Archive for November, 2005

18th November
2005

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

By Andrew Wolf

You may have heard the name Majora Carter recently. Ms. Carter, a 38-year-old Hunts Point resident, has recently been designated a “genius” by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

The “genius” grant comes with $500,000 in cash for the recipient to do with as he or she pleases, presumably to advance some important work. Often that work is in the arts or sciences. In Ms. Carter’s case, it is for her work as an “urban strategist,” “renewing” the South Bronx community. (more…)

11th November
2005

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

By Andrew Wolf

E.D. Hirsch Jr., the writer and academic whose ideas about teaching and learning are much respected among scholars, was in town recently to give a talk at the annual meeting of the Reading Reform Foundation of New York. It is too bad that Mayor Bloomberg wasn’t there, because what Mr. Hirsch has to say about education closely mirrors the mayor’s ideas, as expressed when he first ran for office four years ago.

Instead of the traditional approach, which Mr. Bloomberg repeatedly said he favored, what is practiced in most city classrooms is a far-left pedagogy based not on traditional academic achievement, but on protecting children’s self-esteem. In this topsy-turvy world, each student comes to school with a pre-determined supply of self-esteem. Teachers are to tread carefully lest this reserve dwindle by demanding too much of a child academically.The idea that self-esteem is a commodity continuously earned by individual achievement is rejected. (more…)

4th November
2005

First Published in The New York Sun, November 4, 2005

By Andrew Wolf

Even before what seems to surely be an early concession speech Tuesday night by Fernando Ferrer, the blame game among the Democrats has begun. The party with a 5-to-1 voter enrollment edge is poised to lose its fourth straight mayoral election. This will mark the longest period in the city’s history that the Democrats have been shut out of City Hall. Blame needs to be assigned, but you can be sure that Mr. Ferrer and his handlers will point fingers at everyone but themselves.

Some of the anger will be aimed at those fellow Democrats, like the president of Brooklyn, Marty Markowitz, and Council Members Eva Moskowitz and Margarita Lopez who, grounded in reality, understand that Mayor Bloomberg is more likely to deliver a better run municipal government than Mr. Ferrer. (more…)