The Union Role in the Teaching Policy Environment

Principal Investigator

Nina Bascia, University of Toronto, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education


The focus of this analysis was an examination of the way teacher unions participated in the teaching policy environments at state and district levels. This work, fully integrated with the Core Study, entailed a close examination of union organization and priorities, interaction with state and district policymakers, conceptions of good teaching and how to improve teaching, and interaction with the schools.

Main Research Questions

  • What are the union's espoused and enacted priorities for teaching, learning, and teacher development?
  • How does a union's formal organization enable or constrain its ability to foster teacher quality, both internally and in its relations with outsiders?
  • How do unions interact with teachers, other important district players, and other organizations external to the district in ways that shape its contribution to teacher policy?
  • What does it take for unions to participate effectively in the district policy context in ways that support teaching excellence in both daily and career-long terms?
  • How are unions internally organized? What organizational capacity do they possess for engaging teachers, gathering and interpreting/information, and actually providing support for teaching?
  • What priorities guide union activities and actions? How coherent are union strategies? Who participates in defining union priorities and directions? What are these strategies (examples)? Do they serve to deflect or defuse, support or augment other district policies for teaching?


Case study research


Research Completed


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