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  • Author: Andrew J. Coulson
  • Publication Date: 02-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Cato Journal
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Public school employee unions are politically partisan and polarizing institutions. Of the National Education Association's $30 million in federal campaign contributions since 1990, 93 percent has gone to Democrats or the Democratic Party. Of the $26 million in federal campaign contributions by the American Federation of Teachers, 99 percent has gone to Democrats or the Democratic Party (Center for Responsive Politics 2009). Perhaps not entirely coincidentally, conservatives and Republicans have often accused these unions of simultaneously raising the cost and lowering the quality of American public schools. Many advocates of charter schools, vouchers, and education tax credits have cited union political influence as the greatest impediment to their chosen reforms. But in academic circles, scholars have sometimes disagreed on the unions' impact on wages and educational productivity. The purpose of the present review is to summarize, and attempt to reconcile, the empirical research on the actual impact teachers unions have on American education.
  • Topic: Education, Reform
  • Political Geography: America