Posts Tagged ‘Randi Weingarten’

6th June

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.


30th November

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.


19th October

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

By Andrew Wolf

Anyone who harbors the notion that Mayor Bloomberg and Chancellor Klein have just won a victory over the teachers’ union by gaining approval of a merit pay scheme had best look more closely. The plan announced on Tuesday was indeed a “slam dunk,” but not by the mayor and chancellor. It is the president of the United Federation of Teachers, Randi Weingarten, who leaves the bargaining table victorious. It may be a “historic” deal with national implications, but it is one that increases the power of the union.

At the center of most merit pay plans is the idea that individual performance should be rewarded. That is not part of this initiative. Rather it skews power to the group, each school becoming a sort of kibbutz, collectively governed, dividing the fruits of labor by committee. Even participation in the plan will be determined by a vote of the union members, 55% of whom will have to go along.


20th April

First Published in The New York Sun, April 20, 2007

By Andrew Wolf

Last week the mayor was calling the United Federation of Teachers the “number one” impediment to progress in his Children First education reform.

But before the ink was dry on press accounts of the mayor’s tirade, his aides, including Deputy Mayor Kevin Sheekey, were in negotiation with the union to get it to end its campaign against the new round of reforms. As a result, the mayor is willing to drop his plan for Weighted School Funding in exchange for de facto acquiescence to the new restructuring by the UFT and its coalition of parents and officials, the Working Families Party, and the community organization ACORN. (more…)

26th January

First Published in The New York Sun, January 26, 2007

By Andrew Wolf

If your child was mugged walking home from school, the first thing that I suspect you would tell him is to avoid taking the same route in the future. In recent years, New York’s schoolchildren have been mugged — intellectually, not physically — by many of our most notable researchers and academics. And the powers-that-be may be getting ready to do it again.

A new group, the Research Partnership for New York City Schools, is being formed to do “independent research” that would, among other things, evaluate the effectiveness of public school policy initiatives. It would have unprecedented access to data generated by the schools. It is modeled after a similar group that operates in Chicago. (more…)

20th June

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…)

2nd August

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…)