Re: [xmca] Cobb & McClain from a different perspective

From: David Preiss (
Date: Fri Jan 05 2007 - 15:47:43 PST

Indeed, Mike, the same thing applies to other settings as well. In my
short lived experience as a consultant here in Chile, the best so
called ergonomics work we did here under the wise guidance of Carlos
Diaz, whom you had the chance to meet when you were here in Chile and
when he visited you there, was in collaboration with the unions, in
particular those of the Chilean subway. It is interesting to note
that the same problems you mention replicate in industry when
consultants want to jump over the unions instead of working with them
to create more fruitful and productive labor relations.

That said, as for the case of the teachers, the question remains open
when you have a national union instead of local unions. I don't know
the privileged way of teacher organizing in the USA, but in Chile
teachers have only a large national influential syndicate so national
issues commonly take over the local ones as those discussed in the
Cobb's paper. So it would be really complex to have this union
dealing with individual schools on issues of improvement.

On Jan 5, 2007, at 8:33 PM, Mike Cole wrote:

> Last night I had dinner with an early mentor and friend, Dick
> Atkinson, who
> was head of NSF, UCSD, and UC overall and has taken a lot of
> interest in things educational.
> We got into an argument about school reforms and Dick, a strong
> advocate of
> charter schools and variety creating mechanisms opined that
> "The problem was the unions."
> I argued that indeed, in some configurations of circumstances made
> unions
> uncooperative with supervisor's grand schemes. Allan Bursin
> steamrolling
> reforms in San Diego was an example.
> But, I also argued, that when reforms were organized in a proper
> manner,
> unions were NOT a problem and in fact, might be an important part
> of the
> solution.
> I have sent him the Cobb and McClain piece to think about.
> Question: What was the role of the unions in the case presented by
> Cobb and
> McClain? What does their experience teach us about dealing with
> draconian
> accountability schemes and "better" school as tightening the screws
> that
> hold together the iron cage??
> mike
> _______________________________________________
> xmca mailing list

David Preiss, Ph.D.
Profesor Auxiliar / Assistant Professor

Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile
Escuela de Psicología
Av Vicuña Mackenna 4860
Macul, Santiago

Fono: 3544605
Fax: 3544844
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