Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Budget

The 2012 budget is upon us. Let us begin the conversation that needs to be out in the open.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Playing Favorites?

There is a lot of talk around town about the superintendent's 'favorites.' These favorites are some of the principals. One could understand favoring principals who show strong leadership in improving test scores and who are sincerely narrowing the achievement gap. But this is not so in Norwalk. These are just 'favorites.' These are people who are treated differently. Then there are those who are treated unfavorably, even nastily, it is told. Is this the way a true leader behaves? What book Is this superintendent reading? Certainly not 'How to Win Friends and Influence People.'

Saturday, December 10, 2011


The payroll department has been moved from the third floor of City Hall to the second floor of City Hall with NO vote from the Board of Education. A committee made the decision. Since when does that happen? Where's the transparancy from the transparency party? Where's the vote?

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Board of Education

Overheard and interesting.......Will the real Board of Education chairperson please stand up....Ummmmmmmmm, Mike??? Jack??? What's going on there?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

From Hartford......

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) -- A slate of school reform proposals that include eliminating open-ended teacher tenure, providing preschool and all-day kindergarten statewide and eliminating grade levels drew interest Wednesday from Connecticut education leaders, who are preparing their own reform ideas for lawmakers. (from the Norwalk Hour)

This type of reform could take years to achieve, but the proposal is out there. What do you think?

Monday, December 5, 2011

Presents for the Holidays

It's Christmas, Chanukah and Kwanza time. How about a space for sharing ideas for gifts that might help your child (niece, nephew, friend) in school. If you are sharing books, please list titles. Should we agree to buy at least one educational, age appropriate toy per family (per child)? What are your thoughts on presents? I hope we can digress from the usual dialogue to discuss this in a helpful way for families. Let me know what you think, please.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

2011-2012 School Budget

We know it will be another tough year for the budget. The only chance that it won't be a repeat of last year's nightmare is if the formula for cost sharing gets changed and money pours into Norwalk for education. So we have two scenarios: (1) large budget cuts or (2) money for additional expenditures. To be prepared for either possibility, what would you
suggest that the superintendent (1) eliminates or (2) adds. If there is good reason why a position, a program or whatever can not be eliminated, please let us know in a civil manner.

Monday, November 28, 2011

What's Important to you?

What is important to you regarding education these days? Several choices come to mind, but feel free to add your choice and tell us why your topic is on your mind.... There's the education cost sharing formula that has made recent news, closing the gap, professional development for teachers, a more rigorous evaluation of principals, the next budget talks, the superintendent's progress, homework policies, special education, use of computers in the classroom......Tell us what is on your mind these days.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

While wishing all of you a Happy Thanksgiving, I especially want to give thanks to all the elected officials of Norwalk. A special thank you to every Board of Education member, even though we sometimes think you all ought to be perfect. We really do appreciate your commitment to the children of Norwalk. Another huge thank you to all the teachers, principals and central office staff for their tireless efforts to help our students. You are our heroes. One last thank you is for a local hero who died this year, Richard Fuller Sr. He will be missed by so many. Anyone else want to join me, add your thanks or comments? Please do. As always, if you sign in as anonymous, you remain anonymous even to me.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Mistaken about Core Curriculum

There seems to be an error about the understanding of what has been called 'core curriculum' by a new Board member. There was a core curriculum in the 1990's, but now we talk about the common core standards.The curriculum is developed around these standards. It's time to change the way people understand the changes and to update their vocabulary. We don't want to appear that we don't know current standards when the State Dept. comes calling......Just trying to get us all on the same page.....

Monday, November 21, 2011

Clarification, please

I just want to know if this is true. Someone, whose name will remain anonymous, told me that a certain BoE member would not be able to work even as a volunteer in the NPS system because HR would do fingerprints and that person would be told no way. Is this true? This is not an attempt to ruin a person's reputation, just want to know the facts. Any lawyers know the truth?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

New Board of Ed Chair?

No, it's not going to be Steve. That would make too much sense. The Republicans are rumored to want to put one of their own in. It is heavily rumored to be Jack.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

New Chairperson....Who?

Suggestion for a new topic...

Who will be the new chairperson? Who gets your vote and why?

Friday, November 18, 2011

Who knows?

