Letter to the Editor,
New Canaan Advertiser
The New Canaan Democratic Town Committee has put forward an excellent slate of Board of Education candidates, one that is committed to bolstering the school system’s widely respected reputation and success in providing our children with the thorough, balanced education they need to thrive in college and their chosen careers. While they are nominees of the New Canaan Democratic Party, they are dedicated to small “d” democratic ideals, in keeping with the Board’s long-standing principle that the role of our schools is to educate, not indoctrinate. Because members of the Board of Education have traditionally adhered to that approach, all residents have benefitted from the town’s well-deserved reputation for offering residents an outstanding educational system which attracts newcomers and supports home values.
We are fortunate that the town’s schools are led by an administration that is widely admired for its success in educating our students. That success is confirmed by the students’ achievements, test scores, and in the breadth, prestige and academic standards of the higher institutions that accept them. The academic programs offered in the schools are engaging and rigorous in the classroom and complemented by the creative arts programs that enrich their lives as students in ways they will carry with them for a lifetime. As parents of a college freshman, we can see that our son’s education in the New Canaan schools prepared him well for the transition to university level academics.
To quote from a recent endorsement signed by past presidents of the New Canaan PTC/PFA, parent leaders who have shown their dedication to supporting our schools, Dr. Bryan Luizzi and the New Canaan Public School faculty “are considered - for good reason - the gold standard, not only within our DRG, but state-wide and nationally. This is not an accident. Dr. Luizzi has worked tirelessly to build relationships and importantly, trust with town governing bodies, including the BOE, Town Council and Board of Finance. NCPS’s policy and approach have always been transparent, thoughtful, and most critically, student-focused.”
In their interviews, several of the Republican candidates seeking Board seats acknowledge the school system’s success, but nevertheless talk of wanting more “transparency,” more “collaboration,” of casting more “sunshine” on the board’s deliberations. Board meetings are open, its members are accessible and the administration at all levels has always been approachable. The concerns the candidates raise seem to be manufactured, just as there are references in their remarks to warning about “Critical Race Theory,” a concept that is not taught in the schools and is nowhere in the curriculum. Wanting to inject themselves more deeply into curriculum matters, they allude to an academic theory as an imagined area of concern.
Whether a Democrat or Republican, none of us should want politics to become embedded in the curriculum, swaying back and forth depending upon who’s on the Board. Newcomers considering moving to New Canaan for the schools are not looking to provide their children with a Republican education or a Democratic education. They want a strong, thoughtful education that prepares their children to succeed.
The past presidents of the PTC/PFA are right. The Democratic Slate, Row A, on the ballot is made up of individuals who are dedicated to bolstering and extending what is already a strong partnership the administration and faculty fosters with parents. In partnership, the administration and teachers lead one of the finest school systems in the state. Together, they navigated the system safely through the onset of the pandemic, and despite the hurdles, were able to engage their students at a high level of instruction even when they couldn’t be with them in the classroom. We urge all voters to support Line A, the candidacies of Janet Leung Fonss, Jenn Hladick, Fatou Niang, Penny Rashin, Erica Schwedel and Karen Willett.
Beth and Michael Dorfsman
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