Events This Week

Power of Ten Update
Events This Week:
1. Community Teach-In
2. Human Rights Breakfast

1) Community Teach-In

Hosted by the Spring Valley NAACP, Power of Ten, and the NYCLU

When: Friday, December 9,  6:30 – 8:00 PM.
Where: Martin Luther King Multi-Purpose Center, 110 Bethune Blvd, Spring Valley
Also available via ZOOM, please RSVP for the link

2) Human Rights Breakfast

Hosted by the Rockland County Commission on Human Rights

When: Friday, December 9, 2022, 9:30 AM – 12 Noon
Where: Rockland County Fire Training Center, 35 Firemen’s Memorial Drive, Pomona, NY
Reservations are required by Tuesday Dec 6



Special Edition: Yes, It’s Corruption!

Power of Ten Update
Special Edition: Yes, It’s Corruption!

Last Month, The NY Times published a bombshell investigative report on NY State’s failure to protect every child’s right to a quality education:

In Hasidic Enclaves, Failing Private Schools Flush With Public Money

As you can see from the title, the report detailed not only the failure of NY State to guarantee children’s rights, but the success of religious corporations at gaining access to public money that was supposed to support education, without actually providing the education.

One reader of the NY Times article responded with his own personal testimony in an article for “Religious Dispatch” magazine: He writes: “…this story is really about corruption; it’s about the city and state political figures and yeshiva deans who have duplicitously taken money from state coffers without abiding by state regulations, and the politicians who’ve looked the other way to insure a haredi voting bloc. As much as a Hasidic story, this is also a New York story of political malfeasance”

Then, it was revealed in another NY Times article that the U.S. attorney’s office for the Eastern District of New York has uncovered massive fraud at a major NY yeshiva, resulting in an $8 million dollar settlement.

Now, The NY State Education Department has finalized its regulations regarding education in private schools, and has rebuffed NY City’s attempt to turn a blind eye.

The process of trading away children’s education and billions of taxpayer dollars behind closed doors, in the dark appears to be waning. What has changed? It is because once enough light was shed on what was happening, once enough people were aware, informed, and involved, the deals started to go sour. The hero in this story is YOU. All of the work done by activists and organizations has no force unless someone is listening! 

But recently, some politicians are openly endorsing turning a blind eye to educational neglect. Lee Zeldin, running for Governor, tweeted that he “strongly” opposes substantial equivalency for yeshivas. Mike Lawler, running for Congress and Bill Weber, for State Senate have also made statements opposing the NYSED regulations. Why are politicians now openly promoting what was once kept in the smoke filled back rooms? It is exactly because efforts to shed light on the covert deals are having an effect!

You can continue to be a part of this positive change by rebuffing the politicians who oppose education on Election Day. You can continue to be a hero for education by telling everyone you know that our society depends on every child receiving the quality education that is their civil and human right. Almost everyone agrees with these principles, and they are included in the NY State Constitution, and yet many children still suffer from educational neglect. Why? Yes, it is Corruption!


You Eat It!!!

Power of Ten Update
In This Issue:
1. You Eat It!!!
2. Academic and Fiscal Improvement Plan
3. East Ramapo is Topic for November Elections

1) You Eat It!!!

On September 13, a student approached the mic at the public participation portion of the school board meeting and reported: “everything… that the school provides is moldy and old and smelly… I invite you to come eat with me and eat the same food as we do.” 

No one took her up on her offer. At the next meeting, a parent brought some of the rotten food for the board members to see “I am not a liar”. School security tried to physically block the parent from bringing the rotten food to the dais where the board members sit. The resulting fracas has resulted in some interesting news coverage!

Many parents and students came to speak about rotten food, dirty conditions, old equipment and supplies, overcrowded classrooms, classes with no teachers, children with special needs that are ignored, and much more. One school board member called them “actors”. Another filed a police complaint. 