These are questions that need answering if we are to really hold this superintendent accountable. Perhaps the questions have favorable answers, perhaps not. Let's put them to the test.
(1) A major expectation when searching for a superintendent was for the chosen candidate to fairly evaluate principals and to 'eliminate' those principals who were not effective. What evidence exists that this is being done?
(2) This superintendent was expected to hold central office accountable for their schedules in the schools, for their work with staff and for their budgets. Has this happened?
(3) Another expectation for this superintendent was for her to work closely with all parties involved in the education of the students. Has she?
Yes, we have discussed the superintendent and her actions before, but now let's grade her in specific areas. Please feel free to add any areas I have overlooked.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Not much but the rumors

Not much but the rumors to report on....Here's the only one worthy of questioning, in my opinion. It was hugely rumored that the superintendent was asked to stay in Norwalk until after the elections, then she could leave. Now the rumors are that she has been asked to stay until January. So is she staying or leaving? Anyone hear what's going on?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Results Mostly In

Congratulations are in order for Jack, Rosa and Michael Lyons. How do you feel this will affect the future of our students? The superintendent? What about the turnout of voters? Does anyone care anymore?

Friday, November 4, 2011

Mudslinging in Norwalk's Campaigns

'With Election Day approaching, the delivery revealed a withdrawn foreclosure case and breach of peace charge against the District E candidate. It also marked the start of mudslinging in the Board of Education race, which continued Thursday when Democrats published a Facebook post by incumbent Chairman Jack Chiaramonte that many find sexist.' - quoted from the Norwalk Hour
Are we just imperfect humans or should this information influence our vote? What do you think?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

And Back to the Debates....

Looking forward to the usual great discussions....

Topic of the Day

'Michael Barbis, a Sixth District commissioner in Rowayton and a Democratic candidate for the Board of Education, was charged last November with breach of peace, then entered a domestic violence program; one of his properties faces foreclosure.'-quoted from the Norwalk Patch

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Back to School on Tuesday

Susan Marks did not cancel school on Tuesday as did most of Norwalk's neighbors. Many of the teachers commute to Norwalk from towns without electricity. What's the 'right' action to take...school or no school? What do you think?

Friday, October 28, 2011

More on Debates

Since the debates are ongoing, I assumed the discussions would be ongoing....Take the topic where you want to go....

Thursday, October 27, 2011

My opinion

Some interesting information has come my way that I wanted to share. First, I learned that the leadership of the Apples fully supports the Barbis candidacy. Perhaps that is already known by most of you..
Secondly, I learned that one of the District C candidates praised one middle school as the best in the district. He referred to a study done in 2000, eleven years ago. Things have changed considerably since then. This one middle school has been on AYP (not making annual yearly progress) the longest of all the middle schools. The demographics of this school are also quite different from the other schools. Perhaps the PR for this school is better than the others, but I don't think the statistics are there to deserve such high praise.
In District B, I sincerely believe that Jack fully supports teachers, while being fully against the union president. Remember that the other candidate was thought of as a puppet for the last superintendent. Given that information, I'm not in favor of a possible puppet.
So there you have it, the opinion of Educated Yesterday...

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Changing BOE minutes?

There have been changes to the BOE minutes after the meeting is over with the explanation that the minutes needed to be 'clarified.'. Isn't this against Robert's Rules? Can a Board member go back and change a statement? I've never heard of this happening in the past. Reminder that all topics are still up for discussion. Add comments to any topic you wish.

Friday, October 21, 2011

What would you want the next NHS principal to accomplish?

What changes would you like to see at NHS? What do you want the next Norwalk High School principal to accomplish in his/her first year? While we are discussing changes, what do you want Susan Marks to accomplish this year? Big questions, yes, but well worth discussing. Let's take a look at the end of the year and see if your wishes came true, both this year for Marks and next year for the new NHS principal. Let's give them some up front goals!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Two Postings

Looks like there will be a posting for a new principal at Norwalk High due to the retirement of Mr. Mecca. The second posting will be for a grants manager. This is the same administrator's position that was eliminated during budget cuts. It is NOT the director's position that Susan Marks had originally suggested. It is at a lower level, thanks to some of the BoE members. Anyone have a favorite candidate for the high school? Other comments?

Role of Board of Ed

Soccer Mom has asked for a topic regarding the role of the Board of Ed. Specifically, do we want fighters? Do we want technocrats? Do we expect the members support the superintendent, the taxpayers? I think I got that right, Soccer Mom, bit feel free to add more questions or change it if I got it wrong. Let the discussion begin........and, thanks, Soccer Mom for the suggestion!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Two Items of Intersest

Looking for reactions to the following two items: (1) Since when does a superintendent approve of a building administrator's vacation request while school is in session? This last week a building administrator has been vacationing, according to my sources. (2) It is my understanding that Rosa Murray does her fighting for the students behind the scenes. She doesn't disagree in a public forum. I thought that was a good thing. Remember Corda left when she was on the Board. Is it possible that some people don't see her passion up front and therefore think she isn't effective? She opposes the Red Apples for certain!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Bridgeport Superintendent

John Ramos, fired from Bridgeport! As you may remember, he was the Asst. Superintendent in Norwalk as well as the principal at Norwalk High. Comments?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Bark Less, Wag More

So what are you thinking about the 'Bark Less, Wag More,' theme proposed by the Apple meeting? Some questions come to mind for me. One is, will those who are proposing this behavior become models for civility? What will folks do when the matter of funding central office is pitted against funding the schools again, as is bound to happen? Are we supposed to stay silent and smile, but gag with frustration? Will the superintendent be required to wag also, to actively listen to her staff and to work with them in a positive way? Or is the wagging only imposed on those of us who disagree with the top honcho and her fan club?

