Posts Tagged ‘Riverdale’

25th March
2008

First Published in The New York Sun, March 25, 2005

By Andrew Wolf

Everyone in Gotham should be proud of 17-year-old David Bauer, the Hunter College High School senior who won the top prize in the national Intel Science Search competition. This is an achievement not just for David, but also for his family. After all, they had to work particularly hard to make sure that their son received the proper education in our public schools.


This was no small task. The families of bright children have to engage in what has become a sad New York ritual: school shopping for a gifted and talented program. There are few programs remaining after nearly a half century of increasing “progressive” influence on our schools. These programs for academically advanced children are now “elitist” and damage the self-esteem of those who do not qualify.The answer is to drive all children into some egalitarian middle ground.
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3rd March
2008

First Published in The New York Sun, March 3, 2008

By Andrew Wolf

Immigrant children outperform some native-born children in New York schools, my colleague Sarah Garland reported the other day. Indeed, it seems the longer newly-arrived children attend our schools, the worse they do. These conclusions come from a new study, “Do Immigrants Differ From Migrants?”

“The foreign born are whizzing by the native born at every level,” one of the researchers, Amy Ellen Schwartz, said.

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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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2nd November
2007

First Published in The New York Sun, November 2, 2007

By Andrew Wolf

In recent weeks I have spent a lot of time thinking about the reasons that I, and many others, occasionally drive into Manhattan, causing all this awful congestion that we hear so much about. My conclusion is that Mayor Bloomberg and other supporters of a congestion tax should be careful for what they wish. We may be a lot better off with congestion than without it.

Suffice it to say that when I do drive into Manhattan it is not to take a joyride to pass the time. Every time I drive into the “Congestion Zone” I am doing so for one reason - to engage in commerce. In other words, I am usually on a mission to spend money, bringing dollars to pump into Gotham’s economy.

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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…)

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…)

2nd March
2007

First Published in The New York Sun, March 2, 2007

By Andrew Wolf

When the history books are written, it will be noted that the beginning of the end of New York’s grand experiment with mayoral control of the schools came at 6:30 a.m. on January 29, 2007. It was then that the city’s school buses began to roll on new routes suggested by an extraordinarily expensive outside consultant, hand-picked without competitive bidding by the Department of Education.

In a certain sense it is a sad reflection of our times that the outrage over the direction of the schools came as a result of the peripheral issue of bus routes. That eighth-grade reading scores haven’t budged in eight years, a reflection of educational stagnation impacting tens of thousands of our students, doesn’t seem quite as compelling as one child waiting in the cold for a bus that never comes. (more…)

8th December
2006

First Published in The New York Sun, December 8, 2006

By Andrew Wolf

If published accounts of the arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court are accurate, parents of “gifted and talented” students here in Gotham may have caught a much-needed break. From where I sit, the plan to assign students to these popular programs looks like the racial assignment scheme put in place in Seattle, a plan that newspapermen covering the case say looks doomed after the scrutiny of the nine justices on Monday.

Should the justices overturn or modify this plan and one in Louisville, Ky., New York City’s self-described effort to provide “equity” in the distribution of students to gifted and talented programs could become a casualty as well. (more…)

6th November
2006

First Published in The New York Sun, November 6, 2006

By Andrew Wolf

In the “gifted-and-talented free zone” that is the Bronx’s School District 10, the Department of Education has designated two schools as the sites for the first such programs here in a generation. Parents who might want to apply for these programs on behalf of their children need to look carefully at both schools involved, since under rules recently imposed by Chancellor Klein, there is no preference given to children living in the neighborhood, or to those with siblings in the school.

Instead, the decision as to which school a child will be admitted to will be based on the use of an objective I.Q. test and a subjective assessment by the child’s teacher. This policy is designed to promote “equity.” But parents and local elected officials increasingly see this as an effort to put middle class students of all races at a decided disadvantage. (more…)

30th October
2006

First Published in The New York Sun, October 30, 2006

By Andrew Wolf

The mayor’s path to education reform has hit a speed bump.

Despite mixed results on standardized test scores, many among the city’s elite, including the editorial boards of many newspapers and top business leaders, have accepted the Bloomberg/Klein education reforms as largely successful.

But one important group has suddenly emerged as a key threat to the mayor’s hegemony over education — the city’s public school parents. If history offers any lessons, parents more often than not seem to win political battles over the schools. (more…)

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