Parents cannot be required to pull their children from private schools in New York that fail to meet state-designated standards, a judge decided, striking down a key provision of rules recently passed to strengthen oversight of such schools, including those specializing in religious education.

The ruling in a state trial court in Albany came in response to a lawsuit brought by  yeshivos, and related advocacy groups over education rules enacted last fall. Under the rules, the state’s 1,800 private and religious schools must provide an education that is “substantially equivalent” to that of a public school.

Opponents in the ultra-Orthodox community say the rules improperly target yeshivos, some of which focus intently on religious instruction with far less teaching in secular subjects such as English, math and science.

Judge Christina Ryba on Thursday rejected an argument that the state regulations were unconstitutional. But she said state officials overstepped their authority in setting penalties for schools that don’t adhere to them.... Read More: Associated Press