03/23/15 12:00pm
03/23/2015 12:00 PM

No doubt you have heard the news that public education is in need of reform. Gov. Cuomo has said so. Former CNN anchor Campbell Brown has said so. Even President Obama has said so. And what do all these people have in common? Well, a few things. None of them has taught students a day in their life. All of them have received pay or political contributions from the charter school movement and/or testing companies and all of them have wholly endorsed more charter schools.  (more…)

03/19/15 10:00am
03/19/2015 10:00 AM
Greenport School District Superintendent David Gamberg, right, at Monday's school board meeting. (Credit: Jen Nuzzo)

Greenport School District Superintendent David Gamberg, right, at Monday’s school board meeting. (Credit: Jen Nuzzo)

The superintendent of the Greenport and Southold school districts has issued a letter to parents outlining what they’ll need to do if they don’t want their children to take this year’s state assessments.

During the Greenport school board’s Monday night meeting, Superintendent David Gamberg said the letter aims to better organize and streamline paperwork for students refusing the test, a movement known as “opting out.”

Although he’s still working out details with administrators about what happens to students who refuse to take the exams on test days, Mr. Gamberg said students won’t be forced to “sit and stare,” which occurs when students who are not taking a test are made to just stare at a desk while the test is administered to others, rather than being allowed to read a book or move to another classroom.

(more…)

03/17/15 6:00am
03/17/2015 6:00 AM
Congressman Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) is a House Foreign Affairs Committee member. (Courtesy file photo)

Congressman Lee Zeldin is a House Foreign Affairs Committee member. (Courtesy file photo)

Freshman Congressman Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) has had a good few weeks.

We’ll hold our fire — for now — about his joining forces with reactionary U.S. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, spouting conspiracy theories about American foreign policy.

But we commend him for supporting local educators fighting the Common Core system by introducing legislation and also for standing with opponents of ear-splitting helicopter traffic over the East End.

Mr. Zeldin has weighed in on Common Core by writing an amendment to an education bill that ensures school districts won’t be penalized by a denial of federal funds if they opt out of using the “teach the test”-heavy form of education overhaul.

While you’d be hard-pressed to find many people who are against challenging our students to rely less on memorization when it comes to math -— or think more critically when it comes to English — the sweeping, comprehensive rollout of the Common Core standards itself has been a disaster.

Mr. Zeldin is correct in seeking to allow districts to bail on Common Core as it stands. (more…)

03/13/15 6:00am
03/13/2015 6:00 AM

To the editor:

In last week’s “The flaws with scores, evaluations” opinion piece, Southold and Greenport Superintendent David Gamberg uses a false analogy (a parody?) to argue against objective measurement. He proposed physicians of all specialties be judged by community weight loss, even though most don’t treat obesity! In reality, physicians with board certification in a specialty must pass lengthy written tests every 10 years for re-certification. Teachers don’t!  (more…)

02/20/15 7:00am
02/20/2015 7:00 AM
Governor Cuomo giving his State of the State address the Empire State Plaza Convention Center in Albany Jan. 21. (Credit: Courtesy Flickr photo)

Governor Cuomo giving his State of the State address at the Empire State Plaza Convention Center in Albany Jan. 21. (Credit: Courtesy Flickr photo)

The rushed rollout of the Common Core State Standards under Gov. Andrew Cuomo during the 2012-13 school year set off alarm bells in school hallways and living rooms across the state. All of a sudden, teachers and parents in New York were being told that well over half of the student population had failed to make the grade based on the new Common Core-aligned math and ELA state assessments.  (more…)

12/18/14 10:00am
12/18/2014 10:00 AM
From left, Southold Superintendent David Gamberg, district clerk Patti DiGregorio and school board member John Crean at Wednesday's meeting. (Credit: Jen Nuzzo)

From left, Southold Superintendent David Gamberg, district clerk Patti DiGregorio and school board member John Crean at Wednesday’s meeting. (Credit: Jen Nuzzo)

The Southold school board has made an official statement opposing “field tests” tied to the controversial Common Core mandates.

(more…)

09/04/14 10:00am
09/04/2014 10:00 AM
New instructors and new lessons, as well as a longer school day, will mark some changes for 2014-2015 in New Suffolk. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

New instructors and new lessons, as well as a longer school day, will mark some changes for 2014-2015 in New Suffolk. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Returning New Suffolk students are being met with, well, restructuring this school year. The arrival of two new instructors and the return of a special assignment teacher has forced the tiny three-classroom district to change how classes were being taught.  (more…)

08/21/14 2:15pm
08/21/2014 2:15 PM
JENNIFER GUSTAVSON  FILE PHOTO

JENNIFER GUSTAVSON FILE PHOTO

The New York State Department of Education has released the results of Common Core-aligned math and English Language Arts exams taken this spring by students statewide, and outcomes from local districts fall in line with wider trends.

Those trends pointed to improved scores in math overall, with ELA results generally falling or staying flat.

Statewide, proficiency rates (the number of students scoring at levels 3 and 4) increased more in math than in English. In 2013, 31.2 percent of students achieved proficiency on the math exam; that number jumped to 35.8 percent in 2014. In English, the proficiency rate ticked up one-tenth of a percent, to 31.4 percent.

The tests were — and remain — a source of conflict for many parents and teachers throughout the state. Part of New York’s Common Core State Standards, state legislators delayed some of the impacts the tests have in evaluating teacher performance in reaction to opposition from the public. The standards came after New York opted into the federal program, which supplies the state with education funds otherwise not available.

This year’s results provided the first opportunity to compare students’ test performance in consecutive years. Educators with the state’s Board of Regents, which has been implementing Common Core, said that despite what some may consider low proficiency levels – numbers that opponents say defeat the students taking the tests — long-term, the plan is going as scheduled.

“This is still a transition period,” said New York State Board of Regents Chancellor Meryl Tisch. “It will take time before the changes taking place in our classrooms are fully reflected in the test scores.”

This year’s results are below:

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08/16/14 8:00am
08/16/2014 8:00 AM
Assemblyman Anthony Palumbo (right) and Senator Ken LaValle at a Common Core forum last year in Eastport. (Credit: Carrie Miller, file)

Assemblyman Anthony Palumbo (right) and Senator Ken LaValle at a Common Core forum last year in Eastport. (Credit: Carrie Miller, file)

Common Core is a federal government power grab disguised as a “revamping” of our nation’s educational system — an educational system that, with all its flaws, managed to produce people who put a man on the moon and gave the world the Internet.  (more…)

08/03/14 12:00pm
08/03/2014 12:00 PM
Assemblyman Anthony Palumbo (right) at a Common Core forum last year in Eastport. (Credit: Carrie Miller, file)

Assemblyman Anthony Palumbo (right) at a Common Core forum last year in Eastport. (Credit: Carrie Miller, file)

There may be another party line on the November ballot for state office seekers.

Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, the GOP challenger facing Governor Andrew Cuomo in the upcoming election, has launched a petition effort to establish a Stop Common Core party line focused on capturing voters unhappy with the controversial Common Core State Standards initiative.  (more…)