The Work in Local Unions

Local leaders talk about collaboration for these times

Magazine August 2009 article featuring MITUL and TURN leaders talking about why "collaborating with the enemy" is the best route to progress.

Local Teacher Blogs We Follow

Washington DC - Teachers and Parents for Real Education Reform DC

Denver - Kim Ursetta's Teachers as Leaders Blog  

What We Expect from Local Unions

Individuals on teams from locals who participate in the MITUL experience share the following assumptions and commitments:

  1. We agree that our central mission as unionists must be about improving public education
    This commitment might be illustrated by the formation of powerful alliances with parents and the community. The union becomes a force for meeting the public’s needs rather than having those needs counterpoised to the needs of educators.
  2. We understand the nexus between professionalism and bread and butter issues and we will strive to advocate for our members’ needs, for quality in the profession, and for improvement of teaching and learning.
    We can demonstrate this understanding by becoming the major force for teacher professionalism, bringing support for the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards under union auspices and advocating the beefing up of job-embedded professional development efforts that teachers value.
  3. We will strive to understand the history of teacher unionism in the United States and globally and we will strive to expand our influence in local, state and national education unionism.
    With our newly acquired knowledge of the history of craft unionism, we can enter the arena of "quality control" for our profession by fashioning Peer Review Programs or other approaches to quality control that will gain the support of rank and file teachers and administrators.
  4. We believe in collaborative, collective leadership and we will facilitate, distribute and nurture leadership in our own locals.
  5. We understand that we must build the organizational capacity of our own locals (exploring and implementing change as necessary, in structure, procedures, policies, processes, budget, human resources, roles and responsibilities) in order for the local to better play a transformative role in public education
  6. We choose to embark on this journey of personal and professional growth and development in order to become more effective advocates for change in our unions and school districts.
    In aspiring to be transformative leaders, we do not shy away from challenges, for example, of helping teachers rethink grading and reporting strategies to parents, expectations of student work, or learning theory about the nature of intelligence.
  7. We are committed to becoming critical thinkers about public education, the teaching profession, the history of unionism (and teacher unionism, in particular) in order to stay on the cutting edge of change. We can demonstrate our critical thinking capacity by analyzing and critiquing the standards and accountability mine fields, the history of education reform, and the strengths and weaknesses of the No Child Left Behind law, so that they can help to offer real solutions to the public’s desire for results.

Local Unions Working with MITUL



Organization of DeKalb Co. Educators, NEA ODE, 100 Crescent Center Parkway, Suite 290, Tucker, GA 30084
Decatur Education Association, NEA 2828 N. Main St. Suite 200, Decatur, IL, 62526
Elgin Teachers Association, NEA 2230 Point Blvd. Suite 400, Elgin IL, 60123
Springfield Education Association, NEA 3440 Liberty Drive, Springfield Illinois 62704
Milwaukee Education Association, NEA 5130 West Vliet Street, Milwaukee, WI, 53208
Prince Georges’ County Educators’ Association, NEA 8008 Marlboro Pike, Forestville, MD, 20747
Minneapolis Federation of Teachers, Merged AFT/NEA 5216 Vincent Ave. South, Minneapolis, MN, 55410-2420
Cincinnati Federation of Teachers, AFT

2721 Central Parkway, Suite B, Cincinnati, Ohio 45225

Cleveland Teachers Union, AFT 1370 W. 6th St., 4th floor, Cleveland, OH, 44113


Promising Practices

This section will be updated and expanded regularly as local unions, researchers, and other allies and partners in the education community contribute examples of promising practices in school districts and teacher unions.  To send us such examples of promising practices, please contact us at

  • Audrey Soglin, Mary McDonald and Alida Graham are now providing support to locals and districts in Illinois to help them to focus on what teachers know and are able to do. They help improve relationships in and between schools under the auspices of the IEA. They offer coursework through Washington Lewis University. Most recently they have been providing support to Great Lakes TURN.  Learn more about this promising practice.
  • In Portland Maine the Portland Education Association proposed a wholesale salary reform initiative to shift the emphasis from years in the system to what teachers do to improve their skills and knowledge. Learn more about this promising practice.
  • The first Peer Review plan was developed in Toledo Ohio by the Toledo Federation of Teachers. It continues today and is described as "The Toledo Plan" here. Learn more about this promising practice.

Leading the Local

In 2007 Susan Moore Johnson produced a study about what local teacher union presidents think about the issues of the day and what they try to do;as local presidents. Read the report Leading the Local. (PDF)


DC Public School Reform

Out of frustration with the polarized conflict between DC Chancellor Michelle Rhee and the Washington Teachers Union a third force emerged in 2008 called "Teachers and Parents for Real Education Reform DC." The following documents attempt to describe what real reform should look like and appear on their blog

Washington Post Commentary by DC Teachers September 2008 

Senior High Alliance of Principals, Parents and Educators

Michelle Rhee's Record in DC -- Myth Versus Reality


Mary Levy Questions Budget Cuts, RIFs 10-2-09.pdf24.96 KB
Rhee writing history 2.doc32 KB
Mary Levy's Budget Testimony-3-14-11.pdf233.39 KB