The next school board meeting is scheduled for October 25 (please check the district website for details). Won’t you please consider attending and supporting the brave students and parents who come to speak truth to power?

2) Academic and Fiscal Improvement Plan

The NYS Education Department is required by law to establish an “Academic and Fiscal Improvement Plan” for East Ramapo. The plan is supposed to be reviewed annually with public input. The NYCLU has submitted its comments on the plan, which give a very good description of the urgent crisis currently being experienced.

Please take the time to read the NYCLU comments

3) East Ramapo is Topic for November Elections

The crisis in East Ramapo is one of the issues being addressed in this year’s general election, which will be on Tuesday, November 8.

Eudson Tyson Francois is an East Ramapo graduate who is running for NYS Assembly. He is calling for improved oversight of our district. Asked about the latest news, he said “It breaks my heart to hear that kids in East Ramapo are being served cold and rotten food. No one should be served rotten food. East Ramapo receives federal dollars to provide free breakfast and lunch to the students. Every student should receive a meal. Former Assembly member Ellen Jaffee used to fight for East Ramapo. I will fight as hard as I can for the students at ERCSD.

If you would like to learn more about the candidates in this year’s election, you can attend the Virtual  Candidates’ Forum hosted by the Spring Valley and Nyack NAACP and The Journal News.

Wednesday, October 19th, 2022 at 6:30 PM via zoom at:

Questions may be submitted in advance to:

Rally Tuesday Against Discrimination in Transportation

Power of Ten Update
In This Issue:
1. Rally Tuesday Against Discrimination in Transportation
2. Budget Revote June 21

1) Rally Tuesday Against Discrimination in Transportation

Please join East Ramapo Parents and advocates as we rally to protest East Ramapo’s discriminatory transportation practices. 

When: Tuesday June 14 at 7:00 PM

Where: East Ramapo District Offices, 105 S. Madison Ave, Spring Valley

Why: The law requires school districts in New York to provide transportation equally to private and public-school students. The system the district uses includes exclusive contracts with companies serving only all-white private schools which provide services that are better than those that the public school students receive. This includes door-to-door service and service that was not interrupted by COVID shortages.

The effect of this taxpayer funded segregated busing scheme is separate and unequal treatment. All of the buses are taxpayer funded, and all should be available equally for all children. The same logic which says children attending private school cannot get LESS busing also requires that they cannot have MORE or BETTER busing.

The private school users, led by their representatives on the board, have successfully set up a JIM CROW busing system in East Ramapo. This not only harms public school students who miss school because of transportation issues, it also harms ALL students, because when children notice when certain groups seem to be treated differently than others, they internalize racial bias. While those who get the better service are certainly in a better position than those on the other end of discrimination, they are also psychologically harmed. Justifications given by school administrators and NY State Education Department (NYSED) officials only serve to affirm the implication that different treatments are normal, or even deserved.

2) Budget Revote June 21

East Ramapo continues to have the most rejected budgets of any district in NY. This is because the majority of eligible voters here don’t have children in the public schools. Also, there is a lack of oversight of public funds. For example, the voters voted down a $58 million bond for building repair, but passed it on a revote, because NYSED promised that they would oversee the spending. However, superintendent Ellis now says our buildings “are in total disrepair” and NYSED now says it never had the ability to oversee this large infrastructure project. No one from either East Ramapo or NYSED has ever been held accountable. Voters often feel like Charlie Brown running to kick a football held by Lucy in the old “Peanuts” comic strip.

Public school supporters in East Ramapo continue to vote “YES” on budgets, in numbers often greater than any other school district, because our students are truly in need. If you are eligible to vote in East Ramapo, all the details on when, where and how are on the district website: The district can’t tell you HOW to vote, but Power of Ten can: Please Vote YES!



Special Edition: Assessment Reports of East Ramapo

Power of Ten Update
Special Edition: Assessment Reports of East Ramapo

In this special edition, Power of Ten shares with you three new independent assessments of the East Ramapo school district. Taken together, these three reports constitute a damning verdict on the failed policies of the NY State Education Department (NYSED) to protect East Ramapo children’s constitutional right to a sound basic education. 

