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Support for Colin Hosten as Chair of the Norwalk Board of Education

Send signed letters to [email protected]

I worked in the Norwalk Public Schools from 1973 to 2010 and I know firsthand how important public education is to Norwalk’s future, and how important a strong, sensitive Board of Education is to our schools.

Somehow the Board needs ensure that each student in Norwalk gets the best education possible, while also supporting all the teachers, staff, and administrators.  And, in addition to normal maintenance, there are always facilities plans that need to be reviewed and expanded.  All of this happens in a city where, while many residents support education, many residents feel that their local taxes are too high.

Colin and I have served together on our neighborhood HOA, and I have observed, firsthand, his willingness to work hard, as well as his commitment to hearing all sides of an issue and his unfailing consideration for everyone’s point of view.  Colin believes in consensus.  (Something I wish I could say about more politicians.) Colin cares about Norwalk and is deeply committed to Norwalk’s schools and all our students. I will be supporting his re-election on November 2, and hope that you do, too.

Louise Flax

14 comments

Erik Anderson October 11, 2021 at 3:56 pm

Louise, I appreciate you crafting a letter of support for a neighbor and friend, however I need to point out that voters are not electing Colin as Board Chair. That responsibility relies solely on the composition of the newly elected board that will be chosen on election day. If the new board chooses to select Colin at that time, so be it. I just wanted to make this clear to anyone reading your endorsement and in the spirit of consensus.

Nora King October 12, 2021 at 11:10 am

As a parent there is only once characteristic I am looking for. A parent that is experienced and qualified. Colin is none of those things. He was not elected to this role, but appointed because he was a supporter of Harry Rilling. He has proven that he does not have the experience to fully understand what our children need and the importance of parent involvement. He has done this time and time again by being focused on March break and times and not focused on what is important. The one thing Covid did for education was to clearly show the failure of the BOE and the administrators on educating our kids in Norwalk. They have lost focus on the fact that our kids need to read, write, understand math and science. I do not as a parent need Colin thinking that education is about progressive politics.

piberman October 12, 2021 at 11:41 am

Norwalk ranks 48th in CT in per capita income. Yet our Supt is reportedly paid $300k+ – among the highest in the State. And CT Education Dept suggests less than half of our graduates meet CT Edu standards in math and science. That seems disconcerting. Especially when we’re surrounded by some of the nation’s best school systems. And with the recent hire of a Deputy Supt. Old Timers remember when our City had a highly regarded public school system. That’s why we moved here. What are current BOE members doing to regain our once proud school system ?

John O'Neill October 12, 2021 at 3:10 pm

Bottom Line — If you think the School System is heading in the right direction keep voting for Colin & Co…If you’re even slightly aware of what’s going on in our schools you’ll seriously look in another direction. How much covering up of discipline issues are we unaware of? What about the fact that we have two High Schools, but we can’t even staff a Principal at one of them? How about the lack of foresight on School Starting Times — I can go on and on but I think a fair minded person would at least entertain the process of vetting other candidates for the Board…

Steve October 13, 2021 at 4:37 am

pliberman, how much should the superintendent earn? How do we compete for talent if we don’t pay as much as our neighboring districts? Do those neighboring districts have higher test scores because their system of education is stronger- ie administrators, teachers, etc…? They also provide more $ per capita for education- should we then try to match them? Nora King, Norwalk was actually at the forefront of districts in the area. They were the only district that had elementary school students in almost everyday throughout the 20-21 school year. Does one have to be a parent to serve on the School Board? Does that mean a parent of a child currently in the system or simply someone who has raised a child? John–“How much covering up of discipline issues are we unaware of?” really? I’ve read that sentence a half dozen times and still struggling with it.

IYKYK October 13, 2021 at 8:06 am

We need a BoE that will hold the current administration riding the gravy train accountable for their discriminatory and other unlawful/unethical practices. Every parent in our city should be most concerned that their child’s education ultimately lay within the hands of certain administration who operate on sexism, racism, harassment, bullying, nepotism, homophobia, bigotry, neglect of duty, & the list can go on.

Whether it’s Colin and the other Democrat nominees or the all female Independent slate coming in to join the existing Democrat members; everyone involved will need to open their eyes, take the blinders off, and start holding those making upwards of $200k-$300k accountable for their horrendous job performance. This isn’t a task for the faint of heart. If you are a conformist, seek election in some other realm. The only way our school district will improve is by first shining a very bright light on its failures, and holding it there until visible change is evident. It’s uncomfortable and unpleasant to critically examine such truths but our children need and deserve better.

