Explosive Reports: Public and Yeshiva Students All Victims in East Ramapo

Power of Ten Update

In This Issue:

1. Monitors Report: District in Distress
2. Picnic Success!
3. Journal News Exposes Neglect in East Ramapo Yeshivas
4. New Questions About Old Treasurer

1) Monitors Report: District in Distress

On Wednesday, September 16, in damning detail, the East Ramapo Monitors presented their findings and actions thus far. The news that only 14% of our youth are leaving high school ready for college is only one of the chilling facts presented by the monitors. A webcast of the presentation is available on the Regents website (go to minute 23:30 for the beginning of the East Ramapo discussion).

The monitors will be holding a community forum on Thursday, October 1 at 7 p.m. at the Cultural Arts Center, 64 N. Main Street in Spring Valley, the public is invited.

2) Picnic Success!

Despite a rainy forecast (and some actual rain) over 100 people attended our Family Picnic. We had delicious food, great music, and honored some of the heroes of our movement. We also raised over $2,000 for Advocates for Justice! Pictures and videos are available at https://www.facebook.com/Power-of-Ten-222126104511971.

If you missed the picnic, please consider making your donation to Advocates for Justice at http://www.advocatesforjustice.net/east-ramapo.html.

Justice is coming, and YOU can make it happen!

3) Journal News Exposes Neglect in East Ramapo Yeshivas

A new report by investigative journalist Adrienne Sanders of the Rockland Journal News blows open a previously unknown world of educational neglect in East Ramapo. Featuring riveting testimonial videos by former yeshiva students, Ms. Sanders details a story of shocking neglect of our most vulnerable population. Most shocking of all is the complicity of the East Ramapo school administration, which is charged with preventing educational neglect and enforcing the truancy laws. Laura Barbieri of  Advocates for Justice is also interviewed.

A similar investigation is being conducted into education at NYC yeshivas, led by Young Advocates for Fair Education.

The Jewish Week is also covering this story, with an excellent piece by Shulem Deen: Chasidic Schools Ensure Ignorance And Poverty

4) New Questions About Old Treasurer

Eight years ago, the Assistant Superintendent of Finance did all the bookkeeping for the district. The school board president at that time was Nathan Rothschild. Elected by the ultra-Orthodox bloc vote, he did not need to provide the public with his educational experience. Only after he was convicted and sentenced to federal prison did we learn he did not have a high school diploma. While it is not required for a school board trustee to have graduated from school, it is something the public will usually want to know about a candidate before giving him or her their vote.

One of the many questionable activities during Mr. Rothschild’s tenure was the appointment of a paid treasurer; an extra cost to the district since the work had previously been done at no extra cost by the assistant superintendent of finance. The treasurer, Israel Bier, has been receiving salary and benefits for eight years. During that time, there were numerous complaints regarding the quality of his work. Over and over, his numbers just did not add up.

Activists who requested Mr. Bier’s qualifications received highly redacted documents. A new report by Failed Messiah has uncovered that Mr. Bier had no formal education in accounting when he was hired. His entire college education is reported as “Talmudical Studies” at Bais Medrash Elyon in Monsey. This college only offers one degree program, Talmudical Studies, for a tuition of $7,800, but 100% of the 30 students who attend receive an average of $10,400 in state and federal financial aid, according to www.CampusExplorer.com. Perhaps that is the accounting lesson they learn there!

The school district, despite having been cited by previous monitor Greenberg for failure to follow NY open government laws, and despite have subsequently received training from the Committee on Open Government, and despite the current presence of a new monitoring team, continues to redact politically embarrassing information from documents that the public has a right to see.

Our educational tax dollars have been wasted on an unqualified an incompetent treasurer whose job was done at no cost to the district prior to his arrival. They have been wasted on a superintendent of schools who has zero cultural competence for the student body he serves and whose administration has received the lowest grade possible from the state education department. The Chancellor herself has called for him to be replaced.

The board is supposedly “collaborating” with the new monitor team. If that is true, then the new monitor team is equally responsible for all that continues to be wrong with our district, or to publicly profess where the “collaboration” ends. If the treasurer is unqualified, and the board is responsible for continuing his paycheck, then any “collaborator” with the board is just as responsible. I think the public has been patient enough. Bier must go. Klein must go. We need a new vision for our children this year, before more irrevocable harm is done.