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Leading The Local: Teachers Union Presidents Speak on Change, Challenges

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In this Education Sector report, the presidents of 30 local unions in six states speak candidly about their views on issues ranging from reforming teacher pay to coping with the No Child Left Behind Act, new competition from charter schools, and the challenges of leading multiple generations of teachers who don't always see eye to eye.

Teachers unions, not surprisingly, are at the center of these debates. It is the presidents of the thousands of local NEA and AFT affiliates who are most influential in the daily lives of public school teachers and students. Yet we know very little about these local leaders. And we seldom hear their voices in debates about the role that their organizations do and should play in public education and school reform. This survey reveals that the leaders of the thousands of local teacher’s union affiliates who hold the greatest sway over the educational lives of public school teachers and students are focused on far more than the traditional union priorities of wages, hours, working conditions, and due process for their members.