Fight 21st Century Jim Crow in Rockland County Schools

Act Now

The East Ramapo School District in Rockland County is a glaring example of 21st Century Jim Crow in New York. Not too long ago, the District’s thriving and diverse public schools were the envy of other districts across the state. But for the past decade, the white-majority school board has hollowed out the public schools and abandoned Black and Latinx students.

TAKE ACTION: Tell lawmakers to fight systemic racism and stand up for East Ramapo’s public school students.

Message Recipients:
Governor Andrew Cuomo
Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins
Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie
Your Legislative Representatives

East Ramapo School Board
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Your Message
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The East Ramapo School District in Rockland County is a glaring example of 21st Century Jim Crow in New York. Not too long ago, the District’s thriving and diverse public schools were the envy of other districts across the state. But for the past decade, the white-majority school board has hollowed out the public schools and abandoned Black and Latinx students.

I am counting on you to fight systemic racism and stand up for East Ramapo public school students.

Fifteen years ago, the district's white community took over the school board and began a program of defunding and degrading the public schools – which are 96 percent students of color – while maintaining the 98 percent-white private schools’ resources. They eliminated courses and afterschool programs, sold off school property, and laid off more than 400 educators, including every social worker and dean in the district.

Predictably, test scores and graduation rates plummeted, drop-outs soared, and the 30 percent of students who are English Language Learners were left without the support they needed to graduate. And during the pandemic, the district failed miserably to provide adequate tools for remote learning.

The state has put in place a series of monitors to keep an eye on the board, but those monitors have never had the power to check the district’s worst impulses.

A.5683/S.6052 would help change this toxic dynamic and restore public education to the district. The legislation would allow the state to appoint monitors with the power to act as a check on the district and stop the board from hurting kids.

The bill would allow monitors to intervene if the board violates laws or regulations, or if the district isn’t meeting its goals for students. The bill would require the board to give monitors advance notice of board agendas and resolutions. Monitors could recommend cost-saving measures, help settle disputes, and review and amend the district budget. Monitors could even require district officials to undergo instruction, like anti-racism training.

Please do your part to pass this legislation this session. If lawmakers stand idle in the face of these extremes in East Ramapo, New Yorkers must wonder what commitment Albany has to tackle systemic racism in the rest of our state.

Sincerely,

[First Name] [Last Name]

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