Archive for June, 2006

30th June
2006

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

By Andrew Wolf

To celebrate the last day of school, Chancellor Klein visited a school in Brooklyn and gave out popsicles to the students. Shame on you, Mr. Klein, contributing to the “childhood obesity epidemic.”

A few weeks ago I wrote about the effort, led by a former president, Bill Clinton, to purge soft drinks and snack foods from our nation’s schools. Mr. Klein and Mayor Bloomberg have already banished whole milk from Gotham’s school lunches,replacing it with skim milk. Now the child obesity discussion has taken an ominous new turn: City Councilman Joel Rivera, the chair of the Health Committee, proposes that the city’s zoning resolution be altered to limit the number of fast food restaurants in certain areas of the city. (more…)

27th June
2006

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

By Andrew Wolf

Bronx Community Board 4 has in recent days become among the best known of the city’s 62 community boards. This is the board that voted against the plan to build the new Yankee Stadium. These boards only have advisory power. But having the weight of these “official” representatives of the local neighborhoods behind a project can influence the higher officials who really make the decisions.

Tonight, at Bronx Lebanon Hospital on the Grand Concourse, the board will hold its final meeting before old terms expire and new ones begin. Fireworks are expected. The board that will be in place next week will look quite different from the one that will meet tonight. Members of the board who ignored the wishes of the Bronx president, Adolfo Carrion, have been removed, and new, presumably more pliable members will take their place. (more…)

26th June
2006

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

By Andrew Wolf

There are many reasons for the failure of Governor Pataki to convince the legislature to increase the cap on charter schools in New York State.But two miscalculations by advocates of charter schools contributed to the debacle.

One was the insistence of Chancellor Klein on situating a charter school in the building now occupied by a growing and successful public school. Mr. Klein sought to put the Ross Global Academy, a new charter, into the lower east side school building now largely occupied by the New Explorations Into Science, Technology and Math school. NEST+M, a school for academically advanced students, is wildly popular with Manhattan parents, whose children, in my estimation, are the most academically neglected in New York. (more…)

23rd June
2006

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

By Andrew Wolf

William H. Gates III, the chairman of the Microsoft Corporation, announced last week that he will be phasing out his day-to-day involvement running the company he founded, in order to increase his participation in his charitable enterprises.

Mr. Gates comes from a household that loves to give away money, so much so that he and his father, William H. Gates II, have raised loud support for the reinstatement of the federal estate tax. It seems that to the Gateses it doesn’t matter much how it goes out the door, as long as their money doesn’t stick around littering the house. (more…)

20th June
2006

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

By Andrew Wolf

City Pupils Could Be Held Back On Basis of Five-Month-Old Tests

An uproar is greeting the news that thousands of elementary and middle school pupils in the city have been told that they will be held back for promotion to the next grade based on tests administered nearly six months ago that New York State still hasn’t finished grading.

Parents throughout the city, for the first time in memory, will be given report cards by their children on the last day of school that will not have the results of these standardized tests.The results will come too late for any remedial and intervention strategies that could have aided students lagging behind. (more…)

16th June
2006

First Published in The New York Sun, June 16, 2006

By Andrew Wolf

Councilman Albert Vann is playing the race card again in Brooklyn, something he has been doing for 40 years. In the late 1960s, as the head of the African Teachers Association, he crossed swords with UFT President Albert Shanker over community control of the schools, creating a racial schism in Gotham that lingers to this day.

In 1968, the demonstration school board in Ocean Hill-Brownsville, funded by a grant from the Ford Foundation, interpreted community control to mean that teachers should be fired at will by the “community” (and 17 white teachers were). Mr. Shanker and the UFT wouldn’t budge in their resistance to race-based dismissals, resulting in the famous citywide strike that became the defining moment in the city’s race relations for decades. (more…)

9th June
2006

First Published in The New York Sun, June 9, 2006

By Andrew Wolf

The victory of John Faso in last week’s Republican state convention has been portrayed as an upset. It shouldn’t be. Mr. Faso, the former Assembly minority leader has routinely been underestimated. Although he faces a hard road ahead, he can be elected governor. Conventional wisdom says Eliot Spitzer. Tell that to “Governor” Howard Samuels, “Governor” Ed Koch, and “fourterm” Governor Mario Cuomo.

Mr. Faso demonstrated that he had the right stuff four years ago when he came out of nowhere to finish strong in the race for state comptroller. In that contest, Mr. Faso faced a well-known opponent, Alan Hevesi, who had served as the city’s comptroller for two terms and for a while was considered the front-runner to succeed Mayor Giuliani. (more…)