John C. Fager Teacher, parent, columnist, council prez advisor

Fager first got involved in the New York City schools as a parent of two children. As a kindergarten parent he attended PTA meetings and because he asked too many questions he was elected president a year later. Because he had attended a good suburban school where most of the staff was focused on their jobs he was stunned when he learned about the workings of the city school system and that invariably adult interests trumped the interests of children. At the time he was an investigative producer at WCBS-TV and produced a two-part series about the custodians and their union. After 14 years in television news, including two emmy-winning years at ABC's 20/20, he became the education adviser to the New York City Council President and wrote reports about early childhood education, facilities, and parent involvement. He then spent a few years in the mid-90's writing a weekly education column for the Daily News of New York. Frustrated with the way the school system worked he threw himself off a cliff and ran for office on a platform that argued for downsizing the power of the special interests and bringing greater public control. He learned his lesson. For the past 12 years he has been a social studies teacher in an alternative high school and continues to write about education.