New York: State Education Department Makes $12 Million Error, Overpaying Charter Schools — Diane Ravitch’s blog

New York made an accounting error that cost public schools $12 Million, while overpaying charter schools by that amount. “The $12 million misallocation is about 7.8 percent of the $153 million the state distributed to its Local Educational Agencies in 2017-18 for Title IIA, which supports professional development initiatives such as teacher training, recruitment and […]

via New York: State Education Department Makes $12 Million Error, Overpaying Charter Schools — Diane Ravitch’s blog

 

Note to our readers: We made the decision to share this blog because notably, at least two of the Charter Schools that were overpaid were schools for ultra-Orthodox students, while one of the underfunded schools was the East Ramapo Central School District, a system that has arguably been ravaged by the ultra-Orthodox community of Rockland County, New York.

LM: 8.9.18

Ramapo Nears Breaking Point: Special Report – The Journal News

https://www.lohud.com/story/news/local/rockland/ramapo/2017/01/08/ramapo-ny-breaking-point/95369994/

Inside the East Ramapo Central School District Case: https://www.tabletmag.com/scroll/232394/inside-the-east-ramapo-central-school-district-case

Opinion | When a School Board Victimizes Kids – The New York Times

https://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/03/…/when-a-school-board-victimizes-kids.html

 

 

 

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Supporting Public Education for Yeshiva Children…

SECULAR EDUCATION FOR HASSIDIC CHILDREN – SETTING THE CHILDREN FREE…

 

We are supporting the below petition and ask that you consider signing and showing your support…

 

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Help us reach 1,000 signatures by the end of the week!

In less than two months, tens of thousands of ultra-Orthodox and Hasidic boys will be returning to their Yeshivas where they will continue to be denied a basic education in English, math, sciences, and social studies
unless…
the NYC and NYS Departments of Education act quickly and begin enforcing the laws already in place that require non-public schools to provide an education that is “substantially equivalent” to that of public schools.

Will you speak out on behalf of those helpless children — who are about to be harmed for life — and demand that the city and state take quick action?

You can help make a difference by signing this petition and it only takes two minutes!

We have already amassed over 200 signatures. With your help, let’s bring that number to 1,000 by the end of the week. There’s power in numbers and every voice counts, and best of all, it’ll only take a few minutes of your time.

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What does a secular studies teacher from a Hasidic Yeshiva think about government enforcement of state standards?

Read it for yourself!

Coming up:
On July 27th (6pm), we will be attending a panel of NYC education policymakers and demand answers as to why it’s taking so slow to enforce education laws that have been in place since 1928.

If you would like to join, please contact us at staff@yaffed.org.

Please note, this month’s panel will be held in Long Island City, NY.

Check out these videos from previous panels:

https://vimeo.com/172264605
https://vimeo.com/171926954

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The Safety of Our Children – Donating Not Protecting?

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Should not our religion be demanding that we protect our children from danger?

June 16, 2016

The following is a follow up to a story from two weeks ago regarding children who had been lost on a hike along the beautiful British coast after walking through 9 warning signs cautioning them of the perils of their travels.  Those children and their teachers required a major rescue effort in the wee hours of the night. The Royal National Lifeboat Institution which had co-coordinated their rescue were praised. The children lauded for their use of lights on their cellphones as honing beacons. The trip was described as something of an impromptu  get-together.

Few questioned whether the hikers were appropriately dressed for their journey. They were dressed in black pants and jackets, white shirts, tallit and shoes, not jeans and hiking boots. Few in the journalistic world demanded accountability for the adults who allowed them to walk through 9 signs each one obvious in its urgency regarding the dangers they could face. Little was publicized about how often this happens and why there are not appropriate risk assessments in place so that children’s lives are not at peril when they decide to go on outdoor adventures.

Our commenters both online and by gmail noted how many similar incidents have occurred. They admonished the public response and were critical of the lack of accountability by the Yeshiva in this instance and those in others. Our commenters were livid that the school was not charged the cost of the rescue, which must have been well into the thousands of British Pounds.

We are apparently not alone.

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From the Jewish Chronicle Online:

Strict believers ‘beyond belief’

It sounded, at first, like a feel-good story.

Last week, 34 Strictly Orthodox teenagers from Stamford Hill, on a half-term trip to Kent, got lost on a hike along the coast. Trapped by a rising tide, they realised their lives were in danger and alerted the police. A team of 40 rescuers eventually brought them to safety, guided by the lights on the kids’ phones. In gratitude, the group donated £5,000 to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, which co-ordinated their rescue.

A genuine mistake, from which everyone has learned? All’s well that ends well?

Not so fast. Unfortunately, this is only the latest of a long list of similar incidents. They reveal a serious underlying problem with the Charedi community’s attitude to the safety and welfare of their own children, and with the professional standards of some of their schools and youth organisations.

In this case, the Ahavat Yisrael Community Centre group was supervised by only two adults. They were dressed inappropriately for a hike, in long black coats, white shirts and ordinary footwear. One of the adults miraculously kept his black hat on throughout the lifeboat rescue. They set off without maps or equipment, and ignored no less than nine danger signs.

This would probably sound familiar to the Cockermouth and Wasdale mountain rescue team, which in 2009 called the police after rescuing a group of teenagers from Gateshead’s Talmudical College who were stranded on one of Cumbria’s most remote peaks – for the fourth time in five years!

“It is a miracle none of these students have ever been killed,” said team leader Julian Carradice, noting that the group was not equipped, not dressed correctly and badly supervised. “The way this group operates is beyond belief.”

