cover of book

A Collective Pursuit: Teachers' Unions and Education Reform
by Lesley Lavery
Temple University Press, 2020
Cloth: 978-1-4399-1935-4 | Paper: 978-1-4399-1936-1 | eISBN: 978-1-4399-1937-8
Library of Congress Classification E184.I6
Dewey Decimal Classification 305.89162073


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.

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