Archive for January, 2007

26th January
2007

First Published in The New York Sun, January 26, 2007

By Andrew Wolf

If your child was mugged walking home from school, the first thing that I suspect you would tell him is to avoid taking the same route in the future. In recent years, New York’s schoolchildren have been mugged — intellectually, not physically — by many of our most notable researchers and academics. And the powers-that-be may be getting ready to do it again.

A new group, the Research Partnership for New York City Schools, is being formed to do “independent research” that would, among other things, evaluate the effectiveness of public school policy initiatives. It would have unprecedented access to data generated by the schools. It is modeled after a similar group that operates in Chicago. (more…)

19th January
2007

First Published in The New York Sun, January 19, 2007

By Andrew Wolf

With much fanfare four years ago, Mayor Bloomberg unveiled his plans to revamp the school system that he had been given control of six months earlier. Today, he is scrapping virtually all of those plans in what to me appears to be a “Hail Mary” pass to get back into a game that appears lost. If this were Iraq, call it a “surge.”

When the mayor was given control of the schools five years ago, it was because there was a sense of lack of control and direction coming out of the old Board of Education. There’d been a revolving door in the chancellor’s office during the old system’s final years. Alvarado, Quinones, Green, Fernandez, Cortines, Crew, Levy. Only one of these gentlemen left on his own accord, another died, and the others left in less than cordial circumstances. (more…)

12th January
2007

First Published in The New York Sun, January 12, 2007

By Andrew Wolf

In what could be a radical change in the way state government is run, Governor Spitzer is pushing the idea of nonpartisan redistricting for elections to the state Legislature and to Congress, a reform proposal whose time may have come.

But in designing new procedures to draw legislative districts, I urge caution. We could end up replacing raw partisan political considerations with something worse: extreme political correctness, enforced by Washington bureaucracy. (more…)

9th January
2007

First Published in The New York Sun, January 9, 2007

By Andrew Wolf

Herman Badillo and his new book, “One Nation, One Standard,” will be celebrated today at a luncheon held by the Manhattan Institute, where he will be introduced by Mayor Koch. Even before it hit the stores, the ideas expressed in the book have been a source of controversy because Mr. Badillo takes his fellow Hispanics to task for not stressing the importance of education to their children. “Education is not a high priority in the Hispanic community. … Hispanics have simply failed to recognize the overriding importance of education.”

Mr. Badillo’s standing comes not only from his own ethnic background and service as Bronx president and a member of Congress but also from his service as the chairman of the board of trustees of the City University of New York. After decades of declining reputation brought on by an “open admissions” policy, Mr. Badillo led the charge to end the practice of offering remedial classes for ill-prepared students in the system’s senior colleges. With remediation limited to the system’s two-year community colleges, high standards at the City University have returned and ignited a renaissance. (more…)

5th January
2007

First Published in The New York Sun, January 5, 2007

By Andrew Wolf

Over a year ago, I wrote, critically, about Majora Carter, the “Genius of Hunts Point.” She was declared as such by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. I now feel the need to revisit Ms. Carter. MacArthur “geniuses” are given a $500,000 prize to do with as they wish.

Ms. Carter runs an organization called “Sustainable South Bronx,” and her major achievement thus far is planting grass on the roof of the building that houses her office. Ms. Carter has found a press-friendly way to mix the politically correct concern with things environmental with some good old-fashioned charges of race-based victimization. Quoth she: “Poor communities of color are just as deserving of clean air, clean water and open space as wealthier ones.” (more…)