About the Collection

The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) historical collection consists of almost 100 years of historical records covering subjects that deal with US public education, tenure and academic freedom for K-16 teachers, civil rights, collective bargaining in the public sector and public employee unionism. The collection has documents from the national headquarters; over 30 affiliate locals and state federations of the AFT as well as 70 personal collections. To view a complete list of the AFT historical collections please visit the Walter P. Reuther Library's Collections Page, housed at Wayne State University. For general questions about this project please use the site's contact form.

The Antecedents to Education Reform project is an artificial collection from the AFT historical collection for this website that has identified papers, correspondence, memos, contract language, documents, and reports from AFT locals that introduce reform elements through collective bargaining and joint labor/management cooperation from the 1980s – the late 1990s. For example some documents found on this site will be the Toledo Plan for Peer Review, Professional Education Program from Pittsburgh and Dade County Shared Decision Making program. The site also contains speeches from AFT presidents and AFT policy and reports on education reform that supported various education initiatives during the 1980s and early 1990s.

The criteria for selecting documents by the AFT archivist and with consultation from the AFT were geography of the local, development of education reform, and type of reform element as well as amount of content to share with the general public.

About the Project

Antecedents to Education Reform Historical Collection is a collaboration between the Walter P. Reuther Library and WSU Library System's Digital Library Initiatives Team (WSULS DLI). With funding from the AFT, the Reuther Library hired a part-time archivist to scan documents at 300 dpi to TIFF format. Dublin Core Metadata Standards were used for descriptors. Using the digitized TIFFs, the WSULS DLI team processed the files to PDF and ran Optical Character Recognition (OCR) on the documents to enable full-text searching. The OCR PDFs and Dublin Core metadata were loaded to the WSU Libraries Omeka platform, an open-source digital collection system created by the Center for History and New Media. Website design is based-off the beautifully simple Omeka theme Thanks, Roy, created and shared via a GPL license by Jeremy Boggs, Associate Director of Research at the Center for History and New Media.


  • Dan Golodner, American Federation of Teachers Archivist, Walter P. Reuther Library
  • Jon McGlone, Digital Projects Librarian, WSU Libraries, Digital Libraries Initiatives Team
  • Jennifer Dawson, Digitization and Metadata, Walter P. Reuther Library
  • Jewell Gould, American Federation of Teachers, Advisory