Posts Tagged ‘Joel Klein’

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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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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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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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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18th April
2008

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

By Andrew Wolf

Mayor La Guardia was famous for his insistence on high levels of integrity on the part of the police. In those days, long before computers and CompStat were even dreamed of, lore has it that precinct commanders made themselves look good by “assigning” complaints to “Detective McCann.”

Detective McCann was slang for the precinct’s garbage can. With the departure of LaGuardia from City Hall in 1946, official tolerance of crime grew, along with the political power of organized crime figures such as Frank Costello. So to paint a rosy picture of the deteriorating situation to a concerned public, Detective McCann became busier than ever.

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25th March
2008

First Published in The New York Sun, March 25, 2005

By Andrew Wolf

Everyone in Gotham should be proud of 17-year-old David Bauer, the Hunter College High School senior who won the top prize in the national Intel Science Search competition. This is an achievement not just for David, but also for his family. After all, they had to work particularly hard to make sure that their son received the proper education in our public schools.


This was no small task. The families of bright children have to engage in what has become a sad New York ritual: school shopping for a gifted and talented program. There are few programs remaining after nearly a half century of increasing “progressive” influence on our schools. These programs for academically advanced children are now “elitist” and damage the self-esteem of those who do not qualify.The answer is to drive all children into some egalitarian middle ground.
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7th December
2007

First Published in The New York Sun, December 7, 2007

By Andrew Wolf

It isn’t often that I hear the name of my old junior high school on the radio, but on Wednesday morning I was greeted by the news of its impending demise.

Despite test scores that, while not stellar, were not even near the bottom of the pack, Chancellor Klein announced that P.S. 79 is being “closed.” Closing is less drastic than one would think. Most of the educators will keep their jobs. What will change is the number of the school or schools that will reside in this venerable old building.

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30th November
2007

First Published in The New York Sun, November, 30, 2007

By Andrew Wolf

Two seemingly unrelated news stories intersected the Thursday before Thanksgiving, and the result was a public relations disaster for the Department of Education. But things might have been worse. Coverage of a troublesome third story, which happened simultaneously, seems to have fallen through the cracks.

When the Department leaked word of a squad of lawyers hired to find ways to dismiss low performing teachers, led by a former prosecutor, the story quickly grabbed attention. That such a legal effort had been underway for years with mixed success didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of reporters.

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16th November
2007

First Published in The New York Sun, November 16, 2007

By Andrew Wolf

The sooner that the Department of Education abandons the idea that classes for gifted and talented children are some sort of civil rights program, the better off we will all be.

Two weeks ago, Chancellor Klein announced another restructuring of the city’s gifted and talented programs, the third such effort in as many years. What is the reason behind all of this attention? The quest for “equity.”

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9th November
2007

First Published in The New York Sun, November 9, 2007

By Andrew Wolf

The creation of school report cards with letter grades attached is an intriguing concept, which explains the enthusiasm by the editorial boards here in Gotham. At its center is a simple idea I advanced in this space more than five years ago, value added testing.

On October 4, 2002, I wrote, “The best schools are not necessarily those that score highest, but rather those that achieve the greatest improvement of their individual students. Only if we look at the schools by this measure can we evaluate the efficacy of the curriculum and teaching methods they employ.”

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