Today the New York State Board of Regents met to once again discuss the issue of “substantial equivalency” – the legal requirement that private schools provide an education that is at least substantially equivalent to that offered by local public schools. At their meeting this past February, the Regents acknowledged the over 140,000 comments generated in response to the regulations they had proposed last July — the overwhelming majority in opposition — and resolved to reengage with all stakeholders with the common goal of ensuring that all children receive the instruction to which they are entitled, while respecting the autonomy of the religious and independent school community.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the reengagement process was delayed . At today’s meeting the Regents resolved to once again begin the reengagement with all stakeholders with the goal of publishing new proposed regulations by early October 2020, and to finalize the process by January 2021.
The State Education Department will schedule a series of public meetings across the state, with special emphasis on areas with large concentrations of nonpublic schools, to gain a better understanding of the various considerations relevant to substantial equivalency. These meetings will seek input on “core principles,” including exactly what substantial equivalency means , procedures and timelines, as well as reporting requirements.
Agudath Israel looks forward to continue participating in this process. We are confident that at the end of the process the Board of Regents will recognize the unique role our yeshivas play in educating our students both in Limudei Kodesh as well as providing the tools needed to be productive members of society.