Albert ShankerAlbert Shanker, (1928-1997) president of the United Federation of Teachers (1964-1985), president of the American Federation of Teachers (1974-1997)

Albert Shanker Quote

“When school children start paying union dues, that's when I'll start representing the interests of school children.”

Albert ShankerAlbert Shanker
~ Albert Shanker

Ratings and Comments

jim k, austin

And you thought it was about education.

Waffler, Smith, Arkansas

A smart and honest man knows where his bread is buttered. For insight into what a good job he and his teachers are doing I refer you to this weeks Newsweek article on the 1300 best high schools in America.

Ken, Allyn, WA

Newsweak, hmmm? Somehow I think I'll leave that propaganda rag on the table in the dentist's office. I'm sure those 1300 schools are the cream of the crap, though. What happened to that concern for the children and the good of society that all of the the indoctrinators, oops, I mean educators, are always touting when it comes time for a school levy? If I was a cynical man, I might think teachers were in the business for a paycheck.

Ken, Allyn, WA

By the way, I read something sadly hilarious here the other day............... It seems many schools are making the minimum score on tests a 50 instead of zero. Maybe that's how those 1300 wonderful government schools get their test scores up.

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RobertSRQ    5/22/08

It's a cynical statement (may of even been a joke) - if it weren't for our taxes he would have a job as our taxes pay the teachers and the teachers pay his wages. Hopefully, the teachers have the children at their best interest and therefore it is a mute point.

Bob, Eugene, OR

The best thing you can do for your child is to remove them from theunion-controlled gubberment indoctrination centers.

Joe, North Caldwell, NJ

"If I was [sic] a cynical man, I might think teachers were in the business for a paycheck." Good thing you're not cynical, then, Ken -- do you have any idea what teachers are paid? Do you really believe they chose teaching over the business world for the pathetic salary they receive? BTW, the proper phrase is "if I WERE a cynical man." And Robert, it's a MOOT point. It appears that some of us should have paid closer attention in class when we had the opportunity. As for Shanker's quote, it's a stupid thing to say, and I HOPE he was being cynical.

Ken, Allyn, WA

I guess I'm just a victim of a government school education. Thanks for noticing.

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    Anonymous    5/22/08

    Average teacher salary is $46,752 for a 180 day contract ( . The contract day is 6 hours teaching with 2 hours preparation. Prorating that 180 day "year" to a full time job of 2086 hours, teachers on average are making $67,725 per year.

    E Archer, NYC
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    E Archer, NYC Anonymous 12/4/18

    Not any more.  Government employees now make more than their private sector counter-parts.  Six-figure salaries are common in public schools for the higher ups.

    jim k, austin

    1300 best highschools doesn't mean they are all that good. Sort of like finding the best piece of pizza in the dumpster.

    jim k, austin

    Bob of Eugene is right on. At least there is one person in tofu land with his head on straight.

    J Carlton, Calgary

    The system was openly callous then...and its still callous. Its just nicely dressed up now and has better PR.

    E Archer, NYC

    There sure seems to be enough arrogance among those who have contributed to the current educational system that I have no reason to believe Shanker was being facetious.

    warren, olathe

    He hits the nail on the head. The union is the center of all problems with the public school system. This is the attitude of all "good" union teachers. They work for the good of the union, not the students.

    Mike, cali
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    Mike, cali warren, olathe 2/22/21

    notice how you get a thumbs down for negative remarks but bright stars defending what he said. what a joke 

    Eric Johnson, Las Vegas, NV

    Unions have become a bureaucratic monstrosity. The Teacher's Union's are no acceptation. A unions only considerations are Self Preservation and Accumulation. Teachers might care, but the union boss sure dosen't!

    Anonymous, Houston, TX

    Anyone who thinks that K-12 public schoolteachers in the U.S. do even a fair job obviously has not read Charlotte Iserbyt's book on education, "The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America". Until all college of education degree holders are barred from school grounds, there is no hope for the schools to worth squat.

