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Monday, December 13, 2010

Riverdale Review Boycott Highlights Attacks By Andy Wolf on Schools

Here is a link to the Boycott the Review facebook page, which posts a newsletter detailing the vicious attacks that Andy Wolf has made against no less than 6 local schools. So while Wolf likes to pretend to be an expert on education he has no educational background and his only real credential is his attacks on schools and their leaders. Time to stop the hate -- Boycott the Review and sign the petition.


  1. No educational background? He could be chancellor!

  2. Wolf's bilious attacks on individuals notwithstanding, I'm leery of anyone who would defend the status quo at any of the local public schools, especially RKA and PS 7.

    The newsletter also contains a significant factual error. There is no requirement that a school must get a "D" grade on its progress report for three consecutive years to be eligible for closure. One only need look at an actual school progress report to find the following:

    "Schools that get Ds and Fs, or 3 Cs in a row, may face consequences, including change in school leadership or school closure."

    (RKA's middle school received a D on its 2010 progress report.)

    Almost all of this year's and last year's phase-out nominees got Bs or Cs on their election-year progress reports (what a coincidence!). There is an elementary school on this year's closure list that's gotten two Bs and a C the last three years.

    All that has to happen to close a school is for the DOE to issue a proposal to phase out and replace the school and allow 45 days for public feedback, then it goes to a vote by the Panel for Educational Policy, which has never voted against a closure.

    I have no idea whether the DOE looked at RKA for closing or "turnaround" as Wolf reported, but the fact that it hasn't gotten three consecutive Ds doesn't render it immune from consideration.

  3. Wow...the "Recycle the Review" people did a great job using Andy Wolf's own words to prove how he has maligned schools and educators throughout the area.

    This boycott is showing that although Mr. Wolf is a malignant force, when attacked his bark is worse than his bite. It's time to finally bring down that nasty rag that he pretends is a newspaper!

  4. Anon 8:51
    the real issue with the review's critiques are the tone, focus and personal nature. They run counter to the basic tenants of good journalism.

    I tend to agree with his general criticisms on NYC public schools but he makes personal attacks on the principals and in the case of 24, on the parents association. His comments are degrading and are not reflective of actual performance. He frequently reports unnamed sources or ties to Klein or professional development he is not fond of as indicators of imminent failure

    The attacks on the ps 7 and 141 principals have been even worse. Its unfair and at times sexist.

    At the same time he rarely criticizes PS 81 or its principal, which is on par with 24, uses the same curriculum that he finds fault with yet not a peep. The schools is blocks from his office, critical to the success of 141 as one of two primary feeders. Not a peep.

    Its because he is a phony. No personal reason to kill the school (his wife worked at PS 7 for years), no political reason to take cheap pot shots at PA volunteers (PS 24). You'll note that after a dozen articles on PS 7 he never mentions its parents leaders - why? Are they not as much to blame as the parents leaders at 24? Doing so does not satisfy his other political agenda. Ditto with 141 and 81.

  5. Ahoy, matey! Who gives a hoot what nitpicky thing Anonymous at December 13, 2010 8:51 PM is complaining about (in way too much detail).

    The fact remains that Andy Wolf is a scandal-mongering yellow journalist who has regularly spread false and misleading accusations and insinuations against good people and important local institutions for more than a decade. The guy is bad news and it’s time for his tabloid to bite the dust. Viva la boycott!

  6. How can you say it's nitpicking, the things Anon Dec. 13 8:51 is complaining about? Those are the exact things Wolf has been pointing out (in his own way, albeit).
    And in way too much detail? Look at the amount of detail Cassino has devoted to supporting the boycott. This post we're commenting on provides no new information from the last blog just wasn't on the front page anymore so he reposted it...and the amount of anonymous commentators (to which I am as well, if only because no one else provides their name)
    I say we focus on making 7, 24, 81, and 141 better schools because that's what we really deserve.

  7. December 14, 2010 2:03 PM, I apologize for being long-winded, but I disagree strongly with your characterization that I'm nitpicking. When something that is held up as an example of Wolf's most egregious and destructive kind of lying turns out not to be a lie after all? I think it matters, and how the boycotters will deal with the falsehood their flyer contains will say a lot.

    December 14, 2010 1:01 PM, you are wrong to say that Wolf has spared 81 from criticism, especially after the recent test score debacle. However, 81 has a well-established veteran principal who came up through the ranks and sent her own kids to the school. There's less teacher turnover, and according to surveys the staff is almost unanimously supportive of her leadership. It's almost unremarkable compared to the school down the road with the Buddhist hate chants, a teacher posing as an assistant principal, etc.!

