Haroldo Williams (D) says he is running for a spot on Norwalk's Board of Education because he has always had an interest in social issues.
"My daughter always asks me whenever I speak about something, 'Why don't you do something about it?' he says. "So with education, I'd like to do something about it."
Williams says the Board of Education needs to establish a better decision-making process.
"Right now you have a lot of discussions, but you can't tell what drives the solution," he says. "A lot of the discussion seems to revolve around opinions and they agree on something."
Williams says he feels decisions are not always made with the academic impact those decisions will have in mind. He says budget discussions are not focused on what impact decisions will have on student education, but solely on the finance numbers, he says.
He also says he would like the board to set "clear community goals and objectives." He says the board should set goals and objectives for the superintendent, who should in turn be responsible for finding the ways to reach those goals.
Williams says he does not doubt the city's heart is in to reducing the achievement gap, but says there is an "urgent need" to find a "community strategy" to meet that goal.
"The students that are underperforming often don't have the parental guidance to improve," he says. "You need to get a strategy in which you involve parents, community centers, religious centers and volunteer groups."
Essentially, he adheres to the old adage "It takes a village to raise a child."
"There are a lot of people willing to contribute more," he says.
Williams says it would benefit Norwalk to let superintendent Manuel Rivera set a new strategy for how the district assists special needs students.
When it comes to Common Core, Williams is very familiar with the new standard curriculum: his wife is a school teacher in Norwalk. Williams says he fully supports the implementation of Common Core, but says the implementation can be handled better.
"The school has one day of training for teachers for the program," he says. "We need to change it. We have to establish a system that parallels what's done in major organizations. Private industries implement programs where people go for five days of training; they have online support or on-site support to help you through that process."