Power of Ten Update
In This Issue:
1. Forum Postponed
2. Monday Pizza and Justice!
3. Too Much News
1) Forum Postponed
The Candidates Forum that was scheduled for Nov 13 has been postponed to a date not yet determined.
2) Monday Pizza and Justice!
Are you dealing with mold or other environmental issues in your school, or lack of busing, or access to remote education, or special education?
The New York Civil Liberty Union wants to share ideas (and pizza) with you!
OPEN HOUSE & WORKSHOP
Monday November 8th
Martin Luther King Multi- Purpose Center
110 Bethune Boulevard, Spring Valley
NEW YORK CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION INVITES YOU
The invitation is to parents, students, and other members of the community. Come and meet the NYCLU Staff and get to know them and their work. A community workshop will be held, and pizza and drinks will be provided as well!
3) Too Much News
A special thanks to those who noticed Power of Ten has been quiet lately. There has been a lot happening, and we are short-staffed. I recommend readers also subscribe to the Journal News, and the Facebook groups “Power of Ten – East Ramapo for the Children” at https://www.facebook.com/groups/120338314981/ and “Save Our Schools: East Ramapo” at https://www.facebook.com/groups/190355663138
A very brief rundown of issues just this school year:
- Hundreds of students had no bus service, or intermittent service. Parents scrambled to get kids to school, and worried as they came home hours late. The situation may be improving, school board members have requested the numbers from the superintendent. One thing is for sure, many hours of instruction have been missed due to the bus driver shortage. Although there is a national shortage, in East Ramapo much of the blame for the shortage must be placed on the school board, which has over the last ten years sold all its buses and laid off all its drivers. the board was informed that this was bad policy by Superintendent Oustacher, who said when there is an emergency, you will need your own transportation department. The school board knew this was true, because at the same time they were dismantling the public transportation system they were funding a private system that was buying buses and hiring drivers, all on special contracts that commit those buses to only serve private schools. So they knew how important having your own system was, and they made sure it happened for the children that they considered important.
- Spring Valley HS has been closed due to environmental hazards. The district has attempted to place students elsewhere, but the majority are back to remote learning. The number of students who actually participate, and the quality of that participation is unclear. Why the district did not discover the mold earlier is not known. This is another instance in which the school board’s actions have directly harmed children’s education. The district has been overcrowded ever since the board sold Colton and Hillcrest Elementary schools. Again, Dr. Oustacher said they should not sell the schools, because future needs are hard to predict. No, he didn’t have a crystal ball, it was just common sense for anyone whose main concern is the operation of the public school system for the good of the public school students. However, our school board has its own agenda, which is not the mission of the district, it is the benefit of their own private school system.
- Hundreds of affected parents have attempted to get answers at their schools, at the administration building, and finally at school board meetings. The school board has authorized use of force to prevent parents from entering meetings, resulting in the police being called to prevent school security from harming parents. The school board continues to use tactics to discourage and harass parents from participating in board meetings, including onerous sign in requirements, “losing” speaker cards, and calling the police for no good reason. Rather than an opportunity for dialogue, the board has turned their meetings into a confrontation, using gaslighting tactics to provoke emotional reactions and ultimately discourage parent and community participation.
- The board created a subcommittee to appoint a community advisory board as required by law, but then overruled their subcommittee to remove Luis Nivelo, Latino Community Activist and public school parent. Mr. Nivelo would have been the only Latino male on the advisory board, he was recommended by the subcommittee. His replacement is highly problematic for a school district where 65% of the students are Latino, and zero percent of the school board is Latino.
- The state education department (NYSED) has a constitutional obligation to ensure every child’s right to an education. The first children they abandoned were the ones in private religious schools where not even the most basic education is provided. Many public school advocates also turned a blind eye. However, it is the nature of universal human rights that if they are not ensured for any-one then they are lost for every-one. Tens of thousands of children have already suffered irreparable harm. If not NYSED, who will act? If not now, when?