North American Association of Educational negotiators

This section provides information about the impact of Collective Bargaining on student achievement in K-12 school systems. At its most essential level, collective bargaining results in written labor contract which has the effect of standardizing the workplace for teachers and classified staff.  These written agreements are enforceable contracts between school districts and their union-represented employees.  By spelling out the roles, rights and obligations of staff, collective bargaining contracts determine how districts may conduct business. They create a maze of rules that impacts both classrooms and students. There’s no doubt collective bargaining affects student achievement. The question is, does it enhance student achievement?

Follow this link for a review on Critical Preparations for Bargaining.


  • Teacher Absence as a Leading Indicator of Student Achievement. NEW Center for American Progress. November 5, 2012. By Reagan Miller. This report uses the Civil Rights Data Collection dataset released in early 2012 to raise questions and drive debate about the subject of teacher absence. This dataset comes from the first national survey to include school-level information on teacher absence. The measure constructed from this information is the percentage of teachers who were absent more than 10 times during the year. The Department of Education calls the measure a “leading indicator,” a reasonable label given the documented relationship between absence rates measured at the teacher level and student achievement. Yet very little is known about the properties of this new school-level measure. On average, 36 percent of teachers nationally were absent more than 10 days during the 2009-10 school year based on the 56,837 schools analyzed in the dataset.

  • The impact of teacher collective bargaining laws on student achievement: evidence from a new mexico natural experiment.  Yale Law Journal. March 2011 (Vol. 120, pg 1130-1191). By Benjamin A. Lindy. This Note uses the 1999 sunset and 2003 reauthorization of New Mexico’s public employee collective bargaining law to estimate the causal effect of teacher collective bargaining on student achievement. This Note finds that mandatory teacher bargaining laws increase the performance of high-achieving students while simultaneously lowering the performance of poorly achieving students. After establishing this core empirical result, the Note explores its implications for current trends in American education policy and for normative arguments about the role of teachers’ unions in public schools.

  • Incorporating Student Performance Measures into Teacher Evaluation Systems.  RAND Corp. and Center for American Progress. December 1, 2010.  By Jennifer L. Steele, Laura S. Hamilton, Brian M. Stecher. In a growing effort to recognize and reward teachers for their contributions to students’ learning, a number of states and districts are retooling their teacher evaluation systems to incorporate measures of student performance. This trend stems from evidence that teachers’ evaluations and reward structures have not sufficiently distinguished teachers who are more effective at raising student achievement from those who are less effective.

  • When the Stakes Are High, Can We Rely on Value-Added?  Center for American Progress. December 1, 2010. By Dan Goldhaber. Concerns about using VAMs are legitimate, but they overlook the fact that any type of teacher-performance evaluation with high-stakes consequences for teachers would be controversial. This controversy, however, rarely arises today because the performance evaluations that are currently being used typically are not high-stakes for teachers, either because they are not designed to be or because the evaluation itself is so inexact that the issue is rarely relevant for teachers. But the issue is very relevant for students.

  • Measuring Teacher and Leader Performance: Cross-Sector Lessons for Excellent Evaluations.  Public Impact. November 3, 2010. By Julie Kowal and Emily Ayscue Hassel.  In this report, we summarize six steps that research and experience from across sectors undefined including government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and for-profit companies undefined show are critical for designing an outstanding performance measurement system:

    • Teacher Evaluation 2.0.   The New Teacher Project. October 2010. The dilemma education leaders now face is, “How?” How can they avoid the pitfalls of past evaluation systems and create new ones that become useful tools for teachers and school leaders? Teacher Evaluation 2.0 tackles this key question. It proposes six design standards that any rigorous and fair teacher evaluation system should meet. It offers a blueprint for better evaluations that can help every teacher succeed in the classroom undefined and give every student the best chance at success.

  • The Impact of Teacher Experience: Examining the Evidence and Policy Implications.  Center for Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Education Research (CALDER), Brief 11, August 2010. By Jennifer King Rice.  The impact of experience is strongest during the first few years of teaching; after that, marginal returns diminish. . . teachers with 20 years of experience are more effective than teachers with no experience, but are not much more effective than those with 5 years of experience.

