ALBANY, N.Y. (WTEN) — In September, the Board of Regents finalized regulations requiring private schools meet new standards similar to those in the public sector. Advocates in the Orthodox and Hasidic Jewish community protested these changes outside the State Education building on Monday.

This ruling is coming years after complaints stating many students are graduating from Ultra-Orthodox Jewish schools lacking basic academic skills. According to radio station WBUR, the Central United Talmudical Academy tested 1,000 boys in reading and math; all of them failed. 

Rabbi Abraham Klein said their education system has been in place for the last 80 years and forcing them to change to fit a more secular view is against their religious freedom, “As when the Great Grand Rabbi, Rabbi Joel Teitelbaum, came to America with his board of Rabbis and said we should go for the “Three Rs” – writing, arithmetic and reading, when we grow up we be able to be a part of society, business, community anything besides that is against our faith and religion. 

Rabbi Klein says moving forward, advocates will work with the legislature and the state education department to apply their constitutional rights to supersede the curriculum changes. If all else fails: “We’re gonna fight it legally, all the way from New York all the way to federal … whatever it takes,” said Klein.

Private schools that fail to comply with these regulations could lose state funding. Capitol Correspondent, Amal Tlaige, reached out to the NYS United Teachers Union for a statement, but they said they do not get involved in private school issues.

Meanwhile, the Department of Education released a restart plan for schools that includes updates in their accountability system. Commissioner Betty Rosa said, “The restart plan focuses on how we will partner with schools and districts to provide support for improving student learning and academic outcomes.”