Letter: Norwalk lucky to have the majority of this bipartisan BOE

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To the Editor:

Recently Norwalk has been subjected to a strange dichotomy.

On the one hand, extraordinary progress is being made every day by our school system in improving the education of our children, led by Board of Ed Chair Mike Lyons and Superintendent Manuel Rivera.

On the other hand, a strange political theater is being conducted in an effort to undermine that progress, led by three Board of Ed members who have made baseless charges of racism against fellow board members. Those members have produced no evidence to support these charges, in fact refusing to do so. Their only agenda seems to be to halt progress for our students.

It is important to reflect on how far we have come since Mike Lyons and Dr. Rivera took over the reins. A few years ago the school system was running multi-million dollar deficits and having marches on City Hall at budget time; now it manages its dollars sensibly and peacefully adopts fiscally-responsible budgets.

Then it was laying off teachers; now it is hiring teachers, aides, and new curriculum and instruction experts.

Then it was a school system with no coherent curriculum; now it has implemented Common Core curricula throughout the entire system.

Then it had a special education program that was in crisis; now special ed has a new director, new organization, and achievable goals.

Then it had an ineffective system of personnel evaluations; now it is a pilot school system for evaluations tied to student achievement.

Then Briggs School was a forgotten backwater some were trying to close; now Briggs is a state turnaround school making tremendous progress.

Then it was a strictly K-12 school system; now it has initiatives in the works for Pre-K education, and a post-grade-12, first-in-state P-Tech Academy with IBM at Norwalk High School. The list goes on.

Norwalk’s students, parents and taxpayers are very fortunate to have progressive leaders like Mike Lyons, Dr. Rivera, and a bipartisan Board of Ed majority who are leading our school system to greatness. We urge these leaders to keep moving us forward, and to not get sidetracked by the false accusations being thrown at them by those trying to hold Norwalk back.

The Republican Town Committee Executive Committee

Peter Torrano, Chairman


13 responses to “Letter: Norwalk lucky to have the majority of this bipartisan BOE”

  1. Norewalk Lifer

    Dear Mr. Torrano:

    You left out an important element in the success of Norwalk’s school system; the students.

    I’ve tracked the comments by residents and students of the Norwalk school systems over the years, and found that students are frustrated by the lack of concern for their next level of education, yet, they applaud teachers by name for their contribution.

    Do you think that the board is solely responsible for achievements? I hope not, because if you only solicit feedback on the board and their achievements, you reduce the empowerment of the students and teachers themselves.

    This would be akin to stating that the generals are solely responsible for the success in a war theater and give no credit whatsoever, to the field sergeants (teachers) and the foot soldiers (students).

    Let’s stop the pretense about the board, Briggs is still a low achievement school with 46% of the students Hispanic. The principal has gotten a glowing review for her personal involvement. But the students, while there is a teacher to student ratio of 5.52, still does not achieve standards; it is ranked 3rd from the bottom in the state of Connecticut.

    So, let’s not allow the BOE to rest on their laurels, let’s help them to achieve, but do not forget the contribution of teachers and students in this equation.

    Those schools belong to the students, not the BOE, don’t pretend otherwise.

    Norwalk Lifer

  2. Lifelong Teacher

    Common Core has not been implemented throughout the system. Sorry Mr. Torrano but if that’s what you’ve been told, you were seriously misinformed. Ask any teacher in the 12 elementary schools.

    A ton of materials are sitting waiting for distribution, and there were two brief introductions by sales staff in June. But Implementation has yet to begin for literacy.

  3. Grand Torrano

    Is this letter supposed to make us forget about your failed attempts at candidates. You don’t even listen to your own fellow Republicans. Why should anyone listen to you? You make Art look like a great leader.

  4. Pibermanfmc

    Let’s be positive. Norwalk’s BOE has made exrraordinary progress in recent years from an utterly dysfunctional entity that severly affected our City’s reputation. All BOE’s are works in progress. So let’s recognize and occasionally celebrate the fine work our BOE has achieved in recent years. Everyone benefits from a well functioning public school system.

  5. Norewalk Lifer

    Let us also celebrate the achievements of our city’s students who achieve in spite of the “under construction” sign on the BOE.
    it’s easy to say that all is not done yet and let’s celebrate achievement, fair enough, I’ll continue to applaud the students who are the true unsung heroes in this discussion.

