Archive for December 24th, 2004

24th December
2004

First Published in The New York Sun, December 24, 2004

By Andrew Wolf

The other day I discovered a shocking bit of news — that Arthur Levine, president of Columbia University Teachers College, was a classmate of mine at the Bronx High School of Science, and, I believe, at Creston Junior High, also known as J.H.S. 79. How could a product of the successful pedagogy practiced by those institutions have become a leading advocate of tearing down the very programs responsible for his own success?

Readers of this column know that I believe in the type of traditional education I — and Mr. Levine — received during these “golden days” of the New York City Public Schools back in the 1950s and 1960s.

We learned how to read using basal readers like “Fun with Dick and Jane.” We memorized multiplication tables. Our teachers used a timetested method I have since learned is called “teacher-directed instruction.” Teachers typically stood in the front of the classroom, lectured, and scribbled notes on the blackboard to illustrate their points. (more…)