Volume 17

Reforming Teacher Training and Recruitment

By: Dale Ballou, Ph.D. and Michael Podgursky, Ph.D.


A Critical Appraisal of the Recommendations  
of the National Commission on  
Teaching and America’s Future 

I. Introduction

At the start of the 1996-97 school year, the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future (the Commission or the NCTAF) released a report entitled What Matters Most: Teaching for America’s Future. NCTAF is a "blue-ribbon" 26-member commission chaired by North Carolina governor James Hunt. An accompanying press release described the report as a "scathing indictment" of the current system for training and recruiting teachers. The Commission argued that public schools employ large numbers of "unqualified" teachers and proposed an extensive set of recommendations to "put qualified teachers in every classroom."

 _______________
 * Dale Ballou is a Professor of Economics in the Department of Economics at the University of Massachusetts (address should include: Thompson Hall, Amherst, MA 01003). E-mail: rdballou@pcnet.com

Michael Podgursky is Professor of Economics and Chairman of the Department of Economics at the University of Missouri (address should include: 118 Professional Building, Columbia, MO 65203). E-mail: podgursk@econ.missouri.edu.

 

What is the NCTAF? Its name notwithstanding, the NCTAF holds no "commission" from any elected official. It is a private organization, funded by the Rockefeller and Carnegie Foundations. Although the NCTAF claims that its report is not the work of education insiders, the largest block of members come from schools of education that train teachers and from national education organizations, including the following: 

  • the two major teacher unions (the National Education Association [NEA] and the American Federation of Teachers [AFT]); 
  • the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE); and 
  • the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (the National Board). 

The NCATE and the National Board figure prominently in the Commission's recommendations, and have a direct financial stake in their adoption.

 The Commission's report comes thirteen years into a prolonged debate about education quality in the United States, ignited by the publication in 1983 of A Nation at Risk. The work of the National Commission on Excellence in Education (NCEE), a panel of educators appointed by Secretary of Education Terence Bell, A Nation at Risk also called attention to problems with teacher quality. Too many teachers had poor academic records and received low scores on tests of cognitive ability. Teacher education programs were graduating large numbers of marginal students who did not know enough about the subjects they were teaching. On college board exams, education students were below nearly all other majors, and had been declining through the 1970's (Weaver, 1983). According to the NCEE, the profession needed to attract more academically accomplished individuals, a conclusion reached by several other task forces and commissions whose reports came out soon afterward. For example, the 1986 Carnegie Forum for Education and the Economy concluded: 

Teachers should have a good grasp of the ways in which all kinds of physical and social systems work: a feeling for what data are and the uses to which they can be put, an ability to help students see patterns of meaning where others see only confusion ... They must be able to learn all the time, as the knowledge required to do their work twists and turns with new challenges and the progress of science and technology ... We are describing people of substantial intellectual accomplishment (p. 25). 

Now, more than a decade later, the Commission has issued another "scathing indictment" of teacher quality. But the message has changed. The Commission makes only passing reference to the need to recruit smarter teachers. (Indeed, this is no longer regarded as a major problem.) Instead, the Commission sees the problem as primarily one of training: teachers are not properly prepared to enter the classroom. Under the heading "Unenforced Standards," the Commission blames State education departments and some teacher education schools for this state of affairs.

Because most states do not require schools of education to be accredited, only about 500 of the nation’s 1200 education schools have met common professional standards. States, meanwhile, routinely approve all of their teacher education programs, including those that lack qualified faculty and are out of touch with new knowledge about teaching (p. 28).

The Commission does find problems in other areas. Low pay and poor working conditions discourage teachers, raise attrition rates, and deter talented individuals from entering the profession. Master teachers receive inadequate recognition for their accomplishments. Nonetheless, the Commission's preoccupation with teacher preparation is evident in the way it characterized other problems. For example, the Commission describes teacher recruitment as "slipshod." The basis for this claim? Districts hire too many teachers who lack the appropriate credentials for the subjects they are assigned to teach. Unlicensed instructors, who have not completed pre-service courses in pedagogy (i.e., teaching methods), are allowed to enter the classroom on "emergency certificates." The Commission also criticizes teacher education programs for admitting too many students who never reach the classroom, either because they drop out of these programs before graduating, or because they opt for other careers upon finishing. But this too is primarily a result of their training: if teacher education were more effective, these students would experience less of the frustration responsible for the high rates of attrition.

In short, while earlier commissions and task forces spoke clearly of the need to attract more capable individuals into the teaching profession, this concern is all but forgotten by the NCTAF. Instead, we are now told that the main problem is inadequate teacher training. The distinction has important implications, particularly for schools of education. If the nation needs to attract more talented, capable people into the teaching profession, policies need to be shaped with that end in mind. Raising standards for admission to teacher education would be a step in that direction, but only a beginning, since screening out weak candidates would do nothing in itself to attract bright, talented people into teaching. It is likely that the nation will need to cast a wider net for teachers, making greater use of alternative certification programs and other routes by which capable individuals can enter the profession. It may be that public schools, like private schools, should be permitted to hire teachers who have not completed formal training programs when these individuals show promise in other respects.

If the problem with the teacher work force is inadequate training, however, the policy response will differ. If teachers need to be better trained, it is to the schools, departments, and colleges of education that the nation will turn, pouring in resources, strengthening requirements, and ensuring that state-of-the-art practices are disseminated throughout the community of teacher educators. True, some teacher training programs may be closed down, if they fail to upgrade programs. But this would represent a transfer of resources within teacher education to the better programs, not a flow out of the professional education community. Schools of education would play a larger role, not a smaller one, in shaping the teaching work force.

Given the Commission's composition and its diagnosis of the problem, it is not surprising that it writes approvingly of a wide variety of initiatives designed to strengthen teacher education programs, such as: 

  • additions to the curriculum that would make an undergraduate education degree a five-year rather than a four-year program;
  • professional practice schools that offer teacher education students clinical experience in schools run jointly by local education authorities and universities; 
  • internships in which beginning teachers are closely supervised by mentors and share their experiences with peers and more experienced instructors; 
  • requirements that secondary school teachers have a major in the subject they are to teach, as well as in education; and 
  • licensing examinations for new teachers and certificates of advanced professional standing based on videotapes and portfolios of student work for experienced "master" teachers.
 

To carry out these reforms, the NCTAF promotes a sweeping plan to "professionalize" teaching, shifting control of accreditation and certification from local school boards and State education agencies to private education organizations. The Commission’s recommendations do not specify the curriculum of teacher training programs or the content of licensing examinations. Rather, their reform agenda is essentially one of empowering education professionals to set standards for how teachers will be trained, tested, hired and promoted. It will be up to these professional organizations to determine curriculum and other reforms needed to upgrade the teacher work force. Here are several of the Commission’s specific proposals.

1. "All teacher education programs must meet professional standards, or they will be closed" (p. 63 of the Commission's report). By "meeting professional standards," the Commission means obtaining accreditation from the accrediting body, the NCATE, a private organization funded and governed by various education organizations. While all education schools must currently meet the standards required for accreditation by their State departments of education, most do not meet or seek to secure the approval of NCATE (though in a small but growing number of States, teacher training programs are required to secure NCATE accreditation).

2. "Establish professional boards in every State" (p. 69). In most States, teacher licensing (certification) requirements are set by State education departments. By contrast, in law and medicine these standards are set by professional boards composed of practitioners at the highest ranks of the profession. The Commission proposes similar boards for teachers in order to set higher standards for teaching and to "... create a firewall between the political system and standards-setting process ..." (p. 70). 

