Archive for December, 2007

21st December
2007

First Published in The New York Sun, December 21, 2007

By Andrew Wolf

A lot is now riding on the examinations administered each year by the State of New York. The state uses these results to determine compliance with the federal No Child Left Behind law, and failure to maintain “annual yearly progress” determines whether students are permitted to transfer out of a school or receive supplemental tutoring at taxpayer expense and even whether a school should be closed.

The city uses these tests to determine the new “report card” grades of schools, upon which depend the continued employment of principals, performance bonuses given to principals and administrators, and now also school-wide bonuses given teachers. Using different criteria than the state, the city Department of Education also determines the continued existence of the school itself. It is not only conventional public schools that are graded and evaluated, but charter schools as well.

(more…)

14th December
2007

First Published in The New York Sun, December 14, 2007

By Andrew Wolf

Debate on the mayor’s congestion tax scheme is about to get into high gear. It is clear that there will be modifications to the mayor’s plan. But we need to put aside those details. The main question before us is whether we are willing to open the door to the congestion tax in the first place. The details are immaterial.

I am sure that those who created the first income taxes or sales taxes to meet “emergency” needs would be horrified to see what became of their ideas years later. Tolls, imposed on bridges and roads were supposed to end once the construction bonds were retired. But tolls, like other taxes, keep going up.

(more…)

7th December
2007

First Published in The New York Sun, December 7, 2007

By Andrew Wolf

It isn’t often that I hear the name of my old junior high school on the radio, but on Wednesday morning I was greeted by the news of its impending demise.

Despite test scores that, while not stellar, were not even near the bottom of the pack, Chancellor Klein announced that P.S. 79 is being “closed.” Closing is less drastic than one would think. Most of the educators will keep their jobs. What will change is the number of the school or schools that will reside in this venerable old building.

(more…)