Friday, November 19, 2010

Are You Boycotting the Riverdale Review Too?

Tony Cassino over at Bronx Political Chatter has a post celebrating the growing boycott of the Riverdale Review and its editor Andy Wolf.

The ole BD wants to know if you think the boycott is warranted? Does anyone else have as low an estimation of Mr. Wolf as Mr. Cassino? Does anyone in (or out) of Riverdale care very much about the Review?

~ErLu

51 comments:

paperpest said...

I pick up a weekly copy. I also subscribe to the Riverdale Press. The Press has lots of news and I hope we continue to have it as a weekly paper. The Review may be primarily a means for Andrew Wolfe to express his opinion, but I'm an adult, I can judge for myself the quality of his ideas.

Anonymous said...

One man's four-minutes' worth of commuting reading is another man's trigger for a full-blown case of derangement syndrome. That's why we're living here in America.

100PercentBronx said...

Birds of a feather flock together, and live right around the corner from each other. Yes I mean Anthony Perez Cassino, and Andrew Wolf. Not only does Mr. Cassino live around the corner from Mr. Wolf, but also the Riverdale Review office.
Review some history and you will see that Mr. Wolf is correct in his facts over time, but he may be to blunt about it.
Since BD is in Bedford Park and Andy Wolf is Riverdale, do you really want to go there?
Let's not also forget that Mr. Cassino's blog is as one sided as Mr. Wolf's paper.
That's 100 percent if the story.

Anonymous said...

Guess there's not alot going on in Bedford except for some residents trying to get out. Maybe some are headed for Riverdale and need to know the politics of the press.

Anonymous said...

The Review is not a newspaper. It is a soapbox for one man's opinion, not just on the editorial page but throughout the paper.

Anonymous said...

If you don't understand the value of the Riverdale Review and the truth about the local schools, then you've got your head buried in the sand. The Riverdale Press would never print the truth about PS 24 or RKA like the Review does. These schools stink, and the kids are suffering from it. The cowards who write in the Press don't have the nerve. Mr Wolf and his team at the Review should get a Pulitzer for their courage and community service.

Anonymous said...

There's truth in all your opinions.
The more voices, the better. I wish more people would publish what really goes on in Riverdale, and the rest of the BX. Good for someone speaking up to reveal what's going on behind the curtain at our dysfunctional school district. A soapbox, yes, but at least someone knows how to use it. Haven't heard a peep from the parents.

Anonymous said...

Andrew Wolf has been destroying the reputations of community activists for years. His rag is as yellow as they come. His "news" is all his opinions sprinkled with disgusting name calling. The boycott should have happened years ago. I heartily support it.

Anonymous said...

Andrew Wolf has been destroying the reputations of community activists for years. His rag is as yellow as they come. His "news" is all his opinions sprinkled with disgusting name calling. The boycott should have happened years ago. I heartily support it.

joseph zizzo said...

there is no truth to what andrew wolf says about the schools, he just stirs up fear in order to "sell" papers. which would all be harmless jawing, except many believe him, e.g. the poster 3 or 4 back who believe wolf should be awarded a pulitzer for his "bravery"! as a ps 24 parent, i know that the facts directly contradict his specious characterizations of our school, which are engineered to exploit political differences among us. the bottom line is, wolf is playing on peoples' fears about having to send their kids to school with nonwhites from down the hill. he deeply resents "them" invading "our school", and his only real supporters are those who share this view. we sent our son to ps 24 because of the diversity represented there, and he is getting an excellent education there. the only ones "suffering" are those that still laboring under the assumption of white privilege that andrew wold caters to. he is actually harming the schools here by driving high-performing students to the burbs and the private schools. andy wolf is a spoiled whiny child who would rather break his own toy than share it.

Colleen said...

@ Mr. Zizzo

I left a comment on Tony's blog regarding this issue. My son was stabbed by a student in his former school in the South Bronx. We couldn't get a transfer to RKA because we weren't "zoned" for it (we live in Van Cortlandt Village) so he had to attend a school in the SB. The SB school was fine and the assailant was expelled from the SB school and then transferred to RKA. The assailant/student lived on Bruckner Blvd. Does that make ANY sense to you AT ALL?

Just wondering...

Anonymous said...

