NPR Options in Education, “The Great Debate”

In this debate moderated by John Merrow, Al Shanker and the NEA's Terry Herndon discuss a number of topics. The differences between the two organizations are dissected including the AFT's affiliation with the AFL-CIO and NEA's desire to remain separate from other labor groups; the NEA's use of racial quotas in its administration; and the use of secret ballots in the two organizations. Next, the two leaders discuss membership campaigns in New York, California, and Florida, where the NEA and AFT were competing for members. In speaking about these campaigns, which sometimes involve raiding by one or the other group, the leaders discuss the possibility for merging the AFT and the NEA into one united teacher organization. Next Merrow asks them about their endorsement of the Carter-Mondale ticket in the upcoming presidential election and what role teachers' endorsements might play for the general public. Finally, Merrow asks what effect a recent Supreme Court decision about a Hortonville, Wisconsin teachers' strike might have. The Court found that the School Board had the right to fire striking teachers.

19 pages
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