How Do Unions Really Affect Schools?
Back in February, Eunice Han at Wellesley College put out a paper entitled "The Myth of Unions' Overprotection of Teachers: Evidence from the District-Teacher Matched Panel Data on Teacher Turnover." Han reaches some really interesting and, perhaps for some folks, counter-intuitive findings, and they're worth a look.
But full disclosure right up front-- I can't really make sense out of her methodology. Han takes sixteen pages just to explain how she did what she did, and it includes all sorts of economist equationing and data mumbo-jumbo that is just plain beyond me. Things like this:
Han has a Ph.D. from Harvard and she has, no kidding, an impressive bucket list. And I can follow the reasoning behind her data crunching, but not the crunching itself. And if her findings seem vaguely familiar, it's because they have been covered elsewhere (check out this interview with Han from Edushyster). But there are some pieces of research that are worth re-blogging about. You say "redundant;" I say "amplifying the message."
So here are the conclusions Han reached with her data crunching.
Union Strength Affects Teacher Pay-- But So Do Other Factors
Much to nobody's surprise, districts with stronger collective bargaining units end up with higher-paid teachers. Generally that "wage premium" is paid for teachers with the most experience.
However, there are other factors that figure in. Districts with a high percentage of minority students pay their teachers more. But teachers who work in districts with a large student population, and teachers who work in districts with a large free/reduced lunch enrollment are paid CURMUDGUCATION: How Do Unions Really Affect Schools?: