Thursday Harry Rilling stood outside Tracey School and talked about his vision for Norwalk education.
The Democrat running for mayor says, more than anything, he wants to work with teachers.
"Teachers need to have input. The people doing the job in the classroom need to feel respected," he said. "They need to feel that they have input into the operation of the school system. They're the people doing the job."
Norwalk Federation of Teachers president Bruce Mellion says he listened to Rilling Thursday to hear his message and keep Norwalk's teacher informed.
He says he likes what he heard.
"[Teachers] want to be heard. They want to be listened to," he said. "They want to be appreciated for the work they do. They come in early, they stay late, they do a lot of things extra."
Rilling said teachers know where the problems lie in the school system, and they should be "part of the solution," have a "seat at the table" and a voice.
Though not expressly throwing his support behind Rilling, Mellion said current Mayor Richard Moccia's administration hadn't fully supported teachers' needs.
"In the last eight years, the difference between what the board has requested and what the city allocated is $26.5 million," he said. "That has really been an impact on certified employees, non-certified employees and on the work we need to do."
Rilling says he will also push to improve early childhood education and set up a line of apprenticeships for high school students.
"I've spoken to the carpenters' union, which works with other unions," Rilling said. "They are clamoring for young people to enter an apprenticeship program."