Monopolistic Teacher Unionism Is ‘Strangling Policies That Could Help Student Achievement’

In a post for the National Review’s Corner blog this morning (see the link below), Andrew Stiles discusses a new paper by Sally Lovejoy and Chad Miller of the American Action Forum that analyzes the impact on educational outcomes of state laws empowering government union officials to act as teachers’ “exclusive” (monopoly) bargaining agents on matters concerning their pay, benefits, and work rules.

Lovejoy and Miller focus on academic performance in four large urban school districts, two (New York City and Chicago) located in forced-unionism states with public-sector monopoly bargaining laws and two (Charlotte, N.C., and Austin, Texas) located in Right to Work states with few if any statutory special privileges for teacher union chiefs.

Data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress show students in New York City and Chicago “have consistently underperformed those in Charlotte and Austin,” and Lovejoy and Miller are confident that labor policy is an important par of the reason why.  Even as monopolistic teacher unionism jacks up taxpayer costs for K-12 public education, it’s also “strangling policies that could help student achievement,” as Stiles puts it.  He goes on to summarize Lovejoy and Miller’s findings:

Public-school teachers in New York and Chicago recently signed collective-bargaining agreements that increase pay and benefits, but place little emphasis on student performance. In Chicago, for example, the union fought to ensure that “student growth” counts for only 30 percent of teacher evaluations to determine performance pay. In New York, the union agreement offers pay and benefit increases for teachers based on experience and education levels without any consideration for student performance. . . .

Research indicates that high-quality teachers have a significant impact on student achievement both in school and beyond, making the teachers’ unions’ resistance to performance-based evaluation all the more frustrating. One study by professors at Harvard and Columbia found that students assigned to teachers classified as “high-value added” instructors attend better colleges, earn higher salaries, and are less likely to have children as teenagers. Furthermore, simply replacing a “low-value added” teacher with an average one can increase students’ lifetime earning by as much as $1.4 million.

New Study Blames Collective Bargaining for Education Stagnation