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A Bet Against Collective Bargaining Is a Bet Against Kids

by Alec on August 16, 2013

Data Driven Decision Making. It is what modern education reform demands, but they do not practice. Corporate education reformers start with a conclusion that fits their narrative, and then set the propaganda machine in motion to support their conclusion. They have picked the working conditions of teachers as their number 1, biggest bang for the buck, maximum return on investment reform.
 
The problem with that, is we have mountains of data about what would happen if reformers got their greatest wish, busting the teacher’s union. There are 24 right to work states. There are 24 states where modern reformers dreams have already come true. Let’s look at the data. As a teacher, let’s do it in a fun, real world context.
 
You are in Las Vegas, where, instead of betting on the latest football millionaire, you are betting on your state’s academic achievement. I will just use a few examples to give you the picture.

You are betting on a Right to Work, weak union/no union state. You are betting on the corporate reformers dream. Here is the bet:
 
Would you bet your random right to work state is in the top half or bottom half for:
1) ACT test scores
2) High School Graduation Rate
3) NAEP (National Assessment of Educational Progress) 4th Grade Reading Scores
4) NAEP 8th Grade Math Scores
 
Make your bets and meet me after the fold for citations, the chart, and a little more commentary. Remember this is just a sample of four educational outcomes. I could go on all day. So is your right to work state in the top or bottom?


 
 
 
ACT scores: If you bet your right to work state was bottom half, you have a 70% chance of winning!
 
HS Graduation: If you bet your right to work state was bottom half, you have a 58% chance of winning!
 
4th Grade NAEP Reading: If you bet your right to work state was bottom half, you have a 66% chance of winning!
 
8th Grade NAEP Math: If you bet your right to work state was bottom half, you have a 54% chance of winning!
 
Clearly correlation does not mean causation. However, why would you make your number 1 fight against something that is correlated in a positive way. I am not arguing that collective bargaining is good for achievement, but it certainly is not bad. Not by a long shot. If you had to bet your kids education on being in a right to work state vs. a union state, you wold be statistically crazy to put them in a corporate reform right to work state.
 
High School Graduation Rates
ACT Scores by State
U.S. Education Data Explorer
Right to work States

 
The following link is to the data chart listing the states and their rankings
right to work vs union states

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