Teachers United: The Rise of New York State United Teachers

SUNY Press
Free sample

This book tells the story of the rise of New York State United Teachers (NYSUT), New York State’s largest union. Using first-hand accounts by rank-and-file teachers as well as leaders, Dennis Gaffney documents how teachers, once underpaid and hopelessly divided, finally organized, lifting themselves from the underclass to the middle class to become a formidable grassroots political force able to defeat and elect U.S. senators. He describes how New York’s teachers sparked the modern-day teachers’ movement, and what key lessons other labor unions can learn from NYSUT’s unity and success. Teachers United also shows how NYSUT has been a leader of educational reform, winning more money for education, creating smaller classes, raising academic standards, and training better teachers.
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About the author

Dennis Gaffney is a freelance journalist based in Albany, New York, who has written for numerous venues over the past twenty years, including Mother Jones, the Nation, the New York Times, the History Channel Magazine, and the Christian Science Monitor. He has worked as a writer and video producer at WGBH, Boston’s PBS station, and has written for the companion websites for American Experience and Antiques Roadshow. A graduate of Wesleyan University with a degree in history, he is now Adjunct Professor in the Department of Journalism at the University at Albany, State University of New York.

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Additional Information

Publisher
SUNY Press
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Published on
Feb 1, 2012
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Pages
280
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ISBN
9780791479599
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Language
English
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Genres
Education / Educational Policy & Reform / General
Education / History
History / United States / 20th Century
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Why are America's public schools falling so short of the mark in educating the nation's children? Why are they organized in ineffective ways that fly in the face of common sense, to the point that it is virtually impossible to get even the worst teachers out of the classroom? And why, after more than a quarter century of costly education reform, have the schools proven so resistant to change and so difficult to improve?

In this path-breaking book, Terry M. Moe demonstrates that the answers to these questions have a great deal to do with teachers unions—which are by far the most powerful forces in American education and use their power to promote their own special interests at the expense of what is best for kids.

Despite their importance, the teachers unions have barely been studied. Special Interest fills that gap with an extraordinary analysis that is at once brilliant and kaleidoscopic—shedding new light on their historical rise to power, the organizational foundations of that power, the ways it is exercised in collective bargaining and politics, and its vast consequences for American education. The bottom line is simple but devastating: as long as the teachers unions remain powerful, the nation's schools will never be organized to provide kids with the most effective education possible.

Moe sees light at the end of the tunnel, however, due to two major transformations. One is political, the other technological, and the combination is destined to weaken the unions considerably in the coming years—loosening their special-interest grip and opening up a new era in which America's schools can finally be organized in the best interests of children.

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