On Feb. 19-20, Manchester held its third annual UNESCO’s International Mother Language Day, celebrated around the world. There were not only words, but actions by town leaders such as the mayor, superintendent of schools, board of ed, etc. Manchester has embraced the essence of this day, the preservation and celebration of linguistic and cultural diversity as a unifier.
That is an anomaly in these divisive days when the Darien school board rejects Open Choice to allow up to a 16 children, from diverse backgrounds in Norwalk, to attend kindergarten in Darien. Why? The board members raised concern for larger class sizes, unknown future enrollment and purported financial burdens for a district where the per pupil expenditure in 2020 was $65,227. Manchester’s per pupil expenditure is about $17,000. Connecticut is enlightened and inclusive, in some places. Darien could learn a lot to prepare its students to live in the 21st century by adopting Manchester’s credo of building bridges, not walls.