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Teachers Unions and Public Education

A Discussion of Terry Moe's Special Interest: Teachers Unions and America's Public Schools

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 March 2012

Leo Casey
United Federation of Teachers


Public education is one of the most important “public goods” of a democratic society. In recent decades, public policy analysts, public intellectuals, and politicians have debated the state of public education in the United States and have argued about the sorts of public policies that might best promote the academic achievement, educational success, and political socialization of youth. Terry Moe and John Chubb have been important contributors to these debates. Their 1990 book, Politics, Markets, and America's Schools, set the terms of much subsequent discussion about the importance of school autonomy and “educational choice.” Moe's Special Interest extends these arguments through a more frontal critique of the role of teachers unions. This book represents an important contribution to public discussion of school reform. It also incorporates a distinctive perspective on the relationship between power and public policy, and between the role of states and that of markets in the provision of public goods and services. In this symposium, we feature a range of serious commentaries on the book's central arguments about educational policy and politics and on its approach to “engaged” or “applied” political science.

Review Symposium: Teachers Unions and Public Education
Copyright © American Political Science Association 2012

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