An open letter to students – Your Voice Matters

Board of Education member Godfrey Azima. (Contributed)

Dear Scholars,

Throughout my time serving on the Board of Education, one thing remains constant – you are the best investment this city can make. You are not only the heart of this district, but you will serve as the next leaders for Norwalk’s community, and I am sure that the future is bright.

So, I would like to take this time to thank you.

Thank you for your hard work. Thank you for the dedication you show to not only yourselves but your fellow classmates, teachers and school staff. And finally, thank you for making Norwalk Public Schools such a fun, engaging and culturally rich district to learn in.

I believe in you, and I believe you deserve even more. Because of that, I am asking you to speak up and ask questions.

We, as the Norwalk Board of Education, spoke at length about what was needed to give you all that we can as we move into the next school year. When we met, a dollar amount was set and we presented that to the city. Unfortunately, they came back and said that our request was too high.

While I understand that the City of Norwalk is trying to be responsible with the budget, our number-one responsibility is to you.

We all knew that the next budget would need a big increase from years past as we continue to address the setbacks that COVID brought to the district. We are now being asked to meet our needs with far less money than we thought we would have. If we are forced to do so, some of your favorite programs like music and sports could be affected. Some of your favorite school staff members, including instructional teachers, counselors and paraprofessionals could also be impacted.

So if the members of the city government won’t listen to us, then they should hear from those who it’s affecting the most: you!

Your fearlessness and persistence is what first motivated me to make the decision to run for a seat on the Board of Education. That motivation started before I was on the board, watching students create dialogue regarding bias and race experiences in high schools and hosting ongoing youth town halls. Even while on the board, I have continued to be inspired by your voice during discussions on early start times, creating a district equity policy and your ability to be resilient and grow through a global pandemic. You always wish to have a say in your future, and I appreciate that.

Now, it is again time to speak up. While we are pushing to give you everything we can, your voices are the most powerful and important!

Ask questions. Be curious. Be a vocal part of your future. There will be meetings where the city will listen to the public on the topic of the school budget and whether it should be increased.

On Feb. 23 at 6:30 p.m. and March 22 at 6:30 p.m., you can make your voices heard because they matter!

I believe in you, and I believe that, with your voice, we can come together with the city to bring you all exactly what you need to succeed.


Godfrey Azima

Board of Education member


John O'Neill February 25, 2023 at 6:53 am

Ask question? Maybe our children should ask why the adults in the room forgot that Covid funds were temporary. Maybe those children should ask why adults don’t seem to understand what financial planning is. A third question for those children: How come students that are so disruptive keep coming back to disrupt my learning. Maybe a fourth question would be; What’s the definition of disingenuous.

Tysen Canevari February 25, 2023 at 10:33 am

What a terrific public relations letter Godfrey. Did you come up with this all by yourself? Lets make a plea to the students and tell them we will cut band, sports, art, and other fun activities so we can make our budget that we can never figure out? Lets get them to make signs and protest outside city hall with DR Moore who makes $180,000 a year a sues the city when she feels like it. Maybe the board should looks itself in the mirror and say what could we do better? Maybe hold the highest paid superindentent in the state more accountable. She alone has and will cost us a fortune for the lawsuits we are having to pay out because of her nonsense. Yet Colin gave her a raise anyway. Examine the books and see where we can trim some fat and be more cost effective. Why does it always have to be sports, band, and other extra activities. Get rid of some of the fat at the admin level that dont do their jobs. Listen to the teachers on the front line as to what works and what doesnt. They are on the front lines. Dont drag children into your budget mess. That is simply low class and the thought of it is sickening!

Bryan Meek February 26, 2023 at 1:48 pm

The Public Education Industrial Complex has managed to get us to a point where a 6 to 1 student to faculty ratio isn’t good enough. If an average class size is 18 students, then that means for every ONE person teaching kids all day, there are TWO that are NOT teaching all day. Not to say services aren’t being provided by the TWO, but how many are driving around the city all day building to building? How many never see kids? How many are designing the same curriculum that 14000 other school districts, 50 state departments of education, and the federal DOE are also doing in parallel? The US Department of Education’s budget is now over $100 Billion? That’s $7 million per school district NATIONWIDE. ITS BROKEN AND DOES NOT SERVE STUDENTS.

I understand a lot of this is baked into federal and state laws and mandates, but reasonable people should be able to agree we’ve gone past the tipping point. How many problems would go away if we simply had TWO teachers in every classroom of 18 with the ONE not teaching kids doing whatever? How many $10s of millions has the city spent redesigning curriculum year after year after year? To the point where there is no money left for text books? How much is being wasted on the SEL garbage? How many problems would go away if the students were just put to the test to achieve instead of being taught that they are victims? What would it do for self esteem if real academic goals and accomplishments were the objective?

Many of the points made the other night focused on the fact that even in the case where there are two parents that both of them are working and not as effective at providing the support structure their children need. Imagine if our taxes weren’t so high that two parents didn’t have to work or one parent didn’t have to work 3 jobs to make ends meet. How much nurturing could be provided with extra financial extra resources in the home instead of having 3 people on the payroll for every class?

I’ll posit that throwing money at the problem is actually creating more problems in society forcing parents to work more than we ever have simply to feed the beast. I’m not saying we go back to one room school houses (that managed to educate people who did the Moon shot), nor the days where Principals taught classes too, but we’ve gone so far over the edge it is unrepairable in my opinion. Vouchers and outsourcing are the only way out of this mess.

Drew Todd February 27, 2023 at 9:33 am

Here’s an idea since you care so much..
Second: How about we STOP with all the Social, WOKE, Indoctrination BS. And while we’re at it ENOUGH with the White Supremacy garbage trainings!!
Third: How much did the BOE pay for the Study of the new garbage grading system thats basically going to fail our children?!!?
Fourth: Let’s have a simple economics class about Needs VS. Wants
Fifth: Let have discipline BACK in our classrooms and schools! And here’s an idea, let’s have not only justifiable consequences but for ALL! And not certain consequences for certain students. You know when a student assaults a teacher they are REMOVED from the classroom and NOT put back in the NEXT DAY like nothing happened.
And DO NOT under any circumstances cut: SPORTS, Guidance Counselors, Band, Art. That would be the dumbest thing you could do.
Let’s call out the Mayor and our Useless State Senator and ask them why are we or the State spending money for MORE FREAKING APARTMENTS?!!? And DUMP this entire Bob Duff High!!! We could do so many, many many things including funding this budget in our schools that will have a direct benefit to NORWALK KIDS & The COMMUNITY..We don’t want to be a regional HS!
So it’s a nice editorial but stop with the fluff and BS and get to work and do the right things for our students. Its what you were elected to do!

Niz Judia February 27, 2023 at 10:58 am

sad, ask kids that are unbeknownst. when I would advocate for my sped kid, NPS staff would complain to my kid, and make it difficult for us to receive a needed math program. my kid is about to drop out of college now… frustrations are directed to me! All Because of this fiasco of an educational system in the Norwalk public schools. no money, no room… NPS does not care, is the fact of the matter.

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