If you have been following these posts for the past few days, you will recall that New Jersey Acting Commissioner Chris Cerf claimed that legendary union leader Al Shanker would be on his side, supporting more of the (non-union) charters that Cerf wants to open all over New Jersey.

I wrote a post pointing out that Al Shanker was an original proponent of charters but turned against them in 1993 when he realized that they would become the leading edge of privatization.

I then got a tongue-lashing by someone from New Jersey for daring to say that Al Shanker would not be on board with Chris Cerf and his boss Governor Chris Christie in their campaign to turn more public schools over to entrepreneurs.

And then, blogger Mother Crusader discovered that Al Shanker’s widow, Edie Shanker, had already spoken up and reminded the world that Al would not have supported the “reform” movement.

But best of all, I just read in Jersey Jazzman’s piece that Al’s daughter Jennie Shanker posted the following comment on the article challenging my views:

# Do not speak for Albert Shanker. — Jennie Shanker 2012-07-20 11:26

It was a pleasure and joy to read 2/3rds of your article, at which point your perspective takes its own course.
As his daughter, I treasure the testimony of individuals who knew my father and his work. Lately, it has been, frankly, dreadful to find his name associated with school “reform” that undermines public education. Without exception, these articles offer a few short quotes in evidence, always inappropriately pulled out of the context of his true mission and life’s work.
I can tell you, absolutely and unequivocally, if my father was with us today he would be fighting side by side with Diane Ravitch to preserve and improve public education. The Washington Post re-published an excellent post from Ravitch’s blog this week which very clearly articulats the differences between his vision of charter reform and the for-profit version championed by Chris Cerf and others in New Jersey.
Would he have told that NJ parent to send their child to public schools? Absolutely. As mentioned in the Post article, NJ public schools are among the highest performing in the nation.
Your appreciation for my father’s work and vision was lovely to read. But your stance on this issue is diametrically opposed to his values and intent, and you are dead wrong to shame Diane Ravitch for her position. Indeed, if you consider your thinking to be in line with my father’s, I recommend that you champion her work, as my family does. If anyone can speak for my father in this day and age, the person who should be most trusted is Dr. Ravitch.
It’s unfortunate that many people who read your article will not see this comment. I would like to respectfully request that you reconsider further publicizing your characterizatio n of my father’s position on this topic. From what is in evidence in this article, despite your love for the man, you are in no position to speak for him. -Jennie Shanker