41 thoughts on “Republicans Back New Slate of Board of Ed Candidates for November Election; Complete Caucus Results

  1. A very sad day in New Canaan, CT when a person who hopes to guide our Board of Education calls teaching Critical Race Theory to young children being “race obsessed”? That is blatantly racist and there is no place that kind of race talk in 2021! News flash— people of color live in New Canaan, CT. Also, the above statement by Julie Toal is right out of the despicable Fox News playbook which was fashioned by news producers to make you watch your TV ( so they make money) & aims at creating division rather than unity. Educating our kids and the governance of our town is not a game, and I am deeply offended that anyone would fall in line behind these blatant racist and partisan statements made by Toal. New Canaan is not a racist town because people of every color have worked very hard to change it’s elitist and racist origins. If you think you can talk about American origins and not talk about the horrors of slavery you are mistaken.

    • Who said we shouldn’t talk about the horrors of slavery?
      Julie spoke only about children needing a fundamental education: i.e math in math class. And while we need to shine a light on our history, bearing witness to the pernicious effects of racism (both overt and otherwise) throughout our history, it is equally important to recognize all we have to be proud of. This is a country in which people are free. And it is that freedom that provides this country with the latitude, vision and grit to recognize injustice and overcome it. As someone once said, all politics is local. As New Canaan parents, we share common goals for our children. We are a diverse community replete with ideas from thoughtful people. Let’s remember to hold on to the things that bind us.

    • Isn’t it great to have a discussion? I think it’s great that candidates are running that are bringing peoples attention to things. That’s the whole point. I can tell from your comments that you really don’t understand critical race theory. I really applaud Julie Toal. Maybe the Democrats will run some candidates for board of Ed. I look forward to the contrast and allowing the town to hear and learn and vote in November.

  2. If you think the current dysfunction of the Republican Party is only a threat to the continuation of our two-and-a-half-century democratic tradition at the national level, just read some of the comments made last night by this year’s GOP nominees for the New Canaan board of education.

  3. “But we want the elected Board to have an active oversight role over curriculum.”

    Politicians making curriculum decisions. What could possibly go wrong…

    Read through the article and all the quotes that use confrontational language like “I’m ready to fight” and “I want to go on offense”. Seems like these people want to expand the antagonistic Trumpian style of hostile grievance from national politics into our public schools. Glad I left the Republican party after January 6th so I have no obligation to support their candidacies.

    • Last check, parents interested in being involved in the education system they pay for and entrust their kids to are not politicians.

  4. One 0f the cornerstones of the Board of Ed. Was the complete absence of political partisanship from their public deliberations. Unfortunately, last night’s caucus was more concerned with attacking ‘Blue’ Democrats, who have served with unanimous consent as chairmen.

  5. I was distressed to read some of the comments made by School Board candidates at the Republican caucus. Red/Blue politics do not belong in school board races. According to the Connecticut Secretary of State (October 27, 2020), New Canaan has registered voters divided by Republican (39.3%), Democratic (25.3%), and Unaffiliated (33.9%). Both parties need to remember that there are a lot of purple people in New Canaan.

  6. I really cannot believe these aggressive partisan comments were part of a Board of Education discussion? Having watched or participated in years of BOE meetings I have never once seen political party affiliation be particularly relevant. Going on the offense, becoming more Red? What does this have to do with helping to guide our town’s schools towards continuing to offer the highest quality education? Perhaps they should have run for state senate. The BOE that I have watched for many many years has always looked for common ground, listened to all viewpoints and asked pertinent questions….they did not see their role as some party activists. And to choose to run for this 4 year commitment to get masks off our kids seems very short sighted. While we all want masks off the kids, the local BOE’s will have very little if no ability to affect that policy if the state mandates it. And Superintendent Luizzi has already said he hopes to not have masks unless mandated. We have complicated issues ahead and putting labels of being red or blue on everyone seems the opposite of the kind of behavior we want our children to learn to emulate.

  7. Just a reminder that that the Republican caucus was not the election. The election comes on November 2 when the final make up of the new Board of Ed will be determine. Perhaps this opens the door for the democrat party to put an acceptable slate of candidates together. If you are unhappy with the slate of Republican candidates then run for one of the positions. Democracy at work. Personally I am happy to see that the new group of Republican BOE candidates does not seem willing to just rubber stamp anything that the school administration puts forth.