Do not continue to allow these people, most without any historical knowledge of or roots in Norwalk, to take advantage of our most vulnerable population: our children. Taxpayers suffer financially but it’s our children who suffer in more ways than one—socially, emotionally, culturally, and cognitively.

Silence is both cooperation and oppression.

So, who from our current BoE candidates will pledge to fight this good fight? Who is willing to step in to fix this horrific mess starting with our central office?

Something to keep in mind on November 2.

John O'Neill October 13, 2021 at 8:08 am

@Steve – I recommend connectivity with almost any teacher from Grades 4-12. The opaqueness of handing out discipline is an open secret in Norwalk schools..I stand firmly behind my comment.

Jim Tru October 13, 2021 at 10:26 am

As a registered Democrat and parent I will not be supporting Colin.

I believe that he has proven time and time again that he is absolutely clueless in what is actually needed.

This is nothing more than a political maneuver at the expense of Norwalk’s Children.

Steve's comments October 13, 2021 at 2:36 pm

Steve,

As for hiring the best, are you telling me that she is the best Norwalk could get? Your measure of success is that NPS had more elementary school students in attendance during 2020-21? I don’t know that that is accurate data, but even if it is, that is a mighty low achievement bar.

Dr. Estrella had no experience as a superintendent and no experience in a district at all like Norwalk, so what did she do? She got rid of untold numbers of Norwalk’s existing administrators, marginalized a good number of those who remain, and brought in quite a few of her New York colleagues, none of whom have experience in a city like Norwalk. She left NYC, but she can feel more at home because she brought a chunk of it to Norwalk.

And then there are the many new administrative jobs she has created, nearly all of them paying $185,000 and higher — plus the high cost of their benefits. I’d like to see a comparison of the number of central office administrators in NPS, compared to the numbers in other Connecticut districts. I doubt that Norwalk has ever had this many administrators before now.

Bottom line: I’m less concerned about how Norwalk can afford her salary than I am about how Norwalk can afford her spending.

Steve October 13, 2021 at 3:19 pm

John O‘’Neil Actually I probably know several dozen teachers in NPS ( aim not an employee of Nps), none have ever raised the issue re discipline . Maybe you are simply associating with the disgruntled- nattering nabobs

John O'Neill October 13, 2021 at 11:15 pm

Steve – Glad you responded. I have to tell you I hearing from a broad cross section of teachers that your info is way off base. I know for a fact that that in house suspensions occur but are not documented…I also know for a fact that suspensions and discipline are not to go over a certain budgeted number. What’s that about ?
If what you say is true why not have an anonymous survey audited outside the school administration on discipline? I’m guessing that will never happen..If the dozens of teachers you know don’t think discipline is a problem they are the exception. As far as my hanging out with “nabobs” I had to look that up in the dictionary. Based on the dictionary “nabobs” are Govt officials in the Middle East.. Not sure where you’re going with that, but I don’t think I know any govt officials…

CT-Patriot October 14, 2021 at 9:18 pm

Let’s find out how this person who wishes to chair the board of education in Norwalk feel about AG Merric Garland’s actions to authorize the FBI, DOJ and use the Patriot Act on parents who wish to stand before the board of education and make a statement objecting to a course or theory?

ANYONE who is aspiring to chair the board of education should be very clear that they find this overly egregious action a threat to our right of freedom of speech.

The chair must also denounce any Sheriff, Chief or any law enforcement in executive authority that meets with the DOJ or FBI with regards to AG Garland’s memo.

Steve October 16, 2021 at 1:05 pm

CT Patriot, silliness. FBI is investigating people who violently disrupt meetings—there’s no First Amendment right to do that. Just because their parents- doesn’t make them anymore immune from having to follow the law- Kinda like investigating people who broke into the Capital and sought out to kill the vice- President. Threaten to do that—you get investigated. Send a petition, signed by your friends and neighbors, get a placard and post it with your message- buy TV ad time and social media- no one from the government is going to investigate you. As for Steve’s Comments- I never said that Estrella was the best- I don’t know her and wasn’t involved in the hiring but PLieberman objected to how much she’s paid- and she’s simply paid the going rate in this part of the NY metropolitan area- I’m not an apologist for her. As for the schools- my kids experiences have been fantastic- throughout their elem, MS and HS. Some magnficent teachers, caring administrators and responsive staff. Would be curious who else who’s chimed in actually has kids presently in the school district and/or works there—my guess…????

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