Principles to Practice: Philadelphia Educators Putting Social Movement Unionism into Action

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Rhiannon M Maton


In the wake of Chicago’s well-known teacher strikes in 2012, social movement caucuses are popping up across the USA as teachers seek to better organize through the auspices of their unions in response to what they see as the dismantlement of public education. In this article, I explore how one educator-led social movement caucus, Philadelphia’s Caucus of Working Educators, takes up concepts of activism and social movement unionism in its change-oriented work. I show that educators come to take on identities as activists as they engage in intellectual inquiry into the nature of social movement unionism and grapple with questions about how race and racism shape their Philadelphia context and their organizing work.

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Author Biography

Rhiannon M Maton, University of Pennsylvania

Rhiannon Maton is a former teacher and a current PhD student at the University of Pennsylvania, Graduate School of Education. Her research interests include adult learning, social movements, urban education, and teacher collaboration.