Public education reform : how teachers' unions are using schools as political tools
Moses, Erika Joy.
Thesis (M.A.L.S.)--Georgetown University, 2011.; Includes bibliographical references.; Text (Electronic thesis) in PDF format. Public education in America is in dire need of reform and students are being denied the opportunity for quality education. The method of examining public school reform through the perspective of teachers and their representation in teachers' unions while tracing the formation and rise of the two national teachers' unions determines whether their political mobilization has helped or hindered public school reform. Using case studies in California and Michigan provides the foundation for further research into the effect of teachers' unions in public school reform by presenting two extremes of union power and the loss of legislative control. California has the largest public education system in the United States; the teachers' unions are the largest in the state and are effective at the legislative level. Meanwhile, Michigan's teachers' unions have experienced a significant loss of power in public schools and on the legislative level. Through this examination the cause of the lack of effective change appears to be because of teachers' unions. The unions have hindered public education reform efforts through their need to retain the status quo, which provides their political power and influence in public schools. The collective bargaining process is the foundation of union control, through teacher contracts, and the main reason why teachers join a union. This process must be re-evaluated to give all parties involved in education reform the opportunity to implement changes in schools. In order for effective change to happen in American public schools, teachers' unions must work together with legislators, school boards, administrators, teachers and reformers. Students, parents, and teachers must take an active role in reform efforts or endure the declining state of public education.
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