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Opinion: NAACP slight shows NPS administration’s self-defeating tendency toward groupthink

This statement was read by Norwalk Federation of Teachers President Mary Yordon at Tuesday’s Board of Education meeting. It was unanimously approved Tuesday at a general membership NFT meeting, she said. 

The vision of the NAACP is to ensure a society in which all individuals have equal rights without discrimination based on race. The local organization sponsors scholarships for our students and brings speakers, discussion and attention to important issues. NAACP members are not always right and they are not always wrong, but they are always trying to address real problems.

Mr. Barbis’ recommendation to encourage others to not attend the 2018 NAACP gala put his personal agenda ahead of the needs of the people of Norwalk, especially the ethnically diverse students that attend our schools each day.

His advice contributes to the long-standing racial insensitivity that exists within our community, and the country, that so many have worked tirelessly to overcome.  A Board of Education in a diverse community such as ours should instead seek to take advantage of opportunities for greater understanding in an effort to support community member in an effort to serve all of our students and families of Norwalk.

His advice also demonstrates the tendency of this administration to limit input of those who disagree with them and to cut off and inhibit views that differ. This tendency has contributed to the current challenges resulting from poor implementation of several good ideas, such as those of middle school redesign and the Next Gen Science Standards. The teachers and school staff throughout the district have worked to implement these ideas and concepts despite the difficulties that have been created through an often rushed process, and a process with limited or self-selected input. This administration will be remembered for many improvements, while at the same time remembered for their steadfast refusal to work cooperatively with teaching professionals and accepting constructive criticism. This is a tendency that leads to groupthink, misinformation, misunderstandings and missed opportunities to better understand and serve the members of our community, represented by the NAACP and others.

One comment

Sue Haynie February 23, 2019 at 4:13 am

There is a certain irony that the NFT, an organization defined by ‘groupthink’, would lecture a democratically elected Volunteer body of BOE representatives. The NFT is righteous when it suits their purpose.

Where was the NFT’s righteousness when it allowed Briggs, a very high needs school, to be a ‘rubber room’ for incompetent or sidelined teachers for years? Or when two middle schools consistently and over many years suspended minority SPED students until the State and Feds sanctioned NPS? Or for support of statewide iniatives that will substantially increase teachers pre-certification training in the science of reading instruction? Etc etc etc

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