History Unfolding

Don't miss Union Leaders and the Generational Divide: Bridging Differences on the Way to Reform, a great article by Susan Moore Johnson in Education Week.

I started to notice this phenomenon while doing interviews for TEACHED. Younger teachers, who weren't around during the years in which unionism took hold, or when people were regularly kept from or kicked out of jobs for being female or minority (obviously, we still don't have a completely fair playing field, but we've come a long way since the 50s and 60s), are starting to question the benefits of the unionism of teaching, especially tenure. Older teachers, more often but not always, believe unionism and teaching are inextricably linked, and tenure a central, necessary component of the job. 

I believe that we are entering a historical shift that will culminate in teaching being much less unionized that it is today. It might even be de-unionized in our lifetime. In my opinion, this would benefit the profession and the students immensely. 

Unions are great for many jobs and workers, but does it make sense in a profession that requires a four-year college degree and for which the stakes of failure are so high? 

Posted on March 10, 2010 .