Norwalk schools can’t go backwards

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To the Editor:

I would like to thank Dr. Rivera for the very productive time spent here in Norwalk. The short-term goals that have been achieved in our school district have given parents and our children hope that we can close our achievement gap, that we can raise our education standards and rigor for all children, and that we can truly have a stellar school system.

Dr. Rivera’s resignation has also has brought to light what many of us have known to be problematic for a long time: board micromanagement, hypercriticism of the superintendent, administrator insubordination, racial divisiveness, and derailment of progress through broken records like “I’m abstaining because process wasn’t followed” or “It’s all for the kids.”

How do I know this? Because I spent 6 years working on the 3rd floor of City Hall where I witnessed it.

Parents are angry and deeply disturbed by the superintendent turnover because of these problems. Parents are also uniting because decades of leadership stranglehold by a few old guard gatekeepers and their board of education members is now known throughout the entire parent community.

So what needs to change?

Lines of communication that feed the insubordination, the micromanagement, the hypercriticism, and the racial divisiveness need to be removed. We need to defund two central office positions and change the job descriptions to the district’s real needs, while matching the education background to the job duties and not the person.

We need to remove insubordinate administrators from their current positions by firing them. If not, then they need to be removed from their power base and put in a rubber room.

Board of Education members who claim racism but do not provide evidence, and who continually micromanage and hypercriticize, need to resign. You are hurting our children because this does not bring us a quality education system. Instead it causes turmoil and upheaval as evidenced by the past eight years.

The Democratic Party needs to put forth better quality board of education candidates from certain districts.

The teachers and administrators of Norwalk Schools need to vote out decades-old leadership from your unions. You feed into the leadership stranglehold because of this. We are your parents. We are your students. We are watching how you vote.

Parents need to come to Board of Education meetings consistently to hold board members accountable. Parents need to run for the Board of Education.

If we want a stellar education system, we need to keep Norwalk schools moving forward. This means continued implementation of Dr. Rivera’s strategic plan, an interim superintendent who will keep things moving and not be bullied, private funders who remain at the table, mass voting in local Board of Education elections, parents running for board of education positions, and the creation of a parent watchdog group that consistently reports back to all parents.

Norwalk schools have come so far in the past few years. We can’t go backwards. We need to keep the positive momentum going. We need to close the achievement gap and provide all our children with the highest education standards and rigor.

Lauren Rosato, Parent


5 responses to “Norwalk schools can’t go backwards”

  1. NPS Parent

    Lauren – I hope you run again. You had my vote last election.

  2. Norwalk4Life

    Well said. Lauren, please run again.

  3. piberman

    Well said. Norwalk is severely handicapped because the Democrat Town Commiittee nominates BOE candidates representing the minorities who do not have the requisite skills to effectively interface with other BOE members. By so doing the DTC both handicaps the BOE and denies our minority parents and citizens effective representation on the BOE. The DTC isn’t even embarrassed when their minority BOE members reject the hiring of a nationally acclaimed Hispanic Supt. imagine what might happen if the DTC helped elect really able BOE members from the City’s minority communities. Imagine how proud we’d all be.

  4. Bruce Kimmel

    Thank you for this excellent letter. It makes lots of excellent points.

    Unfortunately, Norwalk has a two year mayoral/council election cycle that sometimes forces incumbents into damage control mode whenever there are serious issues with their own political parties. I don’t care how long our political terms are, leaders are expected to lead; they are expected to represent the interests of the entire city and to do whatever is necessary to ensure that those interests are protected going forward. Beating around the bush with efforts to “spread the blame,” or with “it’s more complicated” statements might win an election here and there, but it won’t move this city, especially our school system, into the 21st century.

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