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After Eight Years of State Interventions, East Ramapo Drop-Out Rate 4x County Average

New Research Reveals Gaping Disparities in Graduation Rates, Funding, Student Achievement, Outcomes for English-Language Learners

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 educational outcomes for East Ramapo students in comparison to students in neighboring districts. The report revealed stark disparities in graduation rates, outcomes for English Language Learners, and student achievement in reading and math.

Despite years of advocacy from the local community and intervention from both the courts and state legislature, and the efforts of the district monitors, the report reveals continually poor outcomes for the district’s predominantly Black and Brown public school student population. The analysis is based on the most recent public data available from the New York State Education Department.

“The public school students of East Ramapo deserve a far better education than the one they’re receiving,” said Jake Martinez, Deputy Director for Campaigns and Strategy for the Education Policy Center at the New York Civil Liberties Union. “There’s no excuse for the kind of disparities in basic educational access and services that we’re seeing between East Ramapo and other schools in Rockland County. We urge the state to do more, to empower the monitors to take greater action, and make the changes necessary to restore a sound public education in East Ramapo.”

“East Ramapo’s chronic absenteeism, rising dropout rates, and abysmally low test scores – especially for ELL students –prove that the state’s interventions within the system are not enough,” said Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union. “The state can no longer sit back as class after class of students are denied a sound basic education. The data reinforces what we already know: East Ramapo’s white-majority board is depriving students of an education and a chance at the same future as their neighboring peers.”

Findings from the analysis show:

  • In 2020-2021, nearly 41 percent of students in East Ramapo were chronically absent. This includes almost half of students who are English Language Learners (ELLs).
  • In 2019-2020, only 17 percent of East Ramapo students received an advanced diploma, compared to 34-74 percent of students in neighboring districts.
  • East Ramapo schools have a higher dropout rate than the other seven school districts in Rockland County: 20 percent compared to 6 percent or less.
  • In almost every grade and on almost every test, fewer than 10 percent of English Language Learners in East Ramapo reached proficiency on Math or English Language Arts tests.

“Despite so many efforts, it’s painful to see the students and families of E. Ramapo’s public schools still deprived of the sound basic education they’re entitled to,” said Willie J. Trotman, President of the Spring Valley Chapter of the NAACP. “We will not stop fighting for equity in East Ramapo, and a fair future for its public school students.”

The analysis shows that despite being in the top 25 percent of districts statewide for income and property wealth, its local provision of funds for schools is in the lowest 25 percent. The East Ramapo School Board rejected the proposed public school budget just last week, and a report from the New York State Comptroller earlier this year named East Ramapo the most fiscally stressed district in the state.

“There should be a baseline of a quality education for every student, regardless of race, class, documentation, school district, and public or private school status, but instead basic educational services are not being offered,” said Maria Marasigan, director of organizing and program development at Proyecto Faro. “There’s an invisible population in East Ramapo that’s continuing to be ignored due to their lack of voting power.  In a community that is predominantly immigrants of color, many don’t have the right to vote regarding their children’s education.  This lack of proper representation has led to multiple years of budget cuts with our students continually losing the benefits they deserve.”

The report details recommendations for the state to intervene and address these outcomes: improving the existing state-mandated monitoring program; expanding the right to vote in school board elections to everyone, regardless of immigration status; establishing an independent state authority to manage transportation; establishing an independent state authority to manage mandated services to private school students; establish a limit on the hourly rates school districts pay outside vendors; and increasing BOCES enrollment.”

You can find a link to the full report here:

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