Mayor Bill de Blasio largely dodged questions Friday about his administration’s delay of a probe into city yeshivas for political benefit.
Asked about his “political horse-trading” on WNYC radio, de Blasio galloped in the other direction.
“The most important question here is how we are doing at ensuring that children that go to yeshivas get a sound education…,” he said.
Pressed on a finding by the Office of Special Investigation and Special Commissioner of Investigation that his office stalled a report on yeshivas until he secured mayoral control of city schools, de Blasio minimized any wrongdoing.
“The report says very, very clearly that this process was going to take time, that the specific issues they looked at had no bearing on the outcome here that I’m talking with you about,” he said.
While OSI and SCI brass found no evidence that the report’s content was compromised by de Blasio’s political priorities, the agencies said the delay of its release was plain interference.
Yeshiva critic Naftuli Moster ripped City Hall in a statement Wednesday and called the report’s delay a “disgrace.”
The Department of Education finally released its yeshiva findings Thursday and found that only two of the 28 schools were providing kids with adequate secular education.
Despite that, de Blasio said yeshivas — which receive public money — were now incorporating non-religious subjects as required by the state.
“For the vast majority, they’re actually doing what the DOE is telling them to do,” he said.
Critics contend that the ultra-Orthodox schools neglect basic academic instruction in subjects like math and science in favor of total religiosity.
The lack of secular academics leaves graduates unable to manage in the outside world, reformers argue.
Yeshiva supporters counter that Jewish parents should be able to emphasize religious instruction for their children and that the schools should be free of DOE dictates.
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