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22nd August
2008

First Published in The New York Sun, August 22, 2008

By Andrew Wolf

Last month, I said that the “old” Yankee Stadium, slated to be demolished after the current baseball season, should be preserved. I suggested that there are ways that we can not only protect this unique piece of our American heritage, but make it profitable for the city and its residents as well.

That column generated quite a bit of interest, with readers weighing in on both sides of the issue, but mostly in favor of halting the wrecking ball. I was flattered and excited by the support I received from one reader up in Connecticut, Linda Ruth Tosetti, who is the granddaughter of the legendary Babe Ruth.

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15th August
2008

If you are dissatisfied with the political leadership in your community, I have a cure for you: come to the Bronx.

First Published in The New York Sun, August 15, 2008

By Andrew Wolf

Maybe your elected officials are skimming from the town treasury, or perhaps they are cheating on their spouses. Perhaps they have sold their vote so that the DigWeMust Development Company can do their digging on your block. Or maybe they can be found driving through the streets on any given night with a blood alcohol content well above the legal limit.

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11th August
2008

First Published in The New York Sun, August 11, 2008

By Andrew Wolf

A third group has begun public hearings on the future of mayoral control of the public schools, due to sunset in less than a year, on July 1, 2009.

This panel, the “New York City School Governance Task Force,” is sponsored by the New York State Senate Democratic minority. It may well be the Democratic majority come January, which would greatly diminish the mayor’s clout in Albany.

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4th August
2008

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

By Andrew Wolf

Could it be that just a few short years ago, at the top of the list of news stories in our city and state were the machinations surrounding the lawsuit filed by the Campaign for Fiscal Equity to “adequately” fund New York’s schools?

I have written on this topic in this space perhaps a dozen times during the past six years, each time cautioning that the idea that merely spending more money will result in better outcomes. But for all our spending –and education expenditures have increased in the city by 79% in just six years - the pace of improvement, if any, is negligible.

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25th July
2008

First Published in The New York Sun, July 25, 2008

By Andrew Wolf
If we were somehow travel ahead in time, say a decade from now, and land in New York City, one thing is for certain: we will be still be talking of the crisis in education, complaining about graduation rates, wringing our hands over the loss of our competitive position in the world marketplace.

The Bloomberg reforms? They will fade away as surely as the morning dew.

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18th July
2008

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

By Andrew Wolf

It came as an relief to me that our Landmarks Preservation Commission has designated 30 mostly forgettable buildings along the west side of Manhattan as the “West Chelsea Historic District.” I can now sleep soundly secure in the knowledge that the R.C. Williams and Co. building, the Berlin and Jones Envelope Co. building, the Wolff Building and the Wolff Building Annex, and 26 others will be protected from the wrecking ball.

Meanwhile, several miles to the north, wrecking crews are anticipating the demolition of one of New York’s truly great, historic, and beloved landmarks, Yankee Stadium. Already it is being called the “old” Yankee Stadium much as we recall the “old” Penn Station, a great building destroyed in the name of progress and regretted ever since.

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11th July
2008

First Published in The New York Sun, July 11, 2008

By Andrew Wolf

Next week, some 30 educators from Shenzhen, China are attending seminars sponsored by the College of Mount St. Vincent “to study the concepts, practices, institutions, policies, and learning strategies embedded … specifically within New York City where test scores are ever improving, and put those concepts into practice back in China,” according to the announcement of the program released by the college.

I would suggest that perhaps we turn things around and have the Chinese educators teach us a thing or two. Clearly we are lagging behind by any fair measure as evidenced by the results of the NAEP and SAT tests. New York is falling behind as we keep lowering our definition of “proficient.”

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3rd July
2008

First Published in The New York Sun, July 3, 2008

By Andrew Wolf

The Fourth of July marks the anniversary of the independence of America, a time to reflect on the greatness of our nation and all sorts of high-minded civic concerns. For me, however, it’s an opportunity to reflect on another aspect of America’s greatness and ingenuity, the great jazz music pioneered by Louis Armstrong.

Armstrong’s birthday traditionally is celebrated on the Fourth of July. It is said that Satchmo thought that he was born on the Fourth of July of 1900. But research since he died has shown he actually was born on August 4, 1901.

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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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