April, 2019 Substantial Equivalency News

Submitted by aimee_adams on

UPDATE 4-19-19
Court Rules in our Favor:
Christian Schools of New York,
We have received good news that I’d like to share with you from our friends at the New York State Coalition for Independent and Religious Schools and its co-chair Jim Cultrara who writes:
New York State Supreme Court Judge Christina Ryba struck down the State Education Department’s Substantial Equivalency guidance as being in violation of the State Administrative Procedures Act (SAPA). The judge did not consider the constitutional arguments raised in our petition. A copy of her decision is attached.
The guidance issued on November 20, 2018 is null and void. Posted now on the SED website is the following: Please be advised that, as a result of the April 17, 2019 decisions/judgments of the Supreme Court, Albany County, the State Education Department’s “Updated Guidance and Resources on Substantial Equivalency of Instruction” have been removed from our website. While the Department evaluates next steps, all currently scheduled trainings have been canceled and no action should be taken under the Updated Guidance and associated materials. Updates will be posted on the Department’s substantial equivalency webpage as appropriate.
While SED’s revised guidance was struck down, the law remains in effect in that all instruction must be substantial equivalent to that of the school district in which a child resides. We will continue to work with the Board of Regents, the Governor, Legislators and SED staff to ensure that the process of enforcing the substantial equivalency law is both fair and reasonable.
Please share the news with your respective schools so that they can remain focused on their good work.
You will find the decision posted on the www.acsiny.org website for your own reference. ACSI was engaged in this issue through a coalition of member schools. If you are not already part of the coalition, I encourage you to join ACSINY. The ACSINY team participated in ongoing public policy work at a variety of levels along with other members of the private school community. Please let me know if you are willing and I will be sure to add you to the email-exchange list of your school colleagues.
Wishing you a blessed Easter,
Cindy Dodds, ACSI Northeast Regional Director
ACSI Legal Legislative Office
ACSINY Leadership Team

School Leaders

The recently released updated guidance from NYSED on substantial equivalency (SE) will impact your school. To help you prepare, the following are attached:

1. Letter to Christian school leaders which includes information about the updated SE guidelines, talking points for responding to local public school authorities, and an update on work we've done.
2. Letter to Commissioner Elia which shared that we are recommending to our schools that they not agree to a substantial equivalency review by local school authorities.
3. Letter to our Superintendent of Schools which is a proactive attempt to put the impending review on hold.
4. Two letters to our legislators - senator and assemblyman - to ask for their help in supporting a legislative "fix" to the SE guidelines.

Please read carefully each of these letters, and then pass this information along to other Christian schools in your area. We are concerned that many Christian schools in NY may be unaware of the SE guidelines and what this could mean for their ministries. We pray that all school leaders will be prepared and not surprised when the local public school administrators come knocking.


Dr. Cary Shaw, Ed.D.
Head of School
Twin Tiers Christian Academy

See the link below to view an interview of Mr. Richard Altabe, Lower Division Principal of Hebrew Academy of Long Beach, discussing NYSED recent guidance detailing how all nonpublic schools must be "substantially equivalent" to public schools.