The Role of Teachers Unions in School Governance during COVID-19
When COVID-19 forced a set of extraordinary challenges upon the U.S. education system in March 2020, risk and uncertainty were constant. Many stakeholders sought to weigh in on the endless choices confronting school leaders, including the teachers who would implement those decisions. In speaking with teachers union and association leaders across the country, we found that, more often than not, they described collaborative relationships with district leaders. What we learned highlights critical practices sustaining these relationships, and we believe state leaders have the power to both model and encourage many such practices in school governance.
Our analysis suggests that relations between district leaders and teacher membership organizations need not be contentious and adversarial. Rather, under the right circumstances, these relationships can incorporate conflict and negotiation alongside collaboration and mutual respect in a way that can strengthen decision making and policy implementation.
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