On Wednesday evening, Oct. 20, the candidates for the Wilton Board of Education met at a candidate forum to answer questions submitted by residents and to share their perspectives and plans for how they would serve if elected.
The candidates for Wilton’s Board of Education are Jess Christ (R), Nicola Davies (D), Pam Ely (D), Deborah Low(D), and Jared Martin (U/R-ballot).
The candidate forum was sponsored by the Wilton League of Women Voters, Wilton Library and GOOD Morning Wilton. It was moderated by League of Women Voters moderator Jean Rabinow.
The event was livestreamed on GOOD Morning Wilton as it took place in the Wilton Library’s Brubeck Room.
Below are video clips of the event. We’ve included the entire event, and then also added clips of each individual question and the candidates’ answers.
Board of Education Candidates Entire Forum
Introduction and Rules
Q: The CT Department of Education sets minimum curriculum guidelines and then leaves individual districts to develop their own curriculum. Within these guidelines, how do you believe that the Wilton curriculum should be updated, and by whom?
Q: What do you hope to see in the Wilton Schools 10 years in the future that we aren’t doing now? What additional resources, training and/or other changes do you view as critical to get from here to there?
Q: Do you believe that the COVID-19 vaccine should be a requirement for children who are eligible to receive the vaccine to attend Wilton Public Schools? Please answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’ and explain why. If the CDC recommends that children ages 5-18 are vaccinated with a COVID vaccine to attend school in Fall 2022, would you support a policy in Wilton Schools to follow that guideline?
Q: The administration announced at a recent special meeting of the Board of Education that they would not publicly present their findings on lost learning during COVID. Do you believe this information is important for the community and parents to have access to?
Q: If you could make one change in the way Wilton Public Schools operate without opposition or negotiation, what would that change be or why?
Q: School districts around the country have been removing advanced classes. Do you believe here in Wilton that it’s in our students’ best interests to study in classes where they have already mastered the material?
Q: In the recent Niche.com school rankings, as reported by GOOD Morning Wilton, it’s evident that Wilton High School’s STEM ranking declined from last year in both Connecticut and Fairfield County. It’s also known that the math program has been historically underperforming.
Q: Six hundred present and past students signed an open letter asking the school board to make changes to the Wilton curriculum. The changes they asked for included eliminating the race-blind narrative taught, adding specific historic events and texts to curriculum, and increasing diversity in hiring and accountability. If you become part of the Board of Ed, how will you approach diversity in the classroom, texts, and curriculum?
Q: Wilton has a diverse community. How would you propose supporting our LGBTQ students?
Q: Do you believe parents of children in the schools should be involved in curriculum decisions? If so, how? If not, why not?
Q: Candidates for Board of Education in neighboring towns have come forward with major concerns about the teaching of the so-called “Critical Race Theory” in their towns. Do you feel this is or will be an issue in Wilton?
Q: Closing Statements