"An exquisitely researched, compellingly reasoned treatise on the role of teachers unions and their impact on America's schools. Terry Moe has read everything, collected mountains of data, and thought more deeply on this topic than anyone in America. Special Interest immediately becomes essential reading for policymakers, would-be reformers, and anyone concerned about the future of American education."—Frederick Hess, American Enterprise Institute
"America's public schools are broken, and Terry Moe sets out to explain why. In a bare-knuckled and brilliant account, he shows how the teachers unions use their unmatched political power to control virtually every aspect of educational policy and practice. The result, not surprisingly, is a system that protects the interests of employees at the expense of our kids."—Joel Klein, CEO, News Corp Education Division, and former chancellor of New York City Public Schools
"This is a superb and historic book. Terry Moe, the first scholar to brave unions' wrath by revealing how they operate, now also shows how their dominance of public education will wane, due to political change and productivity-enhancing technology. Reformers, foundation heads, elected officials who have up to now been afraid to cross the unions, and union leaders and their allies should read this book as soon as they can get their hands on it."—Paul Hill, University of Washington
"Anyone who wants to understand education reform and its challenges should read this extraordinary book. Over the past few decades, teachers unions have become some of the most powerful actors in American public education. Terry Moe fills a crucial gap by exploring how the unions work; how they veto important reforms in ways that are detrimental for children; and how their power might be waning. As with his prior work, this book will make a tremendous difference in how we run our schools."—Michelle Rhee, former Chancellor, District of Columbia Public Schools, reviewing a previous edition or volume
" Special Interest constitutes the most serious and sustained inquiry into teachers unions ever conducted. It has the signature markings of Moe's scholarship: impeccable writing, clear and persuasive argumentation, sound empirics, and an utter unwillingness to pull any punches. In the ongoing debate about teacher unions and school reform, this book is a game changer."—William Howell, University of Chicago
"Moe shines a bright light on perhaps the most under-researched topic in all of education policy. This is a theoretical and empirical tour de force, revealing what makes the teachers unions tick and why they are absolutely central to any discussions of education reform. Along the way, it makes a persuasive case that the unions are often misunderstood, even by seasoned observers—and that this is encouraged by a rational union strategy. Moe's perspective on union power is bleak, laying bare its iron grip on the schools, but he offers hope that we are entering a special time that allows for significant change."—Eric Hanushek, author of Schoolhouses, Courthouses, and Statehouses
About the Author
Terry M. Moe is the William Bennett Munro Professor of Political Science at Stanford University and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution. His previous books include the seminal Politics, Markets, and America's Schools (Brookings) and Liberating Learning: Technology, Politics, and the Future of American Education (Jossey-Bass), both cowritten with John Chubb. He is also the author of Schools, Vouchers, and the American Public (Brookings).