  • Union and District Partnerships to Expand Learning Time: Three Schools’ Experiences.  Center for American Progress. November 18, 2009. By Melissa Lazarín and Isabel Owen. This report examines the challenges and successes of implementing expanded learning time in a traditional public school environment. It highlights the role of teachers and teachers unions in negotiating an expanded schedule and reviews relevant literature on teacher time and collective bargaining. It also takes a look at Massachusetts’s experience with expanding learning time. The state has funded expanded learning time in 26 schools since 2005, and much can be learned from its experience.

  • Policy 2.0: using open innovation to reform teacher evaluation.  hope street group.  October 29, 2009.  A policy statement that describes criterion for upgrading teacher evaluation systems.  Recommendations include the us of objective measures of student achievement gains as a major component; clearly defined standards of quality instruction; and the inclusion of teachers, teacher groups, and union in the development and implementation.

  • Review of Teaching Performance Assessments for Use in Human Capital Management.  CPRE/SMHC. August 21, 2009.  By A. Milanowski, H. Heneman, and S. Kimball.  Review of the current state of the art in teaching assessment by examining seven assessment systems: Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS); Formative Assessment System Continuum of Teacher Development - New Teacher Center at  University of California Santa Cruz; Framework for Teaching & Framework adaption by the Cincinnati Public Schools; National Board for Professional Teaching Standards Certification Assessments Teacher Advancement Program (National Institute for Excellence in Teaching); Performance Assessment for California Teachers (PACT); and PRAXIS III© (Educational Testing Service).

  • So Long, Lake Wobegon? Using Teacher Evaluation to Raise Teacher Quality.  The Center for American Progress.  June 25, 2009.  By Morgaen L. Donaldson.  The report explores how best to implement teacher evaluation. The first section examines the structure of teacher evaluation and the role of student learning in assessments of teachers’ effectiveness. . . In the second section, the paper draws on research to examine the reasons why teacher evaluation has generally had little effect on instruction, learning, and achievement.

  • The widget efect: our national failure to acknowledge and act on differences in teacher effectiveness.  June 2009.  The New Teacher Project.  By D. Weisberg, S. Sexton, J. Mulhern and D. Keeling.  This report examines our pervasive and longstanding failure to recognize and respond to variations in the effectiveness of our teachers. At the heart of the matter are teacher evaluation systems, which in theory should serve as the primary mechanism for assessing such variations, but in practice tell us little about how one teacher differs from any other, except teachers whose performance is so egregiously poor as to warrant dismissal. The failure of evaluation systems to provide accurate and credible information about individual teachers’ instructional performance sustains and reinforces a phenomenon that we have come to call the Widget Effect. The Widget Effect describes the tendency of school districts to assume classroom effectiveness is the same from teacher to teacher. This decades-old fallacy fosters an environment in which teachers cease to be understood as individual professionals, but rather as interchangeable parts. In its denial of individual strengths and weaknesses, it is deeply disrespectful to teachers; in its indifference to instructional effectiveness, it gambles with the lives of students."

  • Fixing tenure: a proposal for assuring teacher effectiveness and due process.  The Center for American Progress.  June 2009. By Joan Baratz-Snowden.  The report links teacher tenure reform to effective performance evaluation. "What is clear from this review is that fixing tenure first and foremost involves defining what effective practice is. We cannot “fix” the tenure process without clear, shared standards of excellent practice and tools and procedures to measure that practice. Our current teacher evaluation practices are weak and designed at best to weed out the most egregious teachers, rather than to cultivate rigorous performance of all teachers."

  • Teacher Union Contracts and High School Reform. Center on Reinventing Public Education. University of Washington. January 2009. "The basic question that we asked in this study is: Are teachers unions and collective bargaining agreements barriers to high school reform and redesign efforts in Washington, California, and Ohio? Based on our analysis of the contracts that we studied, our answer is: sometimes, but not as often as many educators and union critics seem to think (pg 27)."

