New York State Education Department officials on Tuesday introduced clearer guidelines for the curriculum at nonpublic and religious schools, establishing stronger rules for classroom education, enrollment data, daily schedules and attendance, the Wall Street Journal reports.
In a conference call on Tuesday, State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia said the new rules, which come after two years of consultations, will bring the more than 1,800 private and religious schools across New York up to what she refers to as a substantial equivalency compared with public education.
A representative for Parents for Educational and Religious Liberty in Schools, a coalition of yeshivas that were under investigation by the city, said they were concerned that local authorities would be responsible for inspecting their schools. “Any attempt to impose uniformity on the almost 1,800 nonpublic schools in New York state, however well-intentioned, is only going to succeed if it appropriately accounts for the uniqueness of our schools and our educational system,” the group said in a statement.
The state noted that the new guidelines don’t mean a curriculum equal to public schools, but instead that students are provided a “substantially equivalent educational program.” The new curriculum was crafted with consideration to religious rules and other factors, according to Ms. Elia.
These private schools now have access to a checklist that covers everything from building safety to minimum requirements for subjects like science and math.
Local public school authorities, like New York City’s Education Department, will be required to inspect these schools by December 2021, and then inspect them again within five years.
Read more: Wall Street Journal