We would like to extend our congratulations to Norwalk’s new Board of Education members. We wish them strength and courage to address the difficult issues that are now laid before them. We each ran to be members of consequence and hope that our new members will find the time in their busy lives to both do the research and be an effective voice for the students of Norwalk.
One of their most pressing issues will be teacher retention. Now that there will be three teachers on the Board, we’re hoping they will support NPS staff and encourage our Superintendent to listen to the teachers to alleviate stress in the classroom. Otherwise, we’ll have more teachers resigning.
Another critical issue is the lowering of standards that results in higher graduation rates. By lowering the standards, more students graduate without reaching their full potential. Will just sitting in a classroom chair become the standard for graduation? Are our schools preparing them to be responsible, educated adults?
Our current Board of Education mandates that students be given a minimum 50% for a grade, regardless of how much a student understands the content or regardless of the effort put into learning. Teachers capitulate when it comes to assigning grades in fear of complaints from parents or administrative officials. As George Cooper (The Big Bang Theory) noted, “You learn as much about who you are and what you’re made of from failing as you do from success—maybe more.” The objective of our school district is to make our students “future ready.” We cannot be afraid to let our students fail. As new Board members it is sometimes difficult not to be intimidated by those who have been on the Board longer. Something must be done though, when data shows that six out of 10 NPS students are not proficient in reading K-10, and math scores that are even lower.
Our NPS students are regularly referred to as “scholars” – but does reading below grade level and sitting in a classroom chair make you a scholar? Parents need to get more involved and demand rigorous expectations from the Board of Education, because Board policy sets the standard, not the teachers.
The Board of Education does not operate in a vacuum. Our representatives have an important responsibility to taxpayers who pay roughly $22,000 per student. You’ll have your work cut out for you. Please have courage and do right by Norwalk and our students.
Raise the bar and we will be there to support you.
Alexandrea Kemeny, Independent Candidate for BOE (District A)
Rasheemah Richardson, Independent Candidate for BOE (District B)
Nicole Hampton, Independent Candidate for BOE (District C)