It was shortly after Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg took over the school system in 2002 that Mr. Babad started to speak up, because, he said, things struck him as paternalistic and overly controlling. He recalled a PTA meeting at which someone said a particular bylaw needed to be changed to comply with a request from administrators downtown.
After a heated debate broke out, one of Mr. Babad's daughters, who was about 10, came by to ask what the commotion was about.
???I explained to her that they were telling us our votes don't count and that's what some countries of the world do all the time,??? Mr. Babad remembered. ???She said right away, ???Well, Dad, that's not fair.' ???