Archive for July, 2003

28th July
2003

First Published in The New York Sun, July 28, 2003

By Andrew Wolf

The revolving door is spinning at the Tweed Courthouse, a disturbing indicator of the disarray that is undermining Mayor Bloomberg’s effort to reform the public schools. Just a year after being handed control of the schools by the New York State Legislature, and just six weeks before students return to school, a number of top administrators are bailing out.

The most significant departure is the retirement of a regional superintendent, Shelley Harwayne, which was announced midday Friday. Whenever Chancellor Klein has what he believes will be perceived as bad news, one can be sure that it will be released in the afternoon on a Friday — insuring that it will be consigned to the low-circulation Saturday papers. (more…)

11th July
2003

First Published in The New York Sun, July 11, 2003

By Andrew Wolf

Alexander Burger is not a familiar name to many people today, but once he was one of the most important businessmen in the Bronx.

Born in Russia of Jewish heritage in 1873, Burger was brought to America as a young boy. He left school as a teenager to enter the business world and help support his family.In 1920 he established the Art Steel Co..Burger’s first product was a steel cash box,painted in a distinct green color. He soon expanded his facility and began producing a full line of files, desks, and other office furniture, urging his customers to “Follow the Green Line.” (more…)

9th July
2003

First Published in The New York Sun, July 9, 2003

By Andrew Wolf

Ayear ago,I wrote a column attempting to dispel the myth that lead poisoning as currently defined poses a public health threat.In light of the July 1 court decision striking down Local Law 38,and the moronic zeal of the current City Council to pass a Draconian replacement, clearly it’s time to make another attempt.Even at the low threshold that now defines poisoning, the number of afflicted children is plummeting. The time has come to declare victory and move on.Unfortunately,pandering politicos serving as the handmaidens of trial lawyers keep trying to lower the standards by which we determine who is lead poisoned.

Several years ago I learned more about lead poisoning than I ever wanted to know. I was leading an initiative to build a new middle school in the Marble Hill community. A building site between two existing schools there,Kennedy High School and P.S. 37,had already been chosen,when the initiative ran into opposition from a small group of activists desperate to stop any project that was seen to benefit a middle-class community like Riverdale.There are anti-lead activists who brag that they can find lead anywhere, and one was dispatched to P.S. 37 to do so. (more…)

2nd July
2003

First Published in The New York Sun, July 2, 2003

By Andrew Wolf

You know the old saying, “Be careful what you wish for.” That’s what I’d say to the folks at the Campaign for Fiscal Equity, fresh from their victory in a lawsuit against the state over school funding. Some folks are already counting the money and predicting an educational renaissance. What they may have really won is permanent court control of our city’s school system.

The Legislature has 13 months to answer the court-mandated question, “How much does it cost to provide an adequate public education.” Their “answer” will almost certainly be wrong. (more…)