On Tuesday, Norwalk residents will head to the polls to vote for a variety of positions throughout our local government. For families like mine, there is one issue that is far more important than the others: which candidate will support funding education.
A strong public school system is vital to any city for so many reasons, for example, an educated population results in decreased long-term unemployment numbers, reduced dependence on public assistance programs, decreased crime, and improved public health. Additionally, a strong school system will attract business and draw new families and residents to the city, all of which increases the overall tax base that the city relies on to fund itself. It is undeniable that Norwalk Public Schools have made significant gains over the past decade. The Council and the Mayor have invested in the schools over the years and the results are clear. Norwalk Public Schools have improved in a variety of areas. Yet despite these improvements, Norwalk schools still lag behind many of our neighboring towns in both funding and quality. Now is not the time to step back and accept the status quo, as a city we owe it to our children, all 11,600+ of them, currently enrolled in Norwalk Public Schools to continue to invest in their education and their future.
I recognize that the past two years have been challenging due to the pandemic and that many are struggling. However, I also believe that refusing to invest in our children will have long-term negative impacts to the city as a whole. I am encouraged by the fact that many others share my concerns – parents have becoming more engaged and recent events have even prompted several to make a difference and run for counsel. People are no longer willing to accept the status quo and I applaud that. Candidates like Nora Niedzielski-Eichner, Dominique Johnson, Barbara Smyth, Josh Goldstein, Jenn McMurrer, Diane Jellerette, and Heidi Alterman are supportive of our schools. I encourage you to reach out to them individually and learn more about these candidates and the valuable voices that they would bring to the table. Most importantly, whether you agree with me or not, I ask that you show up to polls on Tuesday and cast a vote for those candidates that you support. The success of our city truly does rely on its residents exercising their right to vote.
Sarah McIntee is a Chapman Hyperlocal Media Inc. Board member. The views expressed here are her own and do not represent the CHM Board.