Let’s define the role of the local school board as described by The Center For Public Education:
“The local school board is a critical public link to public schools. Whether elected or appointed, school board members serve their communities in several important ways.
- First and foremost school boards look out for students. Education is not a line item on the school board’s agenda—it is the only item.
- When making decisions about school programs, school boards incorporate their community’s view of what students should know and be able to do.
- School boards are accessible to the public and accountable for the performance of their schools.
- School boards are the education watchdog for their communities, ensuring that students get the best education for the tax dollars spent.” The Center For Public Education: What is the purpose of the local school board
Has the East Ramapo School District Board Looked Out For the Students?
The East Ramapo School District board’s “first and foremost purpose” is to look out for the students. They are supposed to be their advocates, protectors and stalwart defenders to ensure they receive every penny of tax dollar necessary to ensure they get a quality education. Education is supposed to be the only item of importance and not a line item to be cut, diluted, or compromised.
The East Ramapo School District has without debate looked out for the students of the private school community and arguably abandoned the students of the public school community. Not only money but resources have allegedly been “mis-managed” from the $200 million dollar budget and re-allocated to fund the private schools of East Ramapo.
For instance, it has been alleged that new textbooks of other than the English language are resourced to the private school students to reinforce the preservation of a language other than English. Whereas, the allegations continue that the ERSD Board have cut resources for public school students learning English as a second language.
In summation, the private school students were given the resources intended to teach limited English speaking students the English language; so the private school students can preserve and maintain their non-English language skills.
A Snapshot View of ERSD Students
80% of the East Ramapo public school elementary students are Latino and half of them require English as a second language to prosper in their education. These same students have been passed on to the East Ramapo Public High Schools. 48% of the High School students who do not graduate or drop-out are Latinos. The reason why is abundantly clear. They were denied access to the resources intended to teach them English in order to prepare them for High School work and college.
Imagine the frustration of being a child eager to learn and demands being placed on them to pass test, but they are deaf. They cannot hear a word you are saying. Your lips are moving but they cannot grasp your message. Then they are given a test and expected to pass.
100% of the private school students are taught two languages, tested in two languages and are provided with every conceivable resource to ensure they preserve their non-English language. The decision reallocating these resources that created this situation was made by the East Ramapo School District Board.
“Hasidic parents say they want their Yiddish-speaking children in settings where they feel comfortable, and the district has fought—and lost—several court battles to defend its practice of heeding such requests. The report found the district spent 26% of its budget on special-needs students last school year, higher than the state average of 21%.” [Lesley Brody – NYT]
A School Board is Accountable and Accessible
The East Ramapo School District Board close their meetings to the public. Friction and contention between parents advocating for the needs of their children demand accountability from the board. The Board in turn hired a law firm that charges 20 times more in legal fees than the neighboring School Board.
Here is perspective. You take your two kids for lunch at a McDonalds for a Big Mac and Fries. The East Ramapo McDonalds serves your kids a single patty burger and small fries because they are represented by this law firm that charges 20 times more than the other McDonalds next town over, who serves their kids Angus beef burgers.
Here is a video that demonstrates the quality of a ERSD Board: CNN REPORTS EAST RAMAPO LAWYER PROFANE TIRADE AT PARENT To date, this law firm is still retained by the East Ramapo School District board.
The Truth of the Matter is Racist Induced Child Abuse
The truth of the matter is not found in the calculated diversion of anti-semitism propaganda videos or even a normal struggle over equitable distribution of resources between private and public school students. What is happening to the children in question amounts to child abuse that is induced by an unspoken strain of racism. The public school kids are comprised to a high percentage of Latino and Haitian’s, most of whom with parents that cannot vote. They do not have the political clout of the parents from the private schools. These kids are the most vulnerable, the most defense-less, the least prepared and are being denied academic enrichment.
There are generational links to language, linguistics, and literacy in American society. Every wave of immigrant had to assimilate and their kids were taught English in public school. Here in Rockland County, East Ramapo School District students are intentionally being denied this basic principle of education by their own school board members. The specific victims of this child abuse happen to be children of Latino heritage.
This specificity of a group, singled out by ethnicity and suppressed to enrich another group by ethnicity is the text book definition of racism in action. It is imposed by the power of the government over the weakest in our community. When such usurpations of the fundamental principles of fair play and mean spirited disregard for the the law takes place, in full view of the apathetic blind eye of our own local law – makers; then it is righteous to remove those abusing their authority in a manner prescribed by law and by any such deed necessary to carry it out.
Why a Proposed State Monitor Is Pointless
Recently awakened politicians and opportune driven elected officials have rallied together, drawn by the savoring aroma of free press because some media outlets have begun to give this issue attention. There are potential voters out there, so they have to appear as if they are doing something about it now, after ignoring it for years. Hence comes the support for appointing a State Monitor, which is a step away from a full take over by the State.
The history of State takeovers in New York, like those that happened on Long Island, prove a track record of pointlessness and ineffectiveness. The cure is worse than the disease. The logic of a School Board composed of members from the community they wish to serve presupposes they are doing it because they sincerely care about the kids they are advocating for.
The voters and parents trust these board members to do what is right. As we see in this case of East Ramapo School District Board members, they seem to advocate for one segment of the community at the expense of the other. Despite coming from the same community, they appear to only care about their own immediate ethnic neighbors and cause some to feel that they harbor utter contempt for the rest.
As a matter of course the State Monitor cares for no one and is not guided by what is best for all concerned, but only for satisfying the requirements of the State, without sacrificing the political future of the political incumbents who sent them. The resistance to the Monitor also will end up wasting precious time because by the time such a thing ever comes to pass the irreparable harm has been done. Any firefighter will tell you they do not hold a debate and vote about when to go into the burning building and rescue the occupants. Albany School Takeover Failed the Students
The report by the State Monitor Henry M. Greenberg issued a scathing rebuke of fiscal mismanagement, teetering on “disaster”, and stated they had “ripped the heart out of the academic program” for the public schools, while the private schools were wholesome. Greenberg report: Monitor says ERSD Mismanaged
It is the conclusion of research and analysis that his report is not a reason for appointing a State Monitor whatsoever. If these were the findings of an in depth District Attorney investigation, they would panel a Grand Jury, get indictments, and issue arrest warrants. Why else would the East Ramapo School District board members pay these outlandish rates to this profanity versed law firm just to intimidate parents and run interference for them, if they knew all they were doing was routine and legal?
If School Boards are the Watchdogs, What are you?
Where the entire Rockland County community should be up in arms about surpasses local political loyalties, party divisions, religious flavor, personalities, or individual animus toward any particular ethnic group. Acknowledge that the root of the apathy why this abuse could take place against so many for so long, is the attitude of as long as it is not in my school district, against my kids.
What any fair minded reader and observer should be up in arms about is the holocaust of untapped human potential, the crushing of emerging human spirit, the abuse of defenseless kids, perpetrated upon by those impaneled to protect them and trusted to care for them. A sense of simple decency should fuel an indignant rage boiling from the realization that this betrayal is equal to discovering that a pedophile ring was running a child day care center and your kid could have been a victim too.