Teachers, Their Unions and the American Education Reform Agenda

I don't always agree with Marc Tucker but he knows a heckuva lot about
how other countries organize their education systems and, as it turns out, that
knowledge extends to how their teacher unions have evolved, what roles those
unions play, and how their bargaining processes work. His new paper offers an
enlightening—and even provocative—comparison of the labor-management
relationships in public education in the U.S. and Northern Europe, emphasizing
how American teacher unionism and collective bargaining manifest an adversarial
relationship, while the approach in Northern Europe is better described as a “social
partnership.” Illustrating this distinction, Tucker draws on examples from
Germany, Finland, and the United States. He concludes with at least
three-fourths of an important point when he describes the need to reform American
collective bargaining without utterly alienating teachers at a time when we
need their cooperation in sundry other education reforms.

Marc Tucker, “Teachers, Their Unions and the American Education Reform
,” (Washington, D.C.: National Center on Education and the
Economy, March 2011).

Chester E. Finn, Jr.
Chester E. Finn, Jr. is a Distinguished Senior Fellow and President Emeritus of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute.