2023 Finalist, Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting

How Hasidic Schools Are Reaping Millions but Failing Students

Over the course of their investigation, New York Times reporters Eliza Shapiro and Brian M. Rosenthal revealed that more than 100 boys’ schools operated by New York State’s fervently religious Hasidic community were providing only paltry instruction in English and math for their 50,000 students, and almost no science or social studies—and recording the worst test scores in the state. What’s more, the intensive religious instruction in Yiddish that made up nearly the entire school day was often punctuated by slaps, kicks and other regular uses of corporal punishment. All of it was being supported by taxpayer money—more than $1 billion in the past four years alone. After the stories ran, the State Board of Regents voted on rules aimed at holding private schools to stricter academic standards. Their reporting prompted multiple investigations at the state and federal level, and outraged lawmakers who pledged to introduce legislation that would bar corporal punishment in private schools. 

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