    If Wolf is an inveterate liar who wants to wage war on local schools for political gain (?), it ought to be apparent long before we drill down to parsing his expectations for a comfortably middle-class, well-educated, politically savvy parent body vs. the parent body at a school with a 90% poverty rate.

  8. Bravo .... I love the detailed criticism of the Review's angry biased reporting on education.

  9. Andy Wolf is in an untenable position. If even a few of his big advertisers withdraw, he’s finished. So it’s time for the boycotters to accelerate their efforts.

  10. I want to hear more about the secret relationship between the local politicians and the Riverdale Review. That kind of secret deal is so wrong!

    By the way, the Recycle SWAT team delivered the boycott newsletter to my building too (2500 Johnson Avenue).

  11. i like it..thats one sweet newsletter

  12. Isn't Connolly a well established career educator? Why then is she the victim of Wolf's ranting? The PS 81 principal has never had to deal with personal attacks by Wolf. the schools is an occassional target of fair crtiisism but never are any personal attacks directed at its principal or parent leaders. Recent example: Wolf's attack on Connolly for not appearing before the local community board. His own reporter noted several years ago that it took the PS 81 principal five years to accept such an invitation yet I never recall any editorials or articles condemning her during that time. The PS 81 principal has not shown her face since I might add, not a peep.
    Why the double standard?

    The recent G&T saga highlight this disparity further. Why isn't he condemning PS 81 for not adding classes? Why does the PS 81 principal not the same treatement as her counterpart at PS 24 for failing to embrace Wolf's pet program when in some years PS 81 students account for more eligible students that PS 24. How does Mr. Local School not have a problem with PS 81 kids kids staying in programs at PS 81? Instead Connolly gets bashed over and over for not expanding a program that would be filled in large part with kids from 81!

    As for the expectation Mr Wolf may hold of a white middle class political savvy PA body - again what about PS 81? The PA is overwhelming white, middle class, its recent president sits on the community board. Never a critical word. Never. Why the double standard?

    And regardless, the misleading headlines, misrepresented facts and personal attacks are unwarranted, hurtful and stigmatize the families that send their children to these school.

  13. For all of you who are NOT reading Andy Wolf’s rag, his Dec. 16th issue just came out.

    Instead of ignoring the “Recycle the Review” effort as he was a few weeks ago, now Wolf dedicates nearly TWO AND A HALF PAGES to attacking the boycott without ever naming it or using the word “boycott.”

    Here’s what he put on those pages: (1) an advertisement in favor of himself featuring a long quote from an old politician, (2) a confusing cartoon against Tony Cassino, and (3) an advertisement claiming that the boycott is no good because “children are being used.”

    At same time, I hear that Wolf has been desperately calling community leaders in a mostly futile attempt to get them to agree to be used in his advertisements praising, you guessed it, the Riverdale Review.

    The overall effect of Wolf's attempts to muster a defense to the boycott can be summed up in three words: WEAK, WEAK, WEAK!

    And, as Wolf will soon discover, his lame efforts to defend himself are all too little, too late. Once the boycotters go to Wolf's advertisers, it will be bye-bye Riverdale Review.

  14. Everything that Andy Wolf keeps saying about the boycott is really nothing more than crying "woe is me," or, as the case may be, crying Wolf.

  15. Obviously, the boycott is already taking a toll on Wolf. I think it would be very funny if he devoted every page of his next issue to playing defense. After all, the boycott is something that no amount of Wolf’s self-reverential advertising, cartoons and editorials can possibly combat.

    Meanwhile, Wolf’s longtime political friends may be trying to help him behind the scenes, but publicly we have not heard a peep from Congressman Engel, Assemblyman Dinowitz and Councilman Koppell.

  16. December 16-22, 2010 edition:

    Ben's Market (full-page, full-color), Marilyn's Diamond Collection, The Whole You Spa, I&C Cleaning, United Federation of Teachers, Cithara Hair, Riverdale Car Wash, Seaman Car Service, Taiim Falafel Shack (from Hastings!), City Funeral Service, Shalom Jewish Funeral Home, Jewish Memorial Chapel, Elite Complete Cleaning, Chabad, Bronx Arts Ensemble, Riverdale Oral Health, Lee's Nail Salon, Riverdale Dental Care, Riverdale Homes, Bronx Jewelry/Golden Dreams Jewelry, another full-color eight-page insert from Modell's Sporting Goods, Ponce DeLeon Federal Bank, Anita Wolfe Realtor, Argo Residential Real Estate, David Allen Bath Shop (back after a hiatus), Therapy With a Twist, Schervier/Bon Secours (back after a hiatus), Skyview Apartments, Pasquale Rigoletto of Arthur Avenue, Con Edison, Relocation Moving and Storage, Aunt Dolly Printing, Riverdale Organizer, Goodfellas Pizza, Sketch Construction, Sherbee Antiques, and a full-page back-page ad from AJ Wright/TJ Maxx.


