We’ve gathered research that looks at the job-related of teachers unions, consisting of their affect on college district spending, student accomplishment and teacher turnover.

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Denver public school teachers went on strike Feb. 11, for the first time in 25 years, to press for far better pay. The teacher union in Oakland, California has announced plans come strike ~ failing to reach an agreement with the school district on greater wages, smaller class sizes and other issues. In January, teacher in Los Angeles, the country second-largest college district, went on strike because that the very first time in 30 years to pressure district leaders to work-related with their union to resolve some the the exact same concerns.

While countless educators credit transaction their unions for helping lock secure higher salaries and better working conditions, union critics accuse these organizations of hurting students by shielding low-performing and also problematic teachers from disciplinary activity or dismissal. In ~ the national and also state levels, teachers unions have come to be a powerful force, influencing both legislation and also elections.  

The two main teachers unions, the American Federation of Teachers and National education Association, are amongst the greatest labor organizations in the joined States. Together, they represent about 5 million employees, officials from the two institutions told Journalist’s Resource. 

Below, we’ve gathered a sampling of research study that uses insights into the work of teachers unions, including their affect on teacher salaries, student achievement and teacher turnover. We’ve had several studies that look particularly at cumulative bargaining agreements, or the composed contracts the unions negotiate through districts to manage such things as teacher evaluation, compensation, grievances, class size and job transfers.  

Toward the bottom that the page, we provide links to additional resources, including data ~ above teacher salaries and also union donations to politics candidates. 



“The affect of Teachers’ union on Educational Outcomes: What us Know and also What We need to Learn”Cowen, Joshua M.; Strunk, Katharine O. Business economics of education and learning Review, 2015. 

In this study, Joshua Cowen and also Katharine O. Strunk of Michigan State University study 30 year of research to understand how teacher unions influence district spending, teacher pay and also student achievement. They discover that college districts with teacher union spend an ext money and they invest it on various things. “The bulk of studies uncover that unionized districts have higher spending and also specifically greater spending on teachers’ salaries, and also especially salaries for veteran teachers,” the writer write.  

However, unions carry out not show up to assist — and also might actually hinder — college student test scores and also graduation rates. Early research argues that college student in unionized districts earn slightly greater achievement scores. Yet according come the authors, the most rigorous studies, i m sorry were performed in an ext recent years, show that college student in unionized districts have slightly greater dropout rates and slightly reduced rates the math and also reading proficiency. “It is as yet unclear the impacts of more powerful unions top top achievement,” lock write.


“Public‐Sector Unions and the size of Government”Paglayan, Agustina S. American journal of politics Science, 2018. 

This study from Agustina Paglayan, one assistant professor in ~ the college of California, san Diego, analyzes data built up between 1959 and 1990 to determine whether unions are linked with increased education spending. Paglayan examined school district expenditure before and after claims passed laws requiring districts to connect in collective bargaining v their teachers unions.  

Here’s what she found: claims where districts need to bargain with unions spend much more than says where cumulative bargaining is no mandatory. However, these distinctions existed prior to the legislations were enacted. “I record that in 1990, says with mandatory collective bargaining regulations had more teachers every student, higher salaries, and higher per-pupil education expenditures, however I show that they already did therefore well before the appearance of collective bargaining legal rights or modern teacher unions,” Paglayan explains. 


“Labor Union Strength and also the Equality of politics Representation”Flavin, Patrick. British newspaper of politics Science, 2018.  

Patrick Flavin, an associate professor the political science at Baylor University, looks in ~ union membership and also contributions to political campaigns to determine whether they assist ensure the the opinions of lower-income american are given equal load in the policy-making process. Flavin finds that union membership is strongly connected with equality in political representation. Politics donations, however, room not. “The analysis,” the writes, “points come the conclusion the labor unions’ capacity to promote much more egalitarian trends of political depiction lies in their efficiency in organizing and then mobilizing union members come political action as opposed to contributing straight to state political campaigns.” 


“When government Subsidizes that Own: cumulative Bargaining laws as Agents of political Mobilization”Flavin, Patrick; Hartney, Michael T. American newspaper of political Science, 2015.  

Flavin and Michael Hartney, an assistant professor that political science at Boston College, describe that teachers became much more involved in national politics toward the end of the 1960s and also into the 1970s, when an ext than fifty percent of U.S. States started requiring college districts to interact in collective bargaining through their teacher unions. The scholar sought to identify whether cumulative bargaining laws actually reason teachers come become much more politically active. 

A an essential takeaway: teachers participated in national politics at greater rates after collective bargaining regulations were mandated in your states. They were more likely come say they engaged in tasks such as working for a political campaign, attending a political rally or donating money come a politics candidate. “In the two succeeding elections following the i of a bargaining legislation in your state, and also especially the third and fourth elections after the law got in effect, teachers reported a sharp rise in their price of political participation,” the writer write. In addition, teacher who established as union members participated at greater rates 보다 those that did not. 


