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ERIC Number: ED419805
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1998-Apr
Pages: 16
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Albert Shanker's Legacy: A Critical Perspective.
Weiner, Lois
Albert Shanker headed the American Federation of Teachers for 22 years and was president of the New York City teachers union. Both organizations were transformed by his presence. Shanker altered the politics of education and teacher unionism. During his tenure, American political life encountered the birth of social movements challenging the nation's political underpinnings (e.g., civil rights, women's rights, and protests of the Vietnam war). The teacher union movement was reborn amidst intense political ferment that influenced the political culture of schools and teachers' self-conceptions. Shanker's reputation as a militant, combative unionist was earned when teacher unionism was a dynamic social movement. He had a reputation as an aggressive opponent of progressive social change. As the nation's political climate became more conservative over time, Shanker's opposition to progressive political causes and his public rejection of militant unionism won him the support of conservatives. His prominence as a teacher unionist and political figure rested upon his significant organizational skills and acumen. He had enormous control over policy and personnel, reinforcing his image as a powerful leader who spoke forcefully for teachers. He was presented the Medal of Freedom by President Clinton. Shanker's heirs have inherited his power without his moral and political claims to leadership of teacher's battles. His legacy may prove to be that he gained personal prominence by creating a tight organizational apparatus in a union susceptible to the same winds of change that swept John Sweeney's supporters into the AFL-CIO and Albert Shanker's collaborators out. (Contains 36 references.) (SM)
Publication Type: Reports - General; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A