Tournament of Champions
TEACHER UNIONS: GENERAL
(__) Unions have given teachers a voice in policy making, which has been dominated by politicians in the past.Cooper and Sureau write in the journal of Educational Policy
Similarly, as American public education has become larger and more standardized, the rise of the teacher labor movement in the 1930s was understandable in major urban centers, although it was not until the 1960s thatteachers—working with other public employees—got 32 states to start passing collective bargaining legislation. The great irony of teacher unionization, as we shall argue, is that these
unions helped toinstitutionalize the teacher role, giving these professionals parity at the bargaining table and a greater voice inschool policy making and implementation. Unions
, it seems
, are ultimately at work to support and defend publiceducation,
not to destroy it as many opponents of unionization and unions have been arguing since the 1850s when industrial labor began to grow. Now the question becomes, where and how can teachers’unions help keep public education public—and slow down the charter school and voucher movements that create schools where collective bargaining is not as likely to occur?
(__) Teachers work to make society better. Cooper and Sureau write in the journal of Educational Policy
:People do not go into teaching for the money but to make a contribution to society.
operate on two levels:Personally, they
hope to prepare themselves to make a difference and to act as educational professionals with their students;
they long ago abandoned worrying about professional identity and worked to improve their political status as active union members at all three levels of government.
Nationally, the NEA and AFT have become one of the strongest, mostactive, fastest-growing unions, and if and when they merge, they will become the largest public sector union in the nation.
(__) Organized teachers use their unions to create better schools. Pantuosco and Ullrich write in the Journal of Education Finance
Our investigation overlaps at least two strands of literature—teachers unions' impact on productivity and the affect of labor unions on productivity. The impact of teacher's unions on productivity can be addressed throughthe literature known as the "two-faces" of (teachers) unions. The proposed positive face of unions highlights how
the collective voice of organized teachers canenhance the educational production function through their internal insight of student and school needs. Withthe student in mind, organized teachers lobby for smaller class sizes, lucrative compensation packages toattract and retain better quality teachers, and greater classroom resources of technology and supplies.
The state hopestheir financial commitment to education will yield a harvest of productive citizens who contribute to society in measures of professionalism, social awareness, and diversification, and, we propose, a greater gross state product per employee.
(__) A litany of studies
have shown that teacher unions have increased performance in schools:
While this result sounds disheartening
, Eberts and Stone
claim the decline of test scores would be worse without the teachers'unions.
9 They posit that
unionized districts are seven percent more productive for average students than non-uniondistricts. Freeman and Medoff
explain that teachers unions improve productivity by inspiring higher wages that maintain and attract faculty. Stone
calculates that teachers unions improve teacher salaries by5.1% over non-unionized teachers of comparable education and experience.
10 Other researchers add that
unions championsmaller class sizes, and that these smaller classes benefit students.
They reference the four-year longitudinal Student Teacher Achievement Ratio (STAR) project which shows average per pupil performance increases when class size is diminished.11
The National Education Association (NEA) concurs that theunions' objective to limit class sizes and lobby for state-of-the-art resources improves students' educationalexperience.
Cooper, Bruce S., and John Sureau. "Teacher Unions and the Politics of Fear in Labor Relations." Educational Policy 22.1 (2008). SAGE. Web. 7 Apr. 2010.
Louis J. Pantuosco and Laura D. Ullrich. "The Impact of Teachers Unions on State-Level Productivity." Journal of Education Finance 35.3 (2010): 276-294. Project MUSE. 21 Feb. 2010 <http://muse.jhu.edu/>.