3. "Set goals and incentives for National Board Certification in every State and district. Aim to certify 105,000 teachers in this decade, one for every school in the United States" (p. 100).

4. "Develop a career continuum for teaching linked to assessments and compensation systems that reward knowledge and skill" (p. 94).

National Board certification seems particularly popular. President Clinton mentioned it in his 1997 State of the Union Message and many States seem to be moving ahead in this area. The objective is to secure certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards for the very best teachers—and pay them more. For example, in North Carolina, the salaries of National Board certified teachers are increased by four percent. Governor Hunt has proposed raising this premium to fifteen percent in coming years. 

Teachers demonstrate that their teaching is "state-of-the-art" by submitting portfolios to the National Board (located just outside Detroit). These portfolios include videotapes of their teaching, lesson plans, and samples of student work. These materials are reviewed by "experts"—moonlighting teachers who are trained by the National Board. Teachers are also required to take a test at a regional site. Input from supervisors or parents is not solicited.

Remarkably, there has been very little public discussion of the merits of these recommendations. While the Commission's report received wide coverage in the media when released in the summer of 1996, most of the publicity focused on its claims that public schools were employing large numbers of poorly trained and poorly qualified teachers. Given this, their proposals to strengthen teacher training and licensing seemed uncontroversial, if not irresistible. Thus they succeeded almost at once in setting the terms of public debate about the way the nation will recruit and train new teachers. The Commission remains active, vigorously promoting its proposals. Among other efforts, they have issued a State-by-State report card grading States on their efforts to professionalize their teaching work forces. According to a Commission press release, eleven States have formed "partnerships" with the NCTAF "...to create programs and policies advancing [their—the Commission's] recommendations...."

It is time for a closer look at the Commission's report and agenda. In section II, we consider the way the NCTAF has characterized the problem. Is the NCTAF correct to focus on the inadequacy of teacher training? In section III, we examine the evidence for NCTAF’s policy recommendations. Does the research literature indicate that the changes which the Commission envisions will substantially improve schools? Finally, in sections IV & V, we explain how their policy prescriptions could impede educational reform, doing more harm than good. 

II. Teacher Preparation — How Bad Is It?

The NCTAF claims that public schools are hiring large numbers of poorly trained and poorly qualified teachers. To support its case, the Commission offers what appear to be factual statements about the work force. Let us consider the evidence on two phenomena that concern the Commission most: teachers who do not have the training in teaching methods required for a standard license, and instructors who do not have adequate knowledge of the subjects they teach.

Substandard Licenses

The Commission claims that schools are hiring many teachers who are not fully certified: 

In recent years, more than 50,000 people who lack the training required for their jobs have entered teaching annually on emergency or substandard licenses ... Twelve percent of all newly hired teachers have no training [in teaching methods], another fourteen percent enter without having fully met state standards.

Although the Commission is vague about the source for these numbers, by all indications they are based on the 1990-91 Schools and Staffing Survey (SASS), the most comprehensive source of nationally representative information on the make-up of the teaching work force. However, in our own tabulations of these data we were unable to reproduce the statistics cited by the Commission. First, only 4.6%—not 12 percent—of newly hired public school teachers indicated they had taken no courses in teaching methods. The Commission's claim that districts have been hiring 50,000 new teachers each year with emergency or substandard certificates is even more of an overstatement. In fact, only 16,000 new public school teachers held "temporary, provisional, or emergency certificates" in 1993-94.

Yet this figure is still too high. In many States, regular teacher certification proceeds through two or more stages. The first stage license is known as a "provisional" certificate. Teachers advance beyond the provisional level in various ways, depending on the regulations in force in their State—either by completing additional college courses or professional development programs, or by obtaining a master’s degree, or by teaching for a specified period of time. Thus, it is likely that many teachers who responded that they held "provisional" certificates were simply in the first stage of the normal certification process. Fortunately, the next administration of the SASS, conducted in 1993-94, distinguished teachers with a "temporary certificate" (which "requires some additional college coursework and/or student teaching before regular certification can be obtained") from those holding an "emergency certificate or waiver" (which is "issued to persons with insufficient teacher preparation who must complete a regular certification program in order to continue teaching"). Our tallies of these data show that of public school teachers who started work in 1993 or 1994, only 7.6% had a temporary certificate and only 2.5% an emergency license.

In exaggerating the problem, the NCTAF has also overlooked an important matter: how long it takes new instructors to correct deficiencies in their preparation. After a year or two many of those teachers who enter with substandard licenses may be indistinguishable from their colleagues. In fact, of the teachers first hired in 1992-93, only 1.7% were still teaching on emergency licenses in February, 1994, during their second year of service; and only 5.6% had temporary certificates. Both figures are smaller than the corresponding proportions among 1993 new hires, suggesting that with the passage of time, unqualified teachers are either dismissed or correct their deficiencies. As a result, "unprepared" teachers constitute a negligible proportion of the entire work force. In 1993-94, fewer than one-half of one percent of all public school teachers held emergency certificates. Slightly more than one percent had temporary certificates.

Finally, there remains the possibility that teachers hired on emergency or temporary licenses may have something extra to offer, explaining why they are hired in preference to fully licensed candidates. This possibility does not appear to have occurred to the Commission, which acknowledges that some of these hires may be in response to teacher shortages. Otherwise, they attribute it to administrative incompetence or misplaced priorities.

In many states, standards are simply waived whenever school districts want to hire teachers who cannot make the grade. Sometimes this is a function of genuine shortages in fields of short supply. Often, however, it occurs due to short-sighted hiring procedures, administrative convenience, efforts to save on teacher costs in favor of more ‘important’ areas, and plain old-fashioned patronage (p. 15). 

The Commission does not explain how its proposals, which would close some schools of education and make it more difficult to obtain a license, would relieve shortages. More to the point, there is no recognition that districts might have good reasons for making offers to unlicensed applicants. 

Consider the qualifications of new science teachers hired by school districts on substandard licenses. Of the eighteen biology teachers in the 1993-94 SASS who were hired on temporary or emergency licenses, two-thirds held degrees in biology. Three others held degrees in another science. Altogether, of the thirty-nine science teachers hired with substandard licenses, twenty-seven had majored in one of the sciences (though not necessarily the subject they were first assigned to teach). This ratio exceeds that for science teachers overall and strongly suggests that districts exploit loopholes in certification requirements to offer employment to individuals whose subject matter preparation is superior to conventional candidates. Are these the instructors the Commission has in mind when it writes of teachers who "cannot make the grade"?

Teaching Out of Field

According to the Commission's report, many teachers are assigned courses they are not qualified to teach: 

Fifty-six percent of high school students taking physical science are taught by out of field teachers, as are 27 percent of those taking mathematics and 21 percent of those taking English (p. 15-16). 

These statistics are based on tabulations from the Schools and Staffing Survey of 1990-91. They have been widely cited in the media as evidence that America's teachers lack adequate subject matter preparation. 

We share this underlying concern. However, the NCTAF distorts the evidence on this point, exaggerating the problem. By so doing, the Commission reinforces its claim that the problem with the workforce can be solved through additional training. 

For example, the passage quoted is misleading in two respects. First, the term "out of field" is employed in an idiosyncratic sense. In conventional usage, an "out of field" teacher is one who lacks certification in the subject he or she teaches. The NCTAF uses this term to refer to teachers who lack either a major or a minor in their subject. The problem with this definition is that many college students do not declare minors even though they may have taken several courses in a field and completed the requirements (or nearly so) for a formal minor. By setting an arbitrary standard that most teachers are not currently asked to meet, the Commission is able to inflate the conventional estimates of the number of out of field instructors. The difference is considerable. For example, only 14 percent of high school students taking physical science have instructors who lack a certificate as well as a degree or a minor in one of the physical sciences—far below the Commission’s figure of 56 percent. 

The NCTAF obtained these statistics from a study that investigated the preparation of secondary school teachers (Ingersoll and Gruber, 1996). The Commission substituted the words "high school," a subtle but important change, since secondary school includes the seventh and eighth grades. The preparation of secondary school teachers tends to be stronger the higher the grade level. As one would expect (and hope), upper-level courses that demand stronger subject matter knowledge are more likely to be staffed by faculty who have that background. By effacing this distinction, the Commission has exaggerated the problem. For example, among high school English students, the proportion taught by instructors lacking a major or a minor in English or a related field (e.g., communications) is 14 percent—less than the Commission’s statistic by a third. 

There are other important distinctions the Commission overlooks. For example, high school English covers a wide range of courses. If we consider only literature courses, the proportion of students taught by "out of field" instructors falls to just nine percent. (The proportion whose teachers are not certified in English—the conventional meaning of "out of field"—is a trivial three percent.) Other subjects that fall under the broad heading of "English" are composition (11 percent out of field, using the Commission’s definition), reading (27 percent) and "other" (16 percent). Whether one needs a minor in English or a related field to teach these subjects is debatable. The largest share of out of field teachers is in reading. Yet reading at the high school level is apt to be a remedial subject or a program for students with limited English proficiency, calling for teachers whose credentials are in English as a second language or special education.

Mathematics offers another case in point. The Commission claims that 30 percent of high school mathematics teachers do not hold "even a minor" in their field. This is correct. However, it is important to recognize that teachers with weaker backgrounds in mathematics are more likely to teach math as a secondary assignment. They are not responsible for most of the math instruction conducted in secondary schools. Furthermore, they are concentrated in low-level courses.

This is brought out in Table 1, which displays the percentage of students in various math courses by the preparation of their instructors. Students enrolled in general math or business math are, indeed, likely to have a teacher with less than a minor in mathematics (though even here, most instructors have more than three college courses in the subject). However, as soon as we look above this level to the next course—elementary algebra—we see a sharp shift in the numbers. At this level, only 23 percent of students are taught by an instructor who has less than a college minor in the subject. Ninety percent have teachers who are certified in math. From this point on the qualifications of teachers rise. Among calculus students, for example, more than 90 percent have teachers with a major or minor in mathematics or mathematics education. 

Table 1

Percentage of Students Taking Mathematics  
By Course and Teacher Qualifications

 
Course Taught by Teacher
Teacher Preparation
General Math
Business Math
Elementary Algebra
Calculus
Teacher has:

Mathematics degree

14.1 23.0 31.3 51.4
Mathematics education degree 21.6 14.1 35.3 37.2
Mathematics minor 9.6 5.1 10.8 3.3
Less than a minor 54.7 57.8 22.6 8.1
Totals: 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0
Teacher has taken:

More than 3 undergraduate Math courses

59.3 44.7 79.7 82.4
1-3 undergraduate Math courses 26.8 34.5 11.0 6.6
No undergraduate Math courses 14.0 20.8 9.3 11.0
Totals: 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0
Teacher has Mathematics Certification 72.5 43.3 90.0 96.0

 Source: 1993-94 Schools and Staffing Survey

In short, the Commission's figures gloss over important distinctions. Instructors with less formal training in mathematics tend to be assigned general math and business math courses. The content of these courses is far below the level of college mathematics. This is not to say that students in these courses do not deserve good teachers. But it is not evident that a college math background is needed. In higher level courses, the great majority of instructors are qualified even by the Commission’s idiosyncratic criteria.

Academic Ability

Many studies have pointed to the low academic ability of education majors, whose SAT, ACT, and GRE scores are significantly below the average for college graduates. Many States have found it necessary to institute tests of basic academic competency for new and veteran teachers. The failure rates on these tests are disconcerting and are further evidence of the low academic standards in many education programs. One would think that these facts would receive some attention in a document concerned with teacher qualifications. Yet the NCTAF report is silent on this issue except for the following rather remarkable assertion:

Furthermore, talented recruits are entering schools of education in record numbers. Due to recent reforms, both standards and interest have been steadily rising. By 1991, graduates of teacher education programs had higher levels of academic achievement than most college graduates, reversing the trends of the early 1980's (p.52).

A reader encountering this statement would probably assume that it referred to scores on the ACT, the SAT, or other standardized achievement tests. In fact, the Commission’s evidence for this proposition consists solely of self-reported college grade point averages, obtained from a series of U.S. Department of Education surveys of recent college graduates. Because the average GPA of education majors is higher than engineers, the Commission concludes that education majors have "higher levels of academic achievement." 

This is preposterous. The Commission’s claim ignores differences in grading criteria familiar to virtually everyone in higher education. Data gathered by the Department of Education from 1992-93 graduates speak to this point. The average grade awarded in education courses was 3.41 on a four-point scale. By contrast, the average in the social science courses was 2.96. In science and engineering it fell to 2.67. Yet science and engineering majors have significantly higher college board scores than education majors (Henke et al., 1996). 

This is not the only dubious claim in this short passage. The Commission indicates that education majors have recently overtaken others, "reversing the trends of the early 1980's." In fact, there has been no such reversal. Department of Education surveys have consistently found that the GPA’s of education majors have exceeded other majors as far back as the data have been collected (1976). The Commission’s statement leaves the impression that while concerns with academic ability may once have been warranted, that problem has since been solved. In this manner it clears the field for the promotion of its self-serving agenda. 

Teacher Preparation: Summary

To conclude, while we do not dispute that the preparation of American teachers could be improved, the NCTAF’s handling of evidence on this point exhibits a clear bias. The Commission makes idiosyncratic use of common terms, thereby inflating estimates of the number of poorly prepared teachers—yet without acknowledging that it has done so. The Commission fails to draw appropriate distinctions between courses that require advanced subject matter knowledge and those that do not. Some of the statistics presented without attribution, such as the percentage of new teachers who have had no training in teaching methods, cannot be verified by independent tabulations of the data. Moreover, virtually every one of these errors and distortions has the same effect: to bolster the Commission's contention that the problem of teacher quality can be remedied by having teachers take more courses.

By contrast, the Commission all but ignores one of the principal concerns raised by earlier task forces and commissions, namely, the low level of academic ability and weak cognitive skills of many teachers. In its effort to dismiss this concern, the Commission cites evidence that cannot begin to support its claim. Once again, this can hardly be an accident, given the focus on teacher training in the Commission’s program for reform. In the Commission's agenda there is no place for the notion that the profession needs to attract brighter people and that it might even be a good idea to relax some traditional licensing requirements in order to get them.

III. The NCTAF Recommendations: 

How Strong is the Evidence?

 While there is a problem with teacher quality in American schools, it is not clear that the NCTAF has identified the principal factors responsible. At this point, however, let us suppose that the Commission’s diagnosis is correct. How should the nation improve the way it recruits and trains new teachers?

As noted, the Commission offers few specifics in its recommendations, leaving the details to the councils and professional organizations it would entrust with the accreditation of teacher education schools and the licensing of instructors. Nonetheless, the discussion throughout the Commission’s report leaves little doubt that it anticipates that prospective teachers will be required to take additional courses before they can enter the classroom. The Commission writes approvingly of five-year programs (as opposed to the conventional four-year undergraduate degree), and applauds States that require teachers to obtain a master’s degree. It disparages reforms that reduce the amount of pre-service training in order to streamline entry into the profession (as in many alternative certification programs). According to the Commission, the formal training teachers receive ought to reflect "state-of-the-art practices," "incorporating new knowledge" and an evolving "knowledge base for teaching" that makes clearer than ever before just what teachers should be doing in the classroom. 

