The Quest for Professional Voice

Why It Has Been—and Continues to Be—High on Our Teacher Union Agenda

For all of the conflicts that divide American education today, there is a remarkably broad consensus on one central idea: The classroom teacher makes a huge difference in the successful education of a student.1 This insight has been commonplace among educators and parents, but more recently it has been confirmed by powerful statistical studies.2 It is now widely agreed that a qualified, experienced teacher, expert in pedagogy and in subject material, has more of a positive effect on a student's learning than any other school factor, including class size, quality of the academic program and curriculum, and school mission and size. By contrast, unprepared and inexperienced teachers lacking the fundamental tools and essential knowledge of teaching have a negative effect on a student's learning, and a student seldom recovers from having such teachers three years in a row. Accomplished teachers are particularly important in the education of struggling students, and in bridging the achievement gap for poor students and students of color.

Today's critical question is this: How can we ensure that all students benefit from accomplished teaching in every class they take, in every grade? American teacher unions are central actors, I argue here, in the quest to improve the quality of teaching.

In the four decades since they first became a significant presence in American education, teacher unions have made a vital contribution to the quality of teaching. Today, they are uniquely positioned to advance that cause in coming years. Yet, the role of teacher unions in promoting the quality of American teaching and improving American education is not generally well understood or appreciated. Too often, ideological assertions that unions are concerned only, or primarily, with the narrowest economic interests of their members are accepted unquestioningly.3 But such assertions are far from the reality of American teacher unions—what we have been in the past and who we are today. Most importantly, they bear no resemblance to our vision for the future of American education.

A Three-Legged Stool

To understand how teacher unions support and improve teacher quality, let us begin with an old but profound truth, too often neglected and forgotten: Unions are organized expressions of solidarity. They exist for the purpose of furthering the interests their members hold in common, and they use the power of concerted action and collective organization to realize those interests. When unions function in this way, they provide what one might call "professional voice" for their members. By voice I mean what the economist Albert Hirschman defined in his classic text Exit, Voice and Loyalty.4 Hirschman argues that when faced with difficult and undesirable conditions, people have a choice between leaving for another, hopefully better situation, the "exit" option, or staying and working to change those conditions, the "voice" option. While exit is a classically economic, market reaction to untenable conditions, voice is the political response, rooted in democratic notions of participatory decision-making. At its center is the civic principle that a person has a right and an obligation to join with others to make changes for the better in their shared conditions.

Understood this way, teacher unionism has a broad purview. It involves, without question, efforts to win a decent and fair standard of living and economic security for our members, and to secure basic rights and due process in the workplace. But it also has a much broader horizon: to further teachers' common interest in teaching as a profession and a vocation and in improving the educational performance of schools. With this vision, the quality of teaching leaps to the top of the teacher union agenda.

When I think of how the union can express teachers' collective, professional voice, I think of a three-legged stool, with three distinct, but interrelated and interdependent strategies being employed: collective bargaining, political action, and professional development. As an example of how these strategies interrelate, think of school violence, an issue that is important to parents, community members, and teacher unions. To reduce school violence, unions have negotiated contractual clauses and lobbied for legislation that require schools to remove disruptive and violent students from classrooms and schools and that create meaningful penalties for school violence; professional development organized by unions provides teachers with tools to avert violence, prevent bullying, and diminish gang activity. It is the combination of the three strategies, the three different avenues of professional voice, that gives teacher union work on these issues their efficacy and power: The whole is much more than the sum of its parts.

These three avenues for expressing teachers' voice are necessary in part because in each of these strategic arenas, the union faces different limits and obstacles to achieving its goals. Take the arena most often connected with teacher unions, collective bargaining. The obvious limit and obstacle here lies in the fact that such bargaining is conducted with another party, district management, which has a different set of interests and goals. Every particular collective bargaining situation has its own balance of forces, depending upon the relative power of the two parties; but even unions in a position of considerable strength have to engage in a process of give and take to reach an agreement. As a result, collective bargaining agreements involve numerous compromises, and are not unqualified expressions of teachers' voice.

