Archive for May, 2008

30th May
2008

First Published in The New York Sun, May 30, 2008

By Andrew Wolf

The specific issue in New York City’s public schools that has caused the most recent brouhaha is how much we spend on teaching our students. In this dust-up, all parties manage to come out on the wrong side.

Expenditures for education already have risen to more than $20 billion a year from $12.5 billion six years ago, without any objective indicator that would suggest that we are on the path to success.

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23rd May
2008

First Published in The New York Sun, May 23, 2008

By Andrew Wolf

“We’re lawmakers, not education experts,” City Council Speaker Quinn declared in a breakfast speech Tuesday. She proceeded to wring her hands over cuts of $191 million to the schools. If she really wants to be mayor, better she should be asking how the administration squandered the $8 billion added to the budget these past six years, even as the system serves 60,000 fewer students, and why the results are so lackluster.

When the Board of Estimate was struck down by the courts in the 1980s, the resulting charter allowed for increased powers for the City Council to provide a counter-balance to the vast influence enjoyed by the mayor. The charter has made the Council Speaker the second most influential person in the city government and term limits make her an automatic candidate for mayor.

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16th May
2008

First Published in The New York Sun, May 16, 2008

By Andrew Wolf

The National Assessment Governing Board is in town, here for their quarterly meeting, the site of which rotates around the country. It is New York City’s turn to host the board, which represent a glimmer of hope in a largely bleak educational landscape.

NAGB is a federal agency that is truly non-partisan in the political sense. Think of it as a sort of bureau of weights and measures, providing a common measuring stick to measure the academic performance of our children.

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2nd May
2008

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

By Andrew Wolf

Herman Badillo is too much of a gentleman to use his speech accepting the Manhattan Institute’s Alexander Hamilton Award last week to attack the Department of Education over the half-hearted implementation of Mr. Badillo’s pet program to end “social promotion” in our public schools. But the elder statesman still made his point clear, reminding all present that this pernicious practice still lives.

During the years bridging the administrations of Mayors Wagner and Bloomberg, Mr. Badillo’s opposition to the practice of passing students on from grade to grade regardless of their academic achievement has been consistent. Since that time, we have gone through dozens of institutional restructurings of our school system, some major, some minor, most irrelevant.

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