If Horace Mann was the key educational figure of the 19th century, and John Dewey of the first half of the 20th, then Al Shanker, the legendary leader of the American Federation of Teachers, deserves that title for the second half of the 20th century. So argues Richard Kahlenberg in his sweeping biography of Shanker, Tough Liberal. In this interview Mike Petrilli talks with Rick about the book, Shanker’s fascinating life, his role as a union leader, and whether he deserves the mantle of “education reformer.” And we’ll ponder: What would Al Shanker have thought of today’s reform conversation?

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Last updated March 29, 2011