Darien RTC Summary Statement on Education
Darien’s education system ranks as one of the top districts in the state. Our schools are one of the town’s competitive advantages. Maintaining Darien’s excellent schools accomplishes two goals: (1) to educate and prepare Darien youth for productive, successful, and meaningful futures in a diverse set of fields; and (2) to attract new families and protect home values throughout the district.
To these ends, the Darien RTC believes that the Board of Education (“BoE”) should:
► Be staffed with experienced and competent members with a track record of competency, professionalism, and common sense;
► Maintain local control of schools and drive accountability exclusively to Darien residents and taxpayers. Oppose regionalization in any form;
► Act transparently with regard to budget priorities, mission, and short and long-term goals;
► Provide teachers & administrators with a responsible budget;
► Encourage a STEM-rich curriculum with less state interference in course requirements;
► Support the ideal that character formation, civics, and respect for the best of our traditions are inseparable from a meaningful education; and
► Operate in an inclusive, respectful manner by openly considering differing viewpoints with a focus on the best outcomes for our students.
Creative, Future-Oriented, STEM-Rich Curriculum
► Darien students should be prepared to solve problems, make sense of information, and know how to gather and evaluate evidence to make decisions, all of which are developed in STEM.
► These skills will benefit Darien youth as they seek careers in the increasingly complex economy of the 21st century and will build life skills, content knowledge, and fluency with topics that will benefit them, regardless of their chosen career path.
► Hold BoE accountable for assisting teachers and administrators to re-examine course content and building an appropriate curriculum for each grade that is aligned with federal standards for measurement and refinement.
► Require the BoE to assess and evaluate student standardized test scores relative to other state and national test scores to ensure teaching methods are effective in meeting specific higher learning standards. Publicize results.
► The RTC believes that we should aim to develop metrics for assessing education on consistent basis and marking the progress students are making towards receiving a robust STEM education.
► Darien students should be prepared to understand and evaluate systems of government, to appreciate the invaluable historical contributions of the American system, and to understand their responsibility to be conscious participants in our dynamic system of government, while ensuring they are instilled with an understanding of the importance of social consciousness, community involvement, and their responsibility to be inclusive and strive for continuous improvement.
Principles, Policies & Rationale
Autonomy and Local Control— Darien First!
► “No” to regionalization in all forms.
► Darien schools should be accountable to Darien residents exclusively.
► Lack of fiscal transparency impedes local control and accountability.
Education in Darien
Darien RTC Platform Committee
► Darien BoE activity should be open for monitoring by all Darien residents. Financial transparency should be improved by BoE's participation in Darien’s “OpenGov” program.
► The BOE budget should not hold reserves, but return any surpluses to the town of Darien annually.
Character Formation and Civics are Critical to an Education
► Emphasize lessons in education that form students to be better suited for the responsibilities of citizenship.
► Schools can provide students a sense of belonging and place. Educators should take seriously their role in moral formation and social connection to ensure students are prepared not only for careers but as future members of critical institutions— families, communities, places of worship, and interpersonal relationships.
► Promote the freedom to debate and discuss the merits of competing ideas and the principle that debate or deliberation may not be suppressed simply because the beliefs or ideas expressed are inconsistent or contrary to those held by others in the school community. Healthy, open communications and vigorous debate need to be encouraged within the school community in order to teach students to listen to opposing points of view, to weigh the different perspectives on an issue, and to reach and be able to defend their own conclusions.
► Darien schools should be well capitalized with financial resources to provide outstanding services for value, even through periods of financial hardship. Overall fiscal conservatism should dictate: saving in good times can allow for responsible spending in bad times.
► Monitor Finance Committee and town budgetary bodies to hold decisionmakers accountable to prioritizing education budget in the face of cuts post-COVID.
Click on the name of any article you would like to read:
► As the Connecticut legislative session begins, the time is now to focus on what it might bring
By Susan Shultz, Editor, The Darien Times, January 2020
► Education policy best guided by parents and teachers— not politicians
By Toni Boucher, The News Times (Norwalk), January 2020
► State Rep. Terrie Wood: the good, and not so good, in state budget
By Terrie Wood, The Hour (Norwalk), June 2019
► Attacks on State Rep. Terrie Wood Misguided
By Rob Hulick, The Darien Times, March 2019
► Lamont school regionalization plan alarms parents
By Kathleen Megan, The CT Post, March 2019