Local supes spearhead fight to right educational wrongs

REPORTER FILE PHOTO | Dr. Michael Hynes, along with other local educators, has organized a meeting on educational reform.

REPORTER FILE PHOTO | Dr. Michael Hynes, along with other local educators, has organized a meeting on educational reform.

Area superintendents aren’t content to simply get an extension on the implementation of Regents Reform Agenda that includes the highly controversial Common Core standards.

Instead, they’re identifying tactics that have proven successful in improving education both here and abroad.

Shelter Island Superintendent Michael Hynes has joined forces with Southold Superintendent David Gamberg and Shoreham-Wading River Superintendent Steven Cohen to organize a meeting at Stony Brook University next week with prominent educational experts.

It all started with a forum at Eastport-South Manor High School with State Education Commissioner John King in November. That was followed by Dr. Hynes’ trip to Albany to meet with members of the Board of Regents and other superintendents in February. Now it’s “morphed into” this latest effort to “get people together who are like minded” to push specific ideas for improving education, Dr. Hynes said.

What the superintendents don’t want is to delay implementation of the Common Core standards without specific recommendations for steps they believe can be more effective, he said.

That’s why an impressive lineup of scholars will be at Stony brook for the discussions. Former US Assistant Secretary of Education and New York University Education Professor Diane Ravitch, who has written extensively about problems with the educational system in the United States, including “Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America’s Public Schools, will be in attendance. Pasi Sahlberg, a Finnish scholar and visiting professor at Harvard Graduate School of Education and a policy adviser in Finland, who has studied educational systems and reforms around the world, has agreed to the meeting. And rounding out the impressive roster are two of the three authors — Andy Hargreaves and Michael Fullan — of the widely acclaimed “Professional Capital: Transforming Teaching in Every School.”

Mr. Hargreaves is the Thomas More Brennan Chair at the Lynch School of Education at Boston University and co-founder and co-director of the International Center for Educational Change at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education in Canada. He’s also editor-in-Chief of “The Journal of Educational Change.”

Mr. Fullan is professor emeritus of the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto and a recognized worldwide authority on educational reform.

The local superintendents have sent invitations to Governor Andrew Cuomo and to state lawmakers, who are considering delaying the rollout of the Common Core standards. They have invited members of the Board of Regents as well.

The aim is to enable these targeted individuals to understand that problems aren’t solely related to timing of implementing Common Core standards, Dr. Hynes said. Also participating with the three organizers will be Dr. Timothy Egan, president of the Long Island Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development; and Carol Burris, principal of South Side High School in Rockville Center.

“The forum is intended to explain other ways of successful teaching and learning,” Dr. Hynes said. At the same time, it’s meant to promote local control because implementing best practices in education can’t be achieved with a one size fits all solution for every district, he said.

The forum is being promoted by Stony Brook University, Dowling College, the Suffolk County School Superintendents Association and the Nassau County Council of School Superintendents.

While the forum at the Wang Center Theater is on Thursday, March 13 at 7:30 p.m. and is open to the public, those interested in attending should email [email protected] The session will be live-streamed by Stony Brook University, and Dr. Hynes is taking steps to get it posted on the school’s website.