Teaching Profession Opinion

Maybe It Wasn’t Shanker After All

By Alexander Russo — September 20, 2007 1 min read
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One of the most interesting of the 20-something mostly irate comments on my Huffington Post article claims that Shanker doesn’t deserve credit for unionizing the teachers because David Selden was the true visionary and was replaced by Shanker in a power struggle along the lines of Stalin and Trotsky. Hmm. Guess I skipped that chapter in Kahlenberg’s book.

Speaking of which, Kahlenberg says I got it wrong. He writes: “I don’t agree that “few” of Shanker’s ideas were adopted. Standards and charters were two big ideas he was very involved in pushing -- though I’d concede that neither worked out as he envisioned. The NBPTS is a pretty big idea that he promoted. Peer review exists in 30 districts -- not enough places, but enough to keep some pressure on. Entry level teacher tests are tougher than when he started. So I think it’s a mixed and evolving legacy on ed reform...I think Al Shanker would have found a way to bridge the divide between the standards groups and teachers, which would have forced NEA to modify its positions.”

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