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Nick Toloudis

Nick Toloudis
Nick Toloudis

Nick Toloudis (M.A., M. Phil, Ph.D. Columbia University, B.A. Johns Hopkins University) is a visiting assistant professor of politics at Mount Holyoke College. He does research on, and teaches courses in, European politics, welfare states, social movements, and the history of the left. Over the past few years, he has written on the history of the French teachers' movement, Tocqueville's views on public education, and the trajectory of Mark Kesselman's career's work in studying French and American politics.

His forthcoming book, Teaching Marianne and Uncle Sam, is about the origins of public school teacher unionization in France and the United States. It traces teacher organizing back to crucial conflicts in both countries between centralizing authorities and local administrators around the turn of the 20th century. In both countries, inspired by the of workers in private industry and fearful of the power of a bureaucratized school system, groups of teachers chose to step beyond the confines of their professional associations to form trade unions. But two problems impeded unionization efforts: the power of a repressive state and the animosity of other teachers and their organizations.

In New York, the rise and fall of the Teachers Union is an important part of this story. In particular, he argues, the Union’s battles with its city rivals, the Teachers Guild, the High School Teachers' Association, and the Joint Committee directly led to the settlement among the teachers’ organizations that resulted in the formation of the United Federation of Teachers. Only after the political "undesirables" of the Union had been marginalized and suppressed could teachers contend with the Board of Education in a unified and aggressive manner.

 

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