Tough Liberal: Albert Shanker and the Battles Over Schools, Unions, Race, and Democracy by Richard KahlenbergTough Liberal: Albert Shanker and the Battles Over Schools, Unions, Race, and Democracy by Richard Kahlenberg

Tough Liberal: Albert Shanker and the Battles Over Schools, Unions, Race, and Democracy

byRichard Kahlenberg

Paperback | July 15, 2009

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In Woody Allen's 1973 film, Sleeper, a character wakes up in the future to learn that civilization was destroyed when "a man by the name of Albert Shanker got hold of a nuclear warhead." Shanker was condemned by many when he shut down the New York City school system in the bitter strikes of 1967 and 1968, and he was denounced for stirring up animosity between black parents and Jewish teachers. Later, however, he built alliances with blacks, and at the time of his death in 1997, such figures as Bill Clinton celebrated Shanker for being an educational reformer, a champion of equality, and a promoter of democracy abroad.

Shanker lived the lives of several men bound into one. In his early years, he was the "George Washington of the teaching profession," helping to found modern teacher unionism. During the 1980s, as head of the American Federation of Teachers, he became the nation's leading education reformer. Shanker supported initiatives for high education standards and accountability, teacher-led charter schools, and a system of "peer review" to weed out inadequate teachers. Throughout his life, Shanker also fought for "tough liberalism," an ideology favoring public education and trade unions but also colorblind policies and a robust anticommunism?all of which, Shanker believed, were vital to a commitment to democracy.

Although he had a coherent worldview, Shanker was a complex individual. He began his career as a pacifist but evolved into a leading defense and foreign policy hawk. He was an intellectual and a populist; a gifted speaker who failed at small talk; a liberal whose biggest enemies were often on the left; a talented writer who had to pay to have his ideas published; and a gruff unionist who enjoyed shopping and detested sports. Richard D. Kahlenberg's biography is the first to offer a complete narrative of one of the most important voices in public education and American politics in the last half century. At a time when liberals are accused of not knowing what they stand for, Tough Liberal illuminates an engaging figure who suggested an alternative liberal path.

Richard D. Kahlenberg is a senior fellow at The Century Foundation and the author of All Together Now: Creating Middle-Class Schools through Public School Choice; The Remedy: Class, Race, and Affirmative Action; and Broken Contract: A Memoir of Harvard Law School.
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Title:Tough Liberal: Albert Shanker and the Battles Over Schools, Unions, Race, and DemocracyFormat:PaperbackDimensions:552 pagesPublished:July 15, 2009Publisher:Columbia University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0231134975

ISBN - 13:9780231134972

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Table of Contents

IntroductionPart 1. New York 1. The Early Years: Rising from Humble Beginnings and Establishing Values (1928-1952)2. Creating the United Federation of Teachers (1952-1962)3. Rising Within the UFT: Labor and Civil Rights Together (1962-1965)4. Black Power and the 1967 Teachers' Strike (1966-1968)5. The Ocean Hill-Brownsville Strike and the Liberal Assault on Labor (1968)6. Ocean Hill-Brownsville: The Fallout (1969)7. Rebuilding: Recruiting the Paraprofessionals, Launching the "Where We Stand" Column, and Seeking Teacher Unity (1969-1972)8. Becoming President of the American Federation of Teachers and Battling the New Politics Movement (1972-1974)9. "A Man by the Name of Albert Shanker": Sleeper and the Controversy of Power (1973-1975)10. Losing Power: The New York Fiscal Crisis and the Decline of Labor (1974-1976) Part 2. Washington 11. Jimmy Carter and the Rise of the Reagan Democrats (1976-1980)12. Being a Social Democrat Under Ronald Reagan: Domestic Policy (1980-1988)13. Being a Social Democrat Under Ronald Reagan: Foreign Policy (1980-1988)14. Education Reform: A Nation at Risk, Merit Pay, and Peer Review (1983-1984)15. Beyond Special Interest: Making Teaching a Profession (1985-1987)16. Charter Schools and School Restructuring (1988-1997)17. The Early Education-Standards Movement (1989-1994)18. The Rise of the Angry White Males and the Gingrich Revolution (1992-1995)19. Reviving the Education-Standards Movement and the Final Days (1995-1997) Part 3. Legacy 20. The Legacy of Albert ShankerAcknowledgmentsList of AbbreviationsNotesBibliographyIndex

Editorial Reviews

A must-read for those interested in educational or labor history.