Unfortunately, among observers of teacher union-school district contracts, there is a naive view that the contract represents only the union voice, which is not accurate. Even among fellow unionists, there are those who have lost sight of the fact that collective bargaining entails compromises between the interests of management and the interests of educators, and thus, of the limits of collective bargaining as an expression of professional voice. They have adopted, at times, a view in which the collective bargaining agreement acquires the status of sacred scriptures, and unionism consists of being completely faithful to the letter of the contractual law. In so doing, they have mistaken a set of means of unionism for its ends: Fidelity to the contract becomes the end of unionism, and the limits and the compromises required by that particular means become obscured and even forgotten.

We are teaching at a time when collective bargaining itself is under attack, and it is absolutely necessary for unionists to defend the progress that has been made and the rights that have been established through that process. But blindly defending every letter of the contractual status quo actually arms our critics and constricts the union's ability to function as the teachers' voice. If we are to be a truly effective professional voice of our members, we need to define, revise, and energize our vision of the place of teachers in the future of American education. To do that well, it's helpful to go back in history.

Looking Back

When New York City's United Federation of Teachers (UFT) negotiated the first major American educational collective bargaining agreement in 1962, blazing the trail for other teacher union locals, it took as its template the contracts of the progressive industrial unions of the era, such as Walter Reuther's United Auto Workers. In 1962, there was a reasonably good fit between those contracts and the world of New York City public education, because city schools, like the rest of American public education, were largely organized along industrial principles of mass production.5 Educational collective bargaining agreements codified this standardization of school life, adopting the industrial framework as its terms of reference. From the union point of view, these universal standards placed limits on the extension and intensification of work, and reined in supervisory arbitrariness, thus introducing a measure of fairness into the system. From the management point of view, universal standards confirmed a minimum level of acceptable work and performance against which teachers could be measured. And since the standards applied to all schools in a district, treating teachers as interchangeable assembly-line workers was also codified.

And yet, it must be noted that teacher unions from the very start made a valiant effort to use collective bargaining to address issues of professionalism and school improvement. In its first contract negotiation, the UFT submitted a remarkable set of education proposals that extended far beyond limits on class size and relief from nonprofessional, nonteaching chores to central issues of teaching quality.6 Consider these examples. Drawing on craft union traditions (such as the apprenticeship), and reflecting the large numbers of teachers who came into the system without the proper preparation, in 1962 the UFT proposed an apprenticeship for all future New York City public school teachers, the Teacher Internship Program. Under this proposal, a new teacher would be apprenticed with an experienced, accomplished teacher for a period of two to three years, during which time he or she would master the fundamentals of teaching in a practical setting. During this apprenticeship period, the teacher intern would have a reduced class load, which would gradually be increased to full size as the apprenticeship progressed and the teacher's skills improved. The UFT also proposed a comprehensive program to attract experienced, qualified teachers to what were called "hard to staff" schools. The proposal called for many of the supports for teaching in challenging buildings, such as lower class sizes, proven curricular programs, and literacy specialists, which New York City finally, albeit too briefly, provided 40 years later, in partnership with the UFT, in the Chancellor's District.7

But in those first contract negotiations, the UFT found what teacher unionists throughout the U.S. discovered in subsequent years, that school districts fiercely resisted giving teachers and their unions a meaningful say in educational policy. This was an area of "management rights," the districts insisted. In this stance, the districts had on their side the national collective bargaining norms established by the Wagner Act when it created the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in 1935, even though the law did not directly apply to public employees. The NLRB had brought into being an adversarial regime of labor relations in which a wall of separation was established between management and labor, with obligatory topics of collective bargaining being restricted to issues of wages, working conditions, and due process. And initially, school districts were able to use this weight of precedent to thwart teacher union contractual initiatives on matters of educational policy.

Combating Teaching as a Low-Status "Easy-In/Easy-Out" Occupation

But of course, collective bargaining norms were not the only obstacle preventing emerging teacher unions in the 1960s from addressing educational issues and improving the quality of teaching. The structure of the teacher workforce was just as important. Seeking to minimize the costs of educational labor, school districts across the U.S. had historically adopted a human resources strategy that depended heavily on recruitment rather than retention.8 Over 100 years ago, teaching in the public schools was established as a "lower status, easy-in/easy-out, high-turnover occupation."9 Relatively unselective entry criteria, front-loaded salaries that paid newcomers relatively well compared to veterans, poor pre-service preparation with low standards and requirements—all of these policies favored a revolving door of recruitment over retention.

