States Urged to Promote Union-District Cooperation
Chiefs, governors, and legislators have bully pulpits, resources
From the offices of the U.S. Department of Education come appeals for union-district collaboration. From local school districts come examples of labor and management working through divisive issues, in areas such as performance pay and teacher evaluation.
But what about at the state level? To read recent headlines, the idea of state leaders building stronger bonds between district leaders and unions on critical issues seems far-fetched, with two-fisted battles between unions and elected officials, mostly Republicans, having erupted this year in Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana, and other states.
Despite the apparent long odds, a number of observers today are arguing that states can, and should, play a more active role in bridging those long-standing divides. They believe that state officials—school chiefs, governors, lawmakers, and others—cannot only use the bully pulpit to encourage cooperation on issues that can improve student achievement, but that they can also use the resources of their offices to bring complicated and controversial policy changes to scale across many districts. Others are more skeptical, saying state efforts to meet union concerns...
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