Archive for September, 2003

26th September

First Published in The New York Sun, September 26, 2003

By Andrew Wolf

Remember these three words: schoolbased option. These are the words that strike fear into the hearts of Schools Chancellor Joel Klein, Deputy Chancellor for Instruction Diana Lam, and the other leaders of the Tweed cult that is running our city schools in neo-Orwellian style. 

    It is fashionable in some corners to knock the United Federation of Teachers as the source of all that is evil in the public schools. I have never shared this belief. Perhaps, because members of my family and many of my friends are educators, I have a more intimate perspective on the lives of teachers. (more…)

19th September

First Published in The New York Sun, September 19, 2003

By Andrew Wolf

The schools have been open for two full weeks now, and Mayor Bloomberg and Schools Chancellor Joel Klein have been busy giving themselves high fives about the successful opening. How successful has the opening really been? You be the judge. A fetish was made about the delivery of books and materials for the first day of classes. “For too many years,” said the mayor, “we heard stories about books not being in classrooms in time for the first day of school. I am proud to say that we made good on our promise in January, and here they are, ready for Monday’s classes.” Yes, most books and materials were delivered on time. But most of these were books for classroom libraries to encourage independent reading — nice to have in place the first day of school, but hardly the centerpiece of the first couple of week’s classroom activity.  (more…)

15th September

First Published in The New York Sun, September 15, 2003

By Andrew Wolf

Appearing on WNBC-TV yesterday, Schools Chancellor Joel Klein suggested that complying with the federal No Child Left Behind law is among his toughest challenges. Next year, that challenge may get tougher still.
When the state Education Department released a new list of “troubled” schools last week, it may have greatly diminished the available schools to which children in low income “failing” schools may transfer under No Child Left Behind.

Jonathan Burman, a spokesman for the state Education Department, appeared surprised when asked by The New York Sun if schools appearing on the state’s new list of “Schools Requiring Academic Progress,” could still be included on the list of schools that children attending the “failing” schools could transfer to.
According to Mr. Burman, after checking the law, the answer is no.

12th September

First Published in The New York Sun, September 12, 2003

By Andrew Wolf

On Wednesday the New York State Education Department issued new list of “failing” New York City schools (the list for the rest of the state was issued last week). servers expected this list to grow, and grow it did. Chancellor Joel Klein quickly jumped on the increase in the number of schools the list to justify “reform” program Of course when city got some go news a few weeks a that New Yor schools (along w Houston’s), were top perform among big city sch districts, Mr. Kle deputy chancellor teaching and learning, Diana Lam, quick to take credit. This was desp the fact that the rating was based o test given six months before she ca to town. (more…)

11th September

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

By Andrew Wolf

The city’s special investigator for the public schools, Richard Condon, has launched a probe into the circumstances surrounding the employment of the husband of a top education official,The New York Sun has learned.

Peter Plattes, the husband of the deputy chancellor for teaching and learning, Diana Lam, was slated to become a regional instructional supervisor in Region 2 in the Bronx. (more…)

5th September

First Published in The New York Sun, September 5, 2003

By Andrew Wolf

In preparation for the new school year that is set to begin on Monday,teachers,principals,and even parent coordinators are being subjected to endless hours of “professional development.” In fact, hundreds of millions of dollars, an unprecedented amount anywhere, will be spent every year to train these staffers.
So that us ordinary folk can keep up with the Bloomberg educational “reforms,” I humbly submit this short “professional development” course to help
parents and taxpayers understand what is really going on.

The new uniform literacy curriculum is actually not a curriculum at all. A curriculum is a map of what topics are studied when and in which subjects. A year of algebra, a term of geography, a course in American history, and the contents of each course, would be part of a curriculum.What the Department of Education offers is actually a structured teaching methodology, not a curriculum. (more…)