1. Not Making the Grade: New York’s Jim Crow School District
2. East Ramapo Ambassadors Youth Lobby Day Speech
3. School budget cuts and academic performance: The case of the East Ramapo Central School District

1) Not Making the Grade: New York’s Jim Crow School District

This report is produced by the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU), a major organization dedicated to defending everyone’s constitutional rights. They conclude that educational outcomes in East Ramapo are far worse than other Rockland districts. They recognize that a situation in which a white majority controls essential public services for a community of color, in a hyper-segregated setting, can only be described as what it is: “Jim Crow”.

Please access this report here:

2) East Ramapo Ambassadors Youth Lobby Day Speech

This report was presented by East Ramapo students to lawmakers in Albany. The students report on terrible conditions of overcrowding, and violations of the Dignity for All Students Act (DASA). It must be noted that the overcrowding is a direct result of the white school board majority converting two public school buildings into private all white institutions, and that the NY State Education Department has not taken any steps to replace this loss of classroom space. 

Read the students powerful speech here: East Ramapo Ambassadors Youth Lobby Day Speech

3) School budget cuts and academic performance: The case of the East Ramapo Central School District

This is a Public Policy Senior Thesis by Duke University Student Mona Tong. It includes a detailed history and analysis of the district’s educational and financial issues, as well as the socioeconomic issues of the community. This is the most complete and detailed analysis of the district ever done. It should be required reading for every policy maker.

Read it here:


Last Chance – Act Today

Power of Ten Update
In This Issue:
1. Panel Discussion Thursday
2. School Board Meetings
3. Last Chance to Submit a Public Comment – TODAY (Tuesday May 31) Deadline

1) Panel Discussion Thursday

Join the NYCLU and Proyecto Faro for a panel discussion around the experiences of students and families in the East Ramapo Central School District. The discussion will be led by students from the NYCLU’s youth programs, and panelists will include community members, elected officials, and state-appointed monitors. Refreshments will be served.

In Person:
Thursday, June 2nd at 5:00 P.M.

Martin Luther King Multi-Purpose Center
110 Bethune Blvd. Spring Valley, NY 10977


Attend on Zoom

2) School Board Meetings

The school board usually meets twice per month.

You can read about what happened in The Power of Ten, or you can watch online, or you can attend in person 

There is a meeting tonight (May 31) at 7:30

The next meeting will be June 14 also at 7:30

Please attend in person if you can!

Arrive early to sign up to speak during the public participation time.

105 S. Madison Ave, Spring Valley

3) Last Chance to Submit a Public Comment

The New York State Education Department (NYSED) has released new proposed substantial equivalency regulations for non-public schools. Once passed, these regulations will serve as a crucial mechanism to ensure that the tens of thousands of school children attending ultra-Orthodox yeshivas in East Ramapo and across New York are receiving the basic English, math, science, and social studies education to which they are entitled by state law.

The proposed regulations are now open to the public for comment, but the deadline is TODAY!

Please go to: and add your name!


Someone Else’s Kids

Power of Ten Update
Special Edition: Someone Else’s Kids

“They want me to care about someone else’s kids, they obviously don’t care about my kids.”

This is how East Ramapo school board member Grossman characterized his constituents attitude towards public education.

How could anyone come to such a serious misunderstanding of our fundamental community obligations?

In fact, this is nothing new, the school district and the NY State Education Department (NYSED) have a long history of encouraging, or at least tolerating, this transactional relationship. The process of dismantling our school district has been accomplished by a series of deals similar to the one implied by Mr. Grossman.

In fact, the original deal was that the school district would ignore the lack of education in many yeshivas in return for not voting down the school budget. In this way, all the great achievements of the East Ramapo school district in its heyday were built on the backs of poor Jewish children who were cheated out of the education they were constitutionally entitled to.

