Lovers of social justice and education,
I am excited to announce that I have a new book coming out from Rethinking Schools that I co-edited with Michael Charney and Bob Peterson: Teacher Unions and Social Justice: Organizing for the Schools and Communities Our Students Deserve.
When the epic story is told about how we finally built a society on true democracy and uprooted the last vestiges of systemic exploitation and oppression, there will undoubtedly be an important chapter about how organized workers in unions used their power to shut down segments of the economy and joined together with mass social movements in the streets to demand a better world. This is the power of social justice unionism and we desperately need to revive this tradition of struggle if we are going to achieve victories against white supremacy, undo record levels of wealth inequity, and challenge every other form of oppression in our society.
This beautiful new book includes lessons on reorganizing the labor movement and fusing it with social movements from many of the leading practitioners around the country. With historical lessons and first hand accounts from some of the most powerful educator strikes in the country, this book a contribution to arming educators with the understanding of their own power to change the world.
Included in the volume are the stories of how educator union organizers joined with parents and students around the country to build the movement to refuse to take or give high-stakes standardized tests; how union educators took up the struggle for Black lives by founding the Black Lives Matter at School movement; how they launched a strike in Los Angeles that included demands for immigrant rights and an end to the practice of police searching the belongings of mostly Black, Indigenous, and students of color in school; how educators in Chicago joined with parents and community organizers to win an anti racist reparations curriculum that would teach students the history of police torture in the city; how educators in Republican controlled states launched a wave of strikes that brought millions of more dollars to the school system; how educators have fought for and won community schools that provide wrap around services to students; how rank-and-file educators have built union caucuses that have helped to transform their local unions from a business model of unionism into a social justice union; and so much more.
On Thursday, January 21, the book’s editors will be joined by leading social justice union organizers Arlene Inouye and Michelle Gunderson to launch the book–and hopefully a new era of union power in the struggle for schools and society our children deserve (details about the book launch are below).
Join Teacher Unions and Social Justice co-editors Jesse Hagopian, Michael Charney, and Bob Peterson along with contributors Michelle Gunderson and Arlene Inouye for the launch of a new Rethinking Schools book on the promise of social justice teacher unionism.
Editors and contributors will participate in a 75-minute conversation about building alliances with the community, the role of bargaining for the common good, the important roles of rank-and-file union caucuses, and how teachers can organize for racial and economic justice in our schools.
Jesse Hagopian teaches Ethnic Studies and is the co-adviser to the Black Student Union at Garfield High School in Seattle. He is a Rethinking Schools editor, co-editor of Teaching for Black Lives, co-editor of, Black Lives Matter at School, and editor of More Than a Score: The New Uprising Against High-Stakes Testing.
Arlene Inouye is UTLA secretary and co-chair of its bargaining team. She has been a speech and language specialist for 18 years in the Los Angeles Unified School District.
Michelle Gunderson is an educator and union activist from Chicago. She serves as a trustee for the Chicago Teachers Union and is the former co-chair of the Caucus of Rank and File Educators.
Bob Peterson is a founding editor of Rethinking Schools, a former president of the Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association, and currently serves on the Milwaukee Board of School Directors. He is co-editor of several books, including The New Teacher Book, Rethinking Elementary Education, and Rethinking Columbus.
Michael Charney taught social studies in the Cleveland Public Schools for more than 30 years. He served as vice president of the Cleveland Teachers Union, where he led efforts to motivate teachers and paraprofessionals to change their schools.
The event is hosted by Rethinking Schools.
Participants will need access to Zoom. Register for the Zoom link, a free copy of the book’s introduction, and a 20% Rethinking Schools book/magazine discount code. The book is now available for pre-order. The estimated ship date is Feb 1, 2021.
Date: January 21 Time: 6:00 pm – 7:15 pm CST Website: https://secure.givelively.org/event/rethinking-schools-limited/teacher-unions-and-social-justice-online-book-launch-and-discussion