The resultant structure of the teacher workforce had a negative impact on the quality of teaching. Teaching is an extraordinarily demanding and difficult craft, requiring a thorough knowledge of subject material, a solid grasp of pedagogy, an understanding of child or adolescent psychology, and strong skills of classroom organization and leadership. Under the ideal conditions of solid preparation, good mentoring, and appropriate professional development, it takes a number of years of active classroom teaching for a teacher to master all of the fundamental tools of the craft.10 Consequently, a teaching labor force that has a high-turnover rate and a high number of novices is a teaching labor force where all too many teachers lack the requisite knowledge and skills to be accomplished, quality teachers.

And yet, for most of American history, the full effects of this educational labor policy of "recruitment, not retention" were not felt. Teaching was an occupation open to women and people of color who were denied opportunities in other professional fields, and American schools benefited from the talents of this captive section of its workforce.11 Moreover, in periods of economic crisis, such as the Great Depression, the steady work of teaching attracted professionals who were unable to find stable employment in other fields.

But during the 1960s, when teacher unions first became a force in American education, the barriers of gender and racial discrimination were also significantly lowered for the first time, and the economy was on a long-term upswing. With new career options opening up for talented women and people of color, it became more and more difficult to attract to teaching the necessary numbers of America's "best and the brightest."

The emerging teacher unions proved a powerful, countervailing factor, blunting the impact of the diminishment of discrimination on teaching quality. As unions improved the compensation and conditions of teaching and gave teachers a degree of professional voice, teaching careers became more appealing. Teacher unions dramatically improved the salaries of teachers—economists agree that a significant teacher union salary premium was established following unionization, with estimates ranging as high as 22 percent during the 1970s.12 Over time, the increased compensation in unionized districts pushed up compensation throughout the country. Further, unions established minimum standards for teaching and learning conditions, such as limits on the sizes of classes and on the number of classes a teacher could be assigned to teach. And, they protected academic freedom by securing tenure and bringing a modicum of fairness, in the form of due process, to teaching. These advances made the teaching profession more attractive at a time when American schools could no longer count on a captive labor force.

While these early accomplishments were significant, teacher unions were swimming upstream against some powerful currents that ran deep in the education, culture, and economy of the U.S. The historical structure of American teaching as a low status, high-turnover occupation in which educators had little voice could not be easily or quickly transformed: This effort would prove to be a decades-long, intensive struggle that continues to this day. Just consider the current "retention crisis" in American education, where nearly one in every two new teachers leaves teaching by the fifth year, citing poor teaching conditions, disorderly and violent schools, and a lack of professional respect and inadequate support from school administrators and district officials.13 Or, look at one telling barometer of the professional status of American teachers, their salaries: Despite the significant increases that came with the union salary premium, teacher salaries still lag behind those of similarly educated professionals and have stagnated in recent decades.14 For all of the early progress of teacher unions, a great amount of work remains just to create the conditions in which large numbers of talented teachers would want to continue teaching for more than a few years.

The Professionalism Agenda

In the face of these challenges, visionary AFT leaders, starting with Albert Shanker (1974 to 1997), pushed the work of teacher unions forward beyond the horizons of early industrial unionism. They never lost sight of the fact that there is a world of difference between the mass production of automobiles and the education of youth. Under their innovative leadership, teacher unions seized every available opportunity to breach the industrial wall of separation between management and labor that had placed educational issues outside of the union purview.

An important breakthrough took place in the early 1980s after the appearance of A Nation At Risk. In retrospect, we can see that this report signaled the start of a long period of dramatic changes in American education, as the nation began to grapple with the new demands on schools and teachers that came with the emergence of the global economy. But this was far from obvious at that time; and for many of us, the report's credibility was undermined by its hyperbolic rhetoric, and in the fact that it was generated by President Ronald Reagan's administration, which was no friend of public education (or unions). Albert Shanker showed foresight in refusing to join the "circle the wagons" forces that were prepared to defend the educational status quo, and demonstrated remarkable leadership in successfully convincing the ranks of the AFT that A Nation At Risk had to be confronted head on. American education would have to raise its standards to meet the challenges of the new knowledge economy and global society. Excellence became the new educational watchword, and the standards movement in American education was born, with the AFT playing a prominent role.

