The Impact of Teachers’ Unions on Education Policy

Publication, Education, Rodney Clifton

Executive Summary

• Teachers’ unions were formed for the express purpose of improving working conditions for teachers.

• These unions make substantial contributions to public policy and are actively involved in attempting to influence governments.

• It is important to note that the primary goals of teachers’ unions are different from, and often incompatible with, those of effective schools.

• Teachers’ unions oppose accountability measures such as standardized testing, and they advocate for collective agreements that restrict the flexibility of school boards to meet the needs of students.

• Teachers’ unions support substantial increases in education spending but have not indicated what level of funding is sufficient.

• Class-size limits are a major goal of teachers’ unions despite the lack of evidence that they improve student learning.

• Before adopting proposals made by teachers’ unions, governments need to remember that teachers’ unions place the interests of their members first.

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