Public school reform through union-management collaboration

Saul A. Rubinstein, John E. McCarthy

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

7 Scopus citations


Over the past decade the policy debate over improving U.S. public education has focused on market solutions (charter schools, privatization, and vouchers) and teacher evaluation through high stakes standardized testing of students. In this debate, teachers and their unions are often characterized as the problem. Our research offers an alternate path in the debate, a perspective that looks at schools as systems - the way schools are organized and the way decisions are made. We focus on examples of collaboration through the creation of long-term labor-management partnerships among teachers' unions and school administrators that improve and restructure public schools from the inside to enhance planning, decision-making, problem solving, and the ways teachers interact and schools are organized. We analyzed how these efforts were created and sustained in six public school districts over the past two decades, and what they can teach us about the impact of significant involvement of faculty and their local union leadership, working closely with district administration. We argue that collaboration between teachers, their unions, and administrators is both possible and necessary for any meaningful and lasting public school reform.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAdvances in Industrial and Labor Relations
EditorsDavid Lewin, Paul Gollan
Number of pages50
StatePublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameAdvances in Industrial and Labor Relations

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance (miscellaneous)
  • Industrial relations
  • Political Science and International Relations
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


  • Collaboration
  • Public schools
  • School reform
  • Teachers
  • Union-management partnership


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