Reader Letter: The Good and Bad of 2015

It’s been a good year in Greenwich and we have more to achieve.

Glad First Selectman Tesei re-claimed his spot. Give the homeboy a shout out because it’s a grueling job being a selectman in a high-achieving town like Greenwich.

I’m liking a lot of changes in Greenwich these days, like Bob DeAngelo at the YMCA, McKersie’s listening ear. The man listens. Yes, he is a master of deflection, I grant you that…but the Board of Education is getting nimble folks, I think the dynamism of our local board of education is largely because of the two Peters: Sherr and Bernstein. Let’s not build Paper Tigers though. Talk about waste. Look at super high performing schools in “equivalently diverse towns” such as Fairfield (no point in comparing ourselves with Darien folks, as much as the Public Library is deluded enough to think we should) and ask ourselves the tough question of why we hate diversity SO much?

For 2016? Clean up Binney Park, no I am not a Western-side of town snob…it’s horrible. Two weeks ago, at that little fenced in park (near the DPW garage) on the far end up Binney Park, my kids and I chanced upon a alcohol swab and needle of some sort on a bench in the playground! I quickly routed my kids away from this bench and told them to not go near that area because of “trash.” Obviously, smelliness is not the only issue plaguing Binney Park.

And, the Eastern Civic Center? Disaster extraordinaire. They should have a fundraising jar like the one at Minute Men Cleaners in Cos Cob out in front of that place and the Director there should be fired. If you are not doing car washing on the weekends to raise dough to fix that place you should be out of a job.

What is it with all these Town employees who do not live in Greenwich and could care less about our facilities, actively “looking down” on us Greenwichites? Does anybody else care, besides me, that we pay $180,000 salaries to secretaries in this town (at Town Hall) who live in Weston, Darien, New Canaan and the like? If you are the Head of a Department in the Town of Greenwich, pony up and live here, period. Yes, I am talking to you the Director of our Public Library, the Director of Public Works, the list is a very long one. I can share it with you.

Stop segregating preschool. First Presbyterian Church you are a big culprit here. It’s sickening. Christ Church, you too.

Unless you are teaching a major world religion along with your state mandated curriculum, if you do not have any children in your preschool that are middle, low income or diverse you are failing our Town and your own kids, too.

I am tired of all the Jonathan Kozol insights I have to regularly spew out in my letters to the editor about the importance of early childhood education.

Big companies WANT diversity, get in the game Greenwich. No school here would ever become more than 10% diverse with school choice. Stop stalling, it’s pathetic. We have nothing to fear but fear itself.

Until, the public school becomes a truly equal opportunity, tax-payer funded institution, support religious and private schools in Town. Do it to spur competition among the public school system that is spending 150 million a year with MOST of its employees being out of towners who actually look down at Greenwichites as whine bags.

Are you ready for my 2016 cry from the peanut gallery? I am against moving the start time of Greenwich High School. Yep, you heard that right. I actually feel sorry for the teachers living in Trumbull and Eastchester and think it will cause a massive talent drain, staff flight to Weston, Orange and Bronxville. And, you know what else? The traffic from North Mianus to GHS is already a concerning issue at 7:15 am. If we mix GHS traffic with traffic from the preschool and elementary school drop off frenzy that occurs at the YWCA of Greenwich, Temple Sholom, Cos Cob elementary, GCDS and Central Middle School, our communal traverse through Putnam Avenue to Central Greenwich will become nightmarish. Kids are not going to suddenly start walking to schools, folks.

I think today’s teens are addicted to social media, computers, TV and staying up too late to do all of these things they are doing inside their houses in order to fill the void of authentic human connection.

Even though we are one of the safest cities in America, Free Range Parenting is not in vogue in Greenwich. If you are not a Jewish teen or a teen actively plugged into a faith community, you are lonely to some degree. Unless you are an AVID participant. Go Greenwich Alliance for Education! Hey, can you guys fix Binney Park?

My family runs the Havemeyer track at 5:00am every morning. My kids are 3 and 6. I expect them to be early birds when they are 16 as well and to also take out the trash, shovel snow off of their parents’ cars, study Hebrew and run a family business in their spare time. My son is already a landscaper and owns enough tools to do all the handyman work around our un-remodeled homestead. He is the three year old.

We don’t own a TV and there is no way I will let my kids waste 5-6 hours a day on the computer or social media as most kids in America are doing today. Not over my dead body. My kids often hike 1-2 miles a day. I have never bought my kids a single electronic device and never will. But, I will show them the value of fresh air and rising early.

Don’t ask the the Board of Education to change the GHS start time. Change your family’s priorities and habits. If your child is addicted, there is treatment out there!

Finally, the achievement gap. I know how to solve it.

I hope McKersie and the new members of the BOE will continue listening…

It can be bridged in 3 years.

Now, let’s go fix that smelly problem called Binney Park!

Finally, there is something wrong about only 9% of Old Greenwichites having a library card when the Greenwich Public Library system has failed to reach children who need a library the most. I wouldn’t waste one dollar in a meeting with talking heads if I worked over there. I would move my desk to St. Roch’s street, tugging L.L. Bean totes of books and inspiration if I was expecting $170,000 dollars for my compensation from the local taxpayers of Greenwich. Big is not necessarily better. 21st Century Libraries need to be in the “cloud” and need to be accountable to research. Sorry, the Greenwich Public Library is not cutting-edge folks.

Give your December 31st donation to the United Way. See the smile on their faces? Put your money behind folks who smile and get up from their desks.

Jodi Weisz
Greenwich, CT