[This letter was originally published in the Queens Gazette on Dec. 11, 2013.]
Mayor-Elect Bill De Blasio is being blasted for saying that his selection of schools chancellor will not be a “beauty contest." What’s the big deal? Why suspect the worst motives? By no means does it smack of some backroom deal. A public airing is no guarantee of a quality selection anyway. Influence can still be peddled, though with a different kind of finesse. Pressures may lead to corrupt decisions regardless of the venue. It certainly makes sense to reserve judgment on any politician’s promises until they’re delivered (the promises, not the politicians!) After all, politicians are what they are. But for people who want public education to thrive, there’s been no more eye-popping, jaw-dropping and brain-numbing ordeal than the havoc wrought by Bloomberg’s space cadets. The damage they did to the system and the education profession was not the result of closed-door wrangling but rather of arrogance and ignorance. Wisdom is the clincher, not the forum. Demagogues can lead us down the wrong road even if it’s a public road and not a garbage-strewn private alley.
UFT member Ron Isaac, Fresh Meadows