New York State’s historic opt out of 2015 was fueled by angry parents on Long Island, the Lower Hudson Valley, and Upstate New York. Parents were angry because Governor Andrew Cuomo bullied a compliant Legislature into passing a state budget that contained a radical, educationally invalid high-stakes testing mandate. Parents, led by the New York State Allies for Public Education  (NYSAPE), knew that upping the weight of testing would hurt the quality of their child’s education, and they rebelled. 

On Long Island, which has some of the best public schools in the state, a group of respected superintendents understood that the state mandates were bad for education, motivated by politics, not by evidence, research, or experience. 

One of the clear-thinking, outspoken superintendents is David Gamberg. He is the superintendent of two adjoining districts on the North Fork, a semi-rural region of farms and vineyards, with Long Island Sound on one side and Peconic Bay on the other. Gamberg is proud of the music and arts in his schools and the gardens where children raise vegetables for the school cafeteria. His vision of good education is diametrically opposed to the testing mandates imposed by the politicians in Albany. 

He and other fearless superintendents on the Island have been holding forums for parents in Nassau and Suffolk counties and plan for another half dozen such public meetings by the end of the year. 

Meanwhile, David Gamberg has been writing a series of articles about “what’s worth fighting for.” This is his latest

Funny to think of David Gamberg as a fighter. He is a gentle, soft-spoken man who loves children and understands education. He knows there are principles, practices, and people “worth fighting for.”