Under the impetus of the drive for higher standards, new interest was paid to teaching: how to attract talented teachers, how to identify the expertise they needed (and provide them the authority and conditions to use it), how to create career ladders that would recognize teacher growth. In short, attention was directed at how to make teaching a profession in a much fuller sense of the word. This direction attracted serious interest from the business, academic, and public policy worlds. Lots of creative thinking and proposals streamed forth. There was a new energy among teacher unionists to engage in issues of teacher and school quality and a greater receptivity in some school districts to engage with teacher unions. Teacher unions around the nation began to negotiate educational policy initiatives in their collective bargaining agreements, with a new emphasis on the quality of teaching. These changes were centered on a renewed notion of teacher professionalism, focused on the idea that a profession ensures the quality of the service it provides to the public by educating and policing itself.

One project that embodied this idea of teacher professionalism was the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS), a Shanker-inspired project that was launched in the late 1980s with the strong support of both national teacher unions.15 Based on the model of the medical profession, where board certification in an area of specialty indicates that a doctor has met an exacting standard of excellence in the field, NBPTS developed an intensive process for certifying an analogous level of excellence in teaching. Teacher union efforts around the NBPTS employed all three avenues of professional voice: pay differentials for NBPTS certified teachers were negotiated into collective bargaining agreements; political action led state governments to provide supports for the NBPTS certification process and pay incentives for NBPTS certified teachers; and locals developed programs of professional development designed to support members in the exhaustive certification process.

Teacher unions came to see that quality professional development was indispensable to raising educational standards, and many locals began to develop extensive professional development arms of their own.16 The teacher union commitment to professional voice brought a new perspective to what had been known as teacher training. In all too many districts, this teacher training consisted largely of one-shot presentations delivered by outside "experts" and nonteaching administrators who had little appreciation for the actual work of teachers. By contrast, the teacher union professional development model was ongoing, school-based, and focused on classroom practice. Drawing upon best practices in professional development and applying what we know about the learning process to the continuing education of teachers, teacher union professional development was built upon a foundation of conversation between teachers, professional development leaders, and the body of educational research and professional teaching knowledge.

Another facet of the new professionalism agenda of teacher unions was the effort to raise the entrance standards for the teaching profession, an effort that continues to this day.17 Reflecting the low status of the teaching profession, American teacher education had evolved as the stepchild of the academy, and was often used as a cash cow to help finance other schools and programs in the university considered more prestigious. Truly excellent teacher preparation programs were the exception, not the rule. Teacher unions and leading teacher educators made common cause around a call for strengthening teacher preparation with nationally accredited, robust courses of study with intensive work in pedagogy, an academic subject major, and a meaningful internship component. An effort was also mounted to establish a meaningfully high national standard for obtaining a teaching license, as requirements varied considerably in rigor from state to state. But these efforts have run aground amidst the constant push to contain costs, mainly by resisting salary increases for teachers. Faced with shortages, states and districts persist in lowering the standards for becoming a teacher, not raising them.

In focusing on the promotion of teacher professionalism, teacher unions drew on the rich history of the American labor movement. Craft union traditions, such as apprenticeships, entry standards, and master craftsmen/women, provided a rich source of models for ensuring the quality and integrity of teaching. With this inspiration, a number of pioneering AFT locals negotiated path-breaking peer evaluation/review and peer intervention programs, mentoring programs for new teachers, and career ladders that included positions of lead or master teacher.18 Where such programs were started, accomplished teachers assumed a pivotal role in inducting new teachers into the profession, in evaluating the performance of teachers, and in providing professional development. In addition, they were enlisted to help experienced teachers who were having difficulties in the classroom to improve, or when that was not possible, to counsel them out of teaching and into new employment. More recently, lead teacher positions have been established in struggling, hard-to-staff schools as a way of reducing teacher turnover by giving new teachers they support they need.19

During the 1980s and 1990s, teacher union locals such as New York City's UFT negotiated a number of contractual clauses designed to define and promote teacher professionalism. A process known as professional conciliation was developed to resolve conflicts between teachers and supervisors over matters of pedagogy and teaching approaches, and an alternative system of evaluation to the standard observation, designed to promote professional development and self-reflection, was created.20 Specific attention was paid to defining the rights and responsibilities of teachers with regard to lesson planning.21

