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In Your Union
Union or association involvement can be an important factor for setting your teacher-powered effort into motion. Teachers can work with union representatives and leadership to help create the conditions for a teacher-powered school in their community.
- Task Force: Bring together a task force of union/association leaders, teachers, principals, community members, and others to collect data and design a framework for creating or supporting teacher-powered schools. Then, as a task force committee, create specific recommendations for action that can be presented to local leaders, district administrators, charter authorizers, or policymakers in your community or state.
- Contract Agreements: Work with union leadership to create the conditions for teacher-powered arrangements within the collective bargaining agreement (check out how the Cincinnati Federation of Teachers pulled this off here). Also set out specific leadership pathways for teachers and teacher-leaders.
- Waivers: Local union/association leaders can work together with district leaders and policymakers to provide waivers from certain aspects of the collective bargaining agreement to teams of teachers who create teacher-powered schools. In some circumstances, this can help ensure that teachers have the autonomy to carry out their leadership responsibilities.
- Leadership Trainings: Identify proven professional development trainings that cultivate teacher-leadership skills and expose colleagues to new opportunities to lead without leaving the teaching profession. Help arrange for this training to be accessible to teachers in your local union/association.
- Collaborate: Whenever possible, find ways to collaborate and learn from other teacher-leaders across the country, including those who are designing and running teacher-powered schools, through the Teacher-Powered Schools Lab in the Collaboratory.
- Communication: Spread the word, arrange a speaker or panel, grow interest and mobilize your colleagues around the teacher-powered school concept through communications with your union's members.
- Case Studies: If you are not able to make headway with district leaders, consider what the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers did to open the opportunity for its members to design and run teacher-powered schools, with support of the American Federation of Teachers.