  17. The boycott rules!!! Wolf cannot fight it!! Engel, Dinowitz & Koppell are wimps for remaining silent in the face of attacks on their putrid yellow journalist friend!!

  18. Anonymous December 15, 2010 9:13 AM said...

    "Isn't Connolly a well established career educator? Why then is she the victim of Wolf's ranting?"

    Speculation: he doesn't like her thoughts on curriculum and pedagogy, he's read the survey that shows many teachers at 24 don't trust her, and he feels her decision to have a teacher pose as an assistant principal showed miserable judgment?

    once more, Mashel's tenure at 81 has been free of spectacular scandal and her teachers respond to her leadership.

    "The recent G&T saga highlight this disparity further. Why isn't he condemning PS 81 for not adding classes? Why does the PS 81 principal not the same treatement as her counterpart at PS 24 for failing to embrace Wolf's pet program when in some years PS 81 students account for more eligible students that PS 24. How does Mr. Local School not have a problem with PS 81 kids kids staying in programs at PS 81?"

    Fact: The first and foremost requirement for hosting a G&T program is the space in which to put it. PS 81 has been well over capacity for years (it's currently at 150%). 24 had the room for a program, 81 did not.

    Since Mashel has done her best to accommodate bright students with a honors class, it seems unlikely that she wouldn't be happy to host a G&T program. Connelly has made no secret of her disdain for it.

    "As for the expectation Mr Wolf may hold of a white middle class political savvy PA body - again what about PS 81?"

    I didn't say "PA body," I said "parent body". Whether the PAs are representative of the composition of the schools is a separate argument. 24 has built-in advantages the other local schools don't. 81, e.g., has twice as many students living in poverty, twice as many ELL students, and higher percentages of special ed students, students who are recent immigrants, and homeless students/students in temporary housing.

    "And regardless, the misleading headlines, misrepresented facts and personal attacks are unwarranted, hurtful and stigmatize the families that send their children to these school."

    Just in the space of this small thread we've seen two examples of Wolf's alleged misrepresented facts (RKA's potential closure and G&T at 81) that weren't actually misrepresentations at all. What things has he actually lied about??

  19. Today I was happy to see the "Recycle the Review" team back on Johnson Avenue and 235th St. outside Starbucks. They had two tables set up, were receiving lots of attention, and seemed to be getting a good number of people to sign up for the boycott. Great job everyone!

  20. Wolf is going to get well and truly f**ked by this boycott, and he richly deserves it!

  21. Today boycotters appeared in front of the Review office to peacefully honor the birthday of the 1st amendment by presenting Wolf with a birthday cake and a proclamation. As is true of any bully, the coward refused to answer the door, even though he was protected from 4 adults and 2 children by 3 police cars.

  22. Those boycotters really get around. I saw them this morning outside Public School 24.


    Who's afraid of the big bad Wolf
    Big bad Wolf, big bad Wolf?
    Who's afraid of the big bad Wolf?
    Tra la la la la

  24. It's shameful that City Council Member G. Oliver Koppell, U.S. Representative Eliot Engel and State Assembly Member Jeffrey Dinowitz are in cahoots with Andrew Wolf behind the scenes in ways they refuse to acknowledge publicly.

  25. I'm thrilled and amazed at what a special bonding experience this boycott has become. When I joined the movement a few weeks ago, it was purely to help fight a threat to our community ... but now it it has grown into a new way of building meaningful alliances and friendships.

  26. I've always found Mr. Wolf's tabloid to be almost unreadable.

  27. To anon at 8:41
    a fair assessment of the teacher grading of Connoly would note that as a new principal its not surprising she has been met with resistance. Mashel on the other hand has developed relationship with her staff, and in many cases is the only principal the teachers have ever known.

    You won't read that because it doesn't fit Wolf's agenda.

    As for Connoly's philosophy, what differs from Mashel? What impact has it had on the curriculum? Connoly is just the newest whipping boy for Wolf in his quest to bash Klein and Bloomberg. What's one woman's professional reputation to Andy Wolf?

