K-12 Education

  • Efforts to help strengthen and improve public education are central to the Albert Shanker Institute’s mission. This work is pursued by promoting discussions, supporting publications and sponsoring research on new and workable approaches to ensuring that all public schools are good schools. As explained by Al Shanker below, these efforts are grounded in the belief that a vibrant public school system is crucial to the health and survival of the nation:

    "...I believe that public education is the glue that has held this country together. Critics now say that the common school never really existed, that it’s time to abandon this ideal in favor of schools that are designed to appeal to groups based on ethnicity, race, religion, class, or common interests of various kinds. But schools like these would foster divisions in our society; they would be like setting a time bomb.

    "A Martian who happened to be visiting Earth soon after the United States was founded would not have given this country much chance of surviving. He would have predicted that this new nation, whose inhabitants were of different races, who spoke different languages, and who followed different religions, wouldn’t remain one nation for long. They would end up fighting and killing each other. Then, what was left of each group would set up its own country, just as has happened many other times and in many other places. But that didn’t happen. Instead, we became a wealthy and powerful nation—the freest the world has ever known. Millions of people from around the world have risked their lives to come here, and they continue to do so today.

    "Public schools played a big role in holding our nation together. They brought together children of different races, languages, religions and cultures and gave them a common language and a sense of common purpose. We have not outgrown our need for this; far from it. Today, Americans come from more different countries and speak more different languages than ever before. Whenever the problems connected with school reform seem especially tough, I think about this. I think about what public education gave me—a kid who couldn’t even speak English when I entered first grade. I think about what it has given me and can give to countless numbers of other kids like me. And I know that keeping public education together is worth whatever effort it takes."

    Albert Shanker, 1997

  • A Conversation with Charles Blow and Randi Weingarten

    Join us for our May AFT Book Club session featuring AFT President Randi Weingarten and renowned author Charles M. Blow, discussing Blow's memoir Fire Shut Up In My Bones. Engage with Weingarten and Blow as they explore the multifaceted themes reflecting on the complexities of identity, trauma and resilience within the backdrop of a segregated Louisiana town. Blow's ability to weave his personal narrative with broader social critiques makes the memoir a compelling read for anyone interested in the intersections of personal experience and public advocacy.

  • AFT Book Club: Conversation with Ruth Ben-Ghiat and Randi Weingarten

    This groundbreaking new book club series is brought to you by the AFT, Share My Lesson and the Albert Shanker Institute. Tune in each month for an evening of inspiration, intellect and innovation—where the power of words takes center stage! Each month you will hear a fusion of words and wisdom as influential authors, scholars and activists engage in a riveting dialogue that promises to ignite your passion for literature and social change. 

  • PASSION MEETS PURPOSE: Promising Pathways Through Experiential Learning

    The Albert Shanker Institute, the AFT, and the Center for American Progress held a pioneering conference on experiential learning: PASSION MEETS PURPOSE: Promising Pathways Through Experiential Learning. The conference showcased the dynamic realm of experiential, hands-on learning, where students engage in immersive educational experiences that foster curiosity, exploration, inquiry, and profound comprehension. This conference highlighted various facets of experiential learning, ranging from career and technical education (CTE) to the arts, music, and action civics. Through student-centered approaches, participants delved into how experiential learning cultivates deeper understanding and equips students with the skills necessary for promising careers across diverse fields.
  • Reading Reform Across America Webinar

    Join this webinar on Sept. 19 at 6:30 PM ET with Share My Lesson and the Albert Shanker Institute to learn how to implement the latest reading reform goals to deepen literacy support.
  • The Intersection of Democracy and Public Education

    The Shanker Institute and Education International are both celebrating milestone anniversaries in 2023. Both organizations share a common origin, Albert Shanker cofounded EI and was the inspiration for the ASI. To recognize the common origin and priorities of each organization, strengthening public education and committed to democracy, this Panel Discussion & Anniversary Celebration of the Albert Shanker Institute (25 Years) and Education International (30 Years) was held ahead of the International Summit on the Teaching Profession to take advantage of both organizations’ leaders being in Washington, DC at the same time.

  • Teaching About Tribal Sovereignty

    This session is part of the series: A More United America: Teaching Democratic Principles and Protected Freedoms.
    Available for 1.5-hour of PD credit. A certificate of completion will be available for download at the end of your session that you can submit for your school's or district's approval. Watch on Demand.

  • Constitutional Voting Rights: Teaching the 15th, 19th and 26th Amendments

    This session is part of the series: A More United America: Teaching Democratic Principles and Protected Freedoms. Available for 1.5-hour of PD credit. A certificate of completion will be available for download at the end of your session that you can submit for your school's or district's approval. Watch on Demand.
  • Educating for Democratic Citizenship Conference

    The Shanker Institute, the Institute of Politics and Global Affairs at Cornell University and Share My Lesson held a virtual three-day conference on Educating for Democratic Citizenship. Participants will be eligible for professional development recertification credit for these on-demand webinars.

  • Segregation and School Funding: How Housing Discrimination Reproduces Unequal Opportunity

    Watch the discussion about the historical and contemporary relationship between racial segregation and K-12 school funding based on the Institute's new report.

  • Countering Misinformation in the Classroom: A Media Literacy Discussion with Randi Weingarten and NewsGuard

    In this Q & A style session, AFT President Randi Weingarten and Steven Brill discussed the misinformation trends NewsGuard’s analysts are encountering in the field, and the tactics educators can employ in their classrooms to counter these trends.