A Collective Pursuit: Teachers' Unions and Education Reform (Paperback)
Teachers’ unions are the organizations responsible for safeguarding the conditions of teachers’ employment. Union supporters claim strong synergies between teachers’ interests and students’ interests, but critics of unions insist that the stance of teachers in collective bargaining may disadvantage students as unions reduce the power of administrators to manage, remove, reward or retain excellent teachers.
In A Collective Pursuit, Lesley Laveryunpacks how teachers’ unions today are fighting for contracts that allow them to earn a decent living and build “schools all students deserve.” She explains the form and function of the nation’s largest teachers’ unions. Lavery then explores unionization campaigns in the Twin Cities charter schools. A Collective Pursuit also examines teacher strikes and contract negotiations, school finance and finance reform, and district and union attempts to address racial achievement gaps, to provide a context for understanding the economic, political, and demographic forces that inspire teachers to improve conditions for students.
A Collective Pursuit emphasizes that while teachers’ unions serve a traditional, economic role, they also provide a vast array of valuable services to students, educators, parents, and community members.
About the Author
Lesley Lavery is an Associate Professor of Political Science at Macalester College.
“In A Collective Pursuit, Lesley Lavery dismantles the dubious but durable narrative that teachers’ unions are selfish and anachronistic. Using instructive case studies from Minnesota, she explains why charter school teachers are seeking greater voice through a union and why traditional public school teachers are bargaining for the common good. Through engaging stories, Lavery lays out a powerful vision for how teachers and their unions can strengthen our democracy and better help students succeed.”—Richard D. Kahlenberg, Senior Fellow, The Century Foundation, and author of Tough Liberal: Albert Shanker and the Battles Over Schools, Unions, Race, and Democracy