East Ramapo fails to ensure quality education

October 8, 2015  Letter in The Journal News

New York State laws and regulations requiring that all children receive an education have not been “forgotten” since 1928. In East Ramapo in particular, administration was acutely aware of its responsibility.
As I explained on the public radio show "This American Life," East Ramapo administrators had made a deal with the administrators of the yeshivas that they would not bring up the issue of failure to educate yeshiva students as long as the ultra-Orthodox bloc vote would not be used to vote down school budgets.

The New York State Education Department has published “Guidelines for Determining Equivalency of Instruction in Nonpublic Schools.” They say: “the local board of education is responsible for assuring that each resident pupil is provided an adequate instructional program” and “(when) a nonpublic school is not equivalent … the children will be considered truant if they continue to attend that school.”
Most private and parochial high schools in New York State are registered with the state education department, which monitors the quality of education.  In East Ramapo, the overwhelming majority of nonpublic high school students attend institutions that are not registered with the state and cannot issue a diploma.  Abandoning children to ignorance and poverty for political expediency is an injustice that has been tolerated for too long.  The Journal News provided excellent investigative reporting on this topic.  Now it’s the politicians turn; let’s see if they are up to the task.

Steve White

Spring Valley