"Ravening Tigers" Under Siege: Teacher Union Legitimacy and Institutional Turmoil by Bruce S. Cooper & Charles Taylor Kerchner — 2003Teachers—their work, their contributions to society, and their associations—should
be easily recognized and legitimated, since teachers
are fundamental contributors to the learning of students and act as
direct, personal links between children and society. They toil in the
field for the benefit of the next generation. Yet teachers’ occupational
legitimacy has always been shadowed (Lortie, 1975). While teachers
are praised and recognized for their key role in schooling, they and
their unions are often blamed for failing to produce acceptable academic
and social results. As Finn (2001, p. 127) explained, “American
teachers do not get the respect, the freedom, the compensation, or the
rewards that many of them deserve. At the same time, U.S. schools are
not producing satisfactory results, a problem that is not likely to be
solved until our classrooms are filled with excellent teachers.” Legitimacy
for teachers—and their work—is now inextricably linked with
the actions of their unions.
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|This article originally appeared as NSSE Yearbook Vol 102. No. 1.||
- Bruce Cooper
BRUCE S. COOPER is professor and vice chair, Department of Educational Leadership, Administration and
Policy at Fordham University’s Graduate School of Education.
- Charles Kerchner
CHARLES TAYLOR KERCHNER is professor of education at the Claremont Graduate University
and author of many books and articles on teacher unionization.