Posts Tagged ‘Richard Mills’

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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16th May
2008

First Published in The New York Sun, May 16, 2008

By Andrew Wolf

The National Assessment Governing Board is in town, here for their quarterly meeting, the site of which rotates around the country. It is New York City’s turn to host the board, which represent a glimmer of hope in a largely bleak educational landscape.

NAGB is a federal agency that is truly non-partisan in the political sense. Think of it as a sort of bureau of weights and measures, providing a common measuring stick to measure the academic performance of our children.

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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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21st December
2007

First Published in The New York Sun, December 21, 2007

By Andrew Wolf

A lot is now riding on the examinations administered each year by the State of New York. The state uses these results to determine compliance with the federal No Child Left Behind law, and failure to maintain “annual yearly progress” determines whether students are permitted to transfer out of a school or receive supplemental tutoring at taxpayer expense and even whether a school should be closed.

The city uses these tests to determine the new “report card” grades of schools, upon which depend the continued employment of principals, performance bonuses given to principals and administrators, and now also school-wide bonuses given teachers. Using different criteria than the state, the city Department of Education also determines the continued existence of the school itself. It is not only conventional public schools that are graded and evaluated, but charter schools as well.

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20th October
2006

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…)