Letter: Common sense not demagoguery

To the Editor:

Ridgefield residents who are asking difficult questions of the BOE are not “demagogues.” We are involved, concerned parents and tax-paying citizens.

Opposition to SST concerns a lack of cost transparency, viable start and end time scenarios, and a plan that considers the needs of all student populations. In just two weeks, an opposition petition has obtained close to 600 signatures and is a clear sign that there are genuine concerns in our community.

The beauty of science is that it is continually evolving. Science in the 1970s advocated for “open classrooms,” and a fad was born. Are open classrooms the norm today? No, because while the theory was good, in practice, it didn’t deliver the intended outcomes. SST is also an initiative that will evolve or may prove ineffective in practice. Why are we rushing this project? While students might get more sleep, we do know there will be less funding available to support all our educational goals.

SST supporters misleadingly refer to a petition that was signed by 700 people in 2016 as supporting the SST initiative. This petition only asks the BOE to ‘investigate start times.’ It also states that ‘As signers of this petition, we are not endorsing any particular solution to this problem or any specific start time.’ Clearly, that petition is not a request for the BOE to implement an open-ended, undefined SST program, and it certainly should not be framed as a rationale for justifying moving forward.

BOE members were elected based on their positions on many issues, not just School Start Times. Also, the election took place long before any School Start Time scenarios were fully developed or had a cost attached to it. We still don’t know the cost!

Asking hard questions and holding our elected officials accountable is how democracy is supposed to work.

Sandra Mahoney

Ridgefield, Dec. 3