By Sharon Otterman
August 4, 2014
The biblical story of Noah’s Ark will be taught, without mention of who told Noah to build it. Challah, the Jewish bread eaten on the Sabbath, will be baked, but no blessings said over it. Some crucifixes will be removed, but others left hanging.
These are the kinds of church-state gymnastics that New York City and some religious schools are performing as Mayor Bill de Blasio expands government-funded prekindergarten. Because of inadequate public school capacity, the de Blasio administration has been urging religious schools and community organizations to consider hosting the added programs.
But the push is raising fresh questions for civil libertarians concerned about church-state issues, and for the schools themselves, which want to help the city and qualify for its roughly $10,000-per-student tuition payments while preserving some of the faith-based elements that attract their main clientele.
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