Archive for December, 2002

27th December
2002

First Published in The New York Sun, December 27, 2002
By Andrew Wolf

Readers of this column — and my columns and editorials in the two Bronx newspapers I publish — know that I rarely venture outside city limits in finding subjects to comment on. While I personally have deep feelings about events in the Middle East and have a passionate commitment to the future of the State of Israel, I generally leave these matters to others.

But two years ago, the conflict came to Riverdale, the community I have lived in for the past quarter century, in the borough I have lived all of my life. The Conservative Synagogue Adath Israel is located on Henry Hudson Parkway, just blocks from my home. Although I am not affiliated with this synagogue, it is a place I have visited frequently, and much a part of the communal life of my neighborhood. (more…)

20th December
2002

First Published in The New York Sun, December 20, 2002
By Andrew Wolf

When Mayor Bloomberg won his fight to take control of the city’s school system, one question left unanswered was the fate of the city’s community school boards. A 20-member panel has been appointed to hold hearings on their status. The first hearing in the Bronx was held yesterday.

The idea of community control of the public schools took shape in the mid-1960s, when it became clear that changing demographics and white flight had made racial integration of New York City’s schools a virtual impossibility. Community control of the schools through these school boards found a receptive ear among the growing number of militants who were more interested in running the schools than integrating them. (more…)

13th December
2002

First Published in The New York Sun, December 13, 2002
By Andrew Wolf

When I was a child growing up in the west Bronx, everyone knew exactly what school he or she would be attending. In my neighborhood, if you lived east of the Grand Concourse, you were zoned for P.S. 46 on East 196th Street. Those living west of the Concourse attended P.S. 86, on Reservoir Avenue, right behind the Kingsbridge Armory. Zoned schools were a part of growing up during the period that many feel was New York’s golden age. Our schools contributed to the success of every facet of life in New York’s great neighborhoods.

Residents of our city’s few remaining middle income enclaves today don’t need to be reminded of the fragile nature of their neighborhood schools. Every such community in our town is desperately trying to hang on to the one thing that defines them as a successful community. Real estate advertising here in the city often boasts of Douglaston schools, Bayside schools, even District 26 schools. This contributes to property values and ultimately to tax revenues and communal pride. (more…)

9th December
2002

First Published in The New York Sun, December 9, 2002
By Andrew Wolf

Today’s scheduled groundbreaking for the new Bronx Preparatory Charter School will reflect the hope — and the problems — facing the charter school movement in New York.

Operating in space leased from the Catholic Church, Bronx Prep demonstrated impressive results in its first two years. But to fulfill its mandate to provide a quality middle and high school education, Bronx Prep needs a new building, the space in which to make dreams into reality. (more…)

6th December
2002

First Published in The New York Sun, December 6, 2002
By Andrew Wolf

Next month, Schools Chancellor Klein is set to announce the results of phase one of his “Children First” initiative. This is the blueprint designed to pull the public school system up from years of failure and mediocrity, and give our kids the quality education they deserve.

But why wait until then to find out what Mr. Klein is up to? A math professor at New York University, a particularly astute observer of our city’s educational scene, has already figured out what the chancellor will propose.

Bastiaan Braams comes to New York from the Netherlands. He is a research professor in the Department of Mathematics at N.Y.U.’s prestigious Courant Institute, where he does research in magneto-fluid dynamics and teaches courses with titles such as “Parallel Algorithms in Scientific Computing and Many Body Problems.” If this isn’t rocket science, I don’t know what it is. Mr. Braams has also read a great deal about education, and he has a Web page that provides annotated links to a large collection of articles about mathematics and science curriculum as well as broader educational issues. (more…)