Recommended Readings:


  • How to Fix Schools by Richard Rothstein, Research Associate, Economic Policy Institute. This is policy brief puts the issue of teacher quality in context and makes the point that improving student outcomes is "more complicated, and more work, than the Klein-Rhee ‘Manifesto’ wants you to believe." This paper could well be used as a discussion-starter for a conversation with school and community leaders about the importance of making student learning a community-wide concern.
  • TURNing Unions Around This article by Dr. Adam Urbanski makes a case for union reform. Teacher unions in America must be reformed. This can best happen if teacher unionists themselves recognize not only the need for change but also that it is in the enlightened self-interest of their unions to welcome the next logical stage in their unions’ evolution.
  • School Reform, TURN, and Teacher Compensation This article co-authored by Adam Urbanski and Roger Erskine reviews the topic of teacher compensation. In this article, we discuss how key dimensions of school reform require new forms of labor/management collaboration, one goal of the Teacher Union Reform Network (TURN) of local affiliates of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), and the National Education Association (NEA). We also argue that the efforts to improve the quality of instruction in all schools can be reinforced by new approaches to teacher compensation. This, of course, is in addition to, and not in lieu of, professional level pay for all teachers to begin with.
  • Incompetent Teachers or Dysfunctional Systems? by Ken Futernick, WestEd. This article explores three fundamental flaws in the current efforts to improve teacher quality and identifies an alternative - using system supports that will give teachers a real chance to succeed. This work was supported through funding from the Ford Foundation and by Teachers Network, a New York-based national nonprofit organization that leverages the creativity and expertise of a national and international community of outstanding educators to transform public schools into creative learning communities. Over the past three decades, Teachers Network has brought together 1.5 million classroom teachers in over 20 network affiliate communities for professional development that hones both classroom practice and instructional leadership. A recent study by Teachers Network and the Center for Teaching Quality in North Carolina found that teacher collaboration and teacher leadership networks contribute to teacher quality by retaining and developing effective classroom teachers.
  • 94.6% No Confidence Vote an account by Mark Friedman of a “war for the soul of our schools” in Rochester NY.
  • Only Together? by Adam Urbanski.


  • United Mind Workers: Unions and Teaching in the Knowledge Society Charles Taylor Kerchner, Julia E. Koppich, Joseph G. Weeres ISBN: 978-0-7879-0829-4 (Hardcover) 256 pages, May 1997. Abstract: Teacher unions will affect the future of both the institution of public education and the institution of organized labor. Ways in which these unions can elevate education to a new level are described in this book. It offers a model in which teacher unions are organized around issues of quality teaching and professional development, as well as economic fairness. It shows how these unions can seize the opportunity created by the fundamental restructuring of public education now under way by shifting from organizing around issues of job control, work rules, and uniformity, to focusing on quality control and increased productivity through innovation. The text advocates strengthening school-level labor relations through compacts that transform learning and school operations. These compacts can then be connected to substantive district contracts that include measurable educational goals and a teacher salary schedule that is based on knowledge and skill. Career security is championed over job security, which will allow teachers to move with ease among schools, districts, and states. A new career ladder that places teachers at the top and a mechanism for improved training and job mobility opportunities for paraprofessionals are also advocated. The book is divided into four parts: (1) "A Postindustrial Unionism"; (2) "The Quest for Quality"; (3) "New Union-Management Agreements"; and (4) "Institutionalizing the New Union." (Contains an index and approximately 175 references.) (RJM)
  • Taking Charge of Quality. How Teachers and Unions can Revitalize Schools An Introduction and Companion to "United Mind Workers." Charles Taylor Kerchner, Julia E. Koppich, Joseph G. Weeres ISBN: 978-0-7879-4334-9 (Paperback) 72 pages, August 1998. Abstract: This book suggets that teachers and teacher unions should take the lead in making changes to promote educational quality and prepare students for the 21st century, where knowledge rather than industry will be the organizing principle. Part 1, "A Call to Action," describes how American society is changing and how these shifts necessitate the transformation of American education. It discusses educational challenges and what teachers and unions can do to deal with the challenges. Part 2, "A Commitment to Quality," explores the role that teachers and unions must take in bringing about educational change, discussing how to improve the craft of teaching, upgrade educational standards, and evaluate the work of peers. Part 3, "Organizing Around Transforming Schools," lays out a proposal for how unions can organize around a primary commitment to improving education. It discusses new contracting strategies, hiring and rewarding teachers, creating more career flexibility for teachers, and what teachers can do now to begin the process of change. (SM)


  • NEA Foundation Free Online Courses The NEA Foundation courses are intended to develop collaborative skills and content knowledge. The courses promote union-district collaboration as a tool for systems change and were developed by field experts, using a rich selection of resources. Use the course content in whatever way best meets your needs – a whole course, a single session, or just an activity. New courses are in development and will be posted periodically.


