Archive for February, 2006

26th February
2006

First Published in The New York Sun, February 26, 2006

By Andrew Wolf

About this time last year I received an unexpected invitation from the Fieldston School to participate in a panel discussion on progressive education. Fieldston is bastion of progressive education and was conducting an assembly program for its students in the spirit of self-examination.

One can be sure I wasn’t called as a supporter of their teaching methods. I have developed a reputation as a vocal critic of the progressive pedagogy Fieldston favors. But I was told that the school wanted to have its students hear all sides of the issue, even questioning the central philosophy under which their school is organized. (more…)

21st February
2006

First Published in The New York Sun, February 21, 2006

By Andrew Wolf

Because most of the houses were built in the 1920s, many in the area’s growing Orthodox Jewish community who purchase move there have undertaken additions or renovations in order to accommodate the needs of their growing families.The landmarking proposal has divided the Riverdale community, often pitting neighbor against neighbor.

“I don’t understand why the Fieldston Property Owners Association cannot self-regulate any proposed renovations to the homes here,” Rabbi Weiss said. “It would seem that this is preferable to submitting these requests to the city.” (more…)

17th February
2006

First Published in The New York Sun, February 17, 2006

By Andrew Wolf

When it happened, I’m not really sure, but most borough presidents, relatively powerless under the current city charter, deliver an annual “State of the Borough” speech. Although there has been precious little good news to report, the Bronx is certainly no exception to this practice.

During Fernando Ferrer’s long occupancy of borough hall, this speech began to take on imperial trappings, aping the president’s annual speech before Congress.This, of course was a bully pulpit for a candidate who spent the final eight years of his tenure running for mayor (before taking his quest private, courtesy of term limits, on January 1, 2002). (more…)

10th February
2006

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

By Andrew Wolf

Advocates of more charter schools in Gotham got what could be good news this week with the announcement that Governor Pataki will include in his budget authorization for the city to establish another 50 such schools.

I say that this could be good news, because merely establishing a new charter school does not guarantee a happy outcome.A number of the first charters have already been closed by the State, and I suspect that the decertification of charter schools will begin to accelerate as they proliferate. It isn’t the structure of a school that creates success, but what and how the children are taught. (more…)

3rd February
2006

First Published in The New York Sun, February 3, 2006

By Andrew Wolf

It is said that Hoagy Carmichael’s “Stardust” is the most recorded song, ever. The famous lyric goes “Sometimes I wonder why I spend … The lonely nights … Dreaming of a song.”

The problem of our schools is like a song lyric that you just can’t get out of your head. Hence I have so often written in this space about the need for testing and the foibles of those who administer those tests here in the Empire State. The situation only seems to get worse. (more…)