Teachers unions are the biggest impediments to fixing schools and improving student achievement. That mantra has been at the heart of school reform efforts for more than a decade – but is it true? Education researchers Adam Kirk Edgerton and Mimi Lyon both started their teaching careers at a time of peak hostility to unions (remember Waiting for Superman?). When they left the classroom to go back to school, both were intent on researching unionization in order to better understand its impact—on teachers, students, and on progressive policies in states where unionization has been hindered. Oh, and did we mention that Adam and Mimi are the runners up in the 2020 Have You Heard Graduate Student Research Contest?
What will the Supreme Court’s recent Janus ruling mean for teachers unions? Jon Shelton, author of the recent (and excellent) book Teacher Strike! Public Education and the Making of a New American Political Order joins me to discuss. If you’ve been trying to figure out how this spring’s teacher walkouts, the surge of grassroots energy among progressive Democrats, and a Supreme Court decision that takes aim at powerful unions in blue states have to do with each other – well, this is the episode for you!
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