* Noah Gotbaum, a vocal public education activist and possible candidate for public advocate, attended an Education Nation forum late last month with Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and was one of the few audience members able to ask him about his education policy ideas. After asking about choice in public schools, Gotbaum said, “The parents here support the union to protect our kids three-to-one over the mayor and the chancellor. That’s a recent poll. So, to say that the unions are holding back our kids, as a parent and as parents in polls said, it’s the opposite.” Gotbaum was citing a February Quinnipiac poll, which asked New Yorkers whether Mayor Michael Bloomberg or the teachers’ union could be trusted more to protect the interests of public school students. Sixty-nine percent of respondents who have children in public school chose the teachers’ union, versus 22 percent who picked Blooomberg. But Romney apparently wasn’t interested in the poll numbers, and told Gotbaum, “I don’t believe it for a minute,” suggesting that the poll numbers could be manipulated. “Having looked at schools, I know that the teachers’ union has a responsibility to care for the interests of the teachers,” Romney said.