Archive for October, 2002

25th October
2002

First Published in The New York Sun,  October 25, 2002
By Andrew Wolf

Years ago, I was familiar with the city of Providence, Rhode Island, only by reputation. My late father was in the jewelry business, and at one time he represented a manufacturer of watchbands located there. Jewelry was a big industry in Providence. Since a check would arrive every week postmarked “Providence R.I.,” I assumed that this must be a rich, magical, wonderful place. My dad set me straight. “Providence? It’s a dump!”

Thirty years ago, my wife and I were driving up to Boston to spend the weekend. As we passed through Providence on I-95, my wife wondered whether there was anything worth seeing there. “Providence? My father says it’s a dump.” (more…)

14th October
2002

First Published in The New York Sun, October 14, 2002
By Andrew Wolf

That great observer of the educational scene, Yogi Berra, once exclaimed, “It’s deja vu all over again.” That’s exactly the feeling I got recently when the schools chancellor, Joel Klein, announced the consultants he was bringing in to help him develop a plan to turn around New York City’s schools.The names and organizations on the list are largely the same ones that have shaped public education in our town for the past 15 disastrous years.

The almost $4 million bill for the first phase of Mr. Klein’s initiative, “Children First,” will be picked up by the Broad Foundation and the Robertson Foundation. Like the Ford Foundation in the mid-1960s, these groups approach New York’s schools with the best of intentions. But we’ve learned that good intentions are not enough. (more…)

4th October
2002

First Published in The New York Sun, October 4, 2002
By Andrew Wolf

The city’s Department of Education has fired the company that prepares and scores its reading tests, a move that should come as no surprise. The relationship between CTB/McGraw Hill and the city has been troubled in recent years. In 1999, a miscalculation on scoring a group of tests resulted in thousands of students being ordered to summer school and a number of superintendents being removed — one of them, Robert Riccobono of Brooklyn’s District 19, was dumped from his post and then had to be rehired when the scoring error was discovered. In a similar vein, Department of Education officials now believe that scores on the 2001 sixth grade reading tests were too high and that scores on this year’s seventh grade reading tests were too low. Considering that last year’s sixth graders and this year’s seventh graders are for the most part the same children, the officials may well have a point. (more…)