Against the Public: Teacher Strikes and the Decline of Liberalism, 1968-1981
Jon Shelton

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Dissertation Fellowship

Award Year



University of Maryland, College Park

Primary Discipline

"Against the Public" examines the role of teacher strikes as arenas of cultural and political debate from 1968-1981. Public discussions between community activists, union leaders, politicians, and the local and national media helped to formulate an ideological sea change during this time period. Many Americans turned against the idea that government could solve social and economic problems and that labor unions were a vital element of a democratic society. Using case studies of strikes in mulitiple metropolitan areas, this dissertation argues that one crucial site in this ?turn? resulted from the hotly contested debates taking place during lengthy, controversial teacher strikes. The resulting deligitimation of the liberal notion that the state was capable of providing opportunity through education and that educator unions were central to this process has had a profound effect on the assumptions undergirding education policy in the United States in the decades since.
About Jon Shelton

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