  • Mutual Benefits: New York City's Shift to Mutual Consent in Teacher Hiring.  2008  The New Teacher Project.  By Timothy Daly, David Keeling, Rachel Grainger and Adele Grundies.  In 2005, the New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE) and its teachers union, the United Federation of Teachers (UFT), agreed to a groundbreaking contract that reformed outdated school staffing provisions.  In short, the 2005 contract saw New York City transition from a system in which teachers and principals often had no input over teacher assignments to a system of “mutual consent,” in which both teachers and principals had to agree on all teacher placements

  • Arguments and Evidence: The Debate over Collective Bargaining's Role in Public Education. Education Policy Brief, Vol. 6 No. 8, Fall 2008. Center for Evaluation & Education Policy, Indiana University. By Nathan Burroughs.  This policy brief describes the major arguments on whether collective bargaining has a positive or negative influence on student achievement. The brief concludes "The intensity of the debate over the role of collective bargaining has obscured the fact that empirical evidence supports either side of the discussion. There can be no verdict on whether collective bargaining in public education is “bad” or “good,” because there is insufficient evidence to warrant a definitive judgment (pg 16)."

  • Tales of Teacher Absence: New Research Yields Patterns that Speak to Policymakers. Center for American Progress, October 2008, By Raegan Miller.  The report analyses data from an anonymous, large, urban school district in the northern United States. The data include dates and “excuse” codes for 130,747 absences taken by 5,189 teachers in 106 schools over four years. The data also create profiles of average teacher absence behavior for each of the 106 schools. The profiles share an underlying seasonal trend, with rates of discretionary absence rising from September to December, falling until February, and then rising again to their highest levels in June. Differences between profiles show that schools operating in the same policy jurisdiction can have surprisingly different absence profiles, even after accounting for characteristics of teachers in the schools.

  • The Benwood Plan: A Lesson in Comprehensive Teacher ReformEducation Sector.  Author: Elena Silva. Publication Date: April 7, 2008. Hamilton County, Tennessee, is home to one of the nation's most widely touted school-reform success stories. Beginning in 2001, eight low-performing elementary schools began an ambitious upward trek. With $5 million from the Chattanooga-based Benwood Foundation and funding from several other local organizations, school and community officials launched an intensive teacher-centered campaign to reform the inner-city Chattanooga schools. The effort, now known as the "Benwood Initiative," drastically improved student achievement, and education observers took notice. The report observes that "the improvement in the... schools turns out to be in large part" due to "steps Hamilton County officials took to improve the performance of existing... teachers," such as "adding teacher coaches and reading specialists, reorienting administrators to instruction,...and signaling through bonuses for raising test scores and other rewards that the teachers' work was valued."  For a description of the collective bargaining see Reducing the Achievement Gap below.

  • Teaching Quality in California. A New Perspective to Guide Policy.  Wechsler, M. E. & Shields, P. M., The Center for the Future of Teaching and Learning, March 2008. A panel of experts in education reviewed research and met with outside experts for an in-depth examination of teacher quality. There is no single output or input that can be used to gauge teacher quality. The panel urges a positive approach to teacher quality based on the assumption all teachers can provide quality teaching when the appropriate supports and opportunities are in place.

  • Improving Instruction Through Effective Teacher Evaluation: Options for States and Districts.  February 2008.By Carrie Mathers, Michelle Olivawith Sabrina W.M. Laine, PhD.  National Comprehensive Center for Teacher Quality.  The Teacher Quality Research & Policy Brief provides policymakers with a "comprehensive understanding of the measures used in teacher evaluation-- their strengths, limitations, and current use in policy and practice.  The brief also reveals results of a November 2007 research study from a REL Midwest study of district guidance to schools on teacher evaluation policies and presents policy options for states and districts.

  • What Keeps Good Teachers in the Classroom?  Understanding and Reducing Teacher Turnover.  Issue Brief, February 2008, Alliance for Excellent Education.  Several studies have attempted to identify why teachers leave and how to stem their turnover, but few have identified the quality of teachers who are departing. As in any profession, not all attrition is bad, but whether bad or good, it has financial ramifications. This brief explores the costs associated with teachers leaving the profession and their schools, the characteristics of those likely to leave, and what can be done to prevent unnecessary and costly turnover.

