Superintendents react to Zeldin’s Common Core legislation

Congressman Lee Zeldin addressing supporters on Election Day. (Credit: John Griffin, file)
Congressman Lee Zeldin addressing supporters on Election Day. (Credit: John Griffin, file)

School districts could soon opt out of Common Core without sacrificing federal funding.

Congressman Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) is sponsoring legislation to make sure school districts that decide to drop the standards won’t be punished by a cut in federal funds. Mr. Zeldin described the Common Core rollout as “rushed” and believes the state Department of Education failed to address concerns about the curriculum.

“The implementation was horrendous,” he said. “Nobody was talking to each other.”

Mr. Zeldin’s amendment is attached to bill HR5, which would replace the much-criticized No Child Left Behind Act. The proposed legislation provides more flexibility for states and local districts when it comes to determining how to improve and measure educational standards, the congressman said.    While some educators have agreed there are some good elements to Common Core, most have been outspoken in opposing the state mandate that ties teacher evaluations to assessment scores.

David Gamberg, superintendent for the Greenport and Southold school districts, applauded Mr. Zeldin’s efforts when asked for comment about the proposed legislation.

“I think it is very significant that one of our federally elected officials supports local communities in his congressional district in their desire to de-couple a punitive approach to improving education,” he said. “The decision to do what is best for a communityshould be made locally with the help, support and guidance of education departments.”

Mattituck-Cutchogue School District Superintendent Anne Smith said that although more time is needed to analyze and discuss the proposed law, she believes “it does not appear to allow local control to the point that each district develops their own set of standards.”

“It is unfortunate that legislation like this even needs to be considered,” Dr. Smith said. “Building the professional capacity of each teacher and each leader would have been a much better approach. Mattituck-Cutchogue, like its neighbors, strives to measure what we value, not value what is measured.”

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