Archive for August, 2005

26th August
2005

First Published in The New York Sun, August 26, 2005

By Andrew Wolf

Two New York City public school teachers were recently fired, having been caught working at other jobs while collecting sick pay. Presumably, among the 80,000 or so teachers who work in the school system, something like this is bound to happen. What made these cases noteworthy is what the double-dipping teachers were doing during the time they should have been in the classroom.

The first case involved a fellow named Matthew Kaye, a social studies teacher at Benjamin Cardozo High School in Bayside, Queens. Mr. Kaye, 31, by all accounts a popular and particularly effective teacher, was pursuing a mildly successful career as a professional wrestler, using the alias “Matt Striker.” While the incident made interesting tabloid reading, I concluded that Mr. Kaye’s wrestling exploits added no particular value to his ability to teach history. (more…)

25th August
2005

First Published in The New York Sun, August 25, 2005

By Andrew Wolf

Credit is due to Wayne Barrett of the Village Voice for his useful dissection of last week’s Quinnipiac University poll results, which showed Fernando Ferrer maintaining his lead and the other three candidates in a dead heat for second.

Mr. Barrett correctly pointed out that reporters and commentators have been focusing on a smaller sample of likely primary voters, as opposed to the larger sample of Democrats that Quinnipiac has been polling on a regular basis since the beginning of the campaign.We were all just following the road map left for us in the Quinnipiac press release. (more…)

23rd August
2005

First Published in The New York Sun, August 23, 2005

By Andrew Wolf

Last week’s Quinnipiac poll, filled with bad news for Democrats, holds a ray of light for at least three of them.

The bad news, of course, is that they are fighting for a nomination that increasingly seems worthless. Democratic voters seem to “Like Mike” more than any of the four seeking the nod of their own party. (more…)

19th August
2005

First Published in The New York Sun, August 19, 2005

By Andrew Wolf

Last week, I discussed the waste and inconvenience caused by the duplicate testing of some children in New York City, necessitated by the bureaucratic incompetence of state education officials. Because the state will administer its standardized tests beginning in January, and won’t return the results to the city before late summer, students in three grades will have to take much the same test twice. This is causing unhappiness among students, parents, and teachers.

This is not the only problem with the testing programs run by New York’s State Education Department. There is a list of mistakes and problems that has been well documented. So it isn’t surprising that state educrats would need eight months to grade examination papers. (more…)

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18th August
2005

First Published in The New York Sun, August 18, 2005

By Andrew Wolf

The Democrats held the year’s first “official” mayoral debate Tuesday evening. The event was official because the city’s Campaign Finance Board sponsored it, with participation a prerequisite for obtaining public matching funds.

The “Gang of Four” had sparred previously, indeed frequently — so frequently that the forums made hardly a blip on the public radar screen. But Tuesday’s affair seemed to receive a bit more attention, not so much because of its official status but because the calendar tells us there will be just four more weeks until the Democrats either choose an opponent to Mayor Bloomberg or at least narrow the field. (more…)

16th August
2005

First Published in The New York Sun, August 16, 2005

By Andrew Wolf

Jeanine Pirro’s Senate campaign may have gotten off to a rocky start, what with the controversy over the missing page in her announcement, the 32 seconds of dead air, and the saga of the notorious husband carefully hidden from view.

Mayor Bloomberg, though, probably wishes that the troubled campaign never got under way at all, because it has already put him in an embarrassing and uncomfortable political position. (more…)

12th August
2005

First Published in The New York Sun, August 12, 2005

By Andrew Wolf

The city’s Department of Education released the testing schedule for the next school year, enraging parents, principals, and politicians alike. Students in three grades will be required to take two nearly identical sets of standardized examinations, a wasteful, expensive enterprise that is providing ammunition for anti-testing advocates.

Educrats here blame the state Education Department, which in turn blames the No Child Left Behind law spearheaded by the Bush administration. In this case, the blame rests squarely with our state officials, who demonstrate incompetence when it comes to assessing the academic progress made by our children. City officials, such as Chancellor Klein and the mayor himself, ought to be complaining about the expense, effort, and embarrassment that has fallen on them as a result. (more…)

11th August
2005

First Published in The New York Sun, August 11, 2005

By Andrew Wolf

Boy, was I right when I wrote the other day that the joining of the Republican and Liberal ballot lines on Column A on behalf of Mayor Bloomberg was the “final indignity” for the former council member, Thomas Ognibene. After reading my column on Tuesday, Mr. Ognibene,who despite his failure to win a spot on the Republican primary ballot in September,will still carry the Conservative Party standard into November, did indeed explode in anger.

Mr. Ognibene called for the resignation of the New York County Republican chairman, James Ortenzio, after I reported that Mr. Ortenzio told me that he was “comfortable” in an alliance with Liberal Party chief Henry Stern on behalf of the mayor. (more…)

10th August
2005

First Published in The New York Sun, August 10, 2005

By Andrew Wolf

Rarely has a candidacy been more anticipated than that of Jeanine Pirro, the savvy Westchester County district attorney. This is a reflection not only of Mrs. Pirro’s telegenic qualities but also of just how dire the situation is in the New York State Republican Party.

In a party that is now in a desperate search for talent, she had her choice of which office to seek. She could have run for governor, the post state Republicans desperately need to retain, or she could have run for state attorney general, the post she was most likely to win. But she opted instead to run for the United States Senate, against Senator Clinton, the race in which she is least likely to succeed. Why? (more…)

9th August
2005

First Published in The New York Sun, August 9, 2005

By Andrew Wolf

Michael Bloomberg won the Republican nomination for mayor last week, having knocked his final opponent, a former council member, Thomas Ognibene, off the September primary ballot due to the lack of adequate signatures on his designating petitions. Mr. Ognibene promises to challenge the decision in federal court, but it is unlikely that he will prevail. He will look for a reprise of the 2000 court decision that ordered Senator McCain back on the GOP presidential primary ballot.This is a long shot at best.

Failing a miracle, this can only be seen as a huge setback for New York Republicans on the right. It demonstrates how far the party has moved back to its liberal Dewey-Rockefeller roots after a generation as a legitimately conservative voice. (more…)

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