Studies & Reports

  • Expanded Learning Opportunities
    The Southwest Teacher Union Reform Network (SW TURN) has been actively examining, experimenting, and implementing Expanded Learning Opportunities (ELO) as a way to achieve results for students. Of the SW TURN states (Kansas, Colorado, Utah, Arizona, Oklahoma, Texas, and New Mexico), Colorado has been especially involved in exploring the various ways in which schools can use ELO. This brief, while not a complete report of all SW TURN ELO efforts, examines a selection of Colorado public schools in order to capture the stories and reflect on the lessons learned.
  • Great Lakes Teacher Union Reform Network Evaluation Study (Summary)
    Sara Kraemer, University of Wisconsin-Madison, October 11, 2012. This report summarizes a utilization-focused evaluation study of the Great Lakes Teacher Union Reform Network (GL TURN). The study was designed to find concrete and specific opportunities to inform decisions regarding the impact of GL TURN on union-district collaboration and on teaching and learning activities at the district-level. This study also aims to provide a preliminary analytical framework to structure how districts improve teaching and learning at the district level. This framework can be replicated across other Regional TURN Networks to track and assess progress against Regional TURN goals over time, as well as augment an articulated support system for the Regional TURN networks.
  • Northeast Teacher Union Reform Network Evaluation Study
    Sara Kraemer, University of Wisconsin-Madison, July 16, 2013. This report summarizes the findings of the Northeast Teacher Union Reform Network (NE TURN) evaluation study. The purpose of this study was two-fold: 1) assess the impact of NE TURN on labor- management collaboration, and 2) evaluate the influence NE TURN on teaching and learning at the district and school levels.
  • Teacher Union Reform Network (TURN) Common Core State Standards Implementation Survey Report
    Sara Kraemer, Clarissa Steele, Marian McClellan - June, 2013. The purpose of the TURN CCSS Survey was to provide insight to the TURN Leadership in support of the TURN membership as they prepare for and implement the Common Core State Standards. The results can also be used to design future curricula and establish a baseline of level of collaboration and progress on key aspects of CCSS implementation. The survey design included questions about the process of the CCSS implementation work (the "what") and the extent of collaboration (the "how").


Vision Statements

National Union Reform Initiatives

TURN is exploring opportunities to mutually support and promote the innovation initiatives of the national teachers unions:

(GL TURN) General Interest

(GL TURN) Teacher Evaluation and Appraisal

  • The Widget Effect - Full Report (PDF)The Widget Effect - Executive Summary (PDF)The Widget Effect GL TURN Nov 09 (PPT)This report is the product of an extensive research effort spanning 12 districts and four states. It reflects survey responses from approximately 15,000 teachers and 1,300 administrators, and it has benefited from the insight of more than 80 local and state education officials, teachers union leaders, policymakers and advocates who participated in advisory panels in each state, shaping the study design, data collection instruments, and findings and recommendations.
  • Rush to Judgment: Teacher Evaluation in Public Education (PDF) By Thomas Toch and Robert Rothman, Education Sector, 2008. Education Sector encourages the free use, reproduction, and distribution of our ideas, perspectives, and analysis. Our Creative Commons licensing allows for the noncommercial use of all Education Sector authored or commissioned materials. We require attribution for all use. For more information and instructions on the commercial use of our materials, please visit our Web site,

(MASE TURN) Teacher Evaluation

  • Finding the Link: Teacher Evaluation and Professional Development information, images, and related readings from a conference sponsored by Education Sector, plus a video from a panel discussion.

    On June 30, 2010, Education Sector hosted a live panel discussion on emerging strategies to link teacher evaluation and professional development and the implications of Race to the Top funding and the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act on the long-term improvement of these core elements.

(MASE TURN) Teacher Compensation