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ERIC Number: ED497891
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2006-Oct
Pages: 46
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
The Impact of Collective Bargaining on Teacher Transfer Rates in Urban High-Poverty Schools
Nelson, F. Howard
American Federation of Teachers
Data in this report reveals that collectively bargaining agreements are not the source of the teacher quality problem in urban school districts. The data shows that collective bargaining agreements are associated with reduced teacher transfer activity, especially in high-poverty schools, and less reliance on first-year teachers to staff high-poverty schools. This American Federation of Teachers (AFT) study draws on on national data from the School and Staffing Survey (SASS) and the related Teacher Follow-up Survey (TFS), both sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education, to analyze the turnover, transfer rates and other characteristics of over 50,000 teachers in schools with and without collective bargaining. The AFT study shows that schools with collective bargaining: have lower teacher turnover, experience fewer teacher transfers, and have better distribution of first-year teachers. The study found no evidence that collective bargaining agreements contribute to shortages of qualified teachers in urban high-poverty schools. Evidence indicates that collective bargaining is associated with lower transfer rates out of urban high-poverty schools to another school in the district or to a school in a different district, and that urban school districts with a collective bargaining agreement, low-poverty schools are about as likely as high-poverty schools to replace transferring teachers with first-year teachers. Without a collective bargaining agreement, high-poverty schools hire first-year teachers at three times the rate of low-poverty schools. The findings strongly contradict the conventional wisdom that "seniority rights" provisions in teacher contracts encourage experienced teachers to leave disadvantaged schools in favor of more-affluent schools in the same district. The report suggests that the attention focused on teacher seniority and collective bargaining as causes of the urban teacher shortage needs to be redirected to solutions for the real problem: attracting and retaining teachers who are prepared to teach in urban schools. (Contains 16 figures and 10 tables.)
American Federation of Teachers. 555 New Jersey Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20001. Tel: 202-879-4400; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: American Federation of Teachers, Washington, DC.