The NCTAF report contains numerous citations to education research literature. The sheer number of these citations is apt to create the impression that the recommendations of the Commission are supported by a vast body of scientific findings. Readers are led to believe that there is a growing consensus about what teachers ought to know and do, resting firmly on research, and that the chief remaining obstacle is a lack of political will to insist that teachers meet these standards. For the following reasons we would caution readers against this conclusion.

1. The research cited by the NCTAF was not conducted by disinterested parties. Virtually all of the research cited in the NCTAF report was carried out by faculty in schools or departments of education. It appeared in journals published by these schools or in anthologies edited by faculty from these programs. Much of it was presented at conferences for education professionals dominated by education school faculty. Some of it was based on dissertations written under the supervision of these professors. In short, the research evaluating teacher education is carried out by people who work in departments and schools that train teachers. In many instances the same persons perform both tasks. It is hardly surprising under these circumstances to find that much of this research concludes that the right kind of pre-service training significantly improves teacher performance.

Remarkably, the conflict of interest here appears to have passed unnoticed in public debate over education policy, which routinely defers to "experts" from education schools even when the advice these experts offer is self-serving. This is not to say that education school faculty intentionally deceive the public. But it would be naive to suppose that those conducting research in these circumstances are immune from professional pressures and biases that color their findings. Regrettable as it may be, the prior beliefs of researchers in the social sciences frequently have a profound influence on what the research finds. It is only natural for the faculty of schools of education to believe that their work (and the work of their colleagues) in preparing teachers is socially beneficial and that there is something amiss with research that fails to support this conclusion. Moreover, journal editors are more likely to publish research that contains positive results. This publication bias reinforces the aforementioned "professional bias," making it all the more likely that "acceptable research" will indicate that schools of education make a positive contribution to teacher performance.

2. Much of the research on the relationship of teacher training to teacher performance is of questionable quality. One might reasonably question whether two economists are competent to make such a sweeping judgment of research in a field that is not their own. However, it is not necessary to take our word for it. Authorities cited by the Commission itself are as negative as we.

[A]lthough the number of studies relating to teacher education is large, the research is often of dubious scientific merit and frequently fails to address the types of issues about which policy makers are most concerned. ... The investigations on teacher education effects do not represent a strong body of research. ... [M]ost studies comparing teachers prepared through education courses and those not formally trained do not seek to control for possible differences in the intelligence or general academic competence of the teachers. ... Other background or context variables that might account for differences in teacher effectiveness are infrequently accounted for in selecting samples or analyzing data (Evertson, Hawley, and Zlotnik, 1985). 

It is difficult to draw any conclusions about the role of academic preparation on student achievement from the studies that have been conducted. They are fraught with methodological weaknesses that limit the likelihood of finding significant relationships (Ashton and Crocker, 1987). 

3. The research cited by the Commission frequently fails to support the Commission’s recommendations. One of the most surprising things about the research cited in the NCTAF report is how little support it provides for the Commission’s recommendations. On many key points the evidence contained in the research literature turns out to be considerably weaker than one would have imagined, given the Commission’s claims. We describe a few such instances.

(i.) The Commission strongly disapproves of nontraditional "alternative" certification programs that weaken licensing requirements. The NCTAF report states:

Studies of such efforts consistently reveal severe shortcomings: Recruits are dissatisfied with their training; they have greater difficulties planning curriculum, teaching, managing the classroom, and diagnosing students’ learning needs. Principals and other teachers typically rate them lower on key teaching skills ... Most important, their students learn less, especially in areas like reading and writing, which are critical to later school success (p. 53, emphasis added).

A footnote directs the reader to an article by the Commission’s executive director for a review of this literature (Darling-Hammond, 1992). Someone turning to this source for evidence that students learn less in classes taught by alternative recruits would probably be surprised to find that none is offered. Indeed, in the reviewer’s own words:

Current literature provides very little data concerning the question of adequacy of program preparation. ... Though studies sometimes note similarities and differences between the design of AC [alternative certification] programs and traditional teacher education, they generally do not describe how these differences affect recruits’ capacities or experiences in the classroom (Darling-Hammond, p. 137). 

The article goes on to describe how the preparation of alternative-route teachers differs from that of traditionally-trained instructors. Not surprisingly, the former are less well prepared by the traditional criteria. This is virtually axiomatic, since alternative certification routes were designed to bypass traditional training. On the issue described as "most important" by the Commission—whether students learn less from alternative-route teachers—the literature cited fails to support the claim in the NCTAF report. As one of the Commission’s own authorities notes: 

[M]any studies...show that training makes a difference in producing specific desired behaviors. The big question that remains is whether the behaviors are valid (Greenberg, 1983).

There is no indication in the NCTAF report that this central question remains unresolved. 

(ii.) The Commission recommends that all beginning teachers participate in an induction program, working under the supervision of an experienced teacher and participating in a variety of in-service training programs. Yet the background paper commissioned by the NCTAF on teacher recruitment, selection, and induction contains these sobering remarks about such programs:

There are innumerable claims that formal mentoring programs produce dramatic changes in new teachers: retention goes up, attitudes improve, feelings of efficacy and control increase, and a wider range of instructional strategies is demonstrated. ... However, there is little empirical evidence as to the effects of different mentoring programs—on both new teachers and their students. ... [T]he current landscape provides no clear answers to such questions as: the degree to which induction should focus on assistance or assessment; the efficiency of induction-related internships as an alternative to university-based teacher education; and what standards (if any) should apply to the role, selection, and preparation of mentors (as well as the organizational time necessary for effective mentor/mentee relationships) (Berry and Haselkorn, 1996). 

(iii.) It is a commonplace that the mere presence of a statistical association does not establish a causal relationship. Yet the Commission assumes precisely this in endorsing policies whose effectiveness has not been proven.

For example, the Commission supports extended pre-service training that adds an extra year to the traditional four-year undergraduate degree. The Commission argues that graduates of five-year programs are better prepared and experience less of the difficulty and frustration that lead to high rates of attrition among new teachers. By way of proof, the NCTAF cites research comparing graduates of four- and five-year programs which found that the latter entered teaching at significantly higher rates and remained in teaching longer (Andrew and Schwab, 1995).

Yet one would expect differences of this kind even if the extra year of training per se had no effect. Individuals who enroll in a five-year degree program are more likely to be committed to teaching from the start than those who enter four-year programs, since the former will have lost an extra year if teaching turns out to be the wrong career decision. Moreover, the investment of an extra year may make them more willing to persevere if their initial experience in the classroom is unsatisfactory. In short, while the NCTAF claims that the greater "success" of five-year graduates demonstrates the superiority of the training they received, there is every reason to think that these groups differed before they ever enrolled in teacher education.

This phenomenon—where the mere fact of self-selection into the five-year program creates a difference between the two sets of graduates apart from any difference due to the programs—is well-known among researchers in the social sciences. Indeed, there is much literature that addresses the effect of self-selection on statistical analysis and procedures for dealing with it. Yet neither the NCTAF nor the researchers they have cited acknowledge this problem.

(iv.) A striking example of the disjunction between the research the Commission cites and the spin the Commission puts on it arises in a discussion of teacher training and the skills effective teachers must possess. It is worth quoting the passage at length.

