Posts Tagged ‘No Child Left Behind’

6th November
2008

By Andrew Wolf

Lost in the tidal wave of news surrounding the election was the announcement that State Education Commissioner Richard Mills will be leaving his post after thirteen years.

Mr. Mills began his tenure as a fresh breeze of reform, attempting to impose high academic standards on a sinking system. But he has morphed into a leading apologist for systematic test inflation that undermines educational policy at all levels.

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27th June
2008

First Published in The New York Sun, June 27, 2008

By Andrew Wolf

When one digs into the testing data released by the State Education Department earlier this week, one comes up with some surprises. The huge across the board gains in the statewide math and English language arts tests would suggest that all children should be doing better. But one group seems to be adrift when it comes to the English test.

Curiously, it is not the low performers, special education students, minorities, English language learners, or other “at risk” groups that is lagging behind. Rather, despite the soaring scores, it is the group of highest performers that is shrinking.

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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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30th April
2007

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

By Andrew Wolf

The No Child Left Behind law, dear to the heart of the president, is due for reauthorization. And unlike the good feelings that surrounded the initial passage, the debate surrounding reauthorization has already taken on an ugly tone.

The first time this came up, Washington was a different town. For one thing, the Republicans ruled the roost on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue. It was early in the Bush administration, just after September 11, that short interlude when partisanship seemed somehow inappropriate. (more…)

23rd March
2007

First Published in The New York Sun, March 23, 2007

By Andrew Wolf

Last week, New York State revised its list of schools under registration review, the so-called SURR list. These are schools that are performing so badly that they are being considered for closing.

The idea of closing schools departs a bit from reality. Demolition crews do not come in and level the building. Usually “closing the school” means changing the name and number of the school, removing the principal and some, if not all, of the teaching staff. Most importantly for educrats, the school is now considered new, not failing, so it is removed from the SURR list. (more…)

4th August
2006

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…)

20th June
2006

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

By Andrew Wolf

City Pupils Could Be Held Back On Basis of Five-Month-Old Tests

An uproar is greeting the news that thousands of elementary and middle school pupils in the city have been told that they will be held back for promotion to the next grade based on tests administered nearly six months ago that New York State still hasn’t finished grading.

Parents throughout the city, for the first time in memory, will be given report cards by their children on the last day of school that will not have the results of these standardized tests.The results will come too late for any remedial and intervention strategies that could have aided students lagging behind. (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…)

18th June
2002

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…)