The Economist is reporting on an alleged correlation between states that lack collective bargaining for teachers’ unions and low scores on standardized tests, specifically the ACT and SAT. According to this report, if your state doesn’t allow collective bargaining, your child is more likely to do poorly on these tests. Meanwhile, students in Wisconsin, where all the hoopla over collective bargaining is occurring right now, are reported to have the second highest scores in the country.
This is certainly an interesting datum . . . if it’s true. Others have challenged the accuracy of both parts of this claim. So who’s right? If The Economist is wrong on this, it will get some egg on its face, although the claim was reported on the magazine’s blog and not in the magazine itself. The old requirement for journalists to verify their sources holds true even in the digital age.
Both articles point out that even if the correlation is real, it may not tell us anything significant about the social value of collective bargaining for teachers unions.