Posts Tagged ‘NAEP’

19th January

First Published in The New York Sun, January 19, 2007

By Andrew Wolf

With much fanfare four years ago, Mayor Bloomberg unveiled his plans to revamp the school system that he had been given control of six months earlier. Today, he is scrapping virtually all of those plans in what to me appears to be a “Hail Mary” pass to get back into a game that appears lost. If this were Iraq, call it a “surge.”

When the mayor was given control of the schools five years ago, it was because there was a sense of lack of control and direction coming out of the old Board of Education. There’d been a revolving door in the chancellor’s office during the old system’s final years. Alvarado, Quinones, Green, Fernandez, Cortines, Crew, Levy. Only one of these gentlemen left on his own accord, another died, and the others left in less than cordial circumstances. (more…)

17th November

First Published in The New York Sun, November 17, 2006

By Andrew Wolf

New York City received some negative news on Wednesday, when the results of a national science test were released. More than half of the pupils in the fourth-grade tested as “below basic,” a figure that by eighth-grade had ballooned to nearly two-thirds. The results are part of the Trial Urban District Assessment program of the National Assessment of Educational Progress. This test is designed to provide researchers and political leaders with data to guide public policy decisions.

While the scores everywhere are awful and should raise warning flags about how we teach science to American students, we can draw some local conclusions. The grades in science did not occur in a vacuum. They are, I believe, linked to other news we have covered here. (more…)

20th October

First Published in The New York Sun, October 20, 2006

By Andrew Wolf

When he is not busy measuring the windows in the governor’s residence for new drapes, Attorney General Eliot Spitzer is calculating just how deep into New York City taxpayers’ pockets he can reach to help fund a “settlement” of the Campaign for Fiscal Equity lawsuit. Barring the miracle of the Court of Appeals rejecting the premise on which litigation such as this is based, New Yorkers can expect this to be costly. There is, however, another choice.

If one figures at $5 billion annually, it is likely that Mr. Spitzer will insist that the city pick up somewhere between 30% and 40% of the tab. According to published reports, he is likely to tie the CFE issue to the mayor’s continued control of the city’s public schools. This has become the “holy grail” to Mayor Bloomberg.The state doesn’t have this money, particularly if we accept Mr. Spitzer’s word that he won’t raise taxes. (more…)

4th August

First Published in The New York Sun, August 4, 2006

By Andrew Wolf

Here’s a bit of news from the New York State Department of Education. It didn’t come to me as a result of a press conference or a news release, nor did any unnamed source meet furtively with me in a garage to slip me a package of confidential information. Rather this news came in the form of a help wanted ad that appeared in newspapers Sunday.

The news is that the state of New York, whose programs to administer academic tests to students has come under so much criticism, is simply not serious about fixing their broken system. As a result the education of millions of New York’s children will continue to be compromised. (more…)

26th May

First Published in The New York Sun, May 26, 2006

By Andrew Wolf

There can be no doubt that Deborah Meier and Diane Ravitch are two of the most influential figures in American education today. But usually not to the same people. Their philosophies are so different that it would seem impossible for them to find common ground.Yet, in an article in the new issue of Education Week, that is what they did.

Ms. Meier is a central figure of the small school movement. She believes that things like curriculum are best decided school-by-school and is at home among the so-called “progressive” educators who believe in the “child-centered” approach by which students are to construct their own knowledge, facilitated, but not directly taught, by a teacher. Tests? Ms. Meier seems never to have found one of which she wasn’t suspicious. (more…)

19th August

First Published in The New York Sun, August 19, 2005

By Andrew Wolf

Last week, I discussed the waste and inconvenience caused by the duplicate testing of some children in New York City, necessitated by the bureaucratic incompetence of state education officials. Because the state will administer its standardized tests beginning in January, and won’t return the results to the city before late summer, students in three grades will have to take much the same test twice. This is causing unhappiness among students, parents, and teachers.

This is not the only problem with the testing programs run by New York’s State Education Department. There is a list of mistakes and problems that has been well documented. So it isn’t surprising that state educrats would need eight months to grade examination papers. (more…)

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