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Teachers Unions and Education Productivity Functions - Essay Example

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Teachers Unions and Education Productivity Functions [Name [ID [Date Teachers' unions have come under attack in recent years in the West (Kahlenberg, 2010; Campbell, 2010). Right-wing social critics like David Horowitz, and increasingly liberals and moderate progressives, view teachers' unions as problematic: They think teachers' unions inflate wages, protect bad teachers, push for tenure too early, lead to rent-seeking behavior, and oppose important policy changes (Kahlenberg, 2010)…
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Download file to see previous pages But even when taking this into account, “[N]ot only are America's teachers grossly underpaid, but that teaching is simply not a sustainable profession it its current form...teachers routinely work 10-12 hour days that don't end when the dismissal bell rings...46 percent of teachers leave within their first five years. Such high turnover and instability undoubtedly wreaks havoc on public schools and their respective communities, in which teachers play a vital role” (Heller, 2005). Compared to their professional cohort, people with undergraduate degrees who underwent additional certification, teachers are colossally underpaid, and teaching is a more obviously stressful and demanding job than other jobs in the cohort; one study found that even after taking into account benefits, teachers were paid 12% less than other professionals (Martindale, 2009). Conservatives argue that it is only good teachers who are underpaid, but this argument is bizarre. The very reason that many schools are turning to underqualified teachers, using substitute teachers increasingly, and relaxing standards is because teacher pay doesn't attract qualified professionals: The market has spoken, and it has denied conservative claims that teachers are overpaid (Moore,. Bearing this in mind, microeconomic analysis makes one thing clear: Teachers' unions, despite risks of rent-seeking behavior, do not lead to net micro-economic loss, and are net-beneficial for the economy. This research only extends to union organization for the sake of collective bargaining (i.e. increasing job satisfaction) and does not address union organization as a national, political interest group. It is possible that teachers' unions might push for negative reforms or have a negative impact on the political system. This paper also attempts to avoid discussing wholly subjective issues of the value of education: Instead, microeconomic analysis conducted hopes to demonstrate that teachers' unions do not cause teachers' pay to spiral out of control compared to others in their professional cohort. Admittedly, an analysis of the effects of collective bargaining on known determinants of student achievement (i.e. teacher time) as well as the education production rate (namely, high school graduation rates) is only a preliminary step in determining the overall effect of collective bargaining on student achievement and teacher productivity. The assessment of teacher pay above ignores yet other factors. First: Not all teachers are paid identically. Since schools are funded by property taxes, there can be substantial variation in pay and school quality. Some areas, like the Glenbrooks in Chicago, have such high incomes in the community that the school resembles a private school. Inner city schools, on the other hand, struggle with poorly paid teachers, inadequate resources, etc. (Wise, 2005; Moore, 2000). The reason is simple: State spending went down, so communities were left to fend for themselves. Where did the money go? Prison. “40 percent of the U.S. prison population is functionally illiterate... From 1980 to 2000, states' expenditures on education went up 32 percent. In that same period of time, states' spending on prisons went up 189 percent” (Moore, 2000, pg. 198). Any analysis of the pay of teachers' unions will have to ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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