Education Opinion

Albert Shanker

March 05, 1997 1 min read
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Sept. 14, 1928-Feb. 22, 1997

1946: Graduates from Stuyvesant High School, New York City.

1949: Graduates from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

1949: Enters Columbia University to study philosophy.

1952: Takes “a lousy job’’ as a substitute teacher at PS 179 in East Harlem.

1959: Quits job teaching mathematics at Manhattan junior high school to become full-time organizer for the Teacher’s Guild, a predecessor of the United Federation of Teachers.

1960: Helps lead one-day strike that produced nation’s first collective-bargaining agreement for teachers.

1964: Elected president of the United Federation of Teachers in New York City.

1965: Marches with the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in Selma, Ala.

1967: Jailed during New York City strike for smaller class sizes, more money for education.

1968: Jailed for 15 days after divisive Ocean Hill-Brownsville strike.

1970: Launches “Where We Stand’’ column, a paid weekly advertisement.

1973: Elected to AFL-CIO’s executive council.

1973: Lampooned in Woody Allen’s movie “Sleeper’’ as a madman who destroyed civilization with a nuclear warhead.

1974: Elected to first term as president of the American Federation of Teachers; remains president of the UFT.

1975: Agrees after five-day strike to have the UFT’s pension system bail out New York City by buying Municipal Assistance Corporation bonds.

1983: Calls A Nation at Risk findings “basically a good report’'; urges teacher testing, higher salaries.

1985: Delivers “The Making of a Profession’’ speech urging teachers to embrace career ladders, merit pay, and “radical restructuring’’ of schools.

1986: Steps down as president of the UFT.

1992: Leads AFT members to adopt statement calling for improving American schools so that they are at least as effective as traditional schools in other industrialized countries.

1995: Launches union’s “Lessons for Life’’ campaign, urging higher standards of conduct and achievement for U.S. students.


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