Students will not be able to achieve higher standards of learning unless teachers are prepared to teach in new ways and schools are prepared to support high-quality teaching. ... Teaching in ways that help diverse learners master challenging content is much more complex than teaching for rote recall or low-level basic skills. Enabling students to write and speak effectively, to solve novel problems, and to design and conduct independent research requires paying attention to learning, not just to ‘covering the curriculum.’ It means engaging students in activities that help them become writers, scientists, mathematicians, and historians, in addition to learning about these topics. It means figuring out how children are learning and what they actually understand and can do in order to plan what to try next. It means understanding how children develop and knowing many different strategies for helping them learn.

Teachers who know how to do these things make a substantial difference in what children learn. Furthermore, a large body of evidence shows that the preparation teachers receive influences their ability to teach in these ways. However, many teachers do not receive the kind of preparation they need... (p. 27, emphasis added).

This passage is quite vague about the things teachers must do to achieve such wonderful results. But clearly the Commission is claiming that effective programs of teacher education equip their graduates with specific teaching strategies and techniques that result in higher levels of student achievement. Indeed, the passage quoted above appears in a section of the report in which the Commission deplores the fact that programs of teacher education are not held to a single high standard—a standard that reflects state-of-the-art knowledge about teaching methods. One would expect, then, that the "large body of evidence" (mentioned in the second paragraph quoted) would not only identify what these strategies and techniques are, but would document the superiority of these state-of-the-art methods.

The first citation to the literature that accompanies this passage is to Evertson, Hawley, and Zlotnik (1985), which contains the following assessment of the research literature:

Because the research reviewed examined a broad range of teacher behaviors, and because measures of effectiveness are not specifically tied, in most cases, to those behaviors, the available evidence does not allow identification of how differences in teachers’ capabilities that might be related to their pre-service preparation accounted for differences in their performance. Quite clearly, teachers learn to do some things through their education courses that might reasonably be expected to improve student achievement.

To paraphrase but slightly, prospective teachers learn to do something in their education courses that helps them later, but we aren’t sure just what it is. The researchers cited here expressly disavow the notion that the literature identifies state-of-the-art pedagogical practices that all training programs should teach. They are saying precisely the opposite of what the Commission claims the research literature shows. Nor is this the only cited study to reach this conclusion. Reviewing research on the relationship of a teacher’s professional education and subject matter coursework to the subsequent performance of that teacher’s students, Ashton and Crocker (1987) conclude:

[W]holesale adoption of a single approach to reform is unwarranted in view of the weak empirical evidence that can be mustered in support of a given position.

To summarize, the research literature provides far less support for the Commission’s recommendations than the NCTAF claims. The quality of the research is suspect, and the possibility of bias, induced by professional conflicts of interest, is considerable. On close examination the literature is frequently found to contain statements at variance with the conclusions drawn by the Commission.

Fortunately, the research literature is not the only source of evidence on the merits of the Commission's proposals. Many of the reforms advocated by the NCTAF have been implemented in various States. What does the track record show?

States’ Progress on Teacher Professionalization

The Commission has issued a scorecard indicating how much each State has done to professionalize teaching according to its recommendations. Points were awarded for such factors as: 

  • establishing an independent professional board, 
  • employing a high proportion of teachers trained in NCATE-accredited programs, and 
  • obtaining national board certification for experienced teachers. 

 Several States received scores of zero, while the top score on the ten-point scale went to Minnesota—a seven.

We find no evidence of a statistically significant positive relationship between these scores and available State-level indicators of student performance. In Table 2 we present the correlation between the NCTAF’s "professionalization" scores and State-level scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), for 8th grade math (1990 and 1992) and 4th grade reading (1992). Although the point estimate of the correlation between the NAEP scores and NCTAF scores is on the order of .2, the standard error is so large that the true correlation may be zero—a hypothesis we cannot reject. In Table 2, we also present the estimated correlation between NCTAF scores and State-level SAT scores for States in which more than 40 percent of graduating seniors took the test. In this case, the estimated correlation was negative but also statistically insignificant. We also computed the correlation between changes in SAT and NAEP scores and NCTAF scores. In both cases the estimated correlation, while positive, was statistically insignificant. 
  
  

Table 2

Correlation Between Measures of NCTAF Teacher Quality  
and Student Test Scores

 
State mean

(sample size)

Correlation with NCTAF State Grades 

(p-value)

NAEP Reading, 4th Grade

(1992)

214.6

(38)

.21

(.21)

NAEP Math, 8th Grade

(1992)

265.6

(42)

.24

(.13)

NAEP Math, 8th Grade

(1990)

262.3

(35)

.22

(.20)

NAEP Math, 8th Grade 3.3

(35)

.24

(.16)

SAT 1993-94 887.8

(24)

-.13

(.56)

SAT 1990-91 885.1

(24)

-.16

(.45)

SAT 1990-91
to 93-94
2.1

(24)

.08

(.72)

 

Sources: State Teacher Professionalization Scores were taken from What Matters Most, Appendix F, pp. 146-147; NAEP and SAT scores from Digest of Education Statistics, 1995. SAT calculations were restricted to States in which more than 40 percent of graduating seniors take the SAT.

Professional Boards

The medical and legal professions are largely self-regulated by professional boards. The NCTAF argues that similar boards of educators would set higher standards for teacher training and licensing and notes with approval the fact that twelve States currently have such boards. However, no attempt is made to assess whether boards have raised student performance. The cross-sectional data provide no support for this proposition. By the Commission’s ownteacher quality measures,  there are no significant differences between the twelve States with professional boards and those without such boards. (See Table 3 below.) 
  

Table 3

Professional Boards for Teaching and Educational Outcomes:  
State Comparisons

  States with Professional Board

(standard error)

States withoutProfessional board

(standard error)

Difference 

(1) - (2)

NAEP Reading, 4th Grade

(1992)

214.9

(3.0)

214.6

(1.5)

.3
NAEP Math, 8th Grade

(1992)

268.6

(3.5)

264.7

(1.8)

3.9
NAEP Math, 8th Grade

(1990)

265.2

(3.4)

261.2

(2.0)

4.0
NAEP Math, 8th Grade 3.4

(.69)

3.3

(.43)

.1
SAT 1993-94 884.6

(13.5)

888.7

(5.1)

-4.1
SAT 1990-91 878.6

(13.8)

886.8

(5.1)

-8.2
SAT 1990-91 to 93-94 6.0

(3.4)

1.9

(2.8)

4.1

Sources: Professional boards were taken from What Matters Most, Appendix F, pp. 146-147; NAEP and SAT scores from Digest of Education Statistics, 1995. SAT calculations were restricted to States in which more than 40 percent of graduating seniors take the SAT.

 A consideration of the track record in States that have such boards does not inspire much confidence. California, for example, has had an independent professional board since 1970. Yet in 1983, public concern over the presence in the classroom of incompetent teachers led legislators to mandate that new teachers, as well as incumbents seeking administrative positions, pass a very basic test of reading, writing and numeracy skills. Nearly one in five teachers failed the exam, including a substantial number seeking administrative positions (Hill, 1996). 

NCATE Accreditation

The Commission recommended that all teacher training programs be required to obtain accreditation from the National Council on Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). NCATE approval, it is believed, would do much to ensure that teachers are carefully selected and receive instruction in state-of-the-art pedagogical methods. According to the Commission, graduates of NCATE-accredited programs will be better prepared for the challenges of the classroom, and, as a result, their rate of attrition will be lower. They will exhibit a higher degree of professionalism in their relations with students and colleagues. 