The result of not caring about someone else’s children is that all children suffer

NYSED must cease treating the school board as a trading partner. The legal and constitutional responsibility for every child’s education rests with the state. All of the duties and responsibilities of the school district are delegated to it by the state. Whether or not Mr. Grossman or his constituents care about “someone else’s children” should be irrelevant. They should not be allowed to hold children’s education hostage. It is as if a babysitter refused to feed the children to extort a higher rate from the parents. The only reasonable response is: “you’re fired!”

What You Can Do:

Please attend the next school board meeting:

Tuesday, April 26 at 7:30
105 South Madison Ave, Spring Valley

Please come early so you can sign up to speak. Please denounce Mr. Grossman’s offensive remarks and hold NYSED responsible for it’s failure to protect every child’s constitutional right to a sound basic education.

Please FILL THIS FORM, calling on NYSED to enact regulations that hold nonpublic schools accountable for providing a basic secular education.


Hundreds of Students Still Missing

Power of Ten Update
In This Issue:
1. Hundreds of Students Still Missing
2. A 76 Million Dollar Question
3. Many 58 Million Dollar Questions

1) Hundreds of Students Still Missing

As reported by Power of Ten last year, hundreds of East Ramapo students went missing during the pandemic. Now new data just released by the state indicates that the graduating class size fell by 22% from 2020 to 2021. The 2020 graduating class size as reported by NYSED was 759, and in 2021 it was 589. These students are not reported as either still enrolled or dropped out. This artificially raised the graduation rate, but there is still the question, if they didn’t graduate, and they aren’t still enrolled, and they didn’t drop out, where are they???

The students who went missing were likely the most vulnerable, and concerns have been raised by community groups, especially Proyecto Faro, which has developed a program called “Every Child Counts” after discovering a child who was suffering abuse in the home after over 100 days of being absent from school.

Proyecto Faro has continued to be involved, and is holding regular community meetings on topics such as the Dignity for All Students Act

2) A 76 Million Dollar Question

As a result of the landmark civil rights trial won by the NAACP against the East Ramapo school board, we learned that Rabbi Hersh Horowitz support seems to guarantee a position on the board. As revealed in the trial, according to an elected board member, the major difference between winning and losing election to the board was that Rabbi Hersh Horowitz supported their candidacy, 

The Journal News has reported that the school board members who received Rabbi Horowitz support have voted to award his CEC organization at least $76 million of Federal Funds over the past decade.

Rabbi Horowitz has responded that “CEC will continue … providing myriad essential educational services to thousands of children … attending private schools”. However, as revealed by the trial transcripts, in his private conversations with school board president Grossman, he says Science and Social Studies are “Hard. We are at basic literacy and math”.

Students in private schools are entitled to an education which is substantially equivalent to public school. The school board is responsible to ensure this right, but they are put in place by someone who profits from the status quo. This is why the system of governance in East Ramapo is dysfunctional, and why systemic change is needed. 

3) Many 58 Million Dollar Questions

In 2015 voters rejected a bond to borrow money to repair schools, because no one trusted the school board with money. In 2016 the NY State Education Dept. provided written assurance they would monitor that the funds were spent correctly, and East Ramapo voters agreed to spend $58 million of their tax dollars.

How was this money spent? Who reviewed all the buildings and grounds, and produced a report on the conditions and repairs and cost estimates for each? What criteria were used to decide which jobs to do, and when did the state review the plans? Who was the project manager? How were the jobs bid out? What controls were put in place to prevent fraud, waste and abuse? Where is the final report that includes all of the details? 

This year we have experienced two school closures due to mold, asbestos, leaking roofs, and a boiler fire. Many areas in our schools are in disrepair and even closed for use. At one school, new equipment installed is so oversized that the noise is irritating neighbors hundreds of feet away. NY State officials must hold the Education Department responsible for their cozy relationship with the school board. They have given us 58 million more reasons that they cannot be trusted with even one dollar.