It would be incredibly sad if parents are actually making hugely important life decisions on the basis of what they read in a free 8-page glorified advertising flyer! I'm not sure the "Wolf is scaring folks to the 'burbs" theory passes the laugh test.

And is there no truth, literally, to what Wolf says about the schools in Riverdale or the city's department of education?

RKA is an educational Chernobyl. 24 and 81 compare unfavorably to their peer-school-groupings, nevermind the best elementarys in the city. Hell, a badly overcrowded, 100% free-lunch-eligible school on Southern Boulevard that educates half of its students in classrooms that don't have WALLS completely smoked 24 and 81 on 5th grade math/english tests. You can look it up: PS 205, Fiorello LaGuardia.

Wolf is an ornery, insulting, no- doubt-personally-miserable SOB, but as long as the Riverdale Press is content to do the "three wise monkeys" routine when it comes to the school beat, esp the crisis at RKA, I'm not unhappy that he's out there as a reality check.

joseph zizzo said...

because i have a child in a riverdale public school, i have a repeating conversation with people who want to leave riverdale for the suburban school districts, based on what they read in the review, or on what they hear others say, based on what they read in the review. but hey, if you want to base your judgement about any given school on the obviously seriously flawed DOT testing/grading system, then yes, you can find a way to agree with andy wolf. but if you happen to have a child in one of the schools in question, and you base your opinions on what you actually observe there, you realize that reality is very different from the views you and mr. wolf espouse.

bottom line, the facts just do not support your "chernobyl" theory. parents in the rest of the bronx are trying to send their kids to the riverdale public schools - colleen, for example. there is no pressure in the opposite direction. no riverdale parent is trying to send their kid to a school on southern boulevard, regardless of how well they did on their standardized tests, congratulations and best wishes to them. not to take anything away from their impressive achievement, but there is much more to education than just test scores.

while you criticize us and gloat over our difficulties, parents are acting to eliminate the obstacles to excellent education in riverdale and apparently the riverdale review has recently been identified as one of them. andrew wolf publishes complete falsehoods about our schools and the people who run them, in stories with no by lines, and quoting only himself or anonymous sources. his reporters interview 5th graders without their parents' permission or presence, then misquote those children in articles that trash their school. a local paper that attacks its neighbors so viciously, and that adheres to such low journalistic standards, will eventually have that community turn on it.

joseph zizzo said...

colleen,

no, your situation makes absolutely no sense. of course these decisions are made by that warm, fuzzy monolith, the new york city department of education. they are not a reflection on any given school administration. i sincerely hope your son is doing well and that he and you continue to pursue a better education. things only get better when parents make our presence known.

best,
joe

Anonymous said...

The average SAT score at RKA is well below the national average. Yes, everything seems fine in the local schools.

Anonymous said...

Wolf uses his pen as a weapon.

If you live by the sword, you die by the sword.

Anonymous said...

"bottom line, the facts just do not support your "chernobyl" theory."

Can you tell us some of these facts?

By any reasonable and objective measure, RKA's PSAT/SAT scores, AP exam participation and pass rates, and Regents exam scores are all awful. The parent/student/teacher surveys indicate significant problems with bullying, order, cleanliness, student behavior toward teachers, leadership, class sizes, the whole nine yards. Admissions to the selective high schools are way down.

I know you don't believe that the College Board, Board of Regents, and administrators of the SHSAT are in cahoots with Andy Wolf.

joseph zizzo said...

rka has definitely had its challenges, i can't argue with that, and it has a long way to go before it can be considered a good school. but we all know middle school is the big challenge in public education. there are many that are struggling. but rka will get there, in spite of andy wolf's vicious attacks on his own community, and thanks to it's parent body, and the parents at its feeder elementary schools. mr. wolf's antics only make it all worse, when with the power of the pen, he could be helping.

the fact are these: rka was created by wolf and his pals, and now that it has not lived up to its promise, he has to sling mud to cover his tracks. when it was created, rka was supposed to be this educational oasis in middle class riverdale, away from the unwashed bronx, safely delivering its students to bronx science and stuyvesant. but the shagri-la promised never materialized. not wanting to be held responsible for this perceived "failure", mr. wolf & co. ran away and abandoned their brainchild, rather than see it through it and deliver on their promises to the children of riverdale.

but that's ok, we parents will do it ourselves. there is a movement afoot to improve all of our schools, and we will achieve great things. but you wouldn't know it, because you obviously don't set foot inside any public schools. you just sit around interpreting statistics to support your cynical views, and to pump up andy wolf.

by the way, if you love the riverdale review so much, why don't you use your name? andrew wolf could really use your support right now...!

