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Performance-Enhancing Teacher Contracts?


Excellent posting! Possible explanations: contracts, tenure, collective bargaining all contribute toward retaining more experienced teachers. They encourage perseverance in a tough industry. Job security and due process rights encourage more open and honest discourse during meetings and collaboration which help foster more effective reform and school improvement.

Excellent insight and commentary. Educators working under collective bargaining agreements and boosting student achievement should be shared widely! Thanks.

ok, but not listing all states just shows one side!

<i> That there are dozens of other factors besides contracts that influence achievement, such as lack of resources, income, parents’ education, and curriculum, and that these factors are at least partially responsible for the lower scores in the ten non-contract states. My response: Exactly.</i> But if you are aware of this, then the only way to research the issue is to control for all those other factors. . Additionally, I wonder whether the statement of facts is accurate, i.e., that "there are ten states in which there are no legally binding K-12 teacher contracts at all," or that "these states are free of many of the alleged “negative union effects.” I know that's false as to Arkansas: collective bargaining occurs at the district's option, and Little Rock still does engage in collective bargaining. Moreover, as Hess and West discuss (see pp. 16-17 here:, teachers' unions are often able to get legislation enacted that mimics the effect of collective bargaining.

stuart - i'm pretty sure that your objection is the whole point of the post. every day now, u.s. test scores are compared with other nations with no reference to poverty, inequality, or anything else, and unions are often blamed for it.

It looks like you didn't control for any demographic variables. Southern states tend to have higher proportions of minority and low-income students, who tend to score lower on the NAEP exams. If you don't control for those factors, you're likely to ascribe state-level differences in NAEP results to some other factor (like whether or not they're union states).

Chad - Thanks for the comment. See here: MD

Matthew: Not complaining, but I did (or had done, in part) a similar analysis a year ago, although I used different NAEP measures--rank, not absolute score--and a different measure for unions (percent of teachers with collective bargaining by state):

jfxgillis, Thanks for your comment. Actually, our two posts were published days apart (this is an old post), and we were both apparently motivated in part by Education Nation. Also take a look at the follow-up to this post: MD


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