When the public demand for more rigorous, effective schools spawned the small schools movement at the end of the 20th century, the UFT saw another opportunity to expand teacher professionalism. The new schools, which proliferated in New York City, were more autonomous, the hierarchy was typically flatter, and there was a strong focus on teamwork and teacher participation in important school decisions.22 But these new schools also posed a problem for teacher unions, as the sheer variety of their organizational forms did not easily fit within the terms of collective bargaining agreements. The UFT took the initiative well over a decade ago in negotiating a School Based Option (SBO) into the collective bargaining agreement to address this problem. SBOs allow a school to change contractual rules and Department of Education regulations governing matters such as class size, rotation of assignments/classes, and teacher schedules. Such changes happen with a 55 percent vote of the members in the school, and by agreement of school, district, and union leaders.23 Today, a majority of New York City schools take advantage of SBOs, through which they create innovative school schedules with classes of different lengths, organize blocks of professional development, provide additional evening parent conferences, reconfigure class sizes to recognize the different needs of particular students and/or subject matter.

Professional teacher unionism also gave impetus to a more democratic conception of good school leadership. Opponents of teacher unions often argue that to be effective, school leaders must be unfettered in their power, free to act without regard for the voice of any other educational stakeholders. At the core of this model of "benevolent despotism" is a disparaging view of educational expertise, perhaps best captured in the notions that a school leader need not be a professional educator with a solid background in teaching and learning, and that he or she need not heed the knowledge and accumulated wisdom of the professional educators with whom he or she works. In this view, the less experienced and less knowledgeable the teacher workforce, the better: A novice teacher without the protection of tenure is assumed more fearful of authority and more willing to follow orders.

By contrast, advocates of professional teacher unionism took up the traditional idea that the school leader should be more like a "principal teacher" who is, above all else, an instructional leader—someone who collaborates with his or her staff, drawing upon the store of educational expertise in the school and in the wider educational community. Important school decisions get made with the input and participation of all the school stakeholders, and take as a constant beacon the academic achievement of the students. Where the benevolent despotism model treats school leadership as a zero sum game, in which power shared with others is power lost by the leader, the collaborative vision of professional teacher unionism sees power shared as power multiplied. Indeed, a collaborative school leader sees the development of teacher leaders as one of the most important tasks of school leadership, and so embraces programs like the lead teacher and the professional career ladder.

To demonstrate such a vision in action, New York City's UFT has started two charter schools of its own, one elementary and one secondary. The UFT's charter schools match the compensation and benefits package supplied to teachers in New York City public schools, and its teachers work under the terms and conditions of the New York City collective bargaining agreement. In these respects, and by virtue of the fact that they are located in one of the city's poorest communities, they are indistinguishable from district schools. What they do, every public school in New York City could do.

In both UFT charter schools there is active teacher voice in all of the schools' policies and decisions. The schools have a Board of Trustees composed of three teachers, three parents, three community representatives, three representatives of the UFT, and the school leaders. The important educational work of the school is done by school-based committees working with the school leader, such as the teacher-majority Personnel Committee that hires staff. With the promise of authentic teacher voice and a compensation package equivalent to the local school district, the UFT charter schools have found it easy to recruit a solid corps of experienced, accomplished teachers. Employing this knowledge and skill base, the schools are able to develop and use complex courses of study and sophisticated pedagogical techniques, focusing students on the achievement of rigorous academic standards. A Teachers' Center, staffed with a full-time facilitator, organizes ongoing professional development in each school and works with the teachers in their development of the curriculum and in strategies for teaching and learning. To promote teacher professionalism throughout the faculty, the schools have fostered a culture of collaboration, embedded in such practices as collegial inter-visitation, observation, and evaluation. In an important practical and symbolic statement, the UFT schools provide their teachers with all of the tools of their craft, from a personal laptop to the Internet and from telephone access to "smart boards" in their classrooms.

Teacher Professionalism at a Crossroads

In contrast to this view of collegial leadership that recognizes teachers as professionals, there is a counterview of teachers that is gaining favor: the deskilled teacher. This is apparent in a number of nonunion schools (many of these are charter schools, but some are also regular public schools, public schools under private management, and private schools). These schools recruit largely novice faculties, often straight out of college, who are idealistic about teaching. Then, to compensate for their teachers' lack of experience and skill, the schools have them work a much longer school day, week, and year and employ "teacher proof" curricula. These teachers are typically paid less than their union counterparts for their labor, and are provided inferior health insurance and pension plans. Teachers quickly burn out under these conditions: Faculty turnover in these schools well exceeds the generally high rate in K–12 education.24

