A teacher in a Brooklyn Yeshiva is being accused of helping students cheat on an English language proficiency test. Video filmed in a classroom at the Central United Talmudical Academy in 2014 appears to show the teacher telling students what answers to choose on a multiple choice test, and even circling one of the answers himself. Then everybody gets prizes.
A spokesman for the Aroynem Satmar sect, which runs the school, told the Daily News, "This two-year-old video shows an in-class assessment of non-English-speaking 5-year-olds. The instructor used prompts with the first question to ensure that students understood how to take an exam later on."
The teacher, however, can be heard on the video speaking English to the students.
Naftuli Moster, a former student at a Borough Park Yeshiva who founded Young Advocates for Fair Education, called the video "infuriating." He says Yeshiva students under the age of 13 receive as little as 90 minutes of secular education per day, and many students over 13 have zero English or math studies.
One parent of a Yeshiva student spoke to News 12 Brooklyn and explained why he signed a petition calling on the Department of Education to investigate Yeshiva schools. But he was so wary of retribution from the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community that he asked his face and voice to be blurred out.
After receiving the letter and petition from concerned parents this summer, the department began an investigation into 39 Yeshivas citywide. However, Moster questions the investigation's legitimacy, because he believes Yeshiva administrators are being informed in advance of inspections.
"Every single yeshiva student will tell you the stories," Moster told us in August. "Depending on the type of inspections, we would have to behave accordingly. If it was the lunch program that was being inspected, suddenly we would get these amazing meals that we never got. If they were inspecting secular studies, those were the things they would stress. They can’t have these announced inspections. It’s not just gonna work."
The Department of Education did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the classroom video.