Quote, Unquote

Posted by on May 13, 2011

This post is co-authored by Matt Di Carlo and Esther Quintero.

Update: Please see this May 2012 “Fact Checker” piece on the Shanker quote in the Washington Post.

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This week, in an Atlantic article, former New York City Public Schools Chancellor Joel Klein dropped an incendiary Albert Shanker quote that you’ve probably heard before:

When school children start paying union dues, that’s when I’ll start representing the interests of school children.

The negative implications of this statement are obvious, which is why it is so frequently quoted by (mostly) conservative pundits and journalists.

We didn’t know Al Shanker personally. He died while we were still college undergraduates. So, we were surprised to learn that the people who knew and worked with Shanker have long thought this quote to be apocryphal.

We were skeptical but intrigued, and decided to do a little detective work. Read More »


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Banner image adapted from 1975 photograph by Jennie Shanker, daughter of Albert Shanker.