  8. I am one of the many independent voters in town, often choosing between excellent candidates forwarded by both parties based upon what I read in the local press, the brochures circulated by the candidates and, if an incumbent, the quality of the service provided by that person. From the interactions I have had with a number of our elected and appointed officials, I have come to realize that there are outstanding dedicated people from both parties currently serving the town. Even if I do not always agree with them, I respect them and appreciate the work they do.
    Like many of my fellow townsfolk who have responded to what the Republican BOE candidates are reported to have said at last night’s caucus, I am disturbed by the substance and the tenor of the comments made. I am even more disturbed by the suggested notion that all of our Republican candidates, leaders and voters should fall in line behind such candidates no matter what they espouse. That is not democracy in action; that is slavish adherence to a party no matter how destructive, divisive or demagogic. Come November, I urge all to set aside party loyalties and exercise our greatest democratic right: to think and vote for ourselves, not as party leaders say we should.

  9. A little disheartening that someone running for board of education thinks 39.3% is somehow 51%. New Canaan is not a “red town.” And definitely not a maga-hat-red town. Hardly. Biden and Clinton both carried the town in the last two elections, handedly so. Yet, despite that, nobody would ever call New Canaan a “blue town” either. I mean, C’mon. As others have pointed out, if anything New Canaan’s a purple + blue town. Maybe eggplant? But definitely becoming more of the violet / Pantone 2735 C family each day. From both directions. Which begs the question, how do the growing numbers of unaffiliated voters in New Canaan get a shot at holding elected office? We need a way for common sense voices to get heard, too. That said, no matter what color New Canaan is or isn’t, it should have no bearing on the BOE whatsoever. If parents want to tell the school how to do their jobs at the curriculum level, perhaps they should consider a career in home schooling. There they can teach whatever kind of math they want.

    • So you’re saying parents who pay for the schools don’t get to have a say and the schools should be left to do whatever they want. Are you going to return the portion of taxes paying for the schools as you push those parents to go homeschool instead? If you take my money, I absolutely have a say.

      • Angela, we don’t have children and yet we have gladly paid for your kids’ education through our property taxes (you’re welcome!) for seven years without any expectation of a refund. The idea that nonprofessionals should guide curriculum is deeply ludicrous, from any side of the aisle.

        • That is not what was said. They will have professionals like before but want parents to be informed of change if and when it happens. I’m sorry but I have 3 children all heading into west school. I want to know 💯 what my child is learning if something changes. Why wouldn’t a parent want that??!

          • Just to confirm, as a parent of two high schoolers, I have always known what is being taught to my children. It is communicated consistently through school websites, open house curriculum sharing, teacher websites, and departmental curriculum documents that get published every year and made readily available to parents, etc. For example, if you want to know what is taught in 9th grade World History, all you need to do is open the teacher or department tab in Schoology for either an overview or specific assignment details. I totally agree that parents should know what’s being taught to their students. But to suggest that parents currently do not know is absurd. The information is all readily available at every school in every grade in town. It concerns me that so many folks are under the impression that parents don’t know what’s being taught to their children when there are SO many resources that discuss our approach. Not to mention that every school summarizes their goals for the year in every subject, as well as any new programs or deviations they plan to implement. For example, it was a big deal when we implemented the RULER emotional intelligence program at the elementary and middle school levels. And our schools presented it over and over again, our BOE and Super discussed the pros and cons, experts were brought in to explain the programs, teachers were educated and trained, and parents were made aware of what was happening. It’s very inaccurate to suggest that our schools currently make major curriculum changes without discussion at the administration and BOE level.

    • One of the issues, however, is that many Republicans have been forced to hide their Republican status due to the bullying that occurs as a result among peers as well as at work. Many closet Republicans are registered as unaffiliated. Julie’s point is that she came across many such people. I was one such person who recently switched from unaffiliated to Republican because I think the Republicans also need a voice. The 39% you refer to is a true undercount of Republicans in this town for the reasons stated above.

