ERIC Number: ED404746
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1996-Oct
Are Teachers' Unions Hurting American Education? A State-by-State Analysis of the Impact of Collective Bargaining among Teachers on Student Performance.
Nelson, F. Howard; Rosen, Michael
During the 1996 electoral season, public schools and teachers' unions have been repeatedly attacked by Republican candidates as the cause of intellectual and moral decline among American youth. The Institute for Wisconsin's Future initiated an updated review of the impact of collective bargaining among teachers on the performance levels of school children. This document presents findings of their study, which examines the impact of collective bargaining along with that of region, family income, race, school spending, and levels of private school attendance. The study focused on the relationship between high, medium, and low levels of unionization among teachers and the test scores of public school students on the 1995 Scholastic Aptitude (SAT) College Entrance exams and the 1994 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) fourth-grade reading tests in a state-by-state comparison. Findings indicate that student performance on the tests was significantly better in states with high levels of unionization with all other variables held constant. Average student scores on the SAT exams were 43 points higher in states where over 90 percent of teachers were unionized than in states where less than 50 percent of the teachers were covered by collective bargaining or meet-and-confer agreements. Furthermore, when collective bargaining was removed from the analysis, scores dropped in all states. Those factors found to be significantly related to poor performance included low household income, race (which was correlated with other measures of socioeconomic deprivation), large class size, high absenteeism, and higher rates of private school attendance. The underlying causes of poor performance among children were primarily socioeconomic factors in children's lives and the lack of adequate educational resources. Seven tables are included. (Contains 12 references.) (LMI)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Institute for Wisconsin's Future, Milwaukee.