It would sound familiar, too, to the rescuers of 39 girls and one teacher from the Beth Jacob Seminary for Girls who were stranded on a Scottish mountain with no map, and only black bin liners to protect themselves against the weather. They were “only a rain shower away from death”, according to the incredulous Cairngorm Mountain Rescue Team.

Like the Ahavat Yisrael group, they shamelessly attempted to spin their way out of trouble, by sending their rescuers juvenile poems of thanks.

I won’t bother you with the details of Manchester’s Kesser Torah Boys’ School trip to Snowdonia, which resulted in a 12-year-old being airlifted to hospital, and the school being fined £3,500; or the rescue of 16 youngsters from the Pirchim Aguda community centre, in the Derbyshire Moors, after a five-hour search.

Suffice to say, there is a long pattern of negligence and a stunning failure to learn lessons. That these groups understand so little about how to approach nature safely and responsibly, betrays just how little secular, practical education they have. One wonders whether the latest group actually understood what a tide is, and whether any of them would be able to read a map or had even heard of a compass. Geography, presumably, was not on the curriculum.

None of the schools, yeshivas and community centres concerned seems to have in place any of the procedures that their mainstream equivalents consider basic when planning a school trip. Risk assessments, teacher-pupil ratios, qualified first-aiders, local guides, check-lists of necessary equipment? There’s no concept of good governance or staff accountability.

This is a symptom of a society which believes that secular rules do not apply to them; indeed, they are beneath them. If it’s not in the Torah, it’s a waste of time.

Over the past year, Ofsted and the Department of Education have cracked down on unregistered Strictly Orthodox schools, which deny their students basic literacy and maths skills, and are reportedly shoddily run. Ofsted has also deemed a number of legal Strictly Orthodox schools inadequate.

The Charedi community has consistently defined government inspection as outside interference and occasionally implied that the attention is malicious. They have argued that “their way” may be different, but it is valid.

But these “nature incidents” show exactly why their argument is unacceptable. The failure to observe national standards and to acknowledge accepted process puts their children in real danger. They need to be held to the same basic educational and safety standards as the rest of the country, before their luck runs out.

Sidestepping the Law – Are Children Being Sacrificed in Ramapo

Indifference and neglect often do much more damage than outright dislike.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
– Quote by Albus Dumbledore

IT IS ONLY A MATTER OF TIME BEFORE TRAGEDY STRIKES

In a miraculous show of vigorous work, after years of complacence and procrastination, most of the Yeshivas on the list of schools requiring inspections by the County of Rockland have magically been completed. The Yeshivas, with the wave Harry Potter’s wand and one of his magic spells, have almost all passed inspections.

Attorney Dennis Lynch, who represents the recently formed School Religious Freedom Coalition , works for the Ramapo and Spring Valley governments and represents about three dozen of the Jewish private schools on the list said:

“all his clients in the coalition should have filed their inspection reports with the state by Wednesday morning, and that the inspections were done by certified fire chiefs as described under state educational law.”

We don’t quite understand. Dennis Lynch is an attorney, paid by the towns of Ramapo and Spring Valley. He represents a lobbying organization called the School Religious Freedom Coalition (which will probably be lobbying both of those towns and the State Education Department). He represents at least three dozen of the yeshivas that needed to be inspected.

That can’t be right. How many hats can one attorney wear?

If the town did not agree to accept the inspections who was Attorney Lynch going to be representing when arguing for his Yeshiva clients, or his town clients or his lobbying clients? Well, he could represent all three at the same time and everyone else could simply go home. That just does not sit well with us.

Who knows? Maybe the Coalition includes the building inspectors, the yeshivas, the lawyer, Rabbi Twersky, his driver, his cook, his baker and the candle-stick maker. The list could go on. It would not matter because Dennis Lynch could actually be representing them all.

We predict that until there is a major tragedy and many, many children are killed, burned or seriously injured, the Yeshivas will hire Attorney Lynch and the equally as conflicted building inspectors who will sidestep the Ramapo building inspection codes, and things will continue status quo. We hope that everyone involved in this fiasco of avoidance and Harry Potter-type wizardry enjoys whatever fees most likely lined their pockets because it is only a matter of time and you are putting children’s lives in danger.

Continue reading

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Yeshivas Agree to Fire Inspections

ed day

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 6, 2016
Contact: Jane Lerner, Director of Strategic Communications
Office of the County Executive (845) 638-5645

 

Yeshivas Agree to County Fire Inspections

NEW CITY, N.Y. –  Rockland County Executive Ed Day announced this afternoon that yeshivas in Ramapo and Spring Valley have agreed to be inspected by county fire inspectors.

“We received word through their attorney that these schools that initially refused to be inspected have acquiesced to our demands,” Day said.

Inspections will begin again at 9 a.m. Wednesday.

Inspectors were not allowed to conduct inspections in any of the 13 schools that they visited today (Monday).

Lawyers for Rockland County were prepared to go to court to get warrants to enter the premises when the attorney representing an organization called the School Religious Freedom Coalition said the group had changed its mind.

“The real winners here are the children who will now be going to schools that are safe,” Day said.

The county will follow up on the results of the inspections to make sure that any violations are corrected.

“This victory shows that the rule of law will be applied to all in Rockland,” Day said. “No one is above the law.”

The county was empowered by the state Department of Education to conduct inspections at 49 schools, mostly yeshivas in Ramapo and Spring Valley, that either never filed required paperwork showing they had inspections or schools that were inspected by a Ramapo employee whose work was shown to be inaccurate.

State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia provided Rockland with the list of schools and deputized the county to perform the inspections.

A team of current and former fire chiefs certified by the state to perform inspections will be doing the work.

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