Posts Tagged ‘fuzzy math’

16th August

First Published in The New York Sun,  August 16, 2002
By Andrew Wolf

Incoming Schools Chancellor Joel Klein made a field trip on Wednesday to San Diego, where some say the schools are improving under the leadership of Chancellor Alan Bersin and his deputy, Anthony Alvarado. I’m told that this is a pilgrimage also made by Mr. Klein’s predecessor, Harold Levy, early in his tenure, obviously to little advantage.

Mr. Alvarado is a mythical figure in New York. He was considered a miracle worker in District 4, which covers East Harlem, when he was tapped to become the city’s first minority chancellor. But he quickly became embroiled in a bizarre financial scandal that led to an early exit. For years, there has been extensive “what if” speculation regarding his tenure. The truth is, he left too soon to fail. (more…)

19th July

First Published in The New York Sun,  July 19, 2002
By Andrew Wolf

The city’s school test scores were finally released last week: a real mixed bag of results that almost defy analysis. If you look at the scores from the side, and twist your head in just the right way, they might just look pretty good. Come around from the other side and they’re awful. Is your child’s school going up or going down? There are few clear answers coming from these scores, released much later than we normally see them. These results are so totally and completely confusing that it is hard to believe that they are not that way by design. They can and are being interpreted in so many ways that all of the educational players will point to them to justify whatever self-congratulatory point they want to make.

Harold Levy, the lame-duck chancellor and self-appointed spin-meister, tries to put the lipstick on the pig. Math is up, he squeals. Meanwhile, his new boss, Mayor Bloomberg, damns him with the faintest of praise and also points to disastrous results in eighth grade reading. Mr. Bloomberg is a lot closer to the bleak truth. (more…)

18th June

First Published in The New York Sun,  June 18, 2002
By Andrew Wolf

The city may be short of money, but now that Mayor Bloomberg has been given control over the public schools, there will be one resource he’ll have in abundance — advice on how to run them.

Much of this advice will come from a source that I call the University-Institutional Complex, the group that really controls education in this town. Just as President Eisenhower warned us of the Military-Industrial Complex that drove up defense spending and shaped American foreign policy, the University-Institutional Complex controls much of what really goes on in the city’s classrooms. (more…)