Yeshivas

State finds another 12 Hasidic schools offer inadequate secular education

The state told the schools to submit timelines within 60 days on how they intend to make progress on reaching substantial equivalency

School bus for Vizhnitz girls school in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Credit: Mo Gelber/Shtetl

Jan 5, 2024 3:30 PM

Updated: 

Twelve more Hasidic schools in Brooklyn were recently determined not to provide adequate secular education, according to letters sent from the New York State Education Department to the schools on Nov. 20. The letters were obtained by Shtetl from NYSED through a Freedom of Information Act request.

“IT IS ORDERED that the Nonpublic School and [the New York City Department of Education] collaboratively develop, within sixty days, a timeline and plan” to improve secular education offerings, wrote NYSED Commissioner Betty Rosa in the letters, using all capital letters for the first three words.

The 12 schools join four other Hasidic schools in Brooklyn that were determined in June to be providing inadequate education. The investigation of these schools was triggered by a 2015 complaint about 39 Haredi schools submitted to the Department of Education by YAFFED, a group that advocates for secular education in Haredi yeshivas. (Naftuli Moster, who founded YAFFED in 2012 and left in 2022, is now the CEO of Shtetl.)

The yearslong, oft-delayed investigation asked whether the schools offer education that is “substantially equivalent” to or better than public school education. Education officials asked, among other things, whether the schools provided adequate instruction in English, math, history, and science. In order to answer these questions, they visited the schools in person and requested curricular materials from school leaders.

Not a single one of the 12 schools, which collectively serve grades pre-K through 8, offered adequate education in history or science, according to the state. Only one offered adequate education in English, and only four offered adequate education in math. Here is a list of the schools that were found not to be equivalent:

  • Beth Hillel of Krasna, a school at 1613 44th Street, was found to not offer adequate instruction in English, math, science, or history.
  • Yeshiva Beth Hillel of Williamsburg, a Krasna school at 35 Williamsburg Street West, was found to offer adequate education in math, but not in English, science, or social studies.
  • Yeshiva Bnei Shimon Yisroel of Sopron, a school at 18 Warsoff Place, was found to not offer adequate instruction in English, math, science, or history.
  • Yeshiva Bnei Zion, a Bobov school with locations at 1533 48th Street and 4206-10 15th Avenue, was found to offer adequate education in English and math, but not in science or social studies.
  • Yeshiva Bnos Ahavas Israel, a Vizhnitz school at 2 Lee Avenue, was found to not offer adequate instruction in English, math, science, or history.
  • Yeshiva Machzikei Hadas, a Belz school at 1247 38th Street, was found to not offer adequate instruction in English, math, science, or history.
  • Yeshiva Mosdos Chasidei Square – Boro Park, a Skver school at 1373 43rd Street, was found to not offer adequate instruction in English, math, science, or history.
  • Yeshiva Mosdos Chasidei Square, a Skver school at 105 Heyward Street, was found to not offer adequate instruction in English, math, science, or history.
  • Yeshiva Talmud Torah of Kasho, a school at 324 Penn Street, was found to not offer adequate instruction in English, math, science, or history.
  • Yeshiva Torah V’Yirah Bais Rochel, a Satmar girls’ school at 1275 36th Street, was found to offer adequate education in math, but not in English, science, or social studies.
  • Yeshiva Torah V’Yirah, a Satmar school at 110 Throop Avenue, was found to not offer adequate instruction in English, math, science, or history.
  • Yeshiva Yesode Hatorah, a Vien school at 1350 50th Street, was found to offer adequate education in math, but not in English, science, or social studies.


A 2018 law called the Felder Amendment made it so that the city made determinations for some of the schools in the 2015 complaint, and the state made determination for others. When the city released its findings on June 30, it recommended to the state that the state determine 14 schools not to be substantially equivalent — a recommendation that the state has now followed in 12 cases, mostly based on information sent from the city.

The status of two schools, Yeshiva Boyan and Yeshiva Tiferes Bunim, is yet to be determined. The state is still in the process of obtaining information about these two schools, according to NYSED spokesperson JP O’Hare. “Determinations will be made after review of such additional information,” O’Hare said.

The four schools determined not to be equivalent in June are Yeshiva Bnei Shimon Yisroel of Sopron, Yeshiva Kerem Shlomo/Bobover Yeshiva Bnei Zion, and two Chabad-Lubavitch schools: Yeshiva Oholei Torah and Yeshiva Ohr Menachem.

The city told all of these schools to submit timelines within 60 days for when they will make progress on reaching substantial equivalency. According to documents obtained by Shtetl, Oholei Torah and Ohr Menachem submitted timelines on Oct. 31. It is unclear whether the other schools have done the same.

Schools that were not named in the 2015 complaint will be expected to demonstrate substantial equivalency in the months and years to come, according to guidelines released by NYSED in September.

Lauren Hakimi is a journalist whose work has appeared in The Forward, Jewish Telegraphic Agency, New York Jewish Week, WNYC/Gothamist and more. She graduated from CUNY Hunter College with degrees in history and English literature. Hailing from an Iranian Jewish community on Long Island, she looks forward to shining a light on stories that matter to the Jewish community. Follow her on Twitter @lauren_hakimi.