American Educator: Fall 2007

  • Notebook

    Want to See the World? Go on Summer Sabbatical

    Teachers often tell their students that the world is their classroom. Thanks to one man's generosity, teachers can more fully experience that world for themselves—and inspire their students with a sense of adventure.

    A decade ago, businessman Raymond Plank, chairman of the board of the...

  • The Agenda That Saved Public Education

    Richard D. Kahlenberg

    Albert Shanker was president of the AFT from 1974 until his death in 1997. His ideas about teacher unionism, improving schools, and the importance of public education have substantially shaped the perspective of the modern AFT. In a new biography of Shanker, excerpted below, the author,...

  • Peer Assistance and Review

    Richard D. Kahlenberg

    Peer assistance and review was the brainchild of Dal Lawrence, the union president in Toledo, Ohio, an AFT affiliate. Like Albert Shanker, Lawrence had strong union credentials that gave him credibility with members to try innovative things. He was also a maverick. For a number of years,...

  • "Where We Stand"

    Richard D. Kahlenberg

    "Where We Stand," a weekly paid column, began running in December 1970, in the Sunday New York Times' Week in Review section. Its impact was monumental.

    In the late 1960s, Shanker had grown frustrated that his attempts to be published in various magazines and newspapers had been...

  • Teaching Plutarch in the Age of Hollywood

    Gilbert T. Sewall

    In the summer of 2006, at the Huntington Library in San Marino, Calif., I had the pleasure of working with a dozen Los Angeles high school teachers, test-driving the classics in the curriculum. Part of a three-year National Endowment for the Humanities project, the two-week workshop explored...

  • Plutarch for the Sound-Bite Generation

    Gilbert T. Sewall

    Let me be the first to admit that teaching with Plutarch is a challenge. For high school students, the language is difficult and the references obscure. But it is still possible—and worthwhile—to introduce students to Plutarch though excerpts from the Lives. The excerpts below could be...

  • Can Plutarch Regain Popularity?

    Roger Kimball

    Like all ancient authors today, Plutarch is at best a name to most people, even—especially?—to most college-educated people. You, dear reader, are of a select group, because you know that Plutarch (c. 46–c. 120) was a Greek biographer and moral philosopher who wrote, among other things, a famous...

  • Focusing on Academic Intensity and the Road to College Success

    Eight years ago, Clifford Adelman, then a senior researcher with the U.S. Department of Education, published a striking finding—high school students' "academic resources" (a combination of high school curriculum, score on an SAT-like test, and class rank) have a greater impact on completing a...

  • Focusing on the Forgotten

    How to Put More Kids on the Track to College Success Jennifer Jacobson

    Not long ago, Cesar Moran was more concerned with hanging out with his friends than making good grades. His parents, Mexican immigrants, did not go to college. His father works in construction, his mother, in an office that sells wallpaper. Although they always reminded Cesar to do his homework...

  • When Challenged, Average Kids Succeed

    Jennifer Jacobson

    In both Answers in the Toolbox and The Toolbox Revisited (see "Focusing on Academic Intensity and the Road to College Success"), Adelman urged policymakers to use his findings to help more students...

  • Be the First in Your Family to Go to College

    You Can Do It—and This Advice from Other First-Generation College Students Can Help Kathleen Cushman

    Hazel Janssen thinks of herself as an artist. "I love to act," she says, "but I also knit, I sew, I shoot and edit movies." When she found herself crammed into the over-crowded classrooms of a huge Denver high school, she fell behind in her work and lost interest in school. "I need a lot of...

  • Two-Year's the Ticket

    With all the talk about four-year colleges, it may seem to students like they face a stark choice: Either get a bachelor's degree or end up at a fast-food joint, flipping burgers for the rest of their lives. Many students fear that without a four-year degree they will be destined to work in dead...

  • The Journey Begins Now

  • Teaching the Legacy of Little Rock