There are two other models of deprofessionalized, deskilled teaching: One has emerged among some of those who favor alternative teacher certification programs, the other among those who place student test scores above all else. While some alternative certification programs are committed to turning out professional, competent, knowledgeable teachers, others do not take the notion of teacher preparation seriously at all. They see teaching-and especially teaching our neediest students—as a public service that requires a big heart and a bright mind, but no particular knowledge or skills, no experience, and therefore, no long-term commitment. As a result, whether intentionally or not, they contribute to the idea of teaching as an easy-in, easy-out job. Likewise, the current fixation on student test scores—and particularly reading and math scores—is leading some to claim that teacher quality should be judged on student test scores alone. When tests are well-designed and appropriately used, they can provide useful information, but no professional should be judged on only one dimension. Just as student assessments need to be based on multiple forms of evidence of their knowledge, so do teacher evaluations.

So, the quest for teacher professionalism is at a crossroads: The emergence of the global knowledge economy has posed in dramatic fashion the need for a fully professionalized, quality American teaching force, and has contributed to the emergence of a stream of professional teacher unionism. But, at the same time, other trends are pushing to undermine existing union and professional standards by creating schools that rely on novice teachers' energy—as opposed to veteran teachers' expertise—and will thereby exacerbate the trend toward teaching as a high-turnover job. So today, there are forces for and against teacher professionalism. Which of the two will prevail has yet to be determined.

The quest for professional voice, so central to the mission of teacher unions, has never been as important to the future of American education as it is today. For all the educational progress that has been made in the four decades since teacher unions first became major actors in American education, much remains to be done. While teachers are more skilled and knowledgeable than our predecessors, the demands on education in an age of the global knowledge economy are far greater than ever before. If American education is to meet the great challenges of our day, and educate all youth for meaningful, productive lives and democratic citizenship, teachers need voice. They must complete the work of building a teaching profession dedicated to the highest standards of teacher quality. That will require a committed union.

Leo Casey is special representative for high schools for New York City's United Federation of Teachers. Previously, he taught for 14 years in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn, where his classes regularly won city and state championships, and placed as high as fourth in the nation in the "We the People" civics competition. Casey was the American Teacher Awards' 1992 Social Studies Teacher of the Year. He holds a doctorate in political philosophy and has published on education, civics, and teacher unionism. Portions of this article first appeared in Collective Bargaining in Education, Jane Hannaway and Andrew J. Rotherham (eds.), Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard Education Press, 2006.


1. See the National Commission on Teaching and America's Future, No Dream Denied: A Pledge to America's Children, Washington, D.C., 2003, and What Matters Most: Teaching for America's Future, New York: 1996. For a clear overview of the recent research showing the link between the quality of the teacher and student learning, see The Education Trust's "The Real Value of Teachers: If Good Teachers Matter, Why Don't We Act Like It?" in Thinking K–16, 8, 1 (Winter 2004) and "Good Teaching Matters: How Well Qualified Teachers Can Close the Gap," in Thinking K16, 3, 2 (Summer 1998).

2. The pioneering statistical work in this area has been done by William Sanders; see his papers, co-authored with Sandra Horn, "The Tennessee Value-Added Assessment System (TASS): Mixed Model Methodology in Educational Assessment" and "Research Findings from the Tennessee Value-Added Assessment System (TAAS) Database: Implications for Educational Evaluation and Research."

3. Terry Moe, "No Teacher Left Behind: Unions don't have children's best interests at heart," January 22, 2005, Wall Street Journal.

4. Albert Hirschman, Exit, Voice and Loyalty: Responses to Decline in Firms, Organizations and States, Cambridge, Mass.:Harvard University Press, 1970; Richard Freeman and James Medoff, What Do Unions Do? New York: Basic Books, 1984, were the first to apply Hirschman's concept of "voice" to unions.

5. Raymond Callahan, Education and the Cult of Efficiency: A Study of the Social Forces That Have Shaped the Administration of Public Schools, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1962; and Kate Rousmaniere, City Teachers: Teaching and School Reform in Historical Perspective, New York: Teachers College Press, 1997.

6. The demands discussed here are drawn from primary documents in the UFT Archives, 52 Broadway, New York, N.Y. 10010.

7. Deinya Phenix, et al., Virtual District, Real Improvement: A Retrospective Evaluation of the Chancellor's District, 19962003, New York: Institute for Education and Social Policy of New York University, June 2004. See also Julia Koppich, (2002), "Using Well-Qualified Teachers Well: The Right Teachers in the Right Places," American Educator, Winter 2002, 26, 4, pp. 22–30, 51–52.