  • Rush to Judgment: Teacher Evaluation in Public Education.  Education Sector Reports. January 29, 2008. By Thomas Toch and Robert Rothman of the Annenberg Institute for School Reform . According to the report, the troubled state of teacher evaluation is a glaring and largely neglected problem in public education, an enterprise that spends $400 billion annually on salaries and benefits. They observe that teacher evaluation is at the heart of the educational enterprise -the quality of teaching in the nation’s classrooms-it has the potential to be a powerful lever of teacher and school improvement. The report concludes that that potential is being squandered throughout public education today. A host of factors-a lack of accountability for school performance, staffing practices that strip school systems of incentives to take teacher evaluation seriously, union ambivalence, and public education’s practice of using teacher credentials as a proxy for teacher quality-have resulted, according to the authors,  in teacher evaluation systems throughout public education that are superficial, capricious, and often don’t even directly address the quality of instruction, much less measure students’ learning.

  • School Employee compensation and Student Outcomes. Report to the Joint Task Force on Basic Education Finance.  December 2007. By Steve Aos, Marna Miller, Anne Pennucci.Washington State Institute for Public Policy.  The task force examined the two main elements of  the single salary schedule: years of experience and graduate degrees earned and their effect on student outcomes.  They systematically reviewed the results of all methodically sound research studies addressing these issues.   The report found that there is no consistent relationship between teachers with graduate degrees and increased student outcomes as measured by test scores.  Teacher experience does affect student outcomes considerably in years one to five and then levels off rapidly so that the marginal gains in effectiveness then become smaller.  The implication is that within the context of the single salary schedule academic performance would be improved by adjusting salary schedules to place more emphasis on experience and less (or no) emphasis on graduate degrees (pg 21).

  • Are Teacher Absences Worth Worrying About in the U.S.?  By Charles T. Clotfelter, Helen F. Ladd, & Jacob L. Vigdor. CALDER, The Urban Institute. Working Paper No. 24.  Originally issued in November 2007/Updated April 2009. Abstract: Using detailed data from North Carolina, we examine the frequency, incidence, and consequences of teacher absences in public schools, as well as the impact of an absence disincentive policy. The incidence of teacher absences is regressive: schools in the poorest quartile averaged almost one extra sick day per teacher than schools in the highest income quartile, and schools with persistently high rates of teacher absence were much more likely to serve low-income than high-income students. In regression models incorporating teacher fixed effects, absences are associated with lower student achievement in elementary grades. Finally, we present evidence that the demand for discretionary absences is price-elastic. Our estimates suggest that a policy intervention that simultaneously raised teacher base salaries and broadened financial penalties for absences could both raise teachers' expected income and lower districts' expected costs.

  • Reducing the Achievement Gap Through District/Union Collaboration: The Tale of Two Districts.  On November 13, 2007, the National Commission on Teaching and America's Future (NCTAF) released a report that documents the journey of two school districts to improve teaching quality and reduce gaps in student achievement. The report highlights the progress, challenges and lessons learned from two districts (Clark County, NV and Hamilton County, TN) that are at the forefront of addressing achievement gaps through collaboration of the local teachers' union and the school district. The strategies employed by these two districts and outlined in the report help to ensure that educators remain at the center of reform efforts in their districts and schools. Their stories are proof that unions and districts can collaborate successfully to improve student achievement.

  • Do Teacher Absences Impact Student Achievement?  By Raegen Miller, Richard Murname, and John Willett, August, 2007. This study examines longitudinal evidence from one urban school district and finds that the impact of absenteeism is estimated to be that each 10 days of teacher absences reduce students' mathematics achievment by 3.3 percent of a standard deviation.  This is the first study to place a quantitative impact on of absenteeism on student achievement.  Previous studies have shown the the rate of teacher absences are positively associated with the generosity of contractual leave provisions.  
    • Absence Management.  A 2004 presentation by Elliot Susseles of the Segal Co. at the 35th NAEN Annual Conference in New Orleans.  The presentation describes bargaining strategies and policy implementation of absence management programs in a unionized environment.

  • Collective Bargaining and the Performance of the Public Schools.  May 2007.  By Terry Moe, Stanford University.  Students of American politics have had little to say about public sector unions and their impacts on government. . . Specifically, my focus here is on the public schools, which are among the most common form of government agency in the United States, and I investigate whether collective bargaining by teachers--the key bureaucrats in this case--affects the capacity of the schools to educate children.  Using data from the state of California, the analysis shows that, in large school districts, the restrictiveness of the teacher contract has a very negative impact on academic achievement. It also shows that, in these large districts, restrictive contract rules are especially negative in their effects on the academic achievement of minorities.

