Archive for April, 2007

30th April
2007

First Published in The New York Sun, April 30, 2007

By Andrew Wolf

The No Child Left Behind law, dear to the heart of the president, is due for reauthorization. And unlike the good feelings that surrounded the initial passage, the debate surrounding reauthorization has already taken on an ugly tone.

The first time this came up, Washington was a different town. For one thing, the Republicans ruled the roost on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue. It was early in the Bush administration, just after September 11, that short interlude when partisanship seemed somehow inappropriate. (more…)

20th April
2007

First Published in The New York Sun, April 20, 2007

By Andrew Wolf

Last week the mayor was calling the United Federation of Teachers the “number one” impediment to progress in his Children First education reform.

But before the ink was dry on press accounts of the mayor’s tirade, his aides, including Deputy Mayor Kevin Sheekey, were in negotiation with the union to get it to end its campaign against the new round of reforms. As a result, the mayor is willing to drop his plan for Weighted School Funding in exchange for de facto acquiescence to the new restructuring by the UFT and its coalition of parents and officials, the Working Families Party, and the community organization ACORN. (more…)

17th April
2007

First Published in The New York Sun, April 17, 2007

By Andrew Wolf

It came as no surprise to Sol Stern of the Manhattan Institute that a class of New York City public high school pupils took a spring break jaunt to communist Cuba. “Sure, they do it every year,” Mr. Stern told me. He sees this as part of something much larger, a cadre of leftists and others caught in a time warp, promoting a 1960s type of radicalism. The problem is, according to Mr. Stern, that they are doing it in the public schools.

Although the city’s education department has rules about nearly everything that goes on in our schools, when it comes to the manipulation of young minds for political ends, not only does there appear to be no effort to stop such practices, but the mayor and chancellor have become unwitting co-conspirators in promoting them. (more…)

13th April
2007

First Published in The New York Sun, April 13, 2007

By Andrew Wolf

History repeated itself Monday when the mayor and Chancellor Klein released a list of 100 or so supporters of the latest version of his ever-changing educational reform. Rather than listen to their critics and perhaps modify their own position, they dug in and attempted to blunt that criticism with the club of a petition.

That’s what happened in 2003 after a group of eight prominent experts in the field of teaching reading wrote the chancellor that the strategy he selected, Month-by-Month Phonics, was not backed by scientifically validated research and would not pass the scrutiny of the federal government for funding under the Reading First program of No Child Left Behind. (more…)

9th April
2007

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

By Andrew Wolf

Despite the angry rhetoric being bandied about, charter school enthusiasts have every reason to be happy. The number of charters has been doubled. That’s a lot, considering that it took almost a decade to exhaust the 100 charters provided for by the initial legislation, some of the original charters proved to be awful, and the jury is out on many others.

The granting of a charter to run a school — at the taxpayer’s expense — is no small privilege. Young lives hang in the balance. Giving permission to some entity to educate children should be considered with the same seriousness with which we charter a hospital or health care facility. There’s a feeling out there that anyone can run a school, even lawyers or politicians, certainly the last people I would look to in any quest for excellence. (more…)