Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Racism in Ramapo? A critical look (GUEST POST)
















Hirshel Tzig says: "There's little on the political scene that makes me really upset these days. I may have an opinion on National or local politics, but ultimately you come to realize that נישט פון דארט וועט קומען די ישועה. But when it comes to the East Ramapo Central School District (ERCSD) and the constant attack from the local press and many residents who want their cake and to eat it too - I cannot sit idly by. The ERCSD includes Monsey and its environs, as well as New Square. The change in demographics has brought a major real estate boom to the area, with home prices skyrocketing, but it has also made for empty public school buildings, since frum Jews don't send to public schools. The school board is now populated almost entirely by frum Jews, since they are now the majority in the district, and you would think that people would come to terms with the new reality. But no. They want a status quo, which is fine, anybody could want anything, if only for the fact that now what has happened is that they realize that conventionally they have no chance in ERCSD, so they have changed course. Seeing that this is a losing battle they have pulled out their last good card - the race card. Now it's the big, bad, rich Jews stealing the education from poor Blacks and Latinos. They're stealiong from the public schools and lining the pockets of the evil private schools... In other words, the fact that the student body in these schools has shrunk to a fraction of its size means nothing... Everything must go on. Empty school buildings, empty classrooms, nothing can change. The הסתה (incitement) that goes on in the press is unbearable. It affects the relationship with your non-frum neighbors who get their "facts" from the very unbiased.... local media, who now see you as (not just weird and rude...) but also like a bunch of thieves. The fact that so-called "Jewish" media like the Forward also sees this as some sort of social injustice (when is what פרומע אידן do not unjust...) only makes your blood even more. In light of the recent "Forward" article I asked a very eloquent and intelligent reader of this blog - one who may not agree with me 100% but who has a valid opinion and understanding of the matter to get the discussion rolling by writing a blog post. I thank him profusely for his time and effort. The way things are now CANNOT go on forever. There's lots more to be said about the situation, but let's start it now and continue later, IYH.


The "Forward" article that prompted this post 

YouTube clips that may help you see what's going on, although they are very biased against the frum Jews

More Here
 
and HERE

AND NOW TO THE GUEST POST

Recent controversies about the East Ramapo school district have served to raise ugly insinuations of racism and de facto segregation by fervently Orthodox Jews. Videos where folks refuse to “go to the back of the bus” (e.g. follow protocols of a meeting) and alarmist articles in the Forward only buttress the impression that Orthodox Jews are engaging in an effort to strip down the school district, sell off the parts and screw over minority students. It isn’t just an insinuation: “You have eight school districts in Rockland County,” the retired school administrator told the Forward recently.“One is cutting every non mandated service to the bone. Seven are not. Ninety percent of the kids going to the one are children of color. Is something wrong with that picture? ”Today, Cohen, is an activist with the NAACP, which is warning that racial tensions are boiling over in the East Ramapo school district. The school board, the group charges, is stripping services from public school children and channeling resources to benefit the Orthodox parochial schools attended by the school board members’ own children. Allegations of racial segregation are serious. They should be made seriously. What's going on in East Ramapo doesn’t fit the bill. On the contrary, the East Ramapo school district will serve as a paradigm and a newly religious and newly cost conscious educational landscape. Does this new paradigm always lead to improved educational outcomes for minority students? Not necessarily, but that doesn’t make it wrong and certainly doesn’t make it racism.

Let’s imagine three possible combinations. First, a low income enclave in a higher income area with a robust tax base which utilizes public schools. Second, a low income enclave in a middle to lower income area which doesn’t utilize public schools (East Ramapo, Lakewood). Finally, an entirely low income neighborhood. We can imagine that our low income population would be best served educationally in the first area, riding the coattails of higher income parents who are invested in the schools. We would also assume that an entirely low income area would have a diminished tax base and would not produce excellent educational outcomes. We can also assume that the preponderance of lower income people unfortunately live with the third scenario. What happens if scenario 1 changes to scenario 2? Because of a change in the neighborhood, the poor people on the margins become the main population served by the public schools. They can no longer rely on other people’s investments in the schools to propel educational outcomes they couldn’t achieve on their own. Presumably, this would lead to resentment. Yet, what's the solution? It seems like the only way out would be to get the apathetic population to invest in the schools. Yet, this is a problem. In a democracy, lower to middle income folks who don’t feel their needs are being met by the schools don’t have a whole lot of choice. You still have to pay taxes.

Legislative efforts to lower the tax burden could be seen as “eviscerating” or “looting” public schools in a very mendacious interpretation. Perhaps if these same parents sent their kids to super expensive schools with pools and brand new science labs we would say that there’s something untoward about not sparing some money for the poorer children who rely on the public schools.In East Ramapo this isn’t the case. The non-mandated services aren’t enriching the Jewish kids. If anything, educational outcomes for the Jewish children are lower on almost any conceivable metric than their peers in public schools. College matriculation rates in Kaser? SAT scores in New Square? Give me a break.It’d be nice for East Ramapo to attract people of a higher income with an interest in the public schools. Its difficult to demonstrate, though, that people of lower or middle income with no interest in public schools should be required to perpetuate a public school system that was unusually advantageous for lower income students. It’s great that there used to be opportunities to get better educational outcomes in East Ramapo than in East Harlem. It sucks that these opportunities have dried up. But it isn’t unfair or racist beyond the normal unfairness associated with life. When reflexive accusations of racism are thrown at people trying to bend the cost curve, lower their taxes and educate their kids according to their religion we lose sight of the actual issues in play. Hyperventilating about any perceived disparity in such excitable tones is irresponsible and obscures a more important argument. Poor kids should not be condemned to poor education, whether or not it was better or worse yesterday or ten years ago.

