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shanker

This short memo explains the origins of the chartering idea. In the spring of 1988, a Citizens League committee began developing a program for chartering schools. Twenty years later that idea has become law in 40 states and the District of Columbia.

In 1988, Albert Shanker began to float the idea of "letting teachers start schools within schools." But, he acknowledged he picked up the term "charter" from Ray Budde, from a paper titled "Education by Charter". Ted Kolderie recounts Budde's reaction to chartering, with lessons for today’s policy leaders on the virtues of diligence, patience, deference and humility.

Albert Shanker said in 1991, before school choice and chartering, “People in other fields dislike change too. But they have to do it. We in education don’t. For us nothing is at stake.” The absence of an internal impetus for change leads us to prescribe "mandates." But why not find what is blocking change inside K-12, and fix that?

In this 1991 retrospective, Albert Shanker looks back over 40 years in the profession. He is realistic about the union's conventional strategy of higher salaries and smaller class size. He looks toward others strategies: differentiated staffing, the individualization of learning through technology, project-based learning, and performance-based assessment.