Letters to the Editor


NewCanaanite.com recently received the following letter(s) to the editor. Please send letters to editor@newcanaanite.com for publication here.



As a long-time New Canaan resident, former leader of a national scientific professional society, and current board member of the Council of Scientific Society Presidents in Washington, D.C., I am absolutely shocked that the Republican members of the New Canaan school board believe that the matter of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) should not be included among the goals of the Board of Education.  The demographics of the nation are changing. By the mid-2040’s people of white European ancestry will be a minority.  There simply will not be enough doctors, lawyers, engineers, scientists, teachers, and other professionals that a vibrant society requires, if school systems do not reach out now to their minority stakeholders in the most inclusive and equitable manner possible?

Nearly every university, research institution, national professional society, and many corporations are adopting DEI position statements. My Council of Scientific Society President’s (CSSP) board just instituted an ethics and DEI position statement after learning that the National Science Foundation, and other scientific granting institutions, now require such a statement as a condition for grant applications. The DEI statement was drafted by representatives of industry, academia and government and was apolitical and certainly not a “woke” exercise.  This past month I modified the CSSP statement for adoption by the board of the Associates of the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station.

The demographics of New Canaan are changing, and this change will be accelerated with the construction of more subsidized housing.  Messrs. Toal, Hogan, Alves and Bennett have their heads in the sand and are entirely out of touch with reality.  New Canaan is not in Texas or Florida.  Our community and school system should be as welcoming as possible for all students, and to achieve this, the school board must develop a diversity, equity and inclusion policy and make its successful implementation a critical goal for 2022-2023.


Skip Hobbs


To the Editor

I am endorsing TonI Boucher as the best qualified candidate for the 26th Senate District seat.  TonI has represented the interests of Wilton in Hartford for many years as both Representative and State Senator and is best qualified to do so again.

My government experience with Toni is when we called her each year to brief our Board of Finance on state budget and policy issues affecting our Wilton Town budget.  She was well-informed, detail-oriented, and always prepared for any questions we would ask of her.

Toni demonstrated all the qualities we would want in our State Senator – initiative, drive, knowledge of actual government workings, superior relationship management, preparedness, integrity, and an ability to “get along with others to get things done.”

I have also had the chance to serve on the Board of Finance with her Democratic opponent.   Unfortunately, her opponent doesn’t possess the same qualities mentioned above in which Toni excels.

Toni Boucher is the clear choice for Wilton in the 26th State Senate District.


Jeffrey Rutishauser

34 thoughts on “Letters to the Editor

  1. Bravo Skip!
    How pointed & eloquently spoken. High praise for long term NC resident to step up & address such an important issue.

  2. Hear, hear! Diversity, equity and inclusion are NOT political slogans — they are important values, essential to our well-being.

  3. “…if school systems don’t reach out now to their minority stakeholders in the most inclusive and equitable manner possible.”

    What do platitudes like this even mean? I’d be curious to know what “reaching out” looks like in practice. Should representatives from the public school system be conducting home visits? Are minority students unable to enroll and attend classes if no one reaches out? Will they be unable to function if the curriculum doesn’t include classes on how white students, who all suffer from privilege according to recent sociological invention, should treat them?

    I’m “absolutely shocked” at how infantilizing these initiatives are toward minorities, and how quickly institutions in America have folded like a deck chair to accommodate the new religion. Equity (equal outcomes)? What a farce. As Thomas Sowell points out, “You can’t get equity with two children born to the same parents and raised under the same roof.”

    What this is about is whether the New Canaan school system should go along with every other town in constructing a giant bureaucratic edifice, based on a fatuous ideology, in order to coddle different species of homo sapiens. The simpler alternative is to treat people the same, and let the kids figure it out (actual social learning). In the meantime, hopefully they’ll be exposed to a little Math, English, Art, play a sport or two, or God forbid, have some free time to spend with their chosen friends, free from coercion.

    • I think it would be a productive exercise for the BOE to have a discussion on exactly what we are talking about when we include a willingness to focus on DEI in our district goals. Clearly Mr. Taylor thinks this would lead to CRT or similar, and clearly other readers think it means something else. We cannot have a real debate and find common ground unless and until we know what we are debating. And we cannot decide how we want our district to change on this issue, if at all, unless we are willing to talk about it civilly and meaningfully. I heard the BOE Republicans say they were against keeping DEI in our goals, but I did not hear why. I heard aspirations from others on all children being valued and included, but did not hear action items. First step is to bridge this divide honestly.

  4. 100%.

    Thank you Skip for this incredible letter.

