Archive for March, 2003

28th March
2003

First Published in The New York Sun, March 28, 2003
By Andrew Wolf

While people may have different opinions about the wisdom of the educational reforms undertaken by Mayor Bloomberg and Chancellor Klein, this is unquestionably the most far-reaching attempt to change the system we have seen in decades.That’s why I was so distressed to see the intense, fawning coverage given earlier this week to the opening of the City Hall Academy, the school located on the first floor of the Tweed Courthouse.

This is an expensive public-relations gimmick that will contribute nothing to the overall improvement of our education system. It could even be argued that the education of the rotating groups of children being transported to Tweed for two-week sessions will be impeded by the unnecessary interruption in classroom routine. (more…)

21st March
2003

First Published in The New York Sun, March 21, 2003
By Andrew Wolf

Sometimes it is the little items in a newspaper that reveal what is really going on about town. Such is the case with a small news brief in the March 19, 2003, edition of The New York Sun.

At the bottom of page 2 was a story, “School E-Mail Was Erroneous.” It discussed a short e-mail sent by a fellow named Eric Nadelstern to eight fellow educators. If you can read between the lines, this e-mail is a smoking gun that reveals much about the way that Mayor Bloomberg’s Department of Education is being run. (more…)

14th March
2003

First Published in The New York Sun, March 14 , 2003
By Andrew Wolf

In the months since I began writing this column, I have met, spoken with, and established correspondence with scores of teachers, administrators, parents, political leaders, and scholars with a deep knowledge of education issues. Within this group there is often disagreement as to the exact direction the school system should take. But among the varying viewpoints there is one area of nearuniversal concern: the secrecy and lack of transparency surrounding the mayor’s educational reforms.

In a city that insists on public hearings, or “sunshine,” for things as trivial as adding a sidewalk café onto an existing restaurant, the total restructuring of our schools — arguably our city’s most important civic endeavor — is being undertaken in total darkness. (more…)

7th March
2003

First Published in The New York Sun, March 7, 2003
By Andrew Wolf

Since the Charter revision of the late 1980s, the city’s five borough presidents have had little power and even less to do. That’s probably why they have seized on gimmicks like holding an annual “State of the Borough” address. In the Bronx, where the state of the borough has been lousy for as long as I can remember, this annual charade has descended into a theater of the absurd.

Last week, the current borough president, Adolfo Carrion Jr., delivered his speech at Morris High School.To the outside world, Morris would be an example of all the failures of urban education. In the Bronx of Mr.Carrion,it is hailed as a success merely because it is still open. (more…)

3rd March
2003

First Published in The New York Sun, March 3 , 2003
By Andrew Wolf

Parents and alumni of the Bronx High School of Science are alarmed that their school may be removed from the direct supervision of the chancellor and come under the control of a superintendent with a track record of opposing gifted and talented programs.

Bronx Science, Stuyvesant, and the other specialized high schools would, under the restructuring plan proposed by Chancellor Joel Klein, likely be supervised by the newly installed regional superintendents.
Under this plan, the 32 Community School Districts would be combined into these 10 regions, and the high school divisions eliminated.

This means the Bronx High School of Science’s instructional program will be overseen by the current District 10 superintendent, Irma Zardoya, who is slated to head the new Region 1, which covers the west Bronx. (more…)