“No compromise this time: East Ramapo needs a monitor, with veto power.That was the clear message from the special monitor team that’s spent the last five months planted in the East Ramapo school district, sifting through financial information, visiting public-school classrooms, interviewing teachers and studying curriculum. Certainly, we’ve seen recent change. In July, the board finally replaced a high-priced law firm, controversial for its outlandish pay and its verbal abuse of public-school parents and even students. In October, Superintendent Joel Klein, who insulted many with remarks about older immigrant students’ lack of desire to get a diploma, was replaced with an educator known for turning around troubled districts. The board also appointed a new school board member — after a newly elected member quit — who hails from the public-school fold.But that is too little, way late. “Even though we have been there for 17 weeks, this problem has been there for 10 years,” Walcott said. Walcott saw all aspects of urban education as New York City schools chancellor from 2011 to 2013, but still talked about East Ramapo as being especially fragile and vulnerable and reeling from “psychological trauma.” The monitor team will remain, for now, in the district. But the state must act quickly to install full oversight and provide needed aid. That means the Legislature must pass the needed bills asap.This time, there can be no last-minute finagling by Senate Republicans â€” abated by local Sen. David Carlucci, a member of the Independent Democratic Conference that’s at times snuggled up to Senate GOP leadership. Carlucci pledged clear support, but also warned that it won’t be easy: “This will be an uphill fight in the Senate that we cannot afford to lose, and will take the full support of the Monitors, the State Education Department, the Board of Regents and the Governor.” Read the full text of the editorial here.
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