Plan that would shift control of private schools to public school officials draws outrage

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Outrage continues to grow over a state plan that could shift control of private schools to public school officials.

Rabbi Yossi Bennett, assistant principal at Mesivta Ateres Yaakov in Lawrence, says he was taken aback to learn about proposed regulation from the state Board of Regents for all nonpublic schools.

As News 12 as reported, the state Education Department proposed "Regulations for Substantially Equivalent Instructions for Nonpublic School Students." This would mean local public school districts would be responsible for making sure the nonpublic school students within their district are getting a comparable education.

Bennett says the education students at his school receive is on par, if not surpassing, the public school system.

"I can show you the SAT scores, I can show you the careers that our graduates are now involved in...the proof is right there on our side, where is the proof on their side?" asks Bennett.

Bennett is joined in his opposition to the proposal by Hempstead Town Receiver of Taxes Don Clavin and Councilman Bruce Blakeman.

"I think that this is unconstitutional ... it's an intrusion in religious freedom and it shouldn't be tolerated, and I hope it is tested in the courts if the Regents don't back down," says Blakeman.

Some who News 12 spoke to say a family's choice to send their children to a private institution should be respected.

"I do want my kids and my grandchildren to have good secular education, but I believe that they have gotten a superb one in the yeshiva system and there should be a little more trust," says Kayla Levovitz.

The Board of Regents says it is accepting public comments until Sept. 2.

 

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