  • Teachers Unions and Student Performance: Help or Hindrance?  By Randall W. Eberts.  The Future of Children, Spring, 2007 vol. 17, no. 1.  This paper explores the role of teachers unions in public education. Dr. Eberts focuses particularly on how collective bargaining agreements shape the delivery of educational services, how unions affect both student achievement and the cost of providing quality education, and how they support educational reform efforts.  This chapter is part of a larger publication , Excellence in the Classroom, The Future of Children.  The articles in this volume explore key tools available to policymakers.  The Future of Children is a publication of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University and the Brookings Institution.

  • Identifying Effective Teachers Using Performance on the Job.  The Brookings Institute. April 2006.  By Robert Gordon, Thomas J. Kane andDouglas O. Staiger.  Traditionally, policymakers have attempted to improve the quality of the teaching force by raising minimum credentials for entering teachers. Recent research, however, suggests that such paper qualifications have little predictive power in identifying effective teachers. We propose federal support to help states measure the effectiveness of individual teachersundefinedbased on their impact on student achievement, subjective evaluations by principals and peers, and parental evaluations.

  • CB & Student Achievement: Vacancy and Transfers By Stephan Lewis March, 2001.  Oregon School Boards Association Negotiator's Notebook.  A collective bargaining agreement affects how teaching resources may be allocated within a district. For example, staff at low-performing, high-poverty schools often have less experience than staff at other district schools. If you want to move experienced staff members to these schools, you need to examine the provisions of collective bargaining agreement vacancy and transfer language. Vacancy and transfer articles typically create workplace rules about how employees may move from one position or assignment to another. These rules cover posting of vacancies, voluntary transfer possibilities, involuntary or district-initiated transfers, prep time implications for assignment changes, and other employer rights and restrictions.

  • Teacher Quality and Student Achievement: A Review of State Policy Evidence.  January 2000. Education Policy Analysis Archives. By Linda Darling-Hammond. Using data from a 50-state survey of policies, state case study analyses, the 1993-94 Schools and Staffing Surveys (SASS), and the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), this study examines the ways in which teacher qualifications and other school inputs are related to student achievement across states.

  • Critical Issue: Rethinking the Use of Educational Resources to Support Higher Levels of Student Achievement.  By Karen Hawley Miles, North Central Regional Educational Laboratory, 2000. Creating standards-based schools that are accountable for helping all students reach higher levels of achievement requires schools and districts to rethink their educational resources--especially time, staffing, and money. As districts begin to support schools in becoming increasing accountable for results, they are finding that schools need: more time for students in academic subjects and more individualized attention; time and dollars for ongoing teacher professional development and planning; and investment funding for the purchase, introduction, and classroom implementation of new curriculum materials and teaching practices aimed at higher standards.

  • The Life Cycle of Labor Management Relations By Ron Wilson, December, 2000. Oregon School Boards Association Negotiator's Notebook.  This paper analyzes the differential use of collaborative (interest-based) versus the more traditional (proposal-based) negotiations models.  It posits that on a practical level there may be no pure traditional or collaborative technique, but only mixtures of both with one technique predominating. There are some "hybrid models" that deliberately take elements from both techniques and attempt to mold them together.  There is a pattern in the cycling of labor management relations between cooperative and competitive negotiations styles.
    • Examining Collaborative Bargaining TechniquesBy Ron Wilson, June 1995. Oregon School Boards Association Negotiator's Notebook. A companion piece to the Life Cycle article above, it examines the efficacy of interest based/collaborative negotiations processes and techniques. 
    • Teachers' union tactics  Based principally on material supplied by the Madison-Oneida counties, sole supervisory district, Multi-Boces Labor Relations Office, Verona, N.Y.

  • The Effects of Collective Bargaining on Student Achievement  By Ron Wilson.  June, 1999.  Oregon School Boards Association Negotiator's Notebook.  More than ever before, Oregon schools are being held accountable for student achievement. There are many factors that impact how well students perform; some are directly controlled by school districts; others are completely outside district control.  This article examines the interplay of money, class size and collective bargaining on student achievement in Oregon.
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