Failing: The Jim Crow School District of New York

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NEW YORK — Today, the New York Civil Liberties Union released a new report, Not Making the Grade: New York’s Jim Crow School District, analyzing the academic performance of students in East Ramapo compared to students in the districts. neighbors. The report found stark disparities in graduation rates, English language learner outcomes, and student achievement in reading and math.

Despite years of local community advocacy and intervention by the courts and state legislature, as well as the efforts of district comptrollers, the report reveals persistently poor outcomes for the public school student population in predominantly black and brown in the district. The analysis is based on the most recent public data available from the New York State Department of Education.

“East Ramapo public school students deserve a much better education than they are getting,” said Jake Martinez, deputy director of campaigns and strategy for the Education Policy Center of the New York Civil Liberties Union. “There is no excuse for the kind of disparities in basic education access and services we are seeing between East Ramapo and other schools in Rockland County. We urge the state to do more , to empower monitors to take greater action and make the changes needed to restore healthy public education to East Ramapo.”

“East Ramapo’s chronic absenteeism, rising dropout rates and extremely low test scores – especially for ELL students – prove that state interventions in the system are not enough,” said said Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union. “The state can no longer sit idly by as class after class of students are denied a solid basic education. The data reinforces what we already know: East Ramapo’s white majority council is robbing students of an education and a chance to have the same future as their neighboring peers. »

The results of the analysis show:

  • In 2020-21, nearly 41% of East Ramapo students were chronically absent. This includes nearly half of students who are English Language Learners (ELL).
  • In 2019-20, only 17% of students in East Ramapo received an advanced degree, compared to 34-74% of students in neighboring districts.
  • East Ramapo schools have a higher dropout rate than the other seven school districts in Rockland County: 20% versus 6% or less.
  • In almost every grade and on almost every test, less than 10% of English language learners in East Ramapo achieved proficiency on math or English tests.

“Despite so much effort, it is painful to see the students and families of public schools in E. Ramapo still deprived of the good basic education to which they are entitled,” said Willie J. Trotman, president of the Spring Valley chapter of the NAACP. “We won’t stop fighting for fairness in East Ramapo and a fair future for its public school students.”

Analysis shows that despite being in the richest 25% of districts in the state in terms of income and housing wealth, its local provision of funds for schools is in the bottom 25% . The East Ramapo School Board rejected the proposed budget for public schools last week, and a report from the New York State Comptroller earlier this year named East Ramapo the most financially stressed district in the state.

“There should be a baseline of quality education for every student, regardless of race, class, background, school district, and public or private school status, but instead, basic educational services are not offered,” said Maria Marasigan, director of organization and program development at Proyecto Faro. “There is an invisible population in East Ramapo who continue to be ignored due to their lack of electoral power. In a community largely made up of immigrants of color, many do not have the right to vote regarding the education of their children. This lack of adequate representation has led to several years of budget cuts, with our students continually losing the benefits they deserve.”

The report details recommendations for state action and addresses these findings: improve the existing state-mandated oversight program; extending the right to vote in school board elections to all, regardless of immigration status; the establishment of an independent state authority to manage transport; the establishment of an independent public authority to manage mandated services to students in private schools; establish a limit on the hourly rates that school districts pay to external vendors; and increase registrations at BOCES.