• 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.

  • Healthcare

    At a time of widespread budget constraints, many institutions--including schools--are cutting back on the number of nurses and other healthcare professionals they employ. Although a large body of research has established that inadequate staffing levels result in negative patient outcomes, the link between workplace conditions and the quality of care has yet to make it into many policy discussions.

  • Public Sector Unions

    In recent years, what appears to be a concerted attack on public sector unions and their members has emerged across many states. Collective bargaining rights, pensions, and dues check off have all been on the chopping block. Institute programs have focused on presenting a factual, resource-based response to these allegations.

  • Worker Rights

    The Institute sponsors seminars, discussions and publications that focus on free trade unions as the expression of the fundamental right of freedom of association--a right guaranteed in all major international human rights conventions and essential to the health and well being of democracy as well as the stability and equitable growth of the economy.

  • 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.