In February, the Woodow Wilson Center released results of a large study showing that 60% of New Yorkers surveyed scored F in a test that mirrors the questions given in quizzes to new citizens, and only 4% of those surveyed scored an A. These results are relevant now again because two trolls - who ran for office in New York but failed and are perhaps looking for easy attention - sent a letter to the Ed Departments of New York State and of New York City asking that both departments step up action against Yeshivas. Well, there are 3 million students in public and private schools in New York, and only 156,113 of those are in Yeshivas. The Wilson study results show that the state has much work to do across the state before disproportionately focusing on Yeshivas which comprises only 5.2% of all students statewide, and which produces well-educated students who are good earners too as our December 2018 study proves.
The disinformation regarding vaccination rates among Orthodox Jews overall and specifically Hasidim, led to bigoted incidents and unfair treatment of Orthodox Jews. OJPAC is setting the record straight, while raising awareness about vaccinations, with this billboard in Times Square that will run for a week. (Sources for the 96% data point is available below.)
Below are five statistical facts regarding the vaccination rates in the Hasidic Community:
A) At an April 9th, 2019 press conference, NYC Health Department leaders stated that an estimated 1,800 children who attend Yeshivas in Williamsburg and Borough Park, Brooklyn were unvaccinated. This estimate was from December 2018; two months into the outbreak. For context, more than 50,000 children grades Kindergarten through 12th attend Yeshivas in those two neighborhoods. In turn, the Health Department’s estimate of early in the outbreak reflects a vaccination rate in these communities of higher than 96%! This rate is better than most places in NY where the rate among the whole population is in the 90% range per data shown on CNBC earlier in April.
B) The Commissioner of the Rockland County Health Department announced on April 9th, 2019, that 44 of the 61 schools who were on the exclusion list are now in good standing because at least 95% students in those schools are vaccinated. Rockland has 119 private schools (mostly Yeshivas), which means that almost half of those schools were not on the list to begin with, and 102 of the 119 schools are now in good standing. Moreover, the Health Commissioner noted that back in December 2018 - a few weeks into the outbreak but prior to the vaccination campaign - a Hasidic Yeshiva from the Satmar community had a 100% vaccination rate. Obviously, if a Hasidic Yeshiva had a 100% rate early on and half of the private schools were not on the exclusion list to begin with, the overall vaccination rate among Hasidim is way better than what some people believe it is.
156,113 students enrolled in New York Jewish schools for the September 2018 school year grades Kindergarten through 12’th. This is a jump of 4,302 students from the 151,811 students a year earlier, and enrollment this year is 12.5% higher or 17,437 more students than five years ago; the September 2013 school year when the count was 138,676 students. The current year has 36,137 more students than ten years ago, and 52,379 more students, a 50.5% rise compared to 15 years ago when the count was 103,734 students in the September 2003 school year. The data was compiled by the Orthodox Jewish Public Affairs Council (OJPAC) from stats made available by the New York State Education Department. All data in this year’s OJPAC report include ungraded schools and half day kindergarten; unlike past reports when we used a narrower count.
In October 2018, a Measles Outbreak started in Rockland County, New York primarily in the Orthodox Jewish community. The outbreak is also in Orange County and in Brooklyn which are both in New York State, and in Ocean County, New Jersey. The outbreak started in October 2018 during Suckkos when Measles-infected travelers spent their time in a small Hasidic-populated village in Rockland which is only a third of a mile in size. By being in a small area, they essentially contaminated the same few public places again and again. Compounding the issue is the fact that almost 41% of the Hasidic population is under the age of 10; the age most likely to be infected with Measals, compared to Manhattan where less than 9% of the population is in the Measles-contracting age. In fact, 57% of those infected with the Measlas in Rockland County as of Thursday March 28th, 2019, are under the age of seven years old (Update: 67% cases in NYC as of Monday April 8th are under the age of five.
In our great country, it is expected and accepted to criticize any individual; organization; country or movement one disagrees with. However, it is deeply troubling when people focus most or all of their criticism on a specific person; group; organization or country - most recently the singling out of Jewish organizations and Jewish activists.
The common excuse by people in public policy circles for their disproportionate fixation on Yeshiva education is the apparent elevated poverty rates in Hasidic neighborhoods, and the allegation is that Yeshiva education is the cause. However, there are many factors unrelated to Yeshivas that cause the poverty rates in the Hasidic community to be skewed higher according to the data below from the Census based on the Village of Kiryas Joel (Town of Palm Tree) in Orange County, New York. We are using Kiryas Joel as a baseline because it is the largest Hasidic community quantified by the U.S. Census.
31,376 students enrolled in Lakewood, New Jersey, Jewish schools grades Kindergarten through 12th for the current 2017-2018 school year. This is an increase of 2,020 students or almost 6.9% from a year earlier, and it is a spike of 10,448 students or 49.9% from 20,928 students five years ago; in the 2012-2013 school year. The data was compiled by the Orthodox Jewish Public Affairs Council (OJPAC) from stats made available by the New Jersey State Education Department.