Hi r/Judaism Redditers!
My name is Naftuli Moster.
It’s an honor to be invited to do an AMA here.
I am the founder and executive director of Yaffed (Young Advocates for Fair Education).
Yaffed is a non-profit committed to improving secular education in ultra-Orthodox and Hasidic Yeshivas across the state. Since 1894 New York State has required all non-public schools to provide an education that is “at least substantially equivalent” to that of public schools. The law goes on to list the subjects that must be taught, including English, math, science, social studies, etc.
In most Hasidic boys’ schools very little of that is actually taught. On average a Hasidic elementary or middle school boy receives a maximum of 90 minutes of secular education a day, only 4 days a week, only in subjects English and arithmetic, and taught by an unqualified teacher (a graduate of the same system). Hasidic high school boys receive no secular education at all. ZERO. No English, no math, no science, no social studies. Nothing.
This system is so entrenched, that without government enforcement, it won’t magically change. It’s not the kind of thing people can simply change from within, especially since there are consequences just for speaking out. And parents don’t have a choice to send their kids elsewhere because it is expected that they send their kids to the Yeshiva of the Hasidic sect they are part of.
New York State is currently considering new regulations which, if enforced, would dramatically improve the situation for tens of thousands of children.
Please ask me anything!
p.s. right now we are seeking nominations for the first annual Haredi Changemaker award. Please nominate your favorite changemakers!