Anonymous said...

If there's anything to be learned from the kind of reporting being peddled by FOX news all the way down to the Review it's this: The bigger the lie, the more believable it is.

If you think Andrew Wolf is a purveyor of the truth, then I have some recommended mid-20th century reading for you. But, you will need to learn German first.

Anonymous said...

Good, I'm glad we've established that it isn't untrue to say that RKA is a troubled school. There is a considerable gulf between RKA and the education available at nearby top-notch suburban public district schools or the high-quality private/parochial schools.

If you want to believe it is not this discrepancy that's leading Riverdalians to move or write big tuition checks, but rather Andy Wolf's appealing to their inner racists, well, we'll just have to agree to disagree. I don't think I'm the cynical one here, though.

You must not have been in the neighborhood during the process that led to RKA. Yes, Wolf was the person who conceptualized bringing high school grades to 141, an invention necessitated by the shockingly rapid decline of Kennedy. But it was hardly a one-man show; in fact, it was probably the last time the community was so galvanized and united on an issue.

The plan for the new school was formalized by Wolf in tandem with the PS 24/81 parents associations. 2500 Riverdale residents signed a formal petition asking for the high school. The plan was vigorously endorsed by Giuliani, Engel, Dinowitz, Ferrer, Eisland, Koppell, etc.

This was the pre-mayoral-control era and the plan needed to be approved by the district school board. The plan failed in a bitterly contested 5-4 vote, and in reaction, Oliver Koppell ran for president of the board in the next election, where Riverdalians cast 90% of the votes despite making up only about 40% of the district population. Koppell and the new board approved a revised plan and the high school took in its first class in 2000.

Your accusation that Wolf is running away from the experiment and trying to dissociate himself from it is almost bewilderingly irrational. One, at the very least, a decade's worth of kids have gotten a far better education than they would have at Kennedy. Two, Wolf doesn't choose the curriculum, or hire the teachers, or have anything whatsoever to do with running the schools! (You do know this, right?) Three, hardly a week goes by without his calling for better administrators, a real curriculum, and general improvements at RKA. It is this point that led to his falling-out with Koppell, who actually does have the power to fix things but instead offers up bland pronouncements that RKA is really great and everyone is working very hard!

Demanding that the Review cease its personal attacks and build a firewall between its editorial and reporting functions is a laudable, productive endeavor. Demanding that the Review stop bringing to light indisputable facts that may cast the schools in a bad light isn't, and frankly it's just as scary as the worst of what Wolf does.

jacob said...

I wents to jhs 141 and been readin this thread but dont know how 2 respond since U all use big werds.

joseph zizzo said...

"success has many fathers but failure is an orphan."

but then again rka is not a failure as an idea. there has been a failure of commitment on the part of its creators. its brain trust thought that all they had to do was exclude all but riverdale kids, and rka would suddenly and automatically be a shining beacon. but obviously they had no plan beyond that, and the community really needed one. their ideas on education are, as you say, bland (at best), and now they are all finger-pointing and fighting among themselves, trying to distance themselves from the whole mess. are these the people to whom you want to entrust your child's education!?

andrew wolf's opinion is no longer relevant, he's had his chance. it's obvious mr. wolf doesn't know a thing about education. andrew wolf's ideas on how to improve education in riverdale include interviewing ps 24 children without their parents' involvement, to try to trick them into talking against their very accomplished, able new principal, so he can use their names to misquote them in a story with no by line, trashing their school, and the principal's choice of their book of the month. in most parents' eyes, anyone who would stoop that low is without a shred of credibility. his suggestion? that they read instead about the pilgrims' first thanksgiving! i just about fell out of my chair laughing when i read that one....

andrew wolf will not help keep the bright kids we need here in the riverdale schools, he and his sycophant readers will only divide and demoralize the community, and encourage people to give up and move away. instead, we are getting parents involved and making it happen. i agree, the community needs to be galvanized around high educational standards in all of our schools, but mr. wolf is apparently incapable and unwilling to do it.

