Posts Tagged ‘Al Sharpton’

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.

(more…)

30th November
2006

First Published in The New York Sun, November 30, 2006

By Andrew Wolf

By immediately involving the district attorney in Queens County, on one level, Mayor Bloomberg effectively handled the shooting incident there this past weekend. The reaction from the community, while angry, has been restrained. We haven’t, at least yet, seen the kind of sustained demonstrations we saw after the death of Amadou Diallo in 1999, nor the angry confrontations of the late 1980s that helped drive Mayor Koch from office.

On another level, however, the mayor and the city may pay a price. Mr. Bloomberg seems to have tilted too far in his criticism of the police, and has accepted the presumption that this is a crime by promoting the involvement of the Queens D.A. New York City police officers, who must make split-second decisions of life and death, may have a right to feel skittish. They are responsible for reducing crime to levels so low that Gotham is now considered one of the nation’s safest cities, only to see the mayor undermine their presumption of innocence when the chips are down. But despite this, the race baiters are regrouping and are seeking not just a special prosecutor, but also a federal investigation. (more…)

22nd September
2006

First Published in The New York Sun, September 22, 2006

By Andrew Wolf

All elections have two sets of results. First there are the numerical winners and losers, the actual people who win and lose the seats in contention.

But beyond the statistical winners are those who win influence for themselves and their ideas by backing the right horse in the just completed race. By that measure, the most interesting results come from Brooklyn’s hotly contested 11th Congressional District where Rep. Major Owens is retiring after 24 years. Open seats are rare occurrences, as incumbents in these carefully gerrymandered districts usually only leave in chains or in boxes. (more…)

1st September
2006

First Published in The New York Sun,  September 1, 2006

By Andrew Wolf

Special education is one of those areas of education that has been particularly vexing to those running school systems, here and throughout the nation. How do you provide educational services to the increasing number of children who have been found to have disabilities of many types, these services mandated by law, affirmed by the courts, and protected not only by advocacy groups but by parents protecting their own children? And how do you achieve this without bankrupting the system?

This topic has been studied, restudied, picked apart by all sorts of experts. Educators, psychologists, medical doctors, social workers, journalists and, regretfully, lawyers and judges have all weighed in, producing enough articles, studies, reports, recommendations, and legal documents to fill a library. Yet there is still no consensus on how best to provide these mandated services within a reasonable budget. (more…)

14th July
2006

First Published in The New York Sun, July 14, 2006

By Andrew Wolf

If you think that opening a Hip-Hop Museum in The Bronx is a foolish idea, I have some good news and bad news for you. The good news is that if history is any guide, this project will never come to fruition. The bad news is that the taxpayers of the City of New York can kiss the $1.5 million allocated so far good-bye.

The moving force behind this project is City Councilman Larry Seabrook. Mr. Seabrook has been down this path before, advocating for grandiose government-funded schemes that never seem to get off the ground.More than a decade ago, one of these projects, a proposed youth center in his north Bronx district, received funds from both the state and the city, but never opened, leading to newspaper headlines and a federal investigation. Incredibly, the group to which the city is awarding the money for the Hip-Hop Museum, the North East Bronx Redevelopment Corporation is the same group that was under investigation with Mr. Seabrook.This appears to me to be déjà vu all over again, a perfect example of how in government, things appear to change but always seem to remain the same. (more…)

16th June
2006

First Published in The New York Sun, June 16, 2006

By Andrew Wolf

Councilman Albert Vann is playing the race card again in Brooklyn, something he has been doing for 40 years. In the late 1960s, as the head of the African Teachers Association, he crossed swords with UFT President Albert Shanker over community control of the schools, creating a racial schism in Gotham that lingers to this day.

In 1968, the demonstration school board in Ocean Hill-Brownsville, funded by a grant from the Ford Foundation, interpreted community control to mean that teachers should be fired at will by the “community” (and 17 white teachers were). Mr. Shanker and the UFT wouldn’t budge in their resistance to race-based dismissals, resulting in the famous citywide strike that became the defining moment in the city’s race relations for decades. (more…)