      • Exactly this. There are far more Republicans in New Canaan than stated statistically, but many hide in fear, my family included. We recently switched from Unaffiliated to Republican to be able to partake in town elections. As George said in his comment below, “If i was a Republican, which i am not, i would be embarassed to admit in public that I was a Republican and would hide in the closet.”
        That statement encompasses how many people truly feel–it is why you rarely saw any Trump signs in New Canaan, it is why people shy away from political conversations. One side is allowed to have a voice, and the other is not. I’m not saying anything about who I personally voted for in the PE; simply making a point that our town is not as free thinking and supportive as we believe. But we can change that, if we all start appreciating one another’s views and quit the bullying that we teach our children not to partake in.

        • Sorry, but I have to jump in here as one of the formerly unaffiliated who RE-registered as a Republican to participate in the town election. I suspect there are many like me who have some core Republican values but don’t support the former president, his cronies and enablers or those who attempted a coup at the Capitol and don’t like where the party stands today. I wouldn’t jump to the conclusion that the large unaffiliated population in New Canaan is MAGA in hiding. There are many who place integrity higher than party loyalty.

  10. One of many troubling statements made in this article, is the “let’s unmask our kids” statement made by JT. Of course, ideally we want our children to attend school without masks. In fact, we wish it was a mask-less world. However until cov-id (and its variants) are gone, this is the reality we live in. In fact, my family has not eaten inside a restaurant for the last 1.5 years! We are taking cov-id very seriously. Yes, as registered Republicans, we are taking cov-id very seriously. The high school may be closer to a mask-less situation with their 90%+ vaccination rate. But is this new BOE slate proposing that come September, I send my unvaccinated 11 year old into the school buildings without a mask? Shame on them. Drive in your cars without seat belts all you want but you are certainly not going to put my child at risk under the name of “personal liberties”…

    • For what it’s worth, there are approximately 70,000,000 people in America in the 0-17 age group. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), 337 people in this age group have died from Covid-19. This is the equivalent of 1 death out of every 208,000 people. I wish it were zero, but I also wouldn’t alter my life one iota after considering the statistical probabilities

      • And don’t forget that most of those mortalities had severe (sometimes terminal) pre-existing conditions, so the real risk to healthy children is effectively zero. Since the teachers are now near-universally vaccinated, masking the children defies common sense. What happened to “follow the science”?

        • That is absolutely correct. It’s unfortunate so many are incorrectly worrying about covid for their healthy children. I wish the available data was more transparent to everyone and not obscured so that everyone can properly evaluate the situation. I hope everyone was able to see the new research from John’s Hopkins verifying that every death that occurred was a child with a very serious condition like leukemia. While this is, of course, very sad, it’s simply the truth that covid is not more dangerous than the flu or rsv to most children.

        • Well, it’s worth remembering that one of the reasons to vaccinate kids, and have them wear masks, is not so much that they themselves are in danger necessarily, but the longer Covid is “out there” the greater the chance for mutations (hello, Delta variant!) which can then cause new problems (again, hello Delta variant) for the entire population (including kids). The sooner everyone gets vaccinated, of course, the sooner masks can go away. They are a pain for sure, but may be necessary for a little while longer.

          • Andrew I encourage you to look at the data from the state of CT I linked to in a separate post on this article. What is says is we have more opportunity in CT right now to vaccinate adults (i.e. getting each town / city in the state to NC levels of vaccination) than vaccinating all kids between 2 and 11 in the State – and pretty close to all kids 0-12. As for masks I really encourage all people advocating for kids to wear masks in school to look again at the data and then when you have done that spend each work day in August 5 days a week for 6.5 hours plus bus time per day learning new subjects like how to read. After that is done lets talk about how effective this policy is and some of the side effects you are experiencing.
            If we all want our kids to be masked up we should stand in solidarity with them and mask up ourselves whenever they must. Doing that will give us appreciation for what we are asking of them as well as I am sure slow the spread and perhaps also speed up vaccinations.

    • I can tell you for a fact that kids cannot learn how to read when they are in a mask. Basically most kids in the public schools have not learned anything since March 2020. So long as they are wearing masks I’m afraid this is going to continue.

