Eleni Schirmer is a Ph.D. candidate at University of Wisconsin-Madison studying Educational Policy and Curriculum & Instruction. Her research cuts across sociology of education, labor studies and history, investigating the contradictory capacities of social movements – particularly teachers’ unions – to shape institutions, identities and ideas.

Schirmer’s dissertation, titled From Fracture to Fight: Teachers’ Unions and the Contest of Public Education in Milwaukee, WI, 1963-2009, traces the surprising and under-examined role of teachers’ unions in the ascent of conservative education movements over the past sixty years – as well as their vital leadership in recent educational justice struggles in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Occasionally teaching at UW-Madison, she is an active member and former co-president of the Teaching Assistants’ Association, the nation’s oldest graduate employee union.

Her academic writing has appeared in The Education Review, Gender and Education, and several book chapters. Her writings on struggles over public education and public-sector unionism has appeared in Jacobin, Labor Notes and The Progressive. She’s also written essays in espnW, on topics ranging from Serena Williams’ love of poetry to womens’ marches of 2017, to the endeavors of neighborhood jogger.

Schirmer was born and raised Madison, Wisconsin and educated exclusively in the public school system. She currently splits her time between Madison and Montréal, Quebec.

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