Board of Ed Candidates

There is a request for a new topic. Have you met any of the Board of Ed candidates? What do you think of them? Let's get a good conversation going on the candidates and why you want ( or don't want ) to vote for them.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Central Office, left hand side

It was brought up in a recent post that there is only one person in Central Office who handles insurance benefits, retirements,etc. Is this a problem? Staffing at Central Office should really be discussed according to the two sides of the building. There is the curriculum department and the administrative side. Does the administrative side get short shrift when discussing the budget? How do you feel about how benefits are handled? Teachers and administrators, can you add some insight here? Are you satisfied with the services provided, given only one person is provided for the entire system? Please keep in mind that this is not an evaluation of the person doing the job. It is a question of whether there are enough employees on the left hand side of Central Office.

Friday, October 7, 2011

The Survey

To continue the thoughts of the last comment under the topic 'Civility,' what do you think of the way in which the superintendent is allowing the results to be known? Should the results be distributed according to a particular school population or open up all results of all schools to the public? As you might have read, Freedom of Information allows an individual to ask for all results. Perhaps you have other questions or comments about the survey? Feel free to expand on the topic. By the way, other topics are not closed. If you want to continue the conversation of another topic below, please do.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


So what do you think of the call for civility by the Red Apples? We all know that a certain Red Apple and BoE member protects the superintendent and would love to squelch rumors and, perhaps truths. What do we do? Do we ignore the threat of the leave of absence (a fact) that appeared to be a possible tantrum? Do we ignore the telling comments of principals and central office administrators? Do we support the BoE members who are trying desperately to do what is best for students and blindly let the superintendent create budgets? I believe we need to get it all out in the open. I believe we need a forum that does not exist anywhere else. The public hasn't even been told about the cancellation of the leave of absence. The public hasn't been told about the new director's job that was approved by the BoE. What happened there? It was suddenly not a topic anymore. Why? Talk to me. What do you think? What do you want?

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Things are a mess

The topic is 'Things are a Mess.' You, the reader, continue the statement in any way you want..... Let's get some takers! Things are a mess..............(just add a comment as to where or why things are a mess) By the way, if you log on as an anonymous, you are anonymous even to me!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Why the Silence?

Speaking of what the superintendent is up to, I am sure we all want to know what the latest decision is. Is she taking a leave of absence or not? Will she be back? Is she making any demands? Buyout? What is all the silence about? I'm only guessing, but based on the past, I'm thinking something is going on. What is everyone else thinking? Are you thinking, 'How much is this going to cost us this time?' Talk to me.....

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Red Apples

Let's talk about apples, since the news around the school system is on hold, waiting for a decision from the superintendent. Red Apples are still around, but who are they exactly? If the superintendent decides to go, who will they support, if anyone? Are there enough of them left to make a difference? Or is the group composed of one board member and some friends? Does anyone know?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Interest in the Election?

The suggestion has been made to discuss the upcoming election and the interest or lack of interest generated for this election. What do you think? Have you been keeping track of who is running and how it will affect the community? How about the Board of Education? Do you intend to vote?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Your Choice, as promised

Your choice of topic next. You name it, you've got it! Suggestions for topics or name your own: Superintendent, Test scores, Budgets, Grants, Praise for the good, Complaint Department, Too many.......? (fill in the blanks), Too few....?, Board of Education, How can I help my child at home with..........?, Politics Directions: Tell me in a comment what you want to discuss here. I will start your topic without censoring it as long as it complies with what is considered legal. Thank you for your input.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

To Leave or Not To Leave, that is the question

The topic is the superintendent. She is leaving one day and not leaving the next. Is there a game being played here? What is going on? The latest that has been rumored is that she is not leaving. Did everyone start to be nice to her now? How do you feel about what is going on?

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Freedom of Speech

This is a blog where freedom of speech is encouraged. Having said that, I am suggesting that posters think before they write. All that is asked is that we behave as adults.

Topics are left up to you. You have the right to choose what you want to write about.

I believe in treating adults as adults. The responsibility is now up to you!

Let's take charge and make a difference in the Norwalk Public Schools. Let's make a difference for the benefit of students without the fear of being censored. Argue, if you want, but let's put it all on the table with the goal of getting solutions to our problems.