Earlier this month, Agudah representatives met with high-ranking officials from the New York State Education Department (NYSED) for a whirlwind day in Albany. The primary purpose: to meet face-to-face on behalf of the yeshiva and day school community.
The Agudah team took the opportunity to advocate regarding different issues facing the yeshiva community. This included the delivery of Title services for yeshiva children who need extra academic assistance; high school graduation standards; expanding the summer food program; having more culturally sensitive state exams that our yeshivas can administer; yeshiva transportation needs; and substantial equivalency issues. Upon hearing these concerns, the Education Department welcomed the Agudah and Orthodox community’s participation in several critical committees that will influence education policy in some of these areas for years to come.
Agudath Israel is grateful to Dr. Christina Coughlin, Assistant Commissioner for the Office of School Governance Policy, and Religious and Independent Schools, for arranging and attending eight back-to-back meetings.
Later, Agudath Israel’s Rabbi Yehoshua Pinkus, Director of Yeshiva Services, and Rabbi Yeruchim Silber, Director of New York Government Relations, returned to Albany to attend the monthly NY Board of Regents meeting. While the topic of substantial equivalency was not on the Regents’ agenda, the Agudah leaders, as well as several other yeshiva advocates, engaged in informal conversations on the topic with Dr. Betty A. Rosa, Commissioner of Education, members of the Board of Regents, and other NYSED officials. It is anticipated that the Board of Regents may take up the equivalency issue as early as its next meeting, scheduled for this coming September.
The Agudah Yeshiva Services and Government Relations teams look forward to continuing their historic relationship with NYSED, aiding in the growth of yeshivas and strategizing how to better serve our precious children.