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Teachers Unions: Productive Or Destructive For Reform?

First Posted: 10/20/10 04:16 PM ET Updated: 05/25/11 07:05 PM ET

NPR's Talk of the Nation interviewed Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers to debate the role of teachers unions in education reform on Thursday.

Critics argue that unions are standing in the way of reform, but Weingarten says unions are exactly what teachers need:

"The bottom line is we have a bad economy at the very same time as we need to have transformative change in our schools to help all kids become the problem-solvers and the thinkers of the future. But collective bargaining and what unions do to actually help teachers get the tools and conditions to do their jobs can be a vehicle to do this, as opposed to, frankly, almost any other vehicle I've ever seen."

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Filed by Lauren Sullivan  |