Center for Educational Equity Files Amicus Brief Supporting New Regulations on Substantial Equivalency in New York’s Nonpublic Schools

The Center for Educational Equity at Teachers College, Columbia University, filed an amicus brief supporting the respondents in the PEARLS (Parents for Educational and Religious Liberty in Schools), v. Young litigation. The lawsuit was filed against New York State Regents Chancellor Lester W. Young, Jr., and NYSED Commissioner Betty A. Rosa by a group of organizations representing the yeshiva education community, following the Regents’ September 2022 passage of regulations on substantially equivalent education in nonpublic schools.

It is well-established that students attending nonpublic schools must receive instruction substantially equivalent to that received in public schools. Our brief emphasizes the constitutional right that all students in New York State – including students attending nonpublic schools – have to a meaningful opportunity to an education that prepares them to function productively as civic participants.

DemocracyReady NY Coalition Announces New York Civic Learning Week

Events will feature youth moderators, education leaders, and civic leaders

DemocracyReady NY will host a series of virtual events to celebrate New York Civic Learning Week, which will take place this year from March 6 – 10, 2023. All events will be accessible to the public, and participants will include students, parents, school and district leaders, educators, and youth-serving organizations. 

DemocracyReady NY is a multigenerational, statewide, nonpartisan coalition of organizations and individuals committed to preparing all students for civic participation. The Coalition is convened by the Center for Educational Equity.

New York Civic Learning Week will help raise awareness of New York students’ right under the state constitution to an education that prepares them for engaged civic lives and to lend their voice to decision-making in their communities. The statewide celebration builds on the New York City Department of Education’s successful annual Civics Week, which has been going on since 2019.

The New York State Education Department (NYSED) includes “civic readiness” as a graduation measure under its ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act) plan. The Center’s Michael Rebell served as chairman of NYSED’s Civic Readiness Task Force. The task force’s recommendations led to the development of the Seal of Civic Readiness graduation pathway, which was rolled out in 2021. To date, about 350 schools throughout the state offer civic learning opportunities and civic experiences under the Seal. 

As a centerpiece of the New York Civic Learning Week convenings, DemocracyReady NY will host the inaugural virtual statewide Summit on Civic Readiness on Tuesday, March 7. On Wednesday, March 8, the Coalition will host a webinar on civic learning in elementary education. A virtual youth-led event will take place on Thursday, March 9. The week’s events will showcase the importance of civic education in sustaining and strengthening constitutional democracy in the United States.

In addition to these scheduled events, Civic Learning Week will be an opportunity for schools, districts, and the Coalition’s member organizations to plan community-based civic learning activities that week to celebrate. For regular updates leading up to Civic Learning Week, join our mailing list at