“The myth of Unions’ Overprotection of poor Teachers: evidence from the District-Teacher Matched dashboard Data top top Teacher Turnover”Han, Eunice S. Working paper, Labor and Worklife regime at Harvard regulation School, 2015. 

For this study, Eunice Han, one assistant professor of economics at the college of Utah and an elderly research associate at Harvard law School, investigates the effect of teacher unions on teacher dismissals. She findings indicate that institution districts with collective bargaining agreements are more likely to dismiss under-performing teacher who have not yet earned tenure than districts that don’t have these agreements in place. “Teachers union raise the dismissal price of non-tenured teachers together they cheap for greater teacher salaries, providing greater incentives because that districts to type out much better teachers,” Han writes. She notes that unions carry out not appear to have an impact on the dismissal rate of tenured teachers. 

Han does find, however, that unions might encourage teacher to continue to be in the field. Her analysis indicates the teachers who job-related in districts where collective bargaining is allowed are much less likely to quit teaching 보다 those who occupational in districts the don’t negotiate with their unions.  


Collective bargaining agreements 


“The Long-run results of Teacher cumulative Bargaining”Lovenheim, Michael; Willén, Alexander. Nationwide Bureau of financial Research, Working paper No. 24782, 2018. 

This record claims to carry out the very first analysis of cumulative bargaining laws’ result on the irreversible outcomes the students. The authors examined bargaining legislations for each state and also year because 1955. Castle paired the data v data the U.S. Census built up between 2005 and 2012 via the American ar Survey, i m sorry gathers detailed information on American adults’ education and learning levels and also employment. 

The authors discover that attending every 12 years of elementary school and an additional school in a state v mandatory cumulative bargaining laws reduced adult income by $799.73 dollars every year. “Across every 33 claims that have actually a duty-to-bargain legislation in place, our results suggest a complete loss that $199.6 billion dollars per year due to individuals having grown up in states that mandate collective bargaining in between teachers’ unions and school districts,” compose Michael Lovenheim, an associate professor in ~ Cornell University, and also Alexander Willén, one assistant professor in ~ the Norwegian school of Economics. 

While as whole education attainment is just marginally affected, men and also women who flourished up in college districts with compelled bargaining legislations are much more likely to be unemployed. Those with work work less per week, follow to Lovenheim and Willén. “Exposure to a duty-to-bargain regulation while in grade college lowers the likelihood a worker is employed by between 0.9 and 1.2 portion points,” lock explain. 

Lovenheim and also Willén uncover that the effects are larger for men as well as adults who are not white. “In particular,” the writer write, “yearly masculine earnings decline by $1,384 and also hours functioned decreases through 0.63 hours per week. We discover some proof of a small decline in education attainment because that men, who additionally experience a decline in earnings due to growing up in a duty-to-bargain state. Among nonwhites, earnings decrease by $1,986 and hours per week are diminished by 1.2.”  


“It is in the Contract: exactly how the Policies set in Teachers’ Unions’ collective Bargaining Agreements Vary throughout States and also Districts”Strunk, Katharine O.; et al. Education Policy, 2018.  

Researchers looked at more than 1,000 collective bargaining agreements negotiated between school administrators or college boards and their regional teachers’ union in three claims — California, Michigan and Washington — to recognize how various or comparable these agreements are. They looked at how contracts handle 43 issues, including teacher pay, seniority rules, member responsibilities, layoffs and transfers. The authors were specifically interested in whether contracts differed by ar size and student households’ earnings levels.  

The authors analyzed 492 California contract from the 2014-2015 academic year, 516 Michigan contracts from 2013 onward and also 268 Washington contract from the 2014-2015 scholastic year. They describe that “the leading finding the this article — and also the one we argue should hold the fist of the research and also policymaking communities alike — is the teacher contracts perform vary substantially between and also within states.”  

Another vital finding: In these 3 states, college district dimension is correlated with specific teacher contract provisions and contract length. Because that example, contract in bigger districts often tend to include borders on maximum class sizes and also are less likely to need the ar to article all certificated vacancies prior to filling them. Contracts likewise tend to it is in much much longer in larger districts. 


“Collective Bargaining and School district Test Scores: evidence from Ohio Bargaining Agreements”Hall, Joshua C.; Lacombe, Donald J.; Pruitt, Joylynn. Used Economics Letters, 2017. 

This study concentrates on the relationship in between collective bargaining agreements and also student test scores in Ohio public school districts. The researcher analyzed teacher contract provisions during the 2007-08 scholastic year, measure the toughness of each teacher union by the number of pages contained in that bargaining agreement. The authors additionally looked at the percent of 9th graders in every district that passed the state’s mathematics proficiency exam in 2008. 

The main takeaway: In Ohio school districts, the size of a union’s collective bargaining agreement was connected to reduced math scores. “It would seem that more stringent negotiations result in less productive education production,” the authors write.  


Other resources: 


Looking for more research ~ above teachers? inspect out ours collections of research on teacher misconduct, performance pay and also how children advantage from having actually teachers the the exact same race.

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