Featured Letter: By observing carefully, we learn

Southold School District Superintendent David Gamberg .
Southold School District Superintendent David Gamberg. (Credit: Jennifer Gustavson, file)

To the editor:

Southold School District Superintendent David Gamberg has been an outspoken critic of the Common Core Learning Standards implementation and its testing requirements. So his expressed desire to apply “common sense” to education is not surprising.

But hey, it’s common sense to put things back where you found them. But why, then, are shopping carts all over the parking lot at the end of a market day? 

It’s common sense to observe the rules of the road and drive safely, yet we need traffic light cameras.

Perhaps “common sense” is not so common to many of us. It is by observing carefully and measuring that we learn and improve.

Engage children in the natural world? Absolutely. But not just a seed in a cup on a classroom window sill, or a little school garden plot: rather, a visit to community garden plots, a community agricultural facility, hydroponics and greenhouses—modern gardening/agriculture.

Not just the past, but the future, too.

Mr. Gamberg does not deal with particular objections to the curriculum, but he says emphatically: “No set of secret and highly secure tests designed to promote or destroy schools and teachers will accomplish this. It is common sense.” Decoded, this says, “We won’t be able to ‘teach to the test,’ as we previously did, and we may be exposed as ineffective as a result!”

Is Mr. Gamberg an educational leader — his job — or a teacher’s union/PTA leader? Sunday’s Newsday reported other “educational leaders” succeeded in delaying the implantation of the new edTPA, the new test for college graduates who want to be certified in teaching.

Can those catering to the fears and emotional responses of teachers, would-be teachers, teachers of teachers, and parents provide better educational outcomes and life preparation for our students?

Gunther Geiss, Southold