Rank-and-File Rebels: Theories of Power and Change in the 2018 Education Strikes

By Erin Dyke and Brendan Muckian-Bates
Copy edited by Don Donahue. Designed by Mike Palmquist.

CoverIn spring 2018, a wave of rank-and-file rebellion swept schools across the south and southwest United States, among other places. Educators in West Virginia, Oklahoma, Kentucky, and Arizona pushed their trade unions, school boards, and school administrations to shut schools down to increase wages, halt rising healthcare costs, and restore public education funding. Despite stringent anti-union labor laws, rank-and-file educators organized on the periphery and sometimes beyond their reticent state unions to take direct action, contributing to a resurgence in educator uprisings across the US and the globe. Rank-and-File Rebels explores and historicizes the spring 2018 “red” state strikes, offering insights into the racial, gendered, and political contexts of educators’ organizing in the lead-up to, during, and soon after the strikes. Through interviews with strike organizers across four states as well as the authors’ own experiences in education labor organizing, this book analyzes theories of power and change, approaches to unionism, and the significance of solidarity and social justice union approaches in contemporary educator labor movements.

Table of Contents

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Front Matter


Prologue: Country Roads Shut Down a State

Commonly Used Abbreviations


Chapter 1. Theories of Power and Change in Educator Unions: Situating the Emergence of Solidarity Unionism

Chapter 2. Race Shapes the Terrain of Struggle

Chapter 3. Ungrateful Teenagers and Misbehaving Women

Chapter 4. Class, Elections, and Relationship with the State


Works Cited

About the Authors

Erin Dyke is Associate Professor of Curriculum Studies at Oklahoma State University. Her primary line of research examines the pedagogies, organizing, and impacts of contemporary educator movements on educational practice and policy. Dyke and Muckian-Bates have published work in this area in the Berkeley Review of Education and New Politics. Dyke contributed to the edited volume Walkout: Teacher Militancy, Activism, and School Reform, and with Lauren Ware Stark and Rhiannon Maton, co-edited a four-part special issue series for Critical Education highlighting empirical studies of and organizer interviews with educator movements from across North America. With support from the Spencer Foundation, Dyke undertook a two-year community-based oral history study of the 2018 Oklahoma Education Walkouts (which informs this book) with a team of teacher-researchers, with whom she co-authored an article in Critical Education to address underrepresented narratives and perspectives in public accounting of the event. This research team curated a public collection of educators’ oral history narratives of their strike experiences, published with the Oklahoma Oral History Research Program at OSU. Dyke has published ethnographic studies of liberatory curriculum and pedagogy in Educational Studies, International Journal of Multicultural Education, and Journal of Education Human Resources.

Brendan Muckian-Bates is a former West Virginia public educator turned non-profit worker. His specialization is gender studies, critical pedagogy, and social studies education. His work has appeared in Jacobin, Berkeley Review of Education, and New Politics.

Publication Information: Dyke, Erin, and Brendan Muckian-Bates. (2023). Rank-and-File Rebels: Theories of Power and Change in the 2018 Education Strikes. The WAC Clearinghouse; University Press of Colorado. https://doi.org/10.37514/PAC-B.2022.1909

Digital Publication Date: August 11, 2023
Print Publication Date: Pending

ISBN: 978-1-64215-190-9 (PDF) | 978-1-64215-191-6 (ePub) | 978-1-64642-500-6 (pbk.)
DOI: 10.37514/PAC-B.2023.1909

Contact Information:
Erin Dyke: erin.dyke@okstate.edu
Brendan Muckian-Bates: bmuckian0424@gmail.com

Precarity & Contingency

Series Editors: Seth Kahn, West Chester University, and Sue Doe, Colorado State University

Acrobat Reader DownloadThis book is available in whole and in part in Adobe's Portable Document Format (PDF). It will also be available in a low-cost print edition from our publishing partner, the University Press of Colorado.

Copyright © 2023 Erin Dyke and Brendan Muckian-Bates. This work as a whole is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 International License. 200 pages, with bibliography. This book will be available in print from University Press of Colorado as well as from any online or brick-and-mortar bookstore. Available in digital formats for no charge on this page at the WAC Clearinghouse. You may view this book. You may print personal copies of this book. You may link to this page. You may not reproduce this book on another website.