The Commission report contains no data to support the claim that NCATE-trained teachers are superior, nor does it cite any research studies on this issue. Fortunately, two surveys conducted by the Department of Education allow us to compare recently trained NCATE to non-NCATE teachers on a number of dimensions. By most measures there is little difference between the two groups. Table 4 compares responses to questions on the 1993-94 Schools and Staffing Survey that deal with teacher professionalism and commitment. More than half of both groups intended to spend their entire careers as teachers. A substantial majority (80% in both cases) would still elect to become teachers, had they the choice to make over again. Fewer than a fourth (and more NCATE than non-NCATE) indicated that they sometimes felt it was a waste of time to do their best in the classroom. During the week preceding the survey, NCATE teachers spent somewhat more time on instruction-related activities (preparing lessons, grading papers, etc.) outside school than did non-NCATE teachers. However, the difference between the two groups was not significant at conventional levels. A slightly larger proportion of NCATE teachers moonlighted during the school year, but again, the difference was not statistically significant. 
  
  

Table 4

Attitudes and Behaviors of  
New NCATE and Non-NCATE Teachers

  NCATE NON-NCATE
Committed to Teaching Profession (%) 1 58.6 58.4
Would Become a Teacher Again (%) 2 80.2 79.7
Good Job a Waste of Time (%) 3 24.4 18.9
After School Time: preparation, grading, parent conferences (hours/wk) 4 10.4 9.7
Non-Teaching School Year Moonlighting (%) 5 13.2 12

1. "How long do you plan to remain in teaching?" Percent of teachers responding "As long as I am able"; or "Until I am eligible for retirement."

2. "If you could go back to your college days and start over again, would you become a teacher or not?" Percent of teachers responding: "Certainly would become a teacher"; or "Probably would become a teacher."

 3. Percent of teachers who "strongly agree" or "somewhat agree" with the statement: "I sometimes feel it is a waste of time to try to do my best as a teacher."

 4. "During the most recent full week, how many hours did you spend AFTER school, BEFORE school, and ON THE WEEKEND on each of the following types of activities?" ... "Other school-related activities? (e.g., preparation, grading papers, parent conferences, attending meetings)."

 5. Percent of teachers who report that they earn additional compensation during the current school year from a job outside the school system and unrelated to teaching.

 Source: 1993-94 Schools and Staffing Survey. Sample restricted to persons who earned their bachelor’s degrees in 1990 or later and who started teaching no earlier than 1992. Values denoted by "*" indicate that the difference between NCATE and non-NCATE means are statistically significant at 5%.

 Findings were similar in a comparison of NCATE and non-NCATE teachers who responded to the Baccalaureate and Beyond Longitudinal Survey conducted in 1993-94. (See Table 5 below.) Virtually identical percentages applied for teaching jobs after graduating and expected to be teaching long-term. Few teachers in either group felt they had been assigned to teach a subject for which they were unprepared.  

 

Table 5

Labor Market Experiences of Recent College Graduates 
Who Hold Teaching Certificates

Variable NCATE NON-NCATE
Expect to be teaching in two years 78% 79%
Expect to be teaching long term  67 68
If respondent taught since graduating:    
Would teach if choosing a career over again 82 87
Felt unprepared to teach a field you were assigned 9 8
Applied for a teaching job?  92 90
Received an offer, conditional on having applied  82 84
Mean teaching salary  $19,843 $20,076

Source: Baccalaureate and Beyond Longitudinal Study, First Follow-Up, 1993-94. Values denoted by "*" indicate that the difference between NCATE and non-NCATE means are statistically significant at 5%.

In short, there is little evidence here that teachers trained in NCATE-accredited schools are more professional, more likely to continue teaching, and more satisfied with their career choice. Perhaps more revealing, there is no evidence that those hiring new teachers think so either. The percentage of non-NCATE applicants who found a teaching job was as high as NCATE applicants who found teaching jobs. (See Table 5 above.) And the jobs they received paid as well. 

NCATE and non-NCATE teachers do differ significantly with respect to ethnicity and race. Although non-NCATE schools supply only 41 percent of all teachers, they supply 52 percent of minority teachers and 65 percent of Hispanic teachers. (See Table 6 below.) Their graduates are significantly more likely to work in inner cities and to teach in schools with large shares of minority students. Non-NCATE teachers are also more likely to have Limited English Proficient (LEP) students in their classrooms and to be trained to deal with such students. Shutting down programs that are unable to obtain NCATE accreditation is therefore likely to increase recruitment problems for schools which already confront some of the most difficult teaching challenges. 

Table 6

 Race, Ethnicity, and Employment of New NCATE and Non-NCATE Teachers

  NCATE NON-NCATE
Percent of all Teachers 59.5 40.5
Racial Minority (%) 8.1* 13.7*
Black (%) 6.6 7.7
Hispanic (%) 5.3* 14.6*
Teaching in Central City (%) 24.9* 36.5*
Minority Enrollment at Teacher’s School (%) 29.2* 42.6*
Teaching Limited English Proficient (LEP) Students 32.7* 49.0*

Source: 1993-94 Schools and Staffing Survey. New teachers who began their first teaching job during the 1993-94 school year. Values denoted by "*" indicate that the difference between NCATE and non-NCATE means are statistically significant at 5%.

Many schools and departments of education have shown by their decision to forgo NCATE accreditation that they do not believe this stamp of approval is of great value. Small liberal arts colleges and the more selective universities are among the institutions least likely to have sought NCATE approval. Indeed, the offices of the Commission and its executive director are at Columbia Teachers’ College, an institution whose teacher education program is not accredited by NCATE.

It might be argued that the better colleges and universities have not sought accreditation because they do not need it—everyone recognizes the quality of their programs. Left unexplained is why NCATE has accredited teacher education programs in some of the least selective institutions of higher education in the country. As shown in Table 7 below, 30 percent of the teachers who graduated from NCATE approved programs attended colleges that were rated less than competitive in Barron’s Profiles of American Colleges. Since the "competitive" category is not in fact very selective (between 75% and 85% of applicants are accepted; and median SAT scores were between 450 and 525 on the old scale), one thing seems clear: whatever the other requirements for NCATE accreditation, it is not necessary to be a particularly good college.  

Table 7

NCATE Accreditation and College Selectivity: New Teachers

Selectivity of College or University NCATE NON-NCATE
Most or Highly Competitive 2.3* 14.1*
Very Competitive 17.1* 19.3*
Competitive 50.0* 48.7*
Less Competitive 17.4* 12.5*
Non-Competitive 13.3* 4.8*
Total: 100.0 100.0

Test of identical distribution of NCATE and non-NCATE teachers rejected at 1%.

Sources: 1993-94 Schools and Staffing Survey. Selectivity classifications from Barron’s Profiles of American Colleges, 18th edition (1991).

A substantial body of research has found a positive relationship between student achievement and the quality of the colleges teachers attended or the scores of those teachers on tests of verbal ability (with which college quality is correlated). Yet the academic ability of students graduating from a teacher education program plays virtually no role in determining whether the program will be accredited. While NCATE requires that a program use a test to screen applicants for admission, it does not specify the test to be used or the passing score. Criteria for successful completion are even more vague. NCATE stipulates,

a candidate’s mastery of a program’s stated exit criteria or outcomes [be] assessed through the use of multiple sources of data such as a culminating experience, portfolios, interviews, videotaped and observed performance in schools, standardized tests, and course grades (NCATE, 1997).

This is a requirement that program administrators use various means of assessment, not that graduates be held to any particular standard, which NCATE leaves unspecified.

The list of NCATE-accredited colleges suggests that politics are at least as important as educational quality in determining whether a school is accredited. Where governors have led, colleges have sought and obtained accreditation. Thus, every college in North Carolina offering a teacher education program has obtained NCATE accreditation. In Arkansas, all but two have it. By contrast, New York has 103 State-accredited programs, but only three accredited by NCATE (Canisius College, Fordham, and Hofstra). Massachusetts has 61 State-accredited institutions of which only eight hold NCATE accreditation. All are non-selective institutions (e.g., Bridgewater State College). The State’s selective private schools (e.g., Harvard, BU, Brandeis, Smith, and Mt. Holyoke) are not NCATE-accredited (NASTEC, 1996).