18 comments:

moshe moshel said...

The many points of this article are well made. There is one issue left out, and that is when "we", frumme yidden fail in public positions to always act above and beyond reproach with regard to erlichkeit and civilty. Unfortunately, there have been some major failures in that regard that give our enemies fodder.

Hirshel Tzig - הירשל ציג said...

and I'm telling you this is a No-Win situation, no matter how civil and upright we act.

moshe moshel said...

Maskim that the sonim are sonim. The issue is, that until all this hyperbole gets litigated in court, we aren't looking too pretty.

I'm confident the courts will vindicate the frum members of the school board. Their unproffessional behavior, availible for all to see on youtube still leaves us red faced.

Hirshel Tzig - הירשל ציג said...

what do you call unprofessional, Moshe?

moshe moshel said...

Jews always have to remember that in galus we are in a no win situation. Be it in Eretz Yisroel, re: Gaza, Lakewood, Monsey or Brooklyn...

Hirshel Tzig - הירשל ציג said...

and therefore we do what?

Rosh Hakohol said...

Why dont they hire some professional PR group to get their side to the public in a professional manner?
Their is a solution to everything..

snagville said...

Two quick points. A)Why do AA and others always follow Jews in a changing neighborhood? Because by not utilizing the public school system we "destroy" the public school system by default. B)Why are there so many lower income left in E Ramapo (and Lakewood) when the local economy is down? Because we hire them (especially the Mexicans) to do our dirty work. If we want them somewhat near us to clean our houses and cut our lawns then we need to make sure they can educate their kids.

Hirshel Tzig - הירשל ציג said...

1) I don't think the Latinos who cut the grass complain about after-school programs, they're happy to have work and not be deported...


2) Many, if not most AAs live in public housing there, nobody "brought them to do our dirty work"

Yanover said...

who lived in ramapo county before the heimishe yidden? where are they now? its the same story each time. no one wants to live with the frun jews who dress crazy and dont take care of their lawns. (that means you, lakewood. mow your lawn!!). then real estate drops, and it becomes affordable to better income blacks (who are still poor mind you, its all relative).

it was the story in crfown heights, willyb, lakewood, detroit, baltimore... jews move out when the frum come, and minorities follow the frummies.


the only reason prices are up in monsey is because frum yidden made it so. the city has to love us as much as they hate us.

Waiter said...

''Hirshel Tzig - הירשל ציג said...
and therefore we do what?''

Jews can do everything except to create, participate, defend a Jewish government that is not established by Meshiach

Anonymous said...

All that is well and good but how do the frum like when chilonim make budget cut decisions on programs that directly impact only frum kids? And then how fo we like it when they are pompous and arrogant while they do it?

Rosh Hakohol said...

Anon
"All that is well and good but how do the frum like when chilonim make budget cut decisions on programs that directly impact only frum kids"
you are wrong
since the secular in Israel cut the budget for schools that are full of Kids not empty buildings

Hirshel Tzig - הירשל ציג said...

the budget shrinks because enrollment does as well!

rosh hakohol said...

snagville
")Why do AA and others always follow Jews in a changing neighborhood? Because by not utilizing the public school system we "destroy" the public school system by default."
I understand you question but not the answer

snagville said...

Rosh H.

The explanation is that public schools have to be filled and typically are (for example in NYC) by the kids directly in that neighborhood. When those kids disappear the schools fill in kids by bussing kids from outside. These kids parents eventually move closer to the school they are being bussed to. this is what happened in many NY neighborhoods, Chicago, Detroit, Philly etc.

Twersky, Hager said...

When the opposite of the Monsey dilemma happens, Like in most school districts around where people live who utilize ‘private’ schools, but subsidize with their taxes ‘public’ schools! Therefore enhance the schools revenues which enhance the schools ratings! This enhances the real estate of the area, No one complaints!? That the area and their public schools got better grades and standing because of the "minorities" who pay in the system got nothing back for it! (Except higher taxes, due to the higher R.E. increased prices) and the public has a free ride by it!

In Monsey the "minority" somewhere else became the "majority" and what they do is to show the world that "what goes around comes around”!

The issues in Monsey are clear and the frum are on solid ground strategically and legally, ethically and tactfully? That’s another story. see: west bank and gaza.

ps: Example, In Orange county Monroe NY the area schools district became enhanced since the frum moved in! Why? Because the frum paid their school taxes but not utilizing the schools that in turn boosted the real estate in the area! Why? Because most people with children choose their place to live where there is a good rated school and low housing cost (usually they go hand in hand!) Yet, are the locals not complaining? are they appreciative? do they see the intrisic value of K.Y. to them? are they not biting the hand that feeds them?!

Note: The way to accomlishment is shorter when the dealings is square and not in an angle!

כל אמתא בריבוע אמתא ותרי חומשי באלכסונא

tibilotzi said...

Hager Twersky
Do Kj taxes go for outside Kj? dont they have their own public school system? where does Monroe gain from them?