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Teaching Marianne and Uncle Sam

Teaching Marianne and Uncle Sam: Public Education, State Centralization, and Teacher Unionism in France and the United States

Copyright Date: 2012
Published by: Temple University Press
Pages: 212
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  • Book Info
    Teaching Marianne and Uncle Sam
    Book Description:

    Offering the first systematic, comparative examination of the origins of teachers' unions in two countries-France and the United States-Teaching Marianne and Uncle Sam shows how teachers' unions came into existence not because of the willful efforts of particular actors, but over the course of decades of conflict over the proper role of professional educators in public politics.

    Nicholas Toloudis traces teacher unionism back to the first efforts of governments to centralize public education. He carefully documents how centralization created new understandings of the role of teachers in their societies and generated new sources of conflict within teachers' corps. Using rare archival source materials, Toloudis illustrates how these internal conflicts became salient in teachers' battles with governments over their legitimate right to exist as collective claim-makers within the polity.

    In the series Politics, History, and Social Change, edited by John C. Torpey

    eISBN: 978-1-4399-0908-9
    Subjects: Education, Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-xii)
    (pp. xiii-xvi)
  5. PART I The Puzzle of Turn-of-the-century Teachers’ Politics

    • 1 Teachers, Politics, and the State
      (pp. 3-17)

      In August 1900, the first national meeting of locally organized primary school-teachers’ associations took place in Paris. Thirteen years earlier, the education minister Eugène Spuller had legally forbidden the teachers (instituteurs) from organizing their own trade union. Over the decade that followed, they made no concerted effort to form a national association, but throughout provincial France, small groups of teachers quietly formed their own associations of “pedagogical improvement.”¹ Then, in 1898, half a dozeninstituteursfrom different parts of the country proposed, in their respective associations and provincial pedagogical pamphlets, to organize a meeting of teachers in the town of...

    • 2 Centralization, Mobilization, and Selective Engagement
      (pp. 18-34)

      Perhaps the most important presumption of this book is that public school teachers are inescapably political actors. Since they represent local or central governments in their classrooms and, often, in their local communities, their interactions with pupils, parents, administrators, and communities constitute state-society relations. They provide services to the polities whose taxes pay their salaries, their labor constitutes an investment of public money, and their identities are a matter of public legitimacy. And they are embedded in a process of social reproduction, with implications for both national cohesion and economic development. A generation of research on Progressive Era school reform...

  6. PART II Centralizing Education and Mobilizing Teachers

    • 3 Centralizing Public Education and Teachers’ Politics in Nineteenth-Century France
      (pp. 37-64)

      During the last two weeks of July 1833, lay public school teachers in the cities and villages all across France were greeted with a surprise in the daily post. Each teacher found an official correspondence from Paris, from no less a luminary than the education minister, François Guizot. The minister was sending the teachers a copy of the new education law that had gone into effect on June 28. Even more surprising than that was the personal letter to the teachers, signed by the minister himself. The letter, dated July 18, described the importance of the teachers’ mission—“universal primary...

    • 4 Centralization and Its Discontents among New York City Teachers
      (pp. 65-92)

      New York City teachers were active and vocal opponents of centralization. While their French counterparts had publicly supported centralization during the 1880s, they had done so timidly, uncertain of their collective power. But in New York City, teachers were part of a loose-knit, but vocal coalition of city dwellers that opposed what they saw as an elitist intrusion into a matter of local control. Teachers spoke up in a number of ways. For one week in late April 1895, the New York City Teachers’ Association organized a series of rallies to protest the centralization bill that was then making its...

  7. PART III The Politics of Selective Engagement

    • 5 Selective Engagement and Teachers’ Politics in France, 1887–1950
      (pp. 95-125)

      On the morning of August 3, 1918, a delegation from the Fédération Nationale des Instituteurs (FNSI) congregated in Paris for the annual meeting and was met with a rude surprise. The meeting was to take place at the headquarters of the Confédération Générale du Travail (CGT), located at the Maison des Syndicats on the rue de la Grange-aux-Belles.¹ When the delegates turned onto the impasse Chausson to get to the main entrance of the building, a blockade of police was there to meet them. The CGT members who were with the teachers, including the secretary general, Léon Jouhaux, would be...

    • 6 Selective Engagement and Teachers’ Politics in New York City, 1920–1960
      (pp. 126-156)

      During the early 1920s, few teachers were actively involved in New York City politics. One reason for their political passiveness was practical: The volume and stressfulness of their work discouraged most teachers from expending more energy after their working days were over.¹ Beyond that, administrators stigmatized demands for higher wages and other political activities among teachers as being “unprofessional.” The preeminent national education organization, the NEA, issued multiple public statements to the effect that trade unionism was anathema to professionalism. City administrators told teachers, and believed among themselves, that the “individual moral mission of teaching” precluded turning to organizational assistance...

  8. PART IV Conclusion

    • 7 Marianne and Uncle Sam Revisited
      (pp. 159-176)

      The preceding chapters constitute, among other things, an effort to respond to the lacuna identified by Peter Lindert at the very beginning of this book: Comparative institutional histories of public education are few and far between. Today, with their extensive collective bargaining contracts and unity density the envy of unions in the private sector, teachers’ unions are an important part of the decision-making and administrative structures of public education in the democracies of North America and Europe, as well as one of the last bastions of organized labor. The history of teachers’ unions is embedded in broader histories of the...

  9. NOTES
    (pp. 177-206)
  10. INDEX
    (pp. 207-213)
  11. Back Matter
    (pp. 214-214)