State Teacher Unions Ranked
Special Report - October 31, 2012
North Carolina’s teacher union is ranked 40th in the nation, according to a new report from the Thomas Fordham Institute and Education Reform Now that compares the strength of teacher unions in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Described as “the most comprehensive analysis of America’s teachers unions’ strength ever conducted,” the report, “How Strong Are Teacher Unions? A State by State Comparison,” used 37 different variables across five realms to measure the power of teacher unions nationwide. The five realms included: 1) Resources and membership; 2) Involvement in politics; 3) Scope of bargaining (i.e., is bargaining status mandatory, permitted or prohibited; the right of unions to deduct agency fees from nonmembers; and the legality of teacher strikes); 4) State policies; and 5) Perceived influence.
States were grouped into five tiers, ranging from the strongest (Tier 1) to the weakest (Tier 5). The report found that states along the West coast and in the Northeast “have nearly all of the strongest unions,” while Southern states tend to have the weakest teacher unions. Tier 1 (orange states on the map) with the strongest unions included Hawaii (strongest union in the nation), California, New Jersey and Washington state, while Tier 5 states (brown states on the map) included Arizona (weakest union in the nation), Texas, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and Arkansas, among others.
North Carolina is a Tier 4 state (green on the map), which means it is has one of the weaker teacher unions in the nation. Among the five realms or areas measured, North Carolina ranked:
- 47th in the nation for its Resources and Membership, because the state’s “NEA-affiliated state teacher union has few internal resources and its members enjoy relatively little spending on K12 education in the state.” It also notes that 49.5 percent of teachers in North Carolina are “voluntary members of teacher associations.”
- 29th in the nation for teacher union involvement in politics. “Over the past decade, teacher unions gave a significant amount to North Carolina political parties, but were otherwise relatively uninvolved in state campaigns,” the report states. It notes that union donations accounted for 2.7 percent of “all contributions received by political parties, but only 0.25 percent of total dollars received by candidates for state office.”
- 48th for the scope of collective bargaining. According to report, “North Carolina has the most restrictive bargaining laws in the nation,” and is one of five states to ban collective bargaining in education. “No union or professional association may collect agency fees from non-members (and recent legislation also bars teacher associations from automatically collecting dues from their own members.)” Additionally, North Carolina is one of 37 states to prohibit teacher strikes.
- 12th in the nation for its State Policies related to teachers unions. According to the report, “North Carolina’s teacher employment policies are more aligned with traditional union interests than in most other states.” Specifically, the report notes that the state does not: “support performance pay,” “require districts to consider teacher performance in determining layoffs,” and “include student learning in tenure decisions.” Additionally, “teachers are dismissed due to poor performance at a lower rate than most other states,” according to the report.
- 11th in the nation for the Perceived Influence of the Teaches Unions, because “Stakeholders in North Carolina perceive their state teacher association to be relatively strong.” The report also points out that, “while policies proposed by the governor during the latest legislative session were mostly in line with teacher union priorities, the outcomes of that session were only somewhat in line.…”
State Education Vision Statement - October 11, 2012
Parent Power In Education - September 25, 2012
NC Voters Support School Choice - September 20, 2012
25 New Charter Schools Approved - September 10, 2012
NC Supporters Support Charter Schools - July 19, 2012
Moms Support School Vouchers - May 22, 2012
School Choice Lowers Crime - April 5, 2012
Special Need Tax Credit Available - February 23, 2012
Record School Choice Expansion - January 30, 2012
NC Voters Support Charter Schools - July 19, 2012
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