IV. Are Stricter Licensing and Accreditation Standards Helpful?

As the foregoing discussion shows, there is good reason to doubt that the reforms endorsed by the Commission would significantly raise the standards for teacher licensing and for the accreditation of programs of teacher education, let alone measures of student achievement. Still, why not proceed in the hope that something good will come? What harm can it do to try?

Analysis of this question turns on the fact that licensing and accreditation erect barriers to market entry. These barriers function as disincentives that can leave education consumers worse off.

Accreditation

Mandating NCATE accreditation could make it more difficult for talented students to become teachers, should the cost of acquiring accreditation drive small liberal arts colleges from the market. Programs that serve only a few students a year would be particularly vulnerable, leaving the supply of teachers to be dominated by large diploma mills. Is it better for these programs to shut down than for school districts to have their present choice of NCATE and non-NCATE graduates? Even if NCATE teachers were better on average (contrary to the evidence cited in the last section), the range of individual ability is great, ensuring much overlap between the groups. It follows that many non-NCATE graduates would be better than many NCATE trainees. Why prohibit public schools from hiring the former? 

Licensing

The Commission endorses reforms that would require prospective teachers to take more courses and devote more time to pre-service training in the form of induction programs and internships. This would raise significantly the time and money that prospective teachers would be asked to invest in their careers before obtaining regular employment.

Obviously, such a policy will tend to deter some from teaching careers. This might be of little importance if those affected should not have become teachers in the first place. But there is no reason to expect such a happy outcome. On the contrary, protracted pre-service training will deter those who place the greatest value on their time. This includes individuals already in the work force who are contemplating career changes. The practical experience and maturity of many of these individuals make them attractive candidates for teaching. Precisely for these reasons many States have adopted alternative certification routes that waive many of the standard requirements for certification, facilitating the entry of such persons into the profession. Yet the Commission, while nominally endorsing the concept of alternative certification, is opposed to programs that would reduce pre-service training. The model of alternative certification that the Commission supports would have career-changers spend a year in a master’s program before they begin to teach.

Career changers are not the only prospective teachers likely to put a higher-than-average value on their time. This category also includes undergraduates majoring in rigorous disciplines (e.g., the sciences) who will find it difficult to fit additional education courses into demanding course schedules. More generally, raising the requirements for teacher education will deter students who are wavering between teaching and other careers that require specific course work. Any increase in the requirements for a teaching license will have an obvious opportunity cost—less time for the courses that make them more marketable should they pursue other options. Enacting the Commission's proposals would therefore tend to screen out (by their own choice) prospective teachers with the interest and ability to pursue other careers, leaving the applicant pool to those who never thought of themselves as anything but teachers. This would have precisely the opposite effect of other policies that are intended to improve the quality of the teaching pool (e.g., raising salaries). Those who advocate higher pay for teachers do so with the express hope of attracting individuals who are now choosing more attractive careers in other professions. It is the very purpose of such policies to draw into education persons who are wavering between two careers. By contrast, raising entry barriers discourages those who have attractive options and leaves teaching to those who won’t or can’t do anything else that pays as well. 

Higher entry barriers are also more costly for individuals who want to try teaching before making a lifelong commitment to it, or who enter in the expectation that after several years they will be ready to move on. Since attrition from teaching rises with academic ability, higher entry barriers are likely to reduce the quality of the work force. More capable students can anticipate having fewer years in which to amortize their investment in a credential that has no value outside the teaching profession. The result is to turn away promising students. 

In a society with abundant opportunities for talented college graduates and a tradition of labor market mobility, it will never be possible to persuade two million of them to teach their whole lives. Public rhetoric that implies personal failure when a teacher leaves the classroom after successfully teaching for a number of years may deter many of them from ever setting foot in a classroom (Murnane et al., 1991).

Teaching and Other Professions

The Commission report frequently draws comparisons between teaching and the medical profession, whose members spend far more years in study and internships than would teachers under the Commission's proposed reforms. Yet high entry requirements do not deter interested and qualified persons from pursuing careers in medicine. Why should we fear it in education?

The foregoing discussion has brought out some of the important differences. Attrition from teaching (unlike medicine) is high, and is highest among those who were the most capable in college and who are likely to have the most attractive options outside education. The testimony of countless beginning teachers reminds us that teaching is what economists call an "experience good"—it is hard to know whether one will like it without trying it. It is not, in short, the kind of career where it makes a great deal of sense to erect high entry barriers before entrants have a chance to find out whether teaching is for them.

This might not be a telling objection if there were strong evidence that prolonged pre-service training is essential to teaching performance (as with medicine). But the evidence, as we have indicated elsewhere, is not strong. 

[S]ignificant additions to what teacher candidates should know and be able to do before embarking on a career in education not only [have] large economic costs, but there is reason to question whether students can learn and effectively transfer to practice all or even much of the pedagogical knowledge and skills that would be taught in extended programs. Considerable evidence exists that experienced teachers think differently about their work than do novices. ... Teachers may learn some things best, such as cooperative learning strategies, once they have an experiential base upon which to build (Evertson, Hawley and Zlotnik, p. 7).

The greater the relative importance of on-the-job learning, the weaker is the case for high entry barriers. These barriers deter promising candidates who would have learned on the job most of what they need to know, merely to ensure that no one is hired who has not completed pre-service training of comparatively modest value.

In addition, the study of medicine (or to take another example, law) is of considerable intrinsic interest, apart from its indispensable role in professional preparation. These disciplines attract individuals who seek and appreciate the intellectual content of their programs of study. By contrast, academically talented students are apt to find education methods courses intellectually unsatisfying, or at a minimum to anticipate an unsatisfactory experience, given the low regard in which such courses are held. Adding more professional education onto existing teacher licensing requirements strengthens this deterrent.

Thirty-five years ago, a widely-cited study of teacher training by the president of the Council on Basic Education concluded that the subject matter taught at education schools exhibited "intellectual impoverishment" and was filled with jargon that "masks a lack of thought, supports a specious scientism ... and repels any educated mind that happens upon it" (Koerner, 1963). A more recent study does not inspire confidence that there has been much improvement in the interim (Kramer, 1991). Boston University President John Silber has written: "The willingness to endure four years in a typical school of education often constitutes a negative intelligence test" (Finn, 1991). The rhetoric is extreme, but whether Silber is right is not the issue. The point is that no one would think of saying such a thing about the study of medicine or law. Deserved or not, the reputation of education courses puts off the kinds of students who are attracted to the study of medicine and law in part because of the intellectual satisfaction these disciplines offer. 

In short, the argument that entry requirements for teaching should be raised because such requirements are higher still in medicine and law is based on a superficial analogy between these professions. That doctors are held to high licensing standards does not mean that requiring more pre-service training will improve the teaching profession. Circumstances in the two professions are different; the argument for teaching must be assessed on its own merits. 

Market-Based Reforms

The NCTAF report has arrived at a watershed in American educational policy. Major experiments are underway to deregulate public schools while increasing their accountability for performance. The rapidly expanding charter school experiment is a case in point, though States are experimenting with other incentive and accountability systems as well. Such experiments require that local administrators have the authority to make critical personnel decisions; otherwise, they cannot realistically be held accountable for results. By restricting access to the teacher labor market and tying decisions about pay and promotion to credentials and external assessments, the "professionalization" plan proposed by the Commission would reduce the authority and accountability of local administrators. 

