A new book, Religious Liberty and Education: A Case Study of Yeshivas vs. New York, explores the current controversy over efforts by the state of New York to regulate traditional Jewish schools, or yeshivas.
The book was co-edited by Jay P. Greene, Matthew H. Lee, and Jason Bedrick. Greene is a distinguished professor of education policy at the University of Arkansas, Lee is a doctoral student in the Department of Education Reform, and Bedrick is director of policy for EdChoice and an adjunct scholar with the Cato Institute.
“All states have a compulsory education law, mandating that every child be educated,” Greene said. “But some states have defined that education in an expansive way that would preclude traditional religious educations from satisfying the requirements, potentially shuttering those private schools or declaring their students truants.”
Religious Liberty and Education examines how the state’s interest in promoting education can best be balanced with the principle of religious liberty, considering the issue from a variety of perspectives. It considers the implications for Christian and Muslim schools as well as homeschoolers and proponents of progressive schools that do not conform with government curricula.
Yuval Levin, the editor of National Affairs, said the book “brilliantly illuminates the intersection between education and religious liberty, and shows just why what happens there is crucial for the future of our free society.”
Greene is particularly proud of the contribution Lee made to organizing and editing this volume. Lee is a Distinguished Doctoral Fellow and senior research assistant in the Department of Education Reform at the U of A. He was previously a high school history teacher at a charter school in Massachusetts.
“I’m very excited about the publication of this book, but it is extra special when a faculty member can get a doctoral student involved in such a prominent publication aligned with that student’s scholarly interests,” Greene said. “This is when it feels really great to be a teacher and mentor.”
The book is already receiving considerable attention from the field, with several podcasts and interviews scheduled over the next few weeks.