Tough Liberal

The Life of Albert Shanker

Richard D. Kahlenberg's latest book, Tough Liberal, is the first book-length treatment of the life of Albert Shanker, one of the most influential figures in American education in recent history. Shanker was the father of teacher unionism and a leading voice in nearly every major education and labor debate for nearly four decades.

Richard D. Kahlenberg is a Senior Fellow at The Century Foundation, where he writes about education, equal opportunity, and civil rights. Previously, Kahlenberg was a Fellow at the Center for National Policy, a visiting associate professor of constitutional law at George Washington University, and a legislative assistant to Senator Charles S. Robb (D-VA). He is also a nonresident senior fellow at Education Sector. He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College in 1985 and cum laude from Harvard Law School in 1989.

Please join the New America Foundation, in cooperation with Education Sector, for a discussion on the life and achievements of Albert Shanker.

Reviews of the Book

Diane Ravitch, Historian, New York University:
"An insightful, brilliant analysis of the life and times of one of the most influential figures in American education in the twentieth century. It should be read by everyone who cares about the future of public education and our democratic institutions."

James B. Hunt, Jr., former Governor of North Carolina:
"…I was privileged to work closely with Al on state and national reform issues and the success of the standards-based accountability movement is in no small way attributable to his courageous leadership. I was proud to consider Al Shanker a good friend and highly recommend this truly excellent biography which captures the essence of an inspiring individual who did what he thought was right despite the opposition he often confronted from friends as well as foes."

Tough Liberal will be available for purchase from Politics & Prose Book Store at this event. Cash, check, and credit cards will be accepted for book purchases.


Education Sector
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  • Richard Kahlenberg
    Senior Fellow, The Century Foundation
    Author, Tough Liberal
  • Michael Dannenberg
    Director, Education Policy Program, New America Foundation
  • E.D. Hirsch, Jr.
    Core Knowledge Foundation
  • Thomas Toch
    Education Sector