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    Goodbye Constitution Freedom America by Don Jans

    Randi Is Wrong Again

    By Larry Sand

    I’ve got to give Randi Weingarten a lot of credit. Every time I write about the president of the American Federation of Teachers and her relentless blather, I think that she cannot possibly sink any lower; yet she always manages to dig herself a deeper hole.

    Earlier this month, Weingarten penned “Kids Do Better In Schools With Teachers Unions,” an opinion piece for the Daily Beast, in which she claims to make “a factual case” for all the good that teachers’ unions do for children.

    For starters, citing work by some leftwing think tankers, she asserts that teachers unions are associated with higher student achievement, especially for Hispanic and black children.

    Wrong! The teachers union’s essence is its collective bargaining agreement (CBA), which, as policy experts Rick Hess and Martin West write, is a vestige of the industrial economic model that prevailed in the 1950s when “assembly-line workers and low-level managers were valued less for their knowledge or technical skills than for their longevity and willingness to serve loyally as a cog in a top-down enterprise.” While CBAs may be the cornerstone of the unions’ raison d’être, these agreements have been a disaster for students.

    The Long-run Effects of Teacher Collective Bargaining,” a 2017 study by researchers Michael Lovenheim and Alexander Willen, found that, among males, exposure to a duty-to-bargain law in the first 10 years after passage depresses students’ future annual earnings by $2,134 (3.93%), decreases weekly hours worked by 0.42, and reduces employment and labor force participation. The negative effect of CBAs is particularly pronounced among black and Hispanic males. In these two subgroups, annual earnings decline by $3,246 (9.43%) and at the same time, employment and labor force participation are reduced.

    The Lovenheim-Willen study was not the first to detail CBA’s harm to students. In 2007, Stanford professor Terry Moe reported that collective bargaining appears to have a strongly negative impact in larger school districts.

    Caroline Hoxby, also a professor at Stanford, made a three-minute video in 2009 in which she explains in plain language how CBAs stifle any management flexibility in determining the best slot for a teacher at a given school, as well as denying schools the opportunity to get rid of underperformers.

    Weingarten then veers off to the “teacher pay penalty.” This fairy tale concerns itself with “the gap between teachers’ compensation and their non-teacher college-educated counterparts that hit a high of 23.5% in 2021.”

    Not even close to true. As Just Facts reports, U.S. school teachers in the 2020–21 school year made $65,090 in salary, and received another $33,048 in benefits (health insurance, paid leave, and pensions) for $98,138 in total compensation.

    Also, importantly, full-time public school teachers work an average of 1,490 hours per year. This includes time spent on lesson preparation, test construction, and grading, providing extra help to students, coaching, and other activities, while their counterparts in private industry work an average of 2,045 hours per year, or about 37% more than public school teachers. All in all, with various perks included, a teacher makes on average $68.85 an hour, whereas a private sector worker makes about $36 per hour.

    Then the not-so-amazing Randi has the unmitigated chutzpah to spit out, “After the onset of the pandemic, teachers worked harder than ever.”

    The fact is that teachers worked far fewer hours after the schools shut down for Covid.

    To continue reading, go to


    Larry Sand, a former classroom teacher, is the president of the non-profit California Teachers Empowerment Network – a non-partisan, non-political group dedicated to providing teachers and the general public with reliable and balanced information about professional affiliations and positions on educational issues. The views presented here are strictly his own.


    The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of Citizens Journal


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