Posts Tagged ‘neighborhood schools’

25th April
2008

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

By Andrew Wolf

Students celebrated their spring vacation last week in the medieval town of Siena, Italy. And within the town walls are lessons for those who run schools in America’s cities, particularly here in Gotham.

Among these Siennese students were a number graduating from the University of Siena, just now completing their degrees. Gathering with friends and family in the vicinity of the Piazza del Campo, the graduates could easily be identified - they were the ones wearing laurels on their heads - from which we get the word laureate.

(more…)

3rd August
2007

First Published in The New York Sun, August 3, 2007

By Andrew Wolf

What are parents of at least six children from Riverdale to think about the process by which their five- and six-year-olds will be excluded from their local elementary school?

The sin of the six tots seems to be they’re smart enough to be called “gifted and talented,” but not quite smart enough. They had scores that qualified them for participation in the Department of Education’s new gifted and talented program but missed the cutline, a score of 354, that would have permitted them to participate in the gifted class at P.S. 24, their neighborhood elementary school. (more…)

29th June
2007

First Published in The New York Sun, June 29, 2007

By Andrew Wolf

The decision of the Supreme Court to bar race-based “voluntary” desegregation plans will have the powerful effect of supporting the concept of neighborhood schools.

This has important implications in New York City, where the Department of Education has structured its gifted and talented programs to foster “diversity” and “equity” through a busing program. (more…)

7th March
2007

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

By Andrew Wolf

Parents around the city who are anxiously awaiting the results of a high-stakes testing process that will decide the direction of their children’s education have a new ally in their quest to ease the pressure.

Comptroller William Thompson Jr. on Monday delivered a letter to the city’s school chancellor that firmly puts him on the side of the parents of children applying for gifted and talented programs. The comptroller, a former president of the old Board of Education, told Chancellor Joel Klein that the city’s new policies are “counterproductive,” and he urged immediate remedies to what he termed the “disjointed” approach the Department of Education has taken in redesigning the popular program. (more…)

17th November
2006

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…)

27th October
2006

First Published in The New York Sun, October 27, 2006

By Andrew Wolf

Last spring, the city’s schools chancellor, Joel Klein, spoke at a town meeting in Riverdale, a relatively affluent community tucked in a green corner of the Bronx, just south of the city line. He got an earful from angry parents.

Topping the list of grievances was the lack of programs for gifted and talented students. This is not due to a lack of such students. Hundreds of very bright children live in this neighborhood. In the 1980s and into the early 1990s, both Riverdale local elementary schools, P.S. 24 and P.S. 81, scored near the top in the city on standardized tests. The local middle school sent thousands of children to New York’s specialized high schools — the best indicator of how successfully a community deals with its best and brightest. Typically, over 100 children each year went on to the nearby Bronx High School of Science. (more…)

25th May
2006

First Published in The New York Sun, May 25, 2006

By Andrew Wolf

Public schools in Riverdale may again get gifted and talented programs following a meeting between the schools chancellor, Joel Klein, and parents in the Bronx.

The chancellor traveled to Riverdale Tuesday evening, fulfilling a long-standing promise to speak to the Education Committee of Bronx Community Board 8. A few weeks ago, the issue of gifted and talented programs,long festering in the background, took center stage. (more…)

13th December
2002

First Published in The New York Sun, December 13, 2002
By Andrew Wolf

When I was a child growing up in the west Bronx, everyone knew exactly what school he or she would be attending. In my neighborhood, if you lived east of the Grand Concourse, you were zoned for P.S. 46 on East 196th Street. Those living west of the Concourse attended P.S. 86, on Reservoir Avenue, right behind the Kingsbridge Armory. Zoned schools were a part of growing up during the period that many feel was New York’s golden age. Our schools contributed to the success of every facet of life in New York’s great neighborhoods.

Residents of our city’s few remaining middle income enclaves today don’t need to be reminded of the fragile nature of their neighborhood schools. Every such community in our town is desperately trying to hang on to the one thing that defines them as a successful community. Real estate advertising here in the city often boasts of Douglaston schools, Bayside schools, even District 26 schools. This contributes to property values and ultimately to tax revenues and communal pride. (more…)

2nd August
2002

First Published in The New York Sun,  August 2, 2002
By Andrew Wolf

Mayor Bloomberg may have thrown the educrats a curve ball when he named trust buster Joel Klein as the new chancellor of the city’s public schools. A parade of chancellors with an educational background have passed through New York in recent years and each has failed. The one non-educator among the recent chancellors, the thankfully departing Harold Levy, was very much a part of the city’s educational establishment, since he served as a member of the State Board of Regents before he took over at 110 Livingston Street. Given this history, I find Mr. Klein’s lack of educational experience a hopeful sign.

My advice to Joel Klein is to ignore for the most part the educational “experts” who theorize about running schools and teaching kids from the comfort and insulation of the central board bureaucracy, district office fiefdoms, schools of education, and private foundations. (more…)

6th June
2002

First Published in The New York Sun,  June 6, 2002
By Andrew Wolf

Pity the poor children of Manhattan’s Upper East Side. Their parents may be among the most well-to-do in the city, and the public school children there perform better than kids in just about every other New York neighborhood, but they still lack one thing that every child should be entitled to: A neighborhood high school of excellence.

You may have read that there will indeed be such a school on the Upper East Side, but I can report to you that calling it an “Upper East Side High School” belies the truth. Yes, there will be a new small high school located there. Yes, a lease for a new facility has been approved and the first freshman class has been chosen to start in temporary quarters this September. Yes, the politicians will be claiming credit for a great victory for the community. Their claims are empty. (more…)