Archive for January, 2006

30th January
2006

First Published in The New York Sun, January 30, 2006

By Andrew Wolf

New York’s political cognoscenti will be scrambling this week to sort out the winners and losers in the wake of a court decision handed down Friday by a U.S. district judge in Brooklyn overturning the way political parties nominate justices to the state Supreme Court.

Judge John Gleeson of the Eastern District ruled that the state Legislature needs to change the current system to make these elections more democratic. He ordered that on an interim basis, until the Legislature acts,these judges are to be elected in direct party primaries. (more…)

27th January
2006

First Published in The New York Sun, January 27, 2006

By Andrew Wolf

For the first time (and perhaps the last), I recently found myself in agreement with City Councilman Charles Barron of Brooklyn.

Mr. Barron, the former Black Panther and confidant of the Reverend Al Sharpton, usually opines on the joys of slapping white people, the offensive presence of images of our nation’s founding fathers in City Hall, and the glories of Zimbabwe’s dictator, Robert Mugabe. So it came as a surprise to hear Mr. Barron’s levelheaded and courageous criticism of his colleagues for abdicating their independence in choosing their own leadership. (more…)

23rd January
2006

First Published in The New York Sun, January 23, 2006

By Andrew Wolf

The announcement on Thursday of two reforms to the school system hints of a fresh breeze coming from the Tweed Courthouse, a kinder and gentler reform, more bottom up than top down.

Most press attention has concentrated on the proposal by the chancellor, Joel Klein, to expand the “autonomy zone,” a small group of schools with principals who have been somewhat freed from the centralized management that has characterized the way business is done at Tweed.This is a positive development. (more…)

20th January
2006

First Published in The New York Sun, January 20, 2006

By Andrew Wolf

Success in education comes in two varieties. There is real success as measured by things such as gaining admission to selective colleges or securing a worthwhile job upon graduation.These are the types of achievement that define a truly successful educational program.

Then there is the phony success of educrats proclaiming victory long before there is any justification for their declarations of triumph. It has hit a new high with the application of Eric Nadelstern to become chief of the Clark County, Nev., public schools.This district, which includes the city of Las Vegas and its explosive population expansion, is the fifth largest in the nation. The successful applicant will earn substantially more than New York’s public schools chancellor, Joel Klein. (more…)

13th January
2006

First Published in The New York Sun, January 13, 2006

By Andrew Wolf

Yankee Stadium is the most famous structure in Bronx County, the rare building that has achieved iconic status. It has been the scene of the greatest historic moments that defined the national pastime, and thus influenced American society.

As a new Yankee Stadium is set to rise just to the north of the great arena, the question is what will become of this irreplaceable historic sports venue? (more…)

10th January
2006

First Published in The New York Sun, January 10, 2006

By Andrew Wolf

The New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission is poised today to designate a privately owned community in the Riverdale section of the Bronx, Fieldston, as a historic district. Although the designation would need to be approved by the City Planning Commission, the City Council, and Mayor Bloomberg, it would immediately be implemented.

In effect, the move would make all of the houses in the development, except those of recent vintage, landmarks. Such a designation prevents owners from making exterior changes to their homes, major or minor, without approval of the Landmarks panel. (more…)

6th January
2006

First Published in The New York Sun, January 6, 2006

By Andrew Wolf

The word from the Tweed Courthouse is that most of the extraordinarily lucrative contracts to train the city’s teachers how to teach reading and writing will now be given to one vendor — the Reading and Writing Project of Columbia University Teachers College, led by Lucy McCormack Calkins.

If true, Tweed is investing even deeper in the radical ideas of Ms. Calkins just as the pendulum, here in America and abroad, has begun to swing away from her philosophy. Ms. Calkins is described by Sol Stern, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, as “a doyenne of progressive-education pedagogy in America. Her ‘writing process’ approach … is based on the romantic idea that all young children are ‘natural writers’ and should be encouraged to start scribbling in journals and rewriting composition drafts without worrying (or being taught much) about formal grammar and spelling.” (more…)