Op-Ed: Support Our Local School Boards

As Easton’s First Selectman, I have no authority over the school board, but I do feel a great deal of responsibility to weigh in on matters that impact our kids and our community. The ongoing attacks directed at our educators and our school board by a small group of people with a national political agenda has now landed us in the national news–and not with a focus on Easton’s great assets–our community, our farms, our wonderful natural setting. Instead, we’re in the spotlight for an artificial controversy created by a small group that has worked hard to divide us around false issues–at the expense of everyone in Easton who cares about our community and our schools.

First, I’d like to share the facts. We have a bipartisan school board which has worked collaboratively to tackle challenging issues and deserves our special appreciation for navigating the pandemic last year. They have a strong record of forging bipartisan consensus and have recently made progress on a whole slate of issues including a safe reopening plan, a new K-5 Math Curriculum, and hiring a new Director of Technology and Digital Learning. They are doing important work for the benefit of students in Easton and our community.

This is a big job at any time, but perhaps even a greater challenge today, with a small faction working at every turn to politicize their work with a toxic national political agenda aimed at dividing us, without any thought about the impact that division might have on our community. This group alleges–as part of a national campaign–that Critical Race Theory is taught in our schools. This is false, but it advances this group’s goal of dividing us and lands us in the news for all the wrong reasons.

The acrimony we have seen at school board meetings is clearly part of a larger political movement playing out in small towns across America driven by those who care less about schools and students than ideology, and who have no allegiance to the facts. I assure you that toxic political division will not benefit our schools or our community.

We are known for excellent schools and our bipartisan approach to policy making on the school board. The job now is to work on behalf of our kids, the schools, our teachers, and our administration. My call to action to every Easton resident today is to reject the politics of division and to stay focused on the facts and the students. Attend a school board meeting. Listen to our bipartisan Board Members. Decide for yourself who has our students’ best interests at heart.

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