    And don't compare honors classes to G&T. Wolf knows the difference and killed the principal at PS 7 for mixing them. If Mashal of the PS 81 PA wanted a G&T class they would push for one, insisting on the much needed and oft promised rezoning. Its not a much different situation that 24 faces with all the out of zone kids thrust upon it which prevents an expansion of G&T there.

    Thanks too for clarifying the statement on PA vs parent body - so I still don't get why the Review calls out the PS 24 PA by name and has on more than one occasion made personal attacks on its leaders? Yet never mentions the PA at PS 81 whose scores have fallen as well and who remain silent on school curriculum issues like everyday math, a pet peeve of Wolfs.

  28. I don't care WHY Andy Wolf is waging war on our schools. I just know that he IS.

    For the sake of our children and our community, it's time we put a stop to it.

  29. I couldn't help but notice how the editor of The Riverdale Review relies some of the same tactics that I recall from the horrible Red-baiting back in the fifties: guilt by association, hidden sources, unproven allegations, "witch-hunts", etc. That phony newspaper should be shunned and opposed by every decent person in Riverdale.

  30. To Anon. Dec. 17, 2010 @ 7:13 AM: DO NOT FEAR … Andy Wolf’s small-town version of McCarthyism is coming to an end.

    Although Wolf uses the same tactics from the 1950s Red Scare, we will not tolerate that here and now… Wolf will no longer be able to run roughshod over innocent people and institutions in our neighborhood because the “Recyclers” will stop him. The Riverdale Review’s ruination is at hand.

  31. You are all a bunch of sushi-eating, New York Times-reading pinkos who don't realize that Andy Wolf is trying to save us from the one world government conspiracies on money and education!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  32. Hey Anon. 12-17 @ 9:49 AM .... You just served up a load of John Birch Society / Tea Party crap!

  33. Looks like Old Pinko is just sensitive because his Commie-Donkey Party is a bunch of lame ducks in Congress and his Chicago "community organizer" ain't gonna get re-elected!

  34. To Anon. 12-17 @ 11:12 AM, when it comes to Congress, you have no idea what you are talking about.

    The 111th Congress has been one of the MOST AMBITIOUS AND PRODUCTIVE IN DECADES in terms of the amount and scale of successful legislative initiatives.

    Here are FOUR ENORMOUS ACHIEVEMENTS OF THE CURRENT CONGRESS: (1) the giant stimulus which saved us from economic disaster; (2) passing healthcare reform after five decades of failure; (3) the biggest overhaul of Wall Street regulations since the Great Depression; (4) rescuing the auto industry.

    I sincerely doubt the GOP can top that.

  35. Wolf's end: disgraced, discredited & done

  36. Excellent newsletter, with plenty of factual info about how Andy Wolf and his Riverdale Review have made false and malicious statements to injure the reputations of local public schools and Salanter Akiba Riverdale (SAR) Academy.

  37. Oh, dear.

    Well, first the good news from the special holiday edition of the Review: no Modell's insert and no Capital One ad!

    The rest of the list looks the same: Marilyn's Diamond Collection, Whole You, Seaman Car Service, Gotham Driving School, Riverdale Laundry, I & C House Cleaning Services, Pasquale Rigoletto of Arthur Avenue, Chen Skin Care and Spa, Shalom Jewish Funeral Home, City Funeral Service, Weinstein Memorial Chapel, Jewish Memorial Chapel, Elite Complete Cleaning Service, Riverdale Oral Health, Riverdale Y, Riverdale Homes, Bronx Jewelry & Antiques / Golden Dreams Jewelry, Ponce DeLeon Savings Bank, Anita Wolfe Realty, Argo Residential Real Estate, Chabad, Lee's Nail Salon, Bon Secours Health System / Schervier, Relocation Moving & Storage, Oxford Realty Group, Aunt Dolly's Printing, Riverdale Organizer, Goodfellas Pizza, Sketch Construction, Sherbee Antiques, and a full-page back-page Merry Christmas / Happy New Year ad sponsored by 35 neighborhood businesses and institutions, including Riverdale Neighborhood House, Liebman's, Bank of America, Burger King, etc.

    And for those who were sarcastically wondering where local politicians stood on the issue, wonder no more! Congressman Engel, Assemblyman Dinowitz, State Senator Espaillat, Councilman Koppell, and Borough President Diaz each took out individual full-page ads to support the Review. Koppell's and Diaz's ads indirectly addressed the boycott.

    This one stings a bit.

  38. I'm genuinely curious how in the span of a few weeks the boycotters went from "Andy Wolf's relentless focus on RKA is destroying Riverdale" to "we're going to try to start a charter school because, yeah, RKA actually is that bad."