23 SES 03 A, Politics and Policy Making in Education (Part 3)
Paper Session continued from 23 SES 02 A
In the last decade, the Israeli educational system adopted and implemented two educational reforms. One of the reforms named “Courage to Change" ("Oz Latmura") was initiated by the High School Teachers’ Union), that decided to expand its goals as part of its organizational development. Why did the union decided to undertake this challenge of constructing educational reform? How did this strategy serve its members?
Teachers who are members of teacher trade unions expect that the union will come to their defense when they call upon it, and will safeguard their interests. Teachers assume that when faced with the needs of many members, the union will be ready to stand up for them and initiate a public struggle to achieve or, at least, to advance their demands. But is this an easy option from the union’s perspective? What are the constraints that it must deal with?
The current study investigates the conduct of an Israeli teachers’ union over the past 55 years and shows how particular circumstances and environmental constraints encourage the union to choose to become involved in initiating educational reform, and to consistently struggle for its application.. The studied union is one of two unions representing teachers and is perceived by the public as the more militant of the two. The research focuses on the interaction of the union with its external environment, including the public, the government and its competitors.
Teachers’ unions deal with various subjects: teachers’ working conditions and their salaries, securing the scope of their jobs (Bascia, 1998; Marilyn 1990), and protecting teachers when they change their residential localities (Glass 1995). Unions also provide services to members such as legal advice, involvement in legislative and administrative procedures, struggles to reduce the number of students in the classroom, intervention to improve interaction between teachers and principals (Calabrese et al., 2004; Bascia, 1997; Keshwar & Seegum, 2013), allocation of human resources to schools, and involvement in decisions to appoint candidates to administer schools (Bascia, 1998). Teachers’ unions are also interested in participating in determining policy to enable them to implement their educational perspectives, and to increase their influence over their employers. The unions act in various ways – from attempts to gain autonomy in choosing professional modes of action to opposing those of the employers (Moe, 2011; Freeman & Medoff, 1984).
Unions find it difficult to continually be involved in discussion and to be effective in all of these areas as they function in a complex, turbulent and dynamic environment. They are forced to determine priorities and to remain patient (Simon, 1969; Katz & Kahn, 1978). The environment includes “multi-unionism”, involving competition with other unions (Akkerman, 2014; Stevenson, 2010), coping with different socio-economic systems and the wider public. In addition to the significance of the external environment, a teachers’ union is also affected by pressures from members and its various institutions (Moe, 2011; Chatterjee & Dutta, 1991. In effect, in order to continue to function, the union must match its internal environment to the demands of the external environment or, at least, conduct meaningful dialogue between the external and the internal environments. The more powerful the teachers’ unions are, the greater their ability to influence policy (Strunk & Grissom, 2010), but there are also limitations to its power.
Akkerman, A. (2014). Involuntary disputes: When competition for members forces smaller unions to strike. Rationality and Society, 26(4), 446-474. Bascia, N. (1997). Invisible leadership: Teachers’ union activity in schools. Alberta Journal of Educational Research, 43(2), 151–165. Bascia, N. (1998). Teacher unions and teacher professionalism. In B. Biddle, T. Good, & I. Goodson, (Ed.), International handbook of teachers and teaching. (pp. 437-458).The Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers. ,. Calabrese, L.. Sherwood, K., Fast, J., & Womack, C. (2004). Teachers' and principals' perceptions of the summative evaluation conference: An examination of Model I theories-in-use. International Journal of Educational Management, 18(2), 109-117 Chatterjee, A., & Dutta, R.D. (1991). Awareness of external environmental satisfaction and mental health. Indian Journal of Applied Psychology 29 (2), 74-79. DiMaggio, J. and Powell, W. (1991). The iron cage revisited: Institutional isomorphism and collective rationality in organization fields. In W. W. Powell and P. J. DiMaggio (Eds.) The new institutionalism in organizational analysis., (pp. 63–82) Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. Freeman, R.B., & Medoff, J.L. (1984). What do unions do? New York: Basic Books Inc. Glass,S. (1995). A pension deficit disorder. Policy Review, 27, 71-74. Katz, D., & Kahn, R.L. (1978). The social psychology of organizations. New York: Wiley. Keshwar, A., & Seegum, T. (2013). Motivation among public primary school teachers in Mauritius. International Journal of Educational Management, 27(4), 446-464. Marilyn, R. (1990). Exploring heresey in collective bargaining and school restructuring. Phi Delta Kappan, 71(10),781-790. Meyer, W., & Rowan, B. (1977).Institutionalized organizations: Formal structure as myth and ceremony. American Journal of Sociology, 83(2), 340-363 Moe, M. (2011),. Special interest: Teachers unions and America's public schools,. Brookings Institution Press, Washington, DC. Simon, H. (1969). The sciences of the artificial. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press. Stevenson, H. (2010). "Working in, and against, the neo-liberal state: Global perspectives on K-12 Teacher Unions. Special issue, Introduction. Workplace: A Journal for Academic Labor, 17, 1-10. Strunk, O., & Grissom, A. (2010). Do strong unions shape district policies? Collective bargaining teacher contract restrictiveness, and the political power of teachers’ unions”,. Education and Policy Analysis, 32(3), 389–406.
00. Central Events (Keynotes, EERA-Panel, EERJ Round Table, Invited Sessions)
Network 1. Continuing Professional Development: Learning for Individuals, Leaders, and Organisations
Network 2. Vocational Education and Training (VETNET)
Network 3. Curriculum Innovation
Network 4. Inclusive Education
Network 5. Children and Youth at Risk and Urban Education
Network 6. Open Learning: Media, Environments and Cultures
Network 7. Social Justice and Intercultural Education
Network 8. Research on Health Education
Network 9. Assessment, Evaluation, Testing and Measurement
Network 10. Teacher Education Research
Network 11. Educational Effectiveness and Quality Assurance
Network 12. LISnet - Library and Information Science Network
Network 13. Philosophy of Education
Network 14. Communities, Families and Schooling in Educational Research
Network 15. Research Partnerships in Education
Network 16. ICT in Education and Training
Network 17. Histories of Education
Network 18. Research in Sport Pedagogy
Network 19. Ethnography
Network 20. Research in Innovative Intercultural Learning Environments
Network 22. Research in Higher Education
Network 23. Policy Studies and Politics of Education
Network 24. Mathematics Education Research
Network 25. Research on Children's Rights in Education
Network 26. Educational Leadership
Network 27. Didactics – Learning and Teaching
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