Posts Tagged ‘progressive education’

18th January
2008

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

By Andrew Wolf

Nothing will grab a headline faster than rating schools with a letter grade. We saw it here in New York City when the Department of Education recently assigned grades to all of its schools. Last week, the national trade newspaper, Education Week, released its “grades” for each of the 50 states. Astoundingly, on the top of the list with a composite total grade of “B” in this “Quality Counts” evaluation, is the State of New York.

A closer examination of these results clarified the situation. Education Week used a weighted average of six components to arrive at their final grade. Only one of these components has to do with academic results, the one labeled “K-12 Achievement.” The rest of the components basically fall into the category of evaluating state education policy for good intentions, measured by such things as how much money is spent on their schools, and whether it is spent in an “equitable” way.

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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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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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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…)

9th February
2007

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

By Andrew Wolf

W. Stephen Wilson teaches mathematics at Mayor Bloomberg ’s alma mater, Johns Hopkins University. Last fall he conducted an experiment on the students in his Calculus I course.

Professor Wilson administered the same final exam to last fall’s students that he used for the same course in the fall of 1989. He chose that year because he was able to obtain data for both his exam and the SAT math scores for both cohorts of students. (more…)

1st February
2007

First Published in The New York Sun, February 1, 2007

By Andrew Wolf

The Boston mayor, Thomas Menino, is fuming and with good reason. Four months ago, he proudly introduced Manuel Rivera as Beantown’s new superintendent of schools, to start work July 1 of this year. Hiring Mr. Rivera seemed like a tremendous coup and was treated as such by the Boston press and civic groups.

Mr. Rivera has been the superintendent of schools in upstate Rochester and was named Superintendent of the Year for 2006 by the American Association of School Administrators. (more…)

24th November
2006

First Published in The New York Sun, November 24, 2006

By Andrew Wolf

If New Yorkers were hoping that on day one of Governor Spitzer’s first term everything would change, a close inspection of the membership of his transition committees — named last week — will surely quell their hopes, particularly regarding education.

If this education panel emerges as an influence on the new administration, expect education reform in the Empire State to lag. New York spends too much for meager results in its K-12 programs, pays lip service to academic standards, and is home to a state university that barely registers on the national academic radar screen. (more…)

29th September
2006

First Published in The New York Sun, September 29, 2006

By Andrew Wolf

Last year, Mayor Bloomberg and Chancellor Klein announced the results of the state and city reading tests in a press conference at a Bronx elementary school, Public School 33. In this ancient building they announced that a great miracle had taken place. While scores rose in every elementary school grade citywide, nowhere did they rise more than in this virtually all-minority school, where nearly every child is so poor that he qualifies for free lunch.

This was an event of significance, taking place as the campaign for Mr. Bloomberg’s re-election was heating up. The announcement of the “historic gains” in reading scores was so powerful, that for all intents and purposes, it removed education as an issue that could be pursued by the mayor’s Democratic opponents. (more…)

15th September
2006

First Published in The New York Sun, September 15, 2006

By Andrew Wolf

In a change of heart, it appears that the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, the group which has spent the better part of two decades promoting what has become known as “fuzzy math,” has done a 180 degree turnaround. Now, once again, they embrace more traditional instruction.

This was reported on the front page of the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday and represents good news for America’s ability to compete in world markets. (more…)

28th July
2006

First Published in The New York Sun, July 28, 2006

By Andrew Wolf

Two weeks ago, the United States Department of Education released a study that cut to the core of conservative and liberal education orthodoxy. Released on a Friday, so as to be consigned to Saturday coverage, the report demonstrates that there is little, if any gap between student performance at public and private schools.

Private and religious schools do perform better than public schools. But when adjusted by breaking out the performance of children of similar racial and economic backgrounds, the advantage evaporates. (more…)

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