    DEI is not a political issue. It’s a welcome invitation to improve as a society. But, as Skip points out, for those who don’t care about the broader social benefits, there is no escaping the fact that it is a huge deal to employers, universities and reality in general.

    Salesforce just announced that they are committing to having 40% of their workforce women AND non-binary people in 4 years. And many, many more companies are issuing similar press releases everyday.

    This is what the world after graduation will look like for all those new freshmen settling in to their dorms this weekend. And it’s only going to embrace more understanding of DEI going forward, not less.

    That some members of our BOE would want to do anything to lessen today’s students chances of getting a job, let alone getting into the college of their choice, is insane.

    Knowing less has never been a good strategy for anything.

    • It requires quite a feat of mental gymnastics to express concern about a future America with a shortage “of doctors, lawyers, engineers, scientists, teachers, and other professionals that a vibrant society requires” and at the same time be advancing an ideology that prioritizes skin color ahead of neutral selection criteria such as merit, skill, and qualifications.

      • Mr. Taylor;
        The likely shortage of professionals in the future is not my forecast, but that of the former head of diversity at the National Science Foundation and that of the National Academies. National professional societies are actively reaching out to under-represented communities to encourage and mentor minority students to consider scientific and other professional careers. For example, I once led the effort for the American Geosciences Institute, a federation representing 52 earth science societies of every geological discipline, numbering over 250,000 individuals. Only about 2% of the nation’s earth scientists are black. There will be a critical shortage of natural resources (and this includes water) unless we actively encourage young students of every ethnic background to consider the earth sciences as a possible career. This process starts in grade school as students are taught STEM courses.

        Skip Hobbs

        • Encouraging more minorities and women to pursue studies and/or a career in the STEM fields is great, and if you are correct about the coming shortages, necessary. Diversity “requirements” are a different matter altogether. The result, which is increasingly the reality at most institutions in America, even medical school, is that merit and skills are taking a back seat to gender/skin color.

          Imagine if we applied racial quotas to the prison population, or gender quotas to the greater-metro bricklayers association. It’s hard to fathom how we went this far off the rails.

      • Hi Mr. Taylor:

        Just to clarify, DEI does not intend to prioritize skin color or any other characteristic over merit. This is but one of many misunderstandings that could be clarified if only the BOE would allow an expert to come in. Seems many in the community could benefit.

        • As I pointed out in my comment above, DEI prioritizes skin color by definition, which is racist. No expert can wriggle out of it.

        • Hi Hilary – I think you are on to something with regards to the need to clarify possible misunderstandings. Part of the challenge with using terms like DEI is we all may not associate the same meaning with the term. NY Regents have created a pretty comprehensive piece of work on DEI, and it could be helpful for people to have a look at a few of the links http://www.nysed.gov/diversity-equity-inclusion/diversity-equity-and-inclusion-framework-and-policy-statement. This may or may not be where an external consultant would take the NC BOE, but it provides a good overview of the issue for town residents to help us all come to a common understanding of DEI. On the second matter of Niche ratings regarding diversity i.e. the C- for New Canaan the challenge is much of this rating is based on racial (and a lesser extent economic) diversity of the town which the BOE has no control over (I agree however that the BOE has influence over curriculum – remember the last election had a lot of discussion about how much control elected officials should have on this so I used ‘influence’ rather than ‘control’) https://www.niche.com/about/methodology/most-diverse-school-districts/. Niche has a very good tool to compare districts and ‘niche grades’ – I encourage people to compare New Canaan in detail with other districts.
          In short we need to find a good and workable solution for New Canaan and some of issues will require engagement from more than just the BOE.

          • I agree Giacomo. It might behoove the BOE (and all of us) to hear from an actual DEI consultant or expert to explain what DEI actually looks like in the school setting. I do believe there is a lot of confusion and misunderstanding swirling around that is very detrimental to the discussion.

            Thank you for the link.

  5. New Caanan has (or probably always was as lived there for for over 20 years) become one of the least inclusive towns I have ever seen. It may not be a political issue but by the BOE and over all town actions it has become one due mostly to the Republican privileged majority in the town. DEI is a perfect example.
    My son attended the local schools. He was teased about his looks but always kept quiet. We put him in a very diverse private high school and he thrived.
    Signs that say “affordable housing yes over development no” for weed street
    are part of the problem. I haven’t seen any plausible alternatives and the town keeps trying to get exemptions or delays.
    Seems money can let you hide behind prejudice.

