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Past Events

  • What Do We Really Know About High School Dropout Rates & What Can Be Done To Improve Them?

    May 2, 2007

    The reliability of the data on high school dropout and graduation rates and the best way to calculate them have recently become the subject of intense debate, often generating more heat than light. What are the hidden assumptions and implications behind the dueling methodologies? What can we say with some certainty about how many students leave school prior to graduation, when, and why? And, more importantly, what do we really know about the policies and programs that are most effective in preventing dropouts and promoting school success?

  • Middle East Leadership Study Trip

    May 2, 2007

    The Albert Shanker Institute, in partnership with the AFT, organized an eight-person union leadership study trip to the Middle East in May 2007.

  • The Challenge for Democracy in the Middle East: The Art of the Possible

    February 2, 2007

    The Institute sponsored this conference on the challange of developing practical international programs to implement the traditional commitment of the labor movement to democracy and democratic institutions in the core Middle East region. It challenged participants to help conceive innovative, practical program approaches for the Middle East region.

  • Performance-Based Pay in Public Education

    June 2, 2006

    Across the country, policymakers are promoting or implementing plans to encourage excellent teaching by linking some portion of teachers’ pay to their performance or to the performance of their schools or students. While these proposals have generated a lot of heated discussion, most of the debate has centered around issues of theory or politics, not efficacy. What is the empirical evidence on the effects of performance-based pay plans, in general? In the public sector? In education? And what can research and experience tell us about the factors that make the implementation of some plans more or less successful?

  • Background Knowledge & Reading Proficiency

    May 19, 2006

    Research has demonstrated that students’ vocabulary and background knowledge are vital to reading comprehension, and that poor children and struggling readers are disproportionately disadvantaged by this fact. What are the implications of these findings for improving curriculum and instruction at the elementary and secondary levels? And how do schools impart this knowledge to students who don’t read well enough to acquire it from the written word?

  • Democracy and Worker Rights: A Discussion of Labor's Approach to China

    April 6, 2006

    On April 6-7, 2006, the Institute sponsored a lively discussion among representatives from nine AFL-CIO and Change to Win unions on the U.S.labor movement’s differing approaches to the increasing economic dominance of an ongoing worker rights repression in mainland China. After opening remarks by AFT and Shanker Institute President McElroy, participants heard from two prominent China experts, Andrew Nathan (Columbia University) and James Mann (School for Advanced International Studies).

  • Improving the Teaching and Learning of Mathematics

    May 5, 2005

    Despite the continuing “math wars” debates, there is an emerging consensus on the need for U.S. math teachers to improve both their content and pedagogical knowledge. Key researchers (who were selected using an informal peer review process) have been asked to provide an overview on recent research about what mathematics teachers ned to know and be able to do to improve the performance of all students.

  • Reading Disabilities, Reading Difficulties & School-Based Interventions that Work

    April 13, 2005

    The importance of early reading success to later educational achievement has now become common wisdom. Federal agencies, state governments, and individual schools and districts across the country have initiated programs to improve beginning reading instruction, including strategies to identify struggling readers as early as possible. But what comes next? Once a reading problem is detected, can it actually be averted? And, if so, with what “treatment”? In recent years, neuroscientists and reading researchers have pursued a preventive model of reading instruction that could also be wildly successful. What does this research tell us about what goes on in the brain of a struggling reader, before and after intervention? And how can schools and districts translate this research into classroom materials and strategies that really work to prevent reading failure?

  • Unionism and Democracy: The Experience, the Legacy, The Future

    April 2, 2005

    The Institute received a grant from the ILGWU Heritage Fund in April 2005 to help sponsor this three-day seminar aimed at educating new AFT leaders on the rationale and history behind labor’s support for democracy and worker rights in the world.

  • Early Childhood Assessments: Problems & Possibilities

    October 8, 2004

    With increased support for and public investment in early childhood education programs, federal, state, and local authorities have begun to grapple with the need to assess student outcomes, for diagnostic, accountability and program improvement purposes. At the same time, critics continue to raise questions about the appropriateness, validity, and utility of assessments with very young children: How accurate is the data that’s being gathered through various methods and for what purposes can it legitimately be used? What can research tell us about how to design assessments for preschool children that are reasonable, reliable, valid, and useful for teachers and policymakers alike?

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