Sandy Eller – VIN News and COLlive
Private school parents throughout New York State are heaving a collective sigh of relief today as controversial educational guidelines have been struck down by a New York State Supreme Court judge.
In a decision dated April 17th, Judge Christina Ryba declared regulations announced late last year by New York State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia that would have mandated significantly increased secular study hours in all nonpublic schools to be “null and void.”
As previously reported, five yeshivos with a collective history of more than 500 years of Orthodox Jewish education in New York City, Agudath Israel of America, Torah Umesorah and Parents for Educational and Religious Liberty in Schools sued Board of Regents Chancellor Betty Rosa and Elia for overstepping their legal boundaries and infringing on religious freedoms when they issued the guidelines. Two other groups, representing the Catholic school and the secular private school communities, also filed suit in the hopes of having the guidelines rescinded.
In her seven-page decision, Judge Ryba said that the guidelines were actually rules which had been implemented in a way that conflicted with New York State Administrative Procedures Act which defines how state agencies develop rules and regulations.
Rabbi David Niederman of PEARLS said in a statement:
“We join with the more than 1,000 private schools that challenged the new guidelines in applauding the State Supreme Court’s decision declaring the new State Education Department guidelines null and void.
“This stops in its tracks SED’s effort to radically transform the relationship between the State and its private schools.
“At the hearing before Justice Ryba, the State characterized private school students as “voiceless children who are conscripted by their parents.” That fundamental misperception, that the State and not parents should set the educational and religious direction for children is what was at the core of the new guidelines. They deserved to be struck down.
“The tens of thousands of parents who choose to send their children to yeshivas are proud of the more than 100 years of quality education and countless successful graduates they have produced. Our schools look forward to continuing that record of accomplishment.”