Archive for January, 2008

29th January
2008

First Published in The New York Sun, January 29, 2008

By Andrew Wolf

Quite a debate among advocates of school choice has been ignited by Sol Stern’s article on school choice in the current number of City Journal.

Mr. Stern is a longtime advocate of school choice, whose book “Breaking Free: Public School Lessons and the Imperative of School Choice” is a bible to many in the voucher movement.

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18th January
2008

First Published in The New York Sun, January 18, 2008

By Andrew Wolf

Nothing will grab a headline faster than rating schools with a letter grade. We saw it here in New York City when the Department of Education recently assigned grades to all of its schools. Last week, the national trade newspaper, Education Week, released its “grades” for each of the 50 states. Astoundingly, on the top of the list with a composite total grade of “B” in this “Quality Counts” evaluation, is the State of New York.

A closer examination of these results clarified the situation. Education Week used a weighted average of six components to arrive at their final grade. Only one of these components has to do with academic results, the one labeled “K-12 Achievement.” The rest of the components basically fall into the category of evaluating state education policy for good intentions, measured by such things as how much money is spent on their schools, and whether it is spent in an “equitable” way.

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11th January
2008

First Published in The New York Sun, January11, 2008

By Andrew Wolf

If you are looking for a reason why the economic good times in the city seem to have passed by the borough of the Bronx, events in recent days should offer some clues.

In a national atmosphere where the word of the day is change, in the Bronx, among the poorest places in the entire nation, the watchword is “more of the same.”

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4th January
2008

First Published in The New York Sun, January 4, 2008

By Andrew Wolf

On Tuesday, elementary school pupils in the city will sharpen their number two pencils and sit down for two or three days of the state’s English language arts test. The following Tuesday, it will be the turn of middle school students.

The stakes couldn’t be higher. Not so much for the students, since only a small proportion in only some grades are held back, despite the city’s policy of “ending” social promotion. The real pressure is on the principals and teachers to “perform.”

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2nd January
2008

First Published in The New York Sun, January 2, 2008

By Andrew Wolf

NEW ORLEANS, December 27 - Visiting the crescent city for the first time since Hurricane Katrina hit has been an eye-opener. I am amazed that the candidates for president, all so eager to show how they alone embrace the concept of “change,” aren’t highlighting the failure of the public and private sectors to address the emergency.

The French Quarter and Garden Districts, so beloved by tourists, emerged largely intact, and the great restaurants are mostly reopened. Still, more than two years after the hurricane struck, huge areas of the city and surrounding areas are devastated. Tens of thousands are living in government issued trailers. Tens of thousands have left, many never to return.

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