Archive for June, 2008

27th June
2008

First Published in The New York Sun, June 27, 2008

By Andrew Wolf

When one digs into the testing data released by the State Education Department earlier this week, one comes up with some surprises. The huge across the board gains in the statewide math and English language arts tests would suggest that all children should be doing better. But one group seems to be adrift when it comes to the English test.

Curiously, it is not the low performers, special education students, minorities, English language learners, or other “at risk” groups that is lagging behind. Rather, despite the soaring scores, it is the group of highest performers that is shrinking.

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20th June
2008

First Published in The New York Sun, June 20, 2008

By Andrew Wolf

Unmarked vans from a private courier service were sent out last week by the Department of Education to deliver the news to lucky families whose children were admitted to the gifted programs around the city. Now comes news that the results undermine the whole rationale of the Bloomberg administration for restructuring the popular programs.

A front-page story in yesterday’s Times told the tale. After a second round of restructuring last year failed to increase the numbers of minority children, a third attempt was undertaken this year. Only children scoring in the top 5% of a nationally normed I.Q.-type test were to be admitted to the programs.

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12th June
2008

First Published in The New York Sun, June 12, 2008

By Andrew Wolf

On a visit to Washington, D.C. many years ago, a slick advertising supplement fell out of my morning newspaper. It was for a store I had never heard of, but immediately wished there was a branch in the New York area. The booklet was filled with the kind of furniture that would appeal to people who appreciated modern design and incredibly low prices, in other words many New Yorkers like me.

So I celebrate the opening of the city’s first Ikea branch in Red Hook, Brooklyn. I had hoped that the store would come first to my home borough of the Bronx.

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6th June
2008

First Published in The New York Sun, June 6, 2008

By Andrew Wolf

The issue of mayoral control of the schools is due to end at midnight on June 30, 2009. If the state legislature and governor fail to act, the current Department of Education will disappear and revert into the old Board of Education at 12:01 a.m. the following day.

This is unlikely to happen, but what is likely is that there will be changes in the law that will rein in some of the mayor’s powers over the schools. In getting to an improved governing structure for the schools, there is likely to be much debate. Both an honest debate and some real reform would be a good thing.

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