In Memoriam

On February 22, 1997, Albert Shanker, President of the American Federation of Teachers, died after a long battle with cancer. The editors of The Montana Professor join the many others who are saddened at this lost of a vigorous leader who for twenty-three years guided the AFT and its state and local affiliates such as the Montana Federation of Teachers. Recently the AFT published a special edition of On Campus. We thought it appropriate to reprint some comments about President Shanker taken from that issue.

If there is one person responsible for public employees' collective bargaining in the United States, that person is Al Shanker. He staunchly supported public employee organizing and personally backed up his support by attending and speaking at every kind of public employee gathering. Our members will miss him greatly, and I will miss his advice and friendship."
Jim McGarvey, President
Montana Federation of Teachers

Among the educational leaders I have known, Al was the most intellectually brilliant and tough-minded. He had a talent for clarity and trenchancy. But those gifts would have counted for little if they had not been joined to high patriotism, a sense of responsibility, unflinching honesty, imagination and courage.
E.D. Hirsch, Jr.
Author and President
Core Knowledge Foundations

If Al Shanker were remembered for only one thing, it should be his courage. He was never afraid to say what he believed, no matter how unpopular it made him. He was never afraid to stand up for principle, no matter how much it annoyed others. He never hesitated to speak out against wrongdoing, to defend an unpopular cause, to risk being a minority of one.
Diane Ravitch, Senior Fellow
Brookings Institution

I have lost a friend and the American people have lost a great champion of education. Al Shanker was a champion not only of America's teachers, but of America's students. He was a pioneer in seeking to raise standards in our classrooms.
Richard Riley
Secretary of Education

Al spent his life in pursuit of one of the noblest of causes: the improvement of our public schools.... He challenged the country's teachers and schools to provide our children with the very best education possible and made a crusade out of the need for educational standards.
President Bill Clinton

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