    • Making masks optional for kids was only a small part of Julie’s platform but important to her as her son had a terrible allergic reaction while wearing a mask and had to be hospitalized…

  11. Democrats at the state and federal level are seeking to add elements to the school curricula which have been viewed with great concern in many communities. We do need the Board of Ed to monitor this issue. Hopefully members from both parties will see the issues with teaching critical race theory and other similar matters.

    • And it’s great that candidates such as Julie and the other winners are bringing peoples attention to this.

  12. If you feel safer wearing a mask and not eating out, you are free to chose to do so. If you want your child to wear a mask, you should be free to make that decision. Even is Israel and the UK where Delta variant is spiking, the data overwhelmingly supports that children 12 and under simply do not transmit the desensitized. Covid-19 will unfortunately be with us forever, much like the flu. And I am far more concerned with the physical and psychological consequences of wearing a mask. You can make your child wear a mask. But I want the same freedom to protect my children. And for me, that means no mask.

    • Connecticut is honestly one of very few places on earth that are having kids as young as 3 wear masks.

  13. I was on stage timing the candidates and I got to hear every word of every speech. I have a lot of respect for the candidates that did not win. And they have done a lot for New Canaan. But I hope these new members of the board of Ed will hold those that work for us feet to the fire, question things and people at the top, and be a voice for parents, as it should be.

    Regarding the comments about Julie, I thought she was great and apparently many at the caucus agreed. If the Democrats run some people for BOE we will all get to make a choice in November and see what/who prevails. Bring it.

  14. When i got to these words by Toal “When I moved to New Canaan it was red. But the blue is bleeding in and it’s bleeding in fast. I’m ready to fight the good fight and keep New Canaan red.” i had to do a double take because i thought that Mike D. was doing a podcast with Donald J. Trump.
    Trump, the FORMER red president and legitimate red LOSER has certainly set good examples for our children such as
    “a lie a day” is ok. If i was a Republican, which i am not, i would be embarassed to admit in public that I was a Republican and would hide in the closet.
    And in terms of New Canaan being a red town, Toal may wish to check the numbers in one of the letters below where less than 40% of registered voters in NC are Republicans.

  15. Instead of worrying about whose political feelings are being hurt here, I’m trying to imagine how the families in New Canaan who are not white might be feeling right now.

    I’m trying to imagine what it must feel like for them to read these words: “ We need to fight for our values and keep race-obsessed agenda out of our schools and return to our fundamental principles.”

    I’m trying to imagine what that must feel like for those who do not share the luxury of focusing on race only when it’s convenient.

    I’m trying to imagine what our school system will look like if its stewards are people who won’t acknowledge and respect that reality.

    Already over the past year, we’ve heard from students and parents who have had significant challenges feeling comfortable, safe and authentic in our town. And now, we want to put even more barriers up to their wellbeing?

    I no longer have children in the school system, but I want to stand up here on behalf of all those families who worry about their own children’s ability to thrive here in New Canaan. This worry is not a new one: being different in this town has never been easy. But right now, our community is at a critical juncture where we’ve finally been able to recognize that and have the will to do something about it. Do we really want to go backwards here?

    • Thank you for this crucial perspective and redirection, Jane. I too am worried about what these public conversations feel like for those who are not white, and I hope we can center those feelings in all things in our community but especially our town business and Board of Education work.

  16. For those of you interested in the masking – vaccine issue for kids I encourage you to look at some good data from the State (vaccination rate by town updated weekly) https://data.ct.gov/Health-and-Human-Services/COVID-19-Vaccinations-by-Town/x7by-h8k4. If you download this information you will see we have great disparities within CT as to vaccines administered. If all towns/cities in the State administered vaccines at the rate New Canaan did we would have around 375,000 more people vaccinated in the State than we do now – i.e. an incremental 10+% of our State population covered. As a comparison that 10+% is close to the 13.5% of our State population that is under 12 https://portal.ct.gov/DPH/Health-Information-Systems–Reporting/Population/Annual-State–County-Population-with-Demographics. So essentially by getting our State vaccination rate up for already eligible people to New Canaan’s numbers we accomplish close to the same as vaccinating the entire State population under 12 – yes including newborns. If you want to drop the 0-2 year olds than the 2-11 year old population is around 10% of the CT population i.e. around the same as this gap of vaccinating eligible people now.