Anonymous said...

I couldn’t help but notice how uncharacteristically quiet the local elected officials have been regarding this boycott. If so much as a tree falls in Riverdale you can usually find panderers like Koppell and Dinowtz shamelessly falling over themselves to be quoted in the press.

So with hundreds of local residents mobilizing to boycott a tabloid they feel is destroying our community’s schools, what do we hear from our politicians?.... Nothing but silence!

This only lends credence to the charge that these politicians must be in bed with Andy Wolf. Certainly, Wolf has been a key political booster of theirs in every election cycle, and they seem more than happy to embrace his one-sided, often bombastic, praise.

Maybe the charge leveled by Richard Stein (publisher emeritus of The Riverdale Press) is true. He wrote that the elected officials were Andy Wolf’s secret backers when Wolf purchased the Riverdale Review.

Either way, the politicians must be in an awkward position, otherwise we surely would have heard from them already.

Anonymous said...

The long, ugly, malicious spree of Andy Wolf and his Riverdale Review seems about to end!

Anonymous said...

The Riverdale Review has no redeeming value. The sooner it's put out of its misery the better.

Anonymous said...

I deplore the Riverdale Review's reckless disregard of the truth, and I think the boycott against that tabloid is reasonable and proper.

Anonymous said...

ANDREW WOLF IS WRONG ABOUT THE FIRST AMENDMENT:

In last week's editorial, Mr. Wolf refers to the boycott of the Riverdale Review as "the local anti-first amendment effort to silence our newspaper."

It is ludicrous for Mr. Wolf to claim that the boycott somehow threatens freedom of the press under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

In fact, the First Amendment, which prohibits the making of any law "abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press," only concerns GOVERNMENTAL ACTIONS.

The First Amendment says nothing that prohibits private citizens from exercising THEIR freedom of speech and expression through a public boycott of the media.

Suffice to say, Mr. Wolf is no Clarence Darrow.

Anonymous said...

Hey BD. Perhaps it's time to update with some more recent issues making the news. How about the announcement that muni-meter rates are going up a second time in less than a year. At best DOUBLING the cost to park from what it was a year ago. Just what our struggling local stores need- more Bronx shoppers taking their business to Westchester with free parking aplenty. It'll be a quarter for just 15 minutes here. Gotta pay for our local meter pigs to write more tickets. Bloomberg must love our empty storefronts. Now we know what third terms bring. Thanks Voters.

Anonymous said...

Ahh! So regarding the 1st Amendment (as Anon.@ Nov.23, 8:56 PM notes), Andy Wolf doesn't have a legal leg to stand on.

Once again, Wolf attempts to fool us, this time by changing the subject and trying to wrap himself in the Constitution.

But what's really going on is that he just doesn't like it when people disagree with him.

Anonymous said...

The boycott is marvelous. Go get him!

Anonymous said...

More power to the people. Boycott! Boycott! Boycott!!!!

Anonymous said...

Andy Wolf's "reporting" is despicable. He deserves the public reaction he's getting.

Anonymous said...

Wow ... that Wolf guy is really getting hammered due to all of his objectionable reporting and slanting of the news.

Anonymous said...

Having met some of the charming "Recycle the Review" petition seekers on Johnson Ave. the other day, I'm impressed by the earnest liveliness they bring to this brave and noble effort.

It is refreshing and encouraging to see these public-spirited citizens coming together in defense of our community.

Anonymous said...

That nut at the Riverdale Review has been trying to ruin the reputation of Riverdale's public schools for years by printing articles that are inaccurate or untrue. The boycott is well deserved. History has shown that an effective boycott can cut hard into a newspaper's advertising revenue.

Anonymous said...

So far, Andy Wolf's only response to the boycott has been to blame it all on Community Board 8 Chairman Tony Perez Cassino. It is an accusation that entirely ignores the real reason that the locals are up in arms: Andy Wolf's long history of vehement and deplorably false reporting about local schools.

Anonymous said...

How interesting and disappointing that over all this time, politicians like Congressman Eliot Engel, Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, and Council Member G. Oliver Koppell have never rebuked Andrew Wolf for his inflammatory, reckless, and destructive news stories and editorials.

Even with this boycott in full swing, these so-called political leaders offer not even a token condemnation of Wolf for bashing local schools and institutions.