    Norwalk Lifer

  6. Oldtimer

    Relax. Until you take the time to have a conversation with Ms Mosby, you are not qualified to pass judgement on her perception of racism on the BOE. Just because you have not seen hard evidence of deliberate intentional acts of racism, does not prove it does not exist. The fact that the BOE seems to be functioning better at this time does not preclude the fact that some people can act and speak in ways that make others feel they are being discriminated against. Your eagerness to make public statements that her complaints is “BASELESS” without first having a conversation with her, is evidence enough to make a lot of people who support the BOE’s progress, believe she probably has a valid complaint, if Chairimontes’s public comments were not enough. This should not become a political issue, but, when the RTC chair starts writing letters insinuating Ms Mosby is a liar, it cannot avoid becoming political. I suspect you have no interest in being identified as on the same side with the racists. We both know there are a few around. Until recently, I figured most of them were odd balls, not representative of the community. Now, I have to wonder.

  7. M. Murray’s

    It would be a lot easier to understand why someone is accused of something if there were facts to back it up. The longer this takes, the more you have to wonder if there is a basis for this accusation, if it was misperception, or if it is a malicious attempt to harm someone’s reputation.

  8. piberman

    Old Timer:
    Have you forgotten that we live in a society where individuals are judged innocent until judged differently ? Why should public charges of “discrimination” against an elected public body offered without evidence in a public forum be taken seriously ? The appropriate venue is our justice system. Are we now to have “conversations” with all those who claim “discrimination” in the market place ?

    If the 3 BOE members have legitimate claims they know how to seek redress. Claiming “foul” in the public market place is not one of those acceptable areas. For public officials to not understand the essence of our judicial system is to be polite “remarkable”. As is the official silence of our elected officials in our City.

    Good public conduct requires the 3 individuals to seek redress in the courts. Not having our mayor holding individual conversations with BOE members. That’s affront to both the integrity and independence of our BOE. And suggests the standards of a police chief appear to be different than those of the mayor.

    At this point in time the issue is not whether there is discrimination on the BOE but how that charge by the 3 individuals ought to be registered. Not in the news media. But in the courts. Here’s some forecasts. They will not take their case to the courts. And they will not make future substantial contributions to the BOE. Nor will they be rewarded with leadership positions in our community. Nor will the minority community endorse their complaints. Nor will the Mayor hold “conversations” with individual BOE members.

    Will the Democratic Party continue to endorse these 3 individuals for future “service” to Norwalk ? Now that’s a good question. I’m not sure of the answer. But the reluctance of the community to “get aboard” these bizare charges suggests Norwalk is a pretty good place to live. And that the community understands the real importance of the BOE and its recent remarkable contributions. I suspect the 3 individuals are quite surprised that their outburst of discrimination hasn’t borne fruit in our City. An apology is overdue. Maybe resignations.

  9. Mary Lopez-Fabrega

    Irish Girl ALERT: Grand Torrano???

  10. Ms Ruby McPherson

    Norwalk is still the old boys town and plenty to go around. Its just that years ago, we knew who was really a racist. Now their child come in an undercover way. Setup way still to keep US back, like improving all of Norwalk, not just around the lower South Norwalk, it like a circle squeezing all the minorities in from the lower South Main around Ely Ave to Meadow Street, Woodward Ave. Check Redevelopment. We would like a better quality of life as we are fighting for in the School and jobs. Not all are drug dealers or Thugs,nor welfare princess as you find more Latinos having babies to stay in the country and can’t support them, White’s also who have kids and no jobs trying to keep the house(food stamps and cash assist)

  11. Pibermanfmc

    What’s missing from the conversation are the views of Norwalk Democratic Town Committee leaders and elected officials. Do they support the public charges of discrimination against the BOE by 3 Democratic BOE members and if so are they prepared to assist financing their legal adjudication where the “facts” will emerge ? Or are Democratic leaders just embarrassed and hoping this bizarre incident – unique in CT – will be eventually forgotten ? The core issue here is it appropriate behavior to make public charges of discrimination against a duly elected BOE without presenting any evidence to support such claims ? And if there us plausible evidence why are the 3 BOE members so reluctant to seek judicial relief so everyone will learn the facts or are the facts not important here ? Just the claim ?

  12. RU4REAL

    @ peter berman, my man, if they take it to court it will cost the taxpayers.

  13. Cantwejustgetalong

    Dear Norewalk Lifer, Please go into detail as to how pointing out that 46% of the students being hispanic is relevant to the article? It is incredulous that with all these allegations going around about racism towards African Americans, we all dismiss/ignore the negative discriminatory attitude towards Latinos in this city. PLEASE STOP. Yes it is true that the percentage of Latinos in our city has risen tremendously. It does not mean the Latinos in our community are pulling the city down. My intention is not to distract the readers from the original article but sometimes the comments are so ignorant I cannot help but point (that) ignorance out.

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