February 2, 2002
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An article in the metro section of today's New York Times runs under the headline, "City College, the Faded Jewel of CUNY, Is Recovering Its Luster and Its Achievers." The most significant piece of evidence the Times musters to support this claim is that the average SAT score for all of the "regularly admitted freshman applicants from American high schools" at City College was 1089. What's interesting is that the Times seems to think the only relevant benchmark for comparison of the City College SAT scores is the scores at other City University of New York campuses. It's the soft bigotry of low expectations, all over again. The average score for all college-bound students who took the test was 1020, so a 1089 on a scale that tops out at 1600 isn't exactly lustrous. If the Times is going to compare City College to other colleges, why not measure it up against other high-grade public universities like the University of California at Berkeley or the University of Michigan? And aren't the SAT scores of the students who actually enrolled more relevant than the SAT scores of those merely admitted? For all the Times readers know, a few students with high SAT scores applied to City College as a backup "safety school," were admitted, and then decided to go to college somewhere else. Never mind the irony that the Times, which is constantly harping on the imperfections of the SAT, is now all of a sudden using it as a way to measure the quality of the students that a college is attracting.
News Article: Ramirez Romances McCall
Roberto Ramirez, who stepped down yesterday as chairman of the Bronx County Democratic Committee, told Smartertimes.com that he is in talks with the McCall campaign about taking a position as a paid political consultant.
The McCall campaign would not comment on the potential hiring, but some city political consultants speculated that the former Bronx boss will be brought on staff to boost Mr. McCall's support among New York's Hispanics, who proved themselves a crucial group of swing voters in last year's mayoral contest. Mr. Ramirez's role in the campaign could signal a departure from Mr. McCall's traditionally muted approach to the politics of race; and some observers warned that explicit appeals on racial lines would cut into the comptroller's support among non-Hispanic whites, who made up 62% of the state's population at the time of the 2000 census. Mr. McCall demonstrated his broad appeal when he was reelected comptroller in 1998 with more votes than the winner of any other New York State contest that year. Mr. Ramirez, in contrast, crafted Bronx Borough President Ferrer's campaign for mayor, which focused on the "other New York" of black and Hispanic voters.
Adopting Mr. Ferrer's tactics in a statewide race "would be a mistake," said a New York political consultant, Joseph Mercurio. "McCall has been a big vote-getter in the past because he's run color-blind campaigns," he said.
Mr. Ramirez said Thursday that he has had "a number of conversations" with representatives of the McCall campaign about taking a paid position. The former county leader has already announced plans to set up a private consulting firm. "I certainly hope" to go to work for Mr. McCall, he told Smartertimes.com.
An adviser to Mr. McCall, Hank Sheinkopf, would not comment on the possibility that Mr. Ramirez would join the campaign. Also declining to comment was Peter Ragone, a spokesman for McCall's rival for the Democratic nomination for governor, Andrew Cuomo, who was secretary of housing and urban development in the Clinton administration and who is a son of former New York governor Mario Cuomo.
Mr. Ramirez had already endorsed Mr. McCall, but Mr. Ramirez's move to the private sector will free him of any restrictions that the Bronx County Committee could impose on his campaigning and fundraising activities, a spokeswoman for the New York State Democratic Party, Serena Torrey, said.
"McCall is a guy who has managed to straddle a number of worlds," said a professor of history at Cooper Union, Fred Siegel. A shift toward campaign tactics with an explicit focus on race "will make it harder for him to appear as a moderate upstate," he said.
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