As a voter, I feel betrayed and angry by their years of silence in the face of a true danger to the community. What this shows to me is that these men cannot be trusted to do what's right.

Anonymous said...

The Riverdale Review is full of abusive & malicious statements about innocent people. It makes irresponsible accusations about important local institutions. It's a worthless rag.

Anonymous said...

Andy Wolf can try to pin this boycott on Bronx Community Board No. 8 Chairman Tony Perez Cassino, but that's not fooling anyone. If Wolf is looking for someone to blame, he should look in the mirror.

Anonymous said...

The outraged parents and others in the community are are well within their rights to use a boycott to show their displeasure with the Riverdale Review's objectionable coverage.

Anonymous said...

The local pols are sure keeping their heads down on this one! Although guys like Jeff Dinowitz, Ollie Koppell and Eliot Engel have been in collaboration with The Review since the beginning, I guess it's not politically smart to show their support for a beleaguered editor when hundreds of angry voters are boycotting him. But those pols have never really been profiles in courage to begin with.

paperpest said...

Anonymous says: Andy Wolf can try to pin this boycott on Bronx Community Board No. 8 Chairman Tony Perez Cassino, but that's not fooling anyone.

Tony Cassino is no longer on CB 8. Here's a listing of members:
http://www.nyc.gov/html/bxcb8/html/about/members.shtml

Anonymous said...

Another disgusting piece of writing from Andy Wolf in the Huffington Post.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/andrew-wolf/state-ed-commissioner-cav_b_788875.html

What Wolf doesn't know is that Cathie Black is an outstanding choice for chancellor, and all is well at 141, 24, and 81.

Anonymous said...

Wow, just read the two-week-old Press article about the boycott. You know what's dishonest? To claim that the parents of 24 didn't work closely with and rely heavily upon the Review during the push to remove Philip Schaper.

You know what's bad journalism? The editors and reporters of the Press not contesting that statement or putting it into context. Because their own website once hosted a lengthy unedited audio interview with parent leaders in which they spoke openly about the importance of the Review's role in their campaign.

(It needs to be said that the DOE found Scharper completely innocent of the charges brought against him.)

It's a little tough to stomach harangues on integrity and honesty from a group that ran to Wolf with allegations they knew were false, but now characterizes his reporting on truths like lousy test scores and the guidance counselor's posing as an AP as being biased or unfair. Got double standards?

If the things he's publishing are so obviously and provably false and defamatory, then why isn't he having his pants sued off? I wonder.

Anonymous said...

It's amazing to see how tone-deaf Andy Wolf is in the face of this growing boycott movement. He's still spouting the same baloney as always. If this goes to the level of the advertisers, Wolf is history.

Anonymous said...

Yup ..... if his advertisers pull their support then he's a goner.

Cliff Stanton said...

To the anonymous poster who accused the PS24 PA, once again, of "running" to the Review in its effort to oust an incompetent principal ... Get your facts straight!

The Review undoubtedly played a role in getting the DOE to investigate charges of proselytizing, but the PA played no role in providing the tip that set it in motion.

In every conversation with the Press and the DOE, PA leaders went out of their way to stress that their issue had nothing to do with alleged Buddhist chanting, and everything to do with competence.

We are glad that Phil Scharper was cleared of all charges, but it doesn't change the fact that he was ill prepared to lead PS 24.

I understand that these facts don't jive with your version of history, or your disdain for the dedicated leaders of an organization that have played an instrumental role in making PS 24 an outstanding school. Perhaps you owe them just a morsel of gratitude for the countless volunteer hours they have devoted for their children and yours!

If you would like to pitch in, instead of whine about things you don't understand, we could use the help.

Anonymous said...

If that self-important bully Andrew Wolf thinks he can continue business as usual, boy is he mistaken.

Anonymous said...

What the Riverdale Review is trying to do to our schools is an act of educational vandalism.

Anonymous said...

Of course the boycott is warranted. The Riverdale Review pretends be a newspaper ... but it's just an imbecilic mockery of a real news outfit.

Anonymous said...

In what must be an effort to avoid acknowledging the existence of the boycott, and in an effort to avoid giving the boycotters any more ammunition, Andy Wolf’s weekly ranting is being reduced to nothing more than Andy Wolf weakly ranting.