Archive for June, 2003
First Published in The New York Sun, June 27, 2003
By Andrew Wolf
If ever there was a clear indication that Mayor Bloomberg’s stewardship of our school system represents nothing more than a rearrangement of the deck chairs on a sinking ship, it was Tuesday’s announcement of the “reform” of the city’s bilingual program, held in Battery Park.
This is no reform at all, but rather an endorsement of a program that has now failed generations of our most vulnerable children. The program was established with the best of intentions in 1974, after the settlement of a lawsuit brought by the Puerto Rican advocacy group, Aspira. The city’s educational administration hoped to lift the performance of immigrant children by teaching them in their own language. After three decades, however, there is almost no one who can honestly say that this program has worked — certainly not Mr. Bloomberg, or at least last year’s Mr. Bloomberg. The mayor is fully aware of the program’s failings.As a candidate, and even after his election as mayor, he argued against bilingual education. (more…)
First Published in The New York Sun, June 13, 2003
By Andrew Wolf
When all sides declare victory, it’s the little guy who’d better watch out. That’s the case with the settlement announced Tuesday between the city’s Department of Education and a group of state legislators and unions. The lawmakers and unions had sued the city over the structural changes Mayor Bloomberg and Schools Chancellor Klein are making to the school system.
In their zeal for change, Messrs. Bloomberg and Klein apparently couldn’t wait to negotiate a proper structure with the state Legislature and the governor. Instead, the mayor and the chancellor announced their replacement of the 32 community school districts with 10 regions, and even made key appointments to the top positions in the new configuration, before a commission created by the Legislature to study the issue had a chance to come to any conclusions. (more…)
First Published in The New York Sun, June 6, 2003
By Andrew Wolf
Many of the plans advanced by Mayor Bloomberg and Schools Chancellor Klein depend on the data provided by highstakes tests. But can Messrs. Bloomberg and Klein — not to mention the public — depend on these scores and the way that they are currently disseminated and analyzed?
Our school system has stumbled into a Balkanized system of testing. The State of New York administers tests in the fourth and eighth grades in English and math. The city gives its own, entirely different tests in the third, fifth, sixth, and seventh grades. This makes tracking the progress of individual children as they proceed through the system quite difficult. That the city is using a new testing device this year — one from Harcourt Educational Measurement, rather than the CTB/McGraw Hill test previously used — makes things even more complicated. (more…)