    • Do you have any idea how much New Canaan residents give to
      charities to help those without resources ? Church members in this town
      Serve Meals On Wheels, Soup Kitchens, volunteer at Waveny Care, and
      gardeners spend time beautifying the Town and Parks. There are so
      many good people in this town who volunteer their time to help others,
      and always without recognition.
      People in this safe, lovely town
      who work extremely hard have moved here for their children’s education
      which is excellent. I’m sorry your child didn’t fit in, but you were
      prosperous enough to select a progressive school. That is a choice. But that doesn’t
      mean you get to criticize everyone here. I worked very part time for
      the schools and I came away with notion that the teachers really have their hearts in their job, and care deeply about our children. We all as a town care, and if we don’t want a 5 story housing units dumped in a quiet neighborhood, it isn’t about excluding anybody. Please drive on 123, Rick.
      See the affordable housing that is being built. Also look at all the
      housing facing pretty mill pond. We are a generous and kind people. I resent your smear.

      • People in town are generous—no doubt. The town citizens proved that when they raised over 100,000 to fight affordable housing. So as I have asked for several months—where would you propose the town or developers build the state mandated housing

        • Mr. Karp,
          You have profited big time from the people who live in or will live in your
          affordable housing. How you live with yourself is a mystery.
          And why New Canaan? It’s a twisted tale I hope will be solved in the future. In the mean time you are using, abusing laws to
          make a lot of bucks. Disheartening at best.

          • I live by the knowledge that people deserve decent housing. Why do you think it’s about money. You understand that it costs $500,000 plus land cost for each and every affordable unit— that we are paid $1,200 to &1,400 a month in rent. The laws are the laws for communities that did little for 30 plus years. What is the mystery you are trying to solve?

          • One “mystery” is that you tore down 38 affordable units on Park Street and replaced them with luxury condos ranging from $1,300,000-$3,000,000. You also own more than a dozen 2-4 acre lots in town, where you tore down an affordable house, by New Canaan standards ($750,000-$1,300,000), with the hope of building and selling a $3,000,000-$5,000,000 home at a later date. Market conditions haven’t been in your favor recently, so the lots sit empty.

            Now, suddenly, you’re a champion of affordable housing, and those who oppose you are just elitist, racist snobs. It’s pure hypocrisy.

  6. If people have not read this very good set of opinion pieces in the NYT from yesterday titled ‘What is school for’ I encourage you to read them all – not just the ones you already agree with. There is plenty in there for all sides – the challenge is finding the right solution for us in New Canaan. https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2022/09/01/opinion/schools-education-america.html?action=click&pgtype=Article&state=default&module=opinion-what-is-school-for&variant=show&region=TOP_BANNER&context=op-whatisschoolfor-topnav

  7. I hope the youth are also learning the various labor-oriented trades in the high school–that is real diversity. The building and property improvement trades are vital parts of the economy. Not every student needs to go off to college at 18, with all the expense pressures of college life.

    On the topic of volunteering, it is always great to see students contributing to the local community. One example where they could make a really positive contribution–the local nursing homes and hospitals where seniors and the disabled are getting vital care. Unfortunately the state now requires that they be fingerprinted, which they pay for, to visit health care facilities.

  8. William — we have been in the affordable housing market for 20+ years. The old Merritt apartments were ready for redevelopment as the old complex did not meet any of the current fire or ADA codes. Your comments over the last year(s) clearly show your feelings—no one has to point them out.

  9. What does it take to prepare kids for the future? What does it mean to get a good education? I don’t know the answer. But as a mother of two school age kids, here’s what I do know: After growing up in New Canaan and receiving an excellent education, my education continued, in new and sometimes more meaningful and challenging ways, after I moved to New York City where I’ve worked and lived for the past 25 years. My kids attended a small racially, culturally and economically diverse public school in Brooklyn that had an IB program (strong academics) and a DEI program long before the term became politicized. They are now kind, caring, curious, empathetic, and confident young adults, and I’m really proud of the fact they they are open-minded and non-judgemental (more proud of that than I ever was of their test scores and where they got into college). My kids, and my community, continue to educate me, by getting me outside my comfort zone and exposing me to different ways of thinking– and I really appreciate that. It’s not an either/or situation – DEI doesn’t have to take away from traditional “academics” — it should be part of it.

  10. P.S. Another thing I’ve noticed: Kids don’t want to be jerks. If the BOE is as politically and ideologically divided as it seems to be, imagine how difficult it is for our kids to know how to navigate difficult discussions in the classroom? Isn’t it our job to teach and show them how to listen, communicate, be respectful and become good global citizens? The world is changing. Fast. And academic standards should be changing too.

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