Leading On East Ramapo
By: Legislators Harriet D. Cornell (D-West Nyack) & Nancy Low-Hogan (D-South Nyack)
The deteriorating state of the East Ramapo Central School District has been an issue of countywide concern for some time. The need for every child to receive a fair and equal education is a paramount one at the core of this country’s values, and having an enriched curriculum that goes beyond the basic studies is no less important. Advances in educational research indicate that music and art are critical components of learning, brain development and socialization. In Rockland, we have all seen that by coincidence of birth and geography, some children are provided the education they deserve, while others are sadly deprived of the services that students just a few miles away enjoy every day.
Education is not only a legal issue; it is a human issue and a social justice issue. During our last meeting of the County Legislature, we – once again – spearheaded a resolution calling on our state leaders to take the necessary steps to install a monitor with veto power over the East Ramapo school board.
Such a monitor will inspire community confidence and, most importantly, will bring together students, parents, teachers, school administrators and board members to restore the standard of excellence for which an East Ramapo education was once known. A monitor will ensure that the district is run as a partnership.
Children keep growing and can’t wait while adults argue. Intervention is needed now!
Last year’s call for action was passed by the Assembly, but the State Senate’s Republican leadership wouldn’t consider it. This year we added specific language calling on Senate Leader John Flanagan and Education Committee Chair, Carl Marcellino, to reverse their publicly announced positions and stand with us, the students, parents and friends of East Ramapo to support a monitor with veto power.
Our message to State Senate Leaders is this: All children deserve the opportunity to succeed. High-quality public education is an economic necessity, an anchor of democracy, a moral imperative and a fundamental civil right. Please hear the concerned voices we represent throughout Rockland, and bring the East Ramapo issue to a vote!