Collective Bargaining and Test Scores

Labor strife continues to captivate the nation as Democrat lawmakers in Wisconsin are hiding out.  Similar actions have taken place in Indiana with their Democrat lawmakers heading to Illinois as well.  Votes are either underway or are being considered in a number of other states.

The movement is afoot.

But is it worth it?Is this really going to help things?

It certainly will help states balance their budgets.  They’ll be ale to control expenditures on benefits including pensions and health care.  However, in the case of teachers, is even THAT worth it?

In other words, is the cost of allowing teacher’s to collectively bargain worth the gains in education.

There is a claim that the test scores of the states that don’t allow collective bargaining are low; very low.  Let’s look:

http://twitter.com/#!/43rdDems/status/39136858407436288

Is it true?  Do those states rank that low?

It doesn’t appear to be the case.  While those 5 states as a whole under perform to be sure, they are not coming in as poorly as reported.

How about ACT?  Let’s change the order:

Again, while none rank even in the top 20, the group is not as low as being rumored.

But when you sort by per Pupil expenditure, you get this:

The states that do not allow collective bargaining are ALL in the lowest 20 states in spending.  And we all know that spending does not correlate  with test scores.

It doesn’t appear  that collective bargaining is as good for kids as they’re saying; but it IS good for the budget.

11 responses to “Collective Bargaining and Test Scores

  1. This is what drives me nuts about both sides. Both the right and left assume that teachers are 100% responsible for educational performance. I’m sorry, but if you live in a wealthy suburb, you can have terrible teachers and test scores will still be high.

    Claiming that collective bargaining “results” in better test scores is absurd. There are definitely other factors going on here.

    Just look at the states. Most of the top-scoring states have higher per capita incomes than the bottom half do.

    It is also important to note that the lowest two states by SAT (and Washington, D.C.) have collective bargaining.

    My reply to the left: Nice try. Try again.

    • This is what drives me nuts about both sides. Both the right and left assume that teachers are 100% responsible for educational performance.

      I agree Sean. Both sides spin to their advantage.

      I’m sorry, but if you live in a wealthy suburb, you can have terrible teachers and test scores will still be high.

      This is true. Achievement tracks with wealth/income. However, for the last 2-3 months I have been looking into another line of thought.

      The heritability of intelligence.

      My reply to the left: Nice try. Try again.

      Correct. Try again.

  2. The heritability of intelligence….

    Oh, boy, you will have a fight on your hands with that one (not in finding the data, but in fending off charges of racism).

    But if you need inspiration, try reading a book called “The Bell Curve.” Two Harvard professors try to prove it.

    It caused a big stir about 15 years ago.

    • you will have a fight on your hands

      I’m sure.

      fending off charges of racism

      That’s my concern. There is no reason to believe that minorities are less intelligent than non-minorities. Yet income gaps are too hard to ignore.

      try reading a book called “The Bell Curve.”

      I will. Thanks

  3. Notice the placement of Utah on the charts. Their test scores are in the middle of the pack, yet they spend thousands less per student than the rest of the states. Is it just barely possible that “family values” contribute to student achievement even more than dollars spent?

    If two businesses manufactured Green Platinum Widgets of similar quality, but one sold them for at least $1,148.00 less, why would anyone purchase the more expensive widget? Why are all the taxpayers in states with scores BELOW Utah, not upset. Their tax dollars are not only being used, (wasted) to buy widgets of lower quality, but they are also paying a premium price. Schools should never strive to be “middle of the pack”, but when a state does manage to stay in the middle while spending far less than other states, I believe we need to examine the situation. If we can combine Utah’s strategies for low cost with the strategies for success that better scoring states use, then we would have the basis for a model worth emulating.

    As is so often the case, we may not be able to consider the Utah figures because they my be related to issues of racism, or maybe religion, or the history of the region, or the water, or the air from the mountains, or the… whatever!

    • Notice the placement of Utah on the charts. Their test scores are in the middle of the pack, yet they spend thousands less per student than the rest of the states.

      Exactly!

      Also notice the low expenditure states that come in the top 10 for each test. The top SAT states are dominated by lower expenditure states.

  4. I live in Michigan and work in education, so I am puzzled by the ACT & SAT scores from my state. How can our students score so near the top on the SAT, yet so near the bottom on the ACT? I forgot that the SAT is optional in Michigan; however, the ACT is required by the Michigan Department of Education. Do any other states require the ACT? Does any state require the SAT? That makes it hard to compare one state’s score with another.

    Any while talking about education, folks need to hear a few words from Michigan’s State Superintendent of Schools, Mike Flanagan. His office posted a video earlier this week. In the video, it is clear that even he does not know how kids can be graduating, yet still lack basic skills. The twenty second clip to watch starts at 2:51.

    Link to video:
    http://www.michigan.gov/mde/0,1607,7-140-37818_45256-251784–,00.html

    • I am puzzled by the ACT & SAT scores from my state. How can our students score so near the top on the SAT, yet so near the bottom on the ACT? I forgot that the SAT is optional in Michigan; however, the ACT is required by the Michigan Department of Education.

      You answered your own question.

      With the SAT being optional, only the top students will opt to take it.

    • Glad to see someone in education contributing here! I’ll definitely check out the link, and I look forward to hearing (reading) your viewpoints, Henry.

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