Archive for August, 2002

30th August
2002

First Published in The New York Sun,  August 30, 2002
By Andrew Wolf

New schools chancellor Joel Klein’s newly assembled senior staff of educators seems to be mainly made up of familiar establishment figures. It is my opinion that unless there is a systemic change in what is taught in the classrooms, we cannot expect results will differ much from what we’ve seen for the past 20 years.
Readers of my column in these pages during the past few months are familiar with my criticism of the schools of education and foundations that have dictated the curricula taught and the methodology followed by our public schools. Others, coming from very different places than myself, seem to agree.
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16th August
2002

First Published in The New York Sun,  August 16, 2002
By Andrew Wolf

Incoming Schools Chancellor Joel Klein made a field trip on Wednesday to San Diego, where some say the schools are improving under the leadership of Chancellor Alan Bersin and his deputy, Anthony Alvarado. I’m told that this is a pilgrimage also made by Mr. Klein’s predecessor, Harold Levy, early in his tenure, obviously to little advantage.

Mr. Alvarado is a mythical figure in New York. He was considered a miracle worker in District 4, which covers East Harlem, when he was tapped to become the city’s first minority chancellor. But he quickly became embroiled in a bizarre financial scandal that led to an early exit. For years, there has been extensive “what if” speculation regarding his tenure. The truth is, he left too soon to fail. (more…)

15th August
2002

First Published in The New York Sun,  August 15, 2002
By Andrew Wolf

If there’s room for another book on Joel Klein’s summer reading list, Peter Temes’s “Against School Reform (And in Praise of Great Teaching) ought to be it. Mr. Temes has got it half right, and in the world of public K–12 education that’s much better than most.

Mr. Temes rejects the usual solutions for fixing the schools: the demands for more money, the regular restructuring, the gimmicks, and the gurus. Rather he advances a simple premise. The only things that really matter are good teachers. We must find the best teachers, empower them and restructure our society to afford them the respect that they must be given. Beyond that, Mr. Temes views the billion-dollar school reform industry with disdain. (more…)

2nd August
2002

First Published in The New York Sun,  August 2, 2002
By Andrew Wolf

Mayor Bloomberg may have thrown the educrats a curve ball when he named trust buster Joel Klein as the new chancellor of the city’s public schools. A parade of chancellors with an educational background have passed through New York in recent years and each has failed. The one non-educator among the recent chancellors, the thankfully departing Harold Levy, was very much a part of the city’s educational establishment, since he served as a member of the State Board of Regents before he took over at 110 Livingston Street. Given this history, I find Mr. Klein’s lack of educational experience a hopeful sign.

My advice to Joel Klein is to ignore for the most part the educational “experts” who theorize about running schools and teaching kids from the comfort and insulation of the central board bureaucracy, district office fiefdoms, schools of education, and private foundations. (more…)