Interview with Albert Shanker

Okay, in the, in the fall of '68 you went to Albany basically arguing against this decentralization program that, uh, was taking shape. Ah, was it, did you now have a fundamental belief that community control could not work, which seems different from the initial, you know, coalition?


I did not at any time lobby against decentralization. I lobbied against one decentralization plan and in favor of another one. Ah, I'm not opposed community participation or even community control. I am against, what in those days, was called total community control, which means that we can do anything we want and people don't have any civil rights or human rights or anything else. So we'd better be very careful with what words mean here. Ah, yes, I don't favor a decentralization plan where, ah, local community boards can do anything they want, unregulated. We don't have that in our country. A mayor can't do anything he wants, a governor can't do anything he wants. I didn't want school districts that could do anything they want. We ended up supporting a decentralization plan which resulted in the creation of, it's there right now, thirty-two districts, people elect members of their Boards, that's decentralization.