New York State’s Dangerous War on Private Education

Sept. 10 2019

Last spring, three sets of lawyers—representing, respectively, Jewish, Catholic, and nonsectarian private schools—appeared in a New York State court to challenge the legality of a new set of regulations that would severely curtail the ability of these schools to function and to maintain their distinctiveness. The court found in their favor on strictly procedural grounds: the regulations were mere edicts, approved by neither the Board of Regents nor the state legislature. But the issue is bound to resurface, as the Regents are now considering endorsing a similar set of measures. Peter Murphy writes:

[New York State’s] education department is redefining an 1894 state law requiring that private schools offer instruction to students that is “substantially equivalent” to that provided in public schools—henceforth imposing on private schools the curriculum, scheduling, lesson plans, hiring standards, and reporting requirements that public schools must follow.

Even more alarmingly, the department’s new mandate would require local school-district boards of education to oversee and inspect most private and parochial schools within their respective district boundaries, using undefined “objective criteria” to determine compliance with the redefined substantially-equivalent standard. Lack of compliance could mean closure. Public-school districts, then, would become the arbiters of whether their competitors—private and religious schools—can remain open, a blatant conflict of interest.

If the department succeeds in this unprecedented attempt to control non-public education in New York, it will virtually eliminate what makes private and independent schools different, and it will diminish First Amendment freedoms for hundreds of thousands of families, particularly regarding the free exercise of religion.

[G]iven the achievements of private schools, New York State should be doing the opposite of what it is currently pursuing, and enact reforms that would make private schools an easier option for more parents. . . . School choice [constitutes] a progressive approach to providing educational opportunity and economic equality for children from poor and working-class households to attend better schools. Moreover, expanding choice is not a zero-sum game; more school options for families do not impede the ability of elected officials to support and improve district public schools.

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Read more at City Journal

More about: Education, Freedom of Religion, Jewish education, New York

 

Don’t Let Iran Go Nuclear

Sept. 29 2022

In an interview on Sunday, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan stated that the Biden administration remains committed to nuclear negotiations with the Islamic Republic, even as it pursues its brutal crackdown on the protests that have swept the country. Robert Satloff argues not only that it is foolish to pursue the renewal of the 2015 nuclear deal, but also that the White House’s current approach is failing on its own terms:

[The] nuclear threat is much worse today than it was when President Biden took office. Oddly, Washington hasn’t really done much about it. On the diplomatic front, the administration has sweetened its offer to entice Iran into a new nuclear deal. While it quite rightly held firm on Iran’s demand to remove the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps from an official list of “foreign terrorist organizations,” Washington has given ground on many other items.

On the nuclear side of the agreement, the United States has purportedly agreed to allow Iran to keep, in storage, thousands of advanced centrifuges it has made contrary to the terms of the original deal. . . . And on economic matters, the new deal purportedly gives Iran immediate access to a certain amount of blocked assets, before it even exports most of its massive stockpile of enriched uranium for safekeeping in a third country. . . . Even with these added incentives, Iran is still holding out on an agreement. Indeed, according to the most recent reports, Tehran has actually hardened its position.

Regardless of the exact reason why, the menacing reality is that Iran’s nuclear program is galloping ahead—and the United States is doing very little about it. . . . The result has been a stunning passivity in U.S. policy toward the Iran nuclear issue.

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Read more at Washington Institute for Near East Policy

More about: Iran nuclear deal, Joseph Biden, U.S. Foreign policy