Al Shanker Remembered on the 20th Anniversary of His Death: Special Blog Series

Twenty years ago, the legendary president of the American Federation of Teachers, Al Shanker, died. To mark the occasion, we have asked a number of individuals – some who knew and worked with Al and some who have studied his life’s work – to reflect on the continuing relevance of his ideas and his principles. We did so out of a conviction that Shanker’s ideas and principles are not simply matters of historical interest, but of real contemporary value at a time when public education, unionism and American democracy itself are in a state of profound crisis, under attack in unprecedented ways. The full set of posts is listed below.


Public Intellectual: The Legacy Of Al Shanker

Leo Casey, Executive Director, Albert Shanker Institute


In Search Of Tough Liberals In The Age Of Trump: Remembering Al Shanker

Richard D. Kahlenberg, Senior Fellow, Century Foundation, and author of Tough Liberal: Albert Shanker and the Battles Over Schools, Unions, Race and Democracy (Columbia University Press, 2007)


Remembering Al Shanker

Herb Magidson, former Vice President (28 years), American Federation of Teachers


Where Are My Shanker Knights?

Dr. Lorretta Johnson, Secretary Treasurer, American Federation of Teachers


A Father And A Fighter

Jennie Shanker, Adjunct Professor at Temple University, and a member of the Temple adjunct organizing committee. (Eadie, Adam, and Michael Shanker also contributed to this piece.)


Democracy’s Champion

Eric Chenoweth, Co-Director of the Institute for Democracy in Eastern Europe


Teacher, Democrat, Union Chief

Eugenia Kemble, President, Foundation for Democratic Education, and founding Executive Director of the Albert Shanker Institute