Teachers, Unions, And Social Justice

I’m not a teacher but I work for a local independent school district. Our district is not unionized but I support labor unions and would join a teacher’s union if I had the opportunity. And, I am concerned about social justice issues, especially worker’s rights, immigration reform, and living wages for working men and women.

I have recently learned of a book that addresses the issues of democracy in the classroom, teacher’s unions, and how teachers united Future of schoolsin unions and collectives can positively impact and make a difference in social justice causes, both inside and outside of the classroom. The book is The Future Of Our Schools – Teachers Unions and Social Justice. It was written by Dr. Lois Weiner, an educator, union organizer, and social justice activist. Weiner teaches at New Jersey City University.

Dr. Weiner had written and published an article in the New Politics magazine entitled “Should We ‘Play Nice’ With the NEA and AFT?“.  I read the article and emailed Dr.  Weiner, expressed my appreciation for the piece, and asked her some questions that pertained to union membership and my work at a local high school. Dr. Weiner was very gracious, replied to my email, and answered the questions I had posed to her.

In her reply, Dr. Weiner mentioned The Future Of Our Schools and suggested that it would be a good book to be read by teachers who are interested in forming a teacher’s union or collective and becoming involved in social justice campaigns.

It is my intention to purchase Dr. Weiner’s book, read it, and then seek out teachers who would be interested in reading through and discussing it, collectively, with a view toward the possibility of forming a teacher’s collective in our area or even forming a local that would affiliate with an established teacher’s union. The purpose of the collective would be to bring before local school and district administrators, and the general public, local school district and social justice issues that need to be addressed.

There is one teacher at the high school where I work who is a member of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) that I will approach about being a part of a reading group. I am under the impression that she became a member of AFT primarily for the legal coverage that membership provides rather than out of any commitment to rank-and-file, union-political-social movement purposes and activity. The teacher has shared with me that there are other teachers in our district and the one in our “twin city” who are members of AFT. I would like to contact those folks, and a history teacher at my school who has mentioned that he often refers students to Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States, and  invite them to be a part of the reading group.

I look forward to acquiring and reading The Future Of Our Schools by Dr. Lois Weiner. I believe it will be a very encouraging and informative book as I seek to become more involved in the issues of our local school district, rank-and-file teacher unionism, and the social justice issues of worker’s rights, immigration reform, and a living wage for working men and women at a grassroots, community level.

Explore posts in the same categories: Books, Labor, Politics, Social-Economic Justice, Unions

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