The Education and Labor Collaborative: Organizing a Coalition for Authentic School Reform

Leigh Benin, Mary Finn, Patrick Finn, Rob Linné, Adrienne Andi Sosin, Joel Sosinsky


Imagine how much easier and effective the work of unionists would be if a generation of children graduated from US schools understanding their right and duty to be heard, the power of joining together in common cause, and the knowledge, political savvy, and skill to speak on their own behalf. And imagine how much easier the work of teachers would be if, through unionization, the lives of working families improved and the resources they need to support their children's education were more widely available. In the Fall 2006 Working Class Notes, Patrick Finn and Mary Finn painted such a scenario and asked readers to consider the possibilities for a truly radical education movement that would be built by a coalition of educators, community organizers, unionists, and teacher unionists rather than the autocratic, top-down "reform" movement of the dominant education as business model. This article briefly describes what impelled the authors to act on their concerns and what those actions have entailed to date, in the hope that other educators, teacher educators, unionists and teacher union activists will see the importance of linking our respective fields and will be moved to join our efforts.


labor education; community organizing; popular education; teacher unions, curriculum

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ISSN 1715-0094  Workplace