Archive for August, 2006

25th August
2006

First Published in The New York Sun, August 25, 2006

By Andrew Wolf

Efforts to reform our public education system received a blow recently when a federal court reopened a challenge to the testing procedure the State of New York requires as part of the certification process for new teachers. In question is whether the Liberal Arts and Sciences Test is job related. A disproportionate number of black and Hispanic teachers and prospective teachers failed this exam. The complaint is that the city discriminated against those removed from the classroom after failing the test. As the court considers the concerns of the city, state and aggrieved former teachers, the interests of schoolchildren are ignored.

I have had some contact with this exam. My son is a teacher, and took the test four years ago. I was shocked when I first saw this exam. Shocked not because I found it difficult and unfair, but rather amazed at just how easy it was. (more…)

11th August
2006

First Published in The New York Sun, August 11, 2006

By Andrew Wolf

Senator Lieberman’s defeat Tuesday in Connecticut’s Democratic Party primary election is disappointing for those of us who were hoping that the party of FDR, Harry Truman, JFK, Henry Jackson, and Senator Moynihan had not been totally hijacked by the far left. It seems that primaries are becoming a lot like religion. Unless you are at least as orthodox in your beliefs as the most radical within your party, you may well be doomed.

In a larger sense, Mr. Lieberman is a victim of the primary system itself, a democratic (with a small “d”) idea that often has a negative impact. Those who do not bother to vote allow those more committed to some single issue to dominate a party’s primary for any office providing they are better organized than the rank and file. (more…)

4th August
2006

First Published in The New York Sun, August 4, 2006

By Andrew Wolf

Here’s a bit of news from the New York State Department of Education. It didn’t come to me as a result of a press conference or a news release, nor did any unnamed source meet furtively with me in a garage to slip me a package of confidential information. Rather this news came in the form of a help wanted ad that appeared in newspapers Sunday.

The news is that the state of New York, whose programs to administer academic tests to students has come under so much criticism, is simply not serious about fixing their broken system. As a result the education of millions of New York’s children will continue to be compromised. (more…)