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Conflicting Missions? Teachers Unions And Educational Reform
by Tom Loveless
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As American citizens continue to express grave concern over the state of public education, debate rages over curricula and standards, the merits of choice and voucher programs, and the urgent need for safe schools. Parents, administrators, and school boards are visible participants in the reform debate. But one important institution-the teachers union-has received far too little study. This new volume provides a clear, balanced analysis of the role of teachers unions in encouraging, implementing, and/or stifling reform in U.S. schools. Conflicting Missions? examines the relationship between unions and educational reform from many different perspectives. Do unions affect student performance? Why are they so adamantly opposed to school choice? Can unions simultaneously protect the interests of teachers and support innovation? Is collective bargaining reconcilable with attempts to shake up the schools? Or do inherent conflicts of interest guarantee that teachers unions will remain defenders of a status quo that is unacceptable to many Americans? Taking a hard look at arguments of the unions' most vehement critics-as well as its most ardent supporters-Conflicting Missions? fills a glaring need in an area where there are many opinions, but no easy answers.
About the Author
A former public school teacher and Harvard faculty member, Tom Loveless is director of the Brown Center on Education Policy and senior fellow in Governmental Studies at the Brookings Institution. He is author of The Tracking Wars: State Reform Meets School Policy (Brookings, 1999).
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