It has been 48 hours since New York City handed the New York Times 14 letters about Brooklyn yeshivas – each of which recommended a finding that the yeshiva does not provide substantially equivalent instruction.
YWN has reason to believe that each of those letters is 10 or more pages long, and contains far more nuance, subtlety, balance and positive news than is being portrayed in the media. YWN suspects that most if not all of those schools were given grades of passing or better on their instruction in the core subjects of English, Math, Social Studies and Science. But without copies of the letters – which the yeshivas themselves have not received – there is no way to push back on the false narrative about yeshiva education that is being pushed by the media and others.
In addition to the City’s refusal to publicly release the letters that were provided to the media or to provide an overall public report, there is also the Mayor’s troubling public silence about yeshiva education in the face of the media onslaught the City released.
In this, he is acting as far less of a friend of the yeshiva community than his predecessor, Bill de Blasio. YWN was not a fan of the prior Mayor and has been supportive of Mayor Adams. But when the media reported negative findings about yeshivas under Bill de Blasio, this is what he said publicly:
“I just want to say, there’s two sides to every story . . . Clearly, there was room for improvement, but I have to be straightforward and say there’s room for improvement in a lot of our traditional public schools too . . . It was not gotcha, it was not the advocates are 100% right or the yeshivas are 100% right.”
“I spent a long time working with the community and I came to a very simple conclusion: every Yeshiva is different. And there are some that I believe, especially from the direct findings of our educators are doing a fine job and I wouldn’t be surprised there are some that are not putting the emphasis they need on some areas of the curriculum and that need to be better. I do know every Yeshiva is different.”
By contrast, Mayor Adams hasn’t said anything publicly about yeshivas since the City provided its recommendation letters to the media.
City Hall’s silence is deafening and its refusal to release the 14 letters is killing us. YWN implores Mayor Adams to do the right thing: release the letters and speak out to provide the full story about yeshiva education to a public to a public that deserves it.
YWN Editorial Board
(YWN World Headquarters – NYC)