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6th November
2008

By Andrew Wolf

Lost in the tidal wave of news surrounding the election was the announcement that State Education Commissioner Richard Mills will be leaving his post after thirteen years.

Mr. Mills began his tenure as a fresh breeze of reform, attempting to impose high academic standards on a sinking system. But he has morphed into a leading apologist for systematic test inflation that undermines educational policy at all levels.

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6th November
2008

First Published in the Riverdale Review, November 6, 2008

By Andrew Wolf

Residents of a certain age may remember the administration of the late Mayor Abraham D. Beame. Abe Beame was an accountant, who worked as Budget Director under Mayor Robert F. Wagner, Jr., before being tapped to run for Comptroller as Wagner’s running mate during his last term.

In 1965, Beame won a hard fought primary battle and won the nomination to become the Democratic candidate for mayor against Republican John V. Lindsay. He lost.

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1st November
2008

First Published on the Public Advocate’s Corner October 29, 2008

By Andrew Wolf

Shortly after I began writing a regular column for The New York Sun six-and-a-half years ago, the mayor was given control of the New York City public schools. During that period I have written around two hundred columns on the schools, most of which discuss various aspects of mayoral control.

I am by nature a skeptical fellow, and the story of the educational “reform” that has taken place since then has given me much to be skeptical about. Unfortunately, last month the Sun published its final issue, so now is as good a time as any to reflect on this remarkable story that I have followed since the beginning.

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15th October
2008

By Andrew Wolf

New York City is about to become a “banana republic,” ruled not by the will of the people, but rather by the will of one man, our “benevolent” dictator, King Michael Bloomberg.

Twice the voters mandated term limits for city elected officials. They spoke clearly and their desires were respected. As a result, some very fine public officials were forced to step down. And it must be pointed out that the current crop of City Council members, beneficiaries of the law and the mayor knew exactly the terms of their employment.
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29th September
2008

First Published in The New York Sun, September 29, 2008

By Andrew Wolf

For the past six-and-a-half years I have frequently occupied space on these pages sounding off on everything from nepotism in Bronx politics to politically induced fear of eating French fries or Frosted Flakes. Most often I have written about our schools.

I came to this task with a point of view, influenced by the events of 1968 and 1969, turbulent years for society, but particularly for New York’s schools.

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22nd September
2008

First Published in The New York Sun, September 22, 2008

By Andrew Wolf

The last game of Major League baseball has been played at Yankee Stadium, following an incredible outpouring of nostalgia and reminiscences. Now the vultures are swooping down to sell off the great coliseum, piece by piece. Seats will fetch about a $1,000 each, someone is ready to package the dirt from the field, holy ground to millions of baseball fans throughout the world, and even the urinals will be sold for their “historic” value.

It wasn’t supposed to be this way.

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15th September
2008

First Published in The New York Sun, September 15, 2008

By Andrew Wolf

Michael Phelps, the Olympic champion, is understandably trying to capitalize on his remarkable athletic achievements. In reality, there is little money to be made from swimming. There are no pro swim teams, or other professional competition for which he could be compensated.

So in time-honored tradition, Mr. Phelps is seeking his fortune through endorsements. Last month he delivered endorsements for Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes and McDonalds Restaurants. He might as well have endorsed firearms for toddlers or condoms for six-year-olds, such was the venom and antagonism of the backlash.

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11th September
2008

Originally Published in The New York Sun, September 11, 2008

By Andrew Wolf

The defeat suffered by the Bronx County Democratic organization, which lost every race in which it supported a candidate in Tuesday’s primary, may mean new leadership for the county party.

The organization was opposed by a so-called rainbow coalition of legislators, which includes prominent black, white, and Hispanic lawmakers from throughout the borough. That coalition is expected by political observers and activists to move quickly to depose the current Democratic leader, Assemblyman Jose Rivera, as soon as Monday night.

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5th September
2008

Published in The New York Sun. September 5, 2008

By Andrew Wolf

A commission, appointed by Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum, has recommended a revision in the State Education law, putting restrictions on the power of the mayor to run the city’s public schools. Lurking in the background is the 800-pound gorilla in the room, the issue of term limits.

The two issues are intertwined, and indeed the mayor’s inflexibility, rejecting any proposal for change in school governance, suggests that he will indeed move to end or modify term limits, to allow him to run for a third term.

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29th August
2008

First Published in The New York Sun, August 29, 2008

It is now just 10 months before the expensive experiment that is mayoral control of Gotham’s public schools is set to expire. And as parents ready their children for the start of classes Tuesday, the news has been released that the average S.A.T. scores have declined here once again.

There was no press extravaganza. No Power Point presentations, no top officials, union leaders at their side, beaming as the results were outlined. No, troubling test results turn out to be an orphan.

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