8. Richard Ingersoll, "Is There Really A Teacher Shortage?" CPRE and CTP, September 2003, p. 17–18, mail/PDFs/Shortage-RI-09-2003.pdf.

9. Richard Ingersoll, same as above, p. 18.

10. This is why actual teaching experience is one of the key attributes of teaching quality. Jennifer King Rice, Teacher Quality: Understanding the Effectiveness of Teacher Attributes, Washington, D.C.: Economic Policy Institute, 2003.

11. Sandra Acker (ed.) Teachers, Gender and Careers, London: Taylor and Francis, 1989, and Nancy Hoffman, Women's True Profession: Voices from the History of Teaching, Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard Education Press, 2003.

12. William Baugh and Joe Stone, "Teachers, Union and Wages in the 1970s: Unionism Now Pays," in Industrial and Labor Relations Review, 35, 3, April 1982.

13. These often cited figures are derived from the annual Schools and Staffing Survey and Teacher Follow Up Survey of the National Center for Education Statistics. For the latest report, see Teacher Attrition and Mobility, Washington, D.C.:National Center for Education Statistics, August 2004.

14. Sylvia Allegretto, Sean Corcoran, and Lawrence Mishel, How Does Teacher Pay Compare? Methodological Challenges and Answers. Washington, D.C.: Economic Policy Institute, 2004.

15. For more on the history and program of the National Board, visit its Web site at

16. For a description of teacher union work in this area, see A Union of Professionals: Labor Relations and Educational Reform, Charles Kerchner and Julia Koppich, (eds.), New York: Teachers College, 1993; and Nina Bascia, Unions in Teachers' Professional Lives: Some Social, Intellectual and Practical Concerns, New York: Teachers College Press, 1994; and Triage or Tapestry? Teacher Unions' Work Toward Improving Teacher Quality in an Era of Systemic Reform, University of Washington: Center for the Study of Teaching and Policy, 2003; "Nurturing Teacher Knowledge: How Union-Led Professional Development is Raising Reading Achievement," Neill S. Rosenfeld, American Educator, Winter 2006–2007, 30, 4, p. 12–25.

17. American Federation of Teachers, Building A Profession: Strengthening Teacher Preparation and Induction, a Report of the K–16 Teacher Education Task Force, Washington, D.C., April 2000; and Linda Darling-Hammond, Arthur Wise, and Stephen Klein, A License to Teach: Building A Profession for Twenty-First Century Schools, Boulder: Westview Press, 1995.

18. For an overview of peer evaluation and review programs, see American Federation of Teachers and National Education Association, Peer Assistance and Peer Review: An AFT/NEA Handbook. Prepared for the Shaping the Profession That Shapes the Future: An AFT/NEA Conference on Teacher Quality, September 1998.

19. Lynn W. Gregory, et al. (2006–2007). "Cultivate the Right Solution: It's Attracting and Retaining Experienced Teachers," American Educator, Winter 2006–2007, 30, 4, p. 27, 32–38.

20. New York City Collective Bargaining Agreement, Articles 24 and 8J. The UFT and the Board of Education developed a joint manual on the alternative evaluation process, "Teaching for the Twenty-First Century," available from the UFT, 52 Broadway, New York, N.Y. 10004.

21. New York City Collective Bargaining Agreement, Article 8E. The implementation of Article 8E was laid out in Chancellor's Special Circular #28, 1990–1991.

22. Deborah Meier, The Power of Their Ideas: Lessons for America from a Small School in East Harlem, Boston: Beacon Press, 2002; Michelle Fine (ed.), Chartering Urban School Reform: Reflections on Public High Schools in the Midst of Change, New York: Teachers College Press, 1994.

23. 2000–2003 New York City Collective Bargaining Agreement, Article 8B.

24. On the turnover rate in Catholic and private schools, see Richard Ingersoll, "Is There Really A Teacher Shortage?" CPRE and CTP, September 2003, p. 15,; for the turnover rate in charter schools, see American Federation of Teachers, "Do Charter Schools Measure Up? The Charter School Experiment After 10 Years," Washington, D.C., 2002, p.28; also see G. Miron and B. Applegate, "Teacher Attrition in Charter Schools," Education Policy Research Unit and Education and the Public Interest Center, May 2007.

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