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American Educator
Summer 2005


Table of Contents


Remembering Solidarity

Twenty-five years ago, Polish shipyard workers launched a strike and established Solidarity, an independent union. After nine years of struggle, substantially aided by the AFL-CIO, the union movement toppled Poland's Communist government—and soon, Communist governments across Europe and the Soviet Union collapsed as well. We celebrate this silver anniversary with three pieces.

Surviving the Underground
How American Unions Helped Solidarity Win
By Arch Puddington

From the start, AFL-CIO President Lane Kirkland knew that the strike at Gdansk was special, possibly historic. He influenced U.S. presidents who couldn't fathom that a mere union could topple communism. The AFL-CIO backed Solidarity by smuggling cash and equipment to the union—which allowed it to survive and organize underground, launch new strikes, and ultimately win the first free elections in Eastern Europe in half a century.

Vote Solidarity (PDF)
The Election Art of 1989

Solidarity sparked an outpouring of art by Polish poster artists. Here are some of the most beautiful and moving posters from the 1989 election campaign.

Season of Inequality
Exploring the Summer Activity Gap

By Tiffani Chin and Meredith Phillips

Summer can be a chance to spark children's interests, broaden their world, even get special tutoring. But for lower-income children, it can be when they fall further behind. These researchers explore how the summer experiences of higher- and lower-income 10-year-olds differ.

The Opportunity Gap—A National Problem

High Quality Programs Help Bring Greater Equity to the Summer Season
By Tiffany Cooper

Ask the Cognitive Scientist
Do Visual, Auditory, and Kinesthetic Learners Need Visual, Auditory, and Kinesthetic Instruction?
By Daniel T. Willingham

Modality theory—the idea that students differ in their visual, auditory, and kinesthetic abilities and learn more when instruction is geared to their strengths—has been a popular idea for decades. But research has found that learning is enhanced by designing instruction around the content's best modality, not the student's.

How Has Modality Theory Been Tested?

The Content's Best Modality Is Key

Tribute to Paul Gagnon

Historian, passionate advocate for history education, and long-time friend of the AFT and America's teachers, Paul Gagnon has passed away. We celebrate his work with some favorite quotes and his timeless 1985 American Educator essay on history in American schools.

Finding Who and Where We Are
Can American History Tell Us?
By Paul Gagnon

American history reaches way back—to the texts of Judaism and Christianity, to the glory and failure of democracy in Athens, to Rome, Feudal times, and more. To explain our values, history classes need to reach back, too.

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About American Educator

American Educator is a quarterly journal of educational research and ideas published by the American Federation of Teachers. Recent articles have focused on such topics as reducing the achievement gap between poor and affluent students, heading off student discipline problems, teaching an appreciation and understanding of democracy, the benefits of a common coherent curriculum, and other issues affecting children and education here and abroad. Total circulation, as of our most recent issue, is over 900,000.

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