Published Online: March 5, 1997


A Sampling of Albert Shanker's Opinions

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On vouchers:

"Vouchers are not an experiment, the conclusion of which is unknown. The result is inevitable--the end of public schools and the establishment of a system of tax-financed private education.

Where We Stand, July 4, 1971

On school bureaucracy:

"In many of our schools the outstanding teacher who refuses to do ritualistic paperwork is rated unsatisfactory, while the marginal teacher--or perhaps even one who is truly unsatisfactory--who submits to all the rituals is given high marks.''

Where We Stand, Feb. 6, 1983

On multiculturalism:

"In the name of eliminating bias and chauvinism, a number of curriculum designers have merely invented new forms of bias and chauvinism. They would have us believe that freedom and democracy are just a Western taste, that totalitarianism is the product of free choice or the natural result of a people's culture, and that there is little difference between governments that are perpetuated by votes and those that are sustained by guns.''

Where We Stand, June 11, 1989

On public support:

"In late 1968, I became convinced that I had been dead wrong in believing that the public's opinion of me didn't matter. Public schools depend on public support. And the public was not likely to support the schools for long if they thought teachers were led by a powerful madman.''

Where We Stand, Dec. 16, 1990

On academic standards:

"With a national curriculum, everybody knows what is required. If there also are clear and visible stakes--getting into university or an apprenticeship program--the pressure is on to make sure youngsters meet the standards. Without national standards and a national curriculum, there are no such pressures.''

Where We Stand, Dec. 6, 1992

On working for high student academic and discipline standards:

"Any union that does not participate in and press for the 'Lessons for Life' program is engaged in union malpractice, by which I simply mean that it is as much your duty to preserve public education as it is to negotiate a good contract.''

AFT Convention Speech, August 1996

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