To the Editor: It's clear from retired Court Clerk Steve Danko's letter (May 15 issue) that he has a hard time concealing his hostility to education in this city.
He lauds the NYPD and lambastes the DOE. That is not necessarily baseless. Many Teachers would agree that the DOE's bureaucracy is dense and malignant. Certainly its direction and priorities are deserving of legitimate and sometimes withering criticism. No doubt there are imperfections in the operations of law enforcement, also.
If he stated that the NYPD delivers to the taxpayer a better "bang for the buck" than does the DOE, much of the public, including educators, might agree. But his demeaning tone suggests he has a score to settle.
What taints Danko's convictions is that his adoration of the NYPD and loathing of the DOE is not based on an articulation of the comparative performance of the two agencies. His implicit attack on the performance of Teachers and the importance of the work they do is dirty pool.
It is an over-the-top imbalanced judgment.
There is a saying, "Don't confuse the war with the warrior". It is used to distinguish between soldiers caught in the firing line between their government's orders and an unpopular and wasteful military conflict. A similar relationship exists between education policy-makers and the troops in the classrooms.
Danko demands not only that the NYPD not shoulder its share of budget cuts, but that it be altogether immune. He calls for unlimited slashing of public money for education, ceding and then redirecting these funds to the NYPD, so that it benefit literally at the expense of our students.
The teaching-learning bond is sacred. The surest guarantor of peace and public order is the government's discharge of duty to deliver access to quality of education for all youngsters.
Danko demands the hiring of additional police officers even as many thousands of educators’ jobs are at risk. Those who disagree with him are "radical leftist progressive ideologues."
There is a sensible and almost unbroken rule that the City's public sector employee not assail their brothers and sisters in other unions, at least not openly, because it plays into the hands of our common enemies.
If there are rivalries among unions, they normally agree not to make a public spectacle of them. It's either solidarity or cannibalism.
Danko laments the annual attrition rate of police officers, without hinting at the prime reason for this phenomenon. It is a pension and disability system that is the envy of the world. We don't begrudge it.
A strong, smart and united labor movement has never been more critical than now.
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