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Teacher Leadership

The «New» Foundations of Teacher Education – A Reader – Revised edition

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Edited By Eleanor Blair

Teacher leadership as a dimension of teachers’ work has never been more important. This topic has emerged as a major component of both state and national standards, and as such, it is included in most contemporary teacher education programs. Three decades of research have focused on teacher leadership as an essential element of school improvement, but its relationship to the potential transformation of the teaching profession remains unexplored. This revised edition of Teacher Leadership: The «New» Foundations of Teacher Education provides an overview of the scholarship being done in the field and a framework for questions and discussions regarding the sustainability of teacher leadership efforts. In this edition, each of the five sections is accompanied by an introduction and reflection questions on the various issues related to teachers acting as leaders in classrooms, schools and communities. The book opens with a completely new section that presents scholarship related to teacher leadership and social justice, where the role of ideology in the work of teacher leaders is considered. This book includes the work of over thirty authors and is an essential tool for guiding dialogue regarding the various facets of teacher leadership and its impact on school culture, student learning and professional learning communities within the context of twenty-first century school reform. Teacher Leadership: The «New» Foundations of Teacher Education – A Reader is intended for undergraduate and graduate education students.
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26. The Teaching Profession at the Crossroads

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CHAPTER 26



The Teaching Profession at the Crossroads

Arthur E. Wise and Michael D. Usdan

The teaching profession and the unions that represent it are at a crossroads in their history. What happens to public schools in the future depends on a confluence of trends surrounding teachers unions, teacher accountability, and curriculum.

Declining Union Power

Recent efforts to curb the power of teachers organizations, even in traditionally strong pro-union states like Wisconsin, Ohio, and Illinois, highlight how vulnerable these once-powerful groups have become. Examples of the dilution of union political influence abound. Sacrosanct tenure and seniority rights have been challenged in dozens of places, even in bastions of unionism like New York City, Chicago, and New Jersey. Unions face criticism not only from traditional Republican opponents but also from “progressive” elements of the Democratic party. Both the National Education Association (NEA) and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) reportedly have suffered significant losses in membership, and there is little doubt that they are on the defensive.

Those who support teachers unions are increasingly concerned that the lack of respect for teachers and the decline in public sector unions will affect the morale of today’s teachers and tomorrow’s recruits to teaching. In the meantime, many education reform advocates in the political, business, and philanthropic sector, as well as substantial segments of the U.S. public, believe that the teachers unions have not pursued professional reform...

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