what we will do about the State’s hypocrisy and double dealing.
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