The presence of teacher unions is positively correlated with higher student achievement on the Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) and the American College Test (ACT), according to a new study presented in the Harvard Educational Review (Winter 2000).
In "Do Teacher Unions Hinder Educational Performance? Lessons Learned from State SAT and ACT Scores," researchers Brian Powell, Lala Carr Steelman, and Robert M. Carini compared states that are strongly teacher unionized with those that are not and found a clear link between teacher unions and higher state performance on certain standardized tests. This pattern holds even when other factors such as family income, parental education, gender, geographic region, and race are considered.
"Teacher unions have been demonized by their critics and canonized by their advocates for years," says Powell. "Many people assume teacher unions adversely affect students' performance, but this assumption hasn't, for the most part, been tested. Our study seriously challenges this assumption."
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