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Smart School Reform Guy: RIP Teachers Unions, Your Days Are Numbered

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His controversial theory: technology will replace many teachers.

Terry Moe, one of the leading experts in education reform in the country, professor of political science at Stanford University, fellow at the Hoover Institution, and author of the newly released Special Interest: Teachers Unions and America's Public Schools, has a message for the teachers unions:

Rest In Peace, because your days are numbered.

Moe is one of the major movers and shakers in the school reform movement. He co-wrote a book in 1990 that arguably launched the school choice movement as we know it today. Politics, Markets and America’s Schools was a game-changer twenty years ago.

His latest book, Special Interest: Teachers Unions and America's Public Schools, takes a look at the teachers unions and argues that they are the primary reason why the quarter-century long school reform movement has failed.

But soon, the unions will no longer be an obstacle to reform. Why? Technology.

Moe argues that the incredibly massive revolution in information technology will deliver a death blow to teachers unions. In this profile of his life and impact on the education reform movement, Moe says:

"In the final analysis, what technology requires is a substitution of technology for human labor. Computers will do a lot of what teachers do now." Jumping forward in his chair, he lights up: "Technology is cheap. Labor is really expensive. Education has always been very labor intensive, so if our education system can substitute technology for labor and still provide kids with high quality education, then great!"

Moe explains that technology will fundamentally change the politics of education. "In the future, we will have fewer teachers per student. This means fewer union members per student. Also, teachers don’t have to be concentrated in the same geographic place—because when students do their learning online, their teachers can be anywhere. This fragmentation and dispersion will make it harder for unions to organize."

For more on Moe's fascinating life, read on here.

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