The Teacher Unions: How the NEA and the Aft Suffocate Reform, Waste Money, and Hold Students, Parents, Teachers Hostage to Politics

Myron Lieberman, Author
Myron Lieberman, Author Free Press $25 (320p) ISBN 978-0-684-84282-0
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The subtitle of this penetrating study of teacher unionization in the United States is an apt summation. Lieberman, who was chief negotiator in over 200 contracts between unions and school districts and one-time president of the AFT, underwent a change of heart when he decided that ""collective bargaining in public education is inconsistent with democratic, representative government."" Marshaling extensive research to support his personal experience, he shapes a picture of the nation's only teacher unions, the giant NEA (National Education Association) and the AFT (American Federation of Teachers) as behemoths far removed from their founding premises. Lieberman's criticism of the unions, as well as of the unions' critics, takes aim at many union stances: political endorsements and contributions, opposition to school vouchers and tuition tax credits, etc. Cited, as well, is the paradox of union impact on teacher quality and student achievement, both of which are in apparent decline. He includes positive proposals for alternative types of unions, proposals that deserve the immediate attention of anyone concerned about the proposed merger of NEA and AFT in 1998. (Sept.)
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