• American Teacher Union History

    This section of the Shanker Institute website is focused on the history of American teacher unionism. It has grown out of the mission of the Institute, with its focus on the themes of public education, unionism and democracy, and the life’s work of our namesake, the late American Federation of Teachers President Al Shanker. Since the Institute is affiliated with the AFT, this section tells the story of our own history.

    Our goal here is not to present a comprehensive account of teacher union history, but to make a contribution to a better understanding of it by providing documents – primarily, interpretive essays, lesson plans and oral histories – which provide insights not otherwise found in published accounts. Readers will find that themes inadequately covered in the current literature, such as the engagement of teacher unionism with the civil rights movement, are discussed in considerable detail here.

    With a mind to making this material accessible not just to historians, but also to the ranks of teachers and unionists, we have fashioned this section so that an educated person with limited background knowledge could read and understand the material being discussed.

  • Career and Technical Education

    The Institute supports conferences, research, publications and scholarly discussion highlighting the need for high-quality Career and Technical Education, capable of engaging students more deeply in their classwork and to prepare them for college and career after high school.

  • Civic Education

    In a democracy, one of the primary missions of public schooling must be the preparation of a well informed and engaged citizenry. The youngsters in our schools are not just "other people's children" and someone else's concern. They are also the fellow citizens who will help shape the future and the nation that our children will inherit. 

  • Early Childhood Education

    The knowledge and skills that children gain in their early childhood are crucial to their long-term academic success, making quality early childhood educational experiences especially urgent for children from disadvantaged backgrounds, who often begin school already behind.

  • K-12 Education

    The Albert Shanker Institute pursues the mission of improving the public education system by promoting discussions, supporting publications and sponsoring research on new and workable approaches to ensuring that all public schools are good schools. 

  • School Culture

    A school is a complex, dynamic system and not just a building with people inside. School improvement efforts require that we understand the contextual factors that support or impede change. The Institute is pursuing three programs focusing on the context of schools, particularly its socio-cultural dimension.

  • Workforce Development / CTE

    The emergence of the global knowledge economy has placed new and challenging demands on U.S. education. In order to prepare our citizens for 21st century jobs and to deepen their engagement in the rigorous coursework that these jobs entail, we need to ensure that our secondary and post-secondary educational institutions provide high-quality career and technical education.