Power of Ten Update
In this Issue:
- Special Ed Parents Meeting Monday
- Candidate Forum Reports
- Message from the editor
1) Special Ed Parents Meeting
Does your child struggle in school?
If so, is he/she getting the necessary services to make him/her successful?
Is your child getting ALL the special education services that he/she is entitled to by law?
Do you worry your child will be left behind?
If you answered YES to any of these questions, you MUST come to this meeting!
Guest speakers: Attorneys from Advocates for Justice – Laura Barbieri & Arthur Schwartz and NAACP President – Willie J. Trotman
Date: Monday, May 13, 2013
Location: Champion Day camp 175 W. Clarkstown Rd. New City
Time: 7 – 9 PM
2) Candidate Forum Reports
Thursday Evening some 125 people turned out to the annual candidate’s forum hosted by NAACP and JAMCARR. Issues discussed included the lack of respect shown to the parents and students in the audience at board meetings and the continuing wildly inaccurate numbers being thrown around and presented as a ‘budget’. There were also many questions from the audience regarding the quality of education being provided in the schools.
Media coverage of the forum:
Three E. Ramapo candidates reject NAACP invite
East Ramapo schools contender ditches forum for Hasidic rally
3) Message from the editor:
It is truly sad that one of our school board members would choose to attend a rally against the internet instead of attending the NAACP forum. The internet has revolutionized, science, socialization, news delivery and freedom of information. It epitomizes the freedom of thought which is at heart of democracy. Tyrants and dictators censor the internet, because of the ‘danger’ of an informed public. It is the very uncontrollableness of the internet that makes it a mainstay of scientific and democratic thought and the bane of tyrants and dictators.
Did our school board candidate carefully research the issue before deciding where to go on Thursday? Did he perhaps have a chance to read this amazing article on the subject before he threw his lot in with the anti-internet crowd? Or perhaps he is blinded by a romanticized notion of the ultra-Orthodox way of life – the heartbreaking irony; multiculturalism and religious tolerance touted by a community that has zero tolerance for any way of life other than its own.
I had a chance to speak with former East Ramapo administrator Pedro Santana after the forum. Pedro was in the process of re-designing the environment of our schools when the Hasidic dominated board fired him. As Sir Ken Robinson has pointed out, “The real role of leadership in education … is not and should not be command and control. The real role of leadership is climate control, creating a climate of possibility.”
Interestingly, after they ousted Mr. Santana despite the pleas of public school parents, students, and staff to keep him, a teacher was hired to work in a yeshiva despite having provided inaccurate information about her credentials. When the hiring was questioned, the school board president said if that’s who the (yeshiva) parents want for their kids, who are we to question them?
Another prominent figure in the life of the students of East Ramapo, Michael Smith, was also let go in a crushing blow to student and staff morale. Can it be coincidence that the two most creative and charismatic male figures in our community were so publicly and ruthlessly severed from the students who loved them?
I believe the Hasidic dominated school board has systematically and purposefully decimated the public school system as a means of lowering the property values and inducing an emigration of public school users. At the same time they have deliberately stoked the fires of divisiveness as a cover for their calculating plans to enrich an elite few real estate speculators.
A report by the Journal News last year revealed for the first time the professions of the board members who hold the majority position on the board, but have never released information about themselves to the parents whose sole concern is their children’s future or the wider community which has invested billions of dollars to build a world class school system. Their investment is now in the hands of people whose interests are antithetical to public education and freedom of thought.
I apologize for the overly long editorial. I hope you have had time to follow the links, and feel motivated to get involved. In addition to Voting for Clerveaux Tuck and Forrest on May 21, you can sign the petition and check out other ways to help at http://poweroften.us/about/what-can-i-do/
Steven White, editor of The Power of Ten