There have been many assertions made over time about the negative effects of teachers unions on student performance. A number of states have moved legislatively to curtail the collective bargaining rights of teachers and, indeed, some states have never allowed teachers’ collective bargaining.
Conservative critics of teachers unions – the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, for example – claim there is no relationship between high levels of union membership and high levels of student achievement. There are 10 states where there is little or no collective bargaining by teachers. If Fordham and other teachers union critics are right, these states should demonstrate student achievement that ranks very high, or at least above the national average, on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). According to commentary in the Washington Post by Matthew Di Carlo, senior fellow at the Albert Shanker Institute, “out of the ten [non-union] states only one (Virginia) has an average rank above the median, while four are in the bottom ten and seven are in the bottom fifteen.” The article concludes that states “without binding teacher contracts are not doing better, and the majority are actually among the lowest performers in the nation.”