    Mike, Norwalk

    A teacher's union (or any government union for that matter, in a representative republic, is an oxymoron) In a representative republic, hirelings are to represent the rights of the individual sovereign. If a sovereign joins a union representing an interest against himself, that is called schizophrenic. "I say to my sovereign self, self I will work for X amount of dollars, then I say to my union self, self, I will work for Y amount of dollars. Hey, I may strike against myself if I don't do what I want to do to my self. (now there is one sick socialist society of ? ? ?) Is that kind of sick double minded slave the type of person we want teaching the sovereign children ? NOT ME ! ! ! I've mentioned this before, I read an excellent peer reviewed white paper a year or so back that went into a psychological analysis concerning those that go into government work (school teachers for example) vs. entrepreneurial participants. It is the rule that, those that can't make it in the real world, teach.

    Mike, Pleasant Hill

    I listen to a soundbite of this guy Shanker talking to a pack of howling and hooting teachers about defending common core and his commitment to go after anyone who wants to remove it, saying and I quote
    "we will punch you in the face and drag you through the dirt." This man is a true radical and he leads their organization what does that tell you about the rank-and-file?

    Bobble, Charlotte, VT

    Ref. the quote originally presented here: when I read it, I chuckled, "He's finally admitting to his priority-order !"

    Ron w13, Or

    For the sake of the dollar. For those that work and live around chemical plants for example, My child is loosing their hair and can't think for themselves anymore. The union will give you more insurance, and a nice place to be buried. A good pension for your spouse, to visit the graves of the dearly departed. If one cannot negotiate a higher wage for yourself, you are not worth what you think you are ! Or you just love to live beyond you means trying to keep up with the John doe's down the street. Cost of living raise my bahunkus.

    warren, olathe

    Maybe then the Democrats will think about improving the education system instead of destroying it.

    E Archer, NYC
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    E Archer, NYC warren, olathe 12/4/18

    Doubtful, Warren, the education system furthers the authoritarianism that Democrats worship.  How do you think it got this way?  Collectivism is taught exclusively.

    warren, olathe

    The worst thing that this government has done to its citizens is to allow unions to organize government workers. This was done to try to make the Democrat party a permanent place in power. Schools would teach and government workers would not feel safe in stuffing ballot boxes or to use their positions to shut down the free speech of those they did not like. We are in a very precarious position. I fear that things are so screwed up that we would sit back and allow any thing to happen. The constitution only has the power to protect us if we are informed enough to elect people that will follow it. Presidents like BHO can just ignore it. It seems that the press is the only thing that really runs this country by making sure that most people are in the dark and misinformed. The press has now begun working to elect Hillary. That way we can see 8 more years of an Obama equivalency in government and be unable to undo any of the horrific damage he has done.

    Barry Kruse, Petaluma

    The provenance of this particular quotation is unclear, and Shanker's authorship is disputed (see I think I would disagree with Mr. Shanker on a number issues. However, from the admittedly small amount of information I am able to find on him, I do not believe he pursued the interests of the union to the detriment of the students.

    JJ, Austin
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    JJ, Austin Barry Kruse, Petaluma 8/4/20

    The quote is attributed solely to Albert Shanker. Looking at the way the unions/teachers/schools have moved in the last 6 years since you posted, I wonder if you still believe the same things. 

    Unions exist to stay in power; nothing more. Unions for government workers have a conflict of interests.

    Ron w13, Or

    Also it seems the democratic party, at first pro-labor or if you will, working class. Presumes to much of its influence of the natal agent. Logic dictates reason. If of a higher power, equality or equity is obtained through moral behavior. Liberty of thy neighbor. Many streets lead to the city ! I do not care who you are or where you are from or what you were doing there, it is but my request to help all and come to all's request of assistance.

    Ron w13, Or

    Semper Fi. Praise the Lord !

    Mary - MI
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    Mary - MI    8/16/14

    Albert Shanker's statement truly tells it all about the school unions and their disunion/separation of interests for getting the best education possible for the children.


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