The movement to deregulate public schools while holding them accountable for outcomes is inspired by the comparative success of the private school sector. In this sector, competition and consumer choice—not regulation—are the principal means by which schools are held accountable for student achievement. It is a market in which relatively well-informed parents shop for educational services, and in which school administrators are under considerable pressure to deliver value for parents' tuition dollars. Although many of these parents are shopping for services that public schools do not provide, notably religious instruction, a large segment of the market is made up of non-religious schools. Moreover, many religious schools also serve the college prep market. 

To find out whether the NCTAF’s recommendations would complement reforms predicated on deregulation and enhanced accountability at the local level, it is useful to examine practices in the private sector. If the reforms advocated by the Commission are sound, there would presumably be some indication of this in the behavior of private school administrators, who would recognize for themselves the value of the credentials promoted by the Commission.

Our research on personnel policy in private schools has turned up no evidence that such credentials as National Board certification or NCATE accreditation are valued in the private sector. Indeed, private schools, particularly non-religious schools, often bypass the certification system entirely to hire large numbers of non-certified teachers. During the 1987-88 school year, for example, only 55 percent of all teachers in non-religious private schools held State certification in their primary teaching area. This percentage dropped to just 35 percent in secondary schools. Private schools use this flexibility to tap the very large pool of liberal arts majors for capable, knowledgeable instructors.

Interest in National Board certification seems to be almost entirely a public sector phenomenon. While national figures are unavailable, it seems that very few private school teachers have sought National Board certification. Nor have private school administrators shown much interest. For example, only one of 118 National Board certified teachers in North Carolina is employed at a private school, and this teacher acquired it in a pilot program in which the $2,000 fee was waived. It seems clear that very few private school teachers or schools attach enough value to this certificate to make it worth the investment of a teacher’s time and money. 

The behavior of private school administrators clearly indicates that when schools are accountable to the public through consumer choice, little or no value attaches to the kinds of credentials the Commission promotes. Indeed, these schools hire many instructors who have had no formal training in pedagogical methods. The burden of proof is on the Commission to show why public schools must be compelled to submit to regulations that do not apply to private schools—regulations that would impair the efforts of the latter to supply the educational services demanded by the parents who support them. That burden has not been met.

V. Conclusion: Who Will Control Teacher Training, Licensing and Recruitment?

The NCTAF envisions a wide range of reforms to "professionalize" teaching. However, its report falls far short of demonstrating that these proposals will significantly improve educational performance, let alone that the proposed improvements will be achieved in a cost-effective manner. However, this is a question rarely asked in the education research literature—a field where it is usually taken for granted that any activity which furthers teacher professionalization is desirable. Since most research on education and teachers is conducted by faculty in schools of education, this is hardly surprising. Yet many in the general public and the business community also find appealing the notion of "getting serious about standards" and have endorsed the Commission's call for greater professionalization. Who, after all, wants an "unprofessional" teacher?

Economists have long had a different understanding of the matter. From Adam Smith to Milton Friedman, economists have taken a skeptical view of occupational licensing and similar restraints on trade. These policies exploit the power of the government to restrict access to an occupation, thereby raising earnings. By their very nature, professional regulatory boards are controlled by incumbents in the profession (as well as approved suppliers of licenses), who stand to gain by restricting supply or otherwise restraining competition. Sometimes this type of producer control serves the public interest; usually it does not.

Enacting the Commission's agenda would strengthen the position of education providers vis-a-vis consumers in a sector where producer interests already carry enormous weight with policy-makers. Both the Commission and NCATE have close links with the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers. Of the current thirty-one member NCATE executive board, seven are NEA- or AFT-appointed, and include the following: the president, vice-president and secretary-treasurer of the NEA; and the president and vice-president of the AFT. All examining teams sent to a college include at least one teacher. That teacher is drawn from a pool of examiners selected by the NEA and AFT. The NEA’s 1997-98 budget contains $366,600 for NCATE. The same budget contains $306,550 to support certification through the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards, and $213,765 to support efforts "to make licensure ... a process controlled by the profession." 

Is it any surprise, then, that in a 151-page report devoted to a discussion of teacher quality the NCTAF has not one harsh word for teacher unions? Indeed, in a section entitled "Fatal Distractions," the Commission discounts a number of "myths," among them the notion that teacher tenure and teacher unions have been impediments to reform. On the contrary, unions are praised for having embraced "teacher professionalization." 

For all the discussion of higher standards and improved training contained in the NCTAF’s report, it is important to remember that at base the Commission's recommendations are about control. The Commission would turn over the accreditation of teacher preparation programs to NCATE. Licensing examinations would be prepared by the Interstate New Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (INTASC), another private professional organization. The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards would decide who qualifies as a master teacher. Overseeing and guiding all of this activity would be independent professional boards whose members would be drawn, not from the public’s elected representatives, but from organizations of professional educators—who are in large measure from schools of education and teacher unions. 

It is naive to think that the impact of these changes would be limited to improving the training teachers receive (if it would even accomplish that). These organizations have a vested interest in opposing charter schools and other forms of school choice, and in opposing alternative certification programs that bypass traditional teacher training. The prospects for such reforms will be much bleaker if power is shifted away from parents and their elected representatives who will promote changes of this kind, and given to the groups of education professionals aligned with the NCTAF. 
  

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 Ballou, Dale and Podgursky, Michael. Teacher Pay and Teacher Quality. Kalamazoo: W.E. Upjohn Institute, 1997.

 Barron’s Profiles of American Colleges. 18th Edition. New York: Barron’s Educational Services, 1991.

Berry, Barnett and Haselkorn, David. Transforming Teacher Recruitment, Selection, and Induction: Capturing Both the Frame and the Picture for Reform and Professionalism. New York: National Commission for Teaching and American’s Future, Teachers College, Columbia University, 1996. 

Carnegie Forum on Education and the Economy. Task Force on Teaching as a Profession. A Nation Prepared: Teachers for the 21st Century. New York: Carnegie Corporation, 1986.

Darling-Hammond, Linda. "Teaching and Knowledge: Policy Issues Posed by Alternate Certification for Teachers." Peabody Journal of Education 67 (Spring, 1992):123-154.

Evertson, Carolyn M.; Hawley, Willis D.; and Zlotnik, Marilyn. "Making a Difference in Educational Quality Through Teacher Education." Journal of Teacher Education 36 (May- June, 1985):2-12.

Finn, Chester E., Jr. We Must Take Charge: Our Schools and Our Future. New York: Free Press, 1991.

Greenberg, James D. "The Case for Teacher Education: Open and Shut." Journal of Teacher Education 34 (July-August, 1983):2-5.

Henke, Robin R. et al. Out of the Lecture Hall and Into the Classroom: 1992-93 College Graduates and Elementary/Secondary School Teaching. Washington D.C.: U.S. Department of Education, Office of Educational Research and Improvement, 1996.

Hill, David. "Taking on the Test." Education Week (May 8, 1996).

Ingersoll, Richard M. and Gruber, Kerry. Out-of-Field Teaching and Educational Quality. Washington D.C.: U.S. Department of Education, Office of Educational Research and Improvement, 1996. 

Johnson, Robert C. "Low Ranking Texas Eyes Teaching Reforms." Education Week (November 20, 1996).

Koerner, James D. The Miseducation of American Teachers. Cambridge, MA: Riverside Press, 1963.

Kramer, Rita. Ed School Follies. New York: Macmillan, 1991.

Ladd, Helen F. Holding Schools Accountable: Performance-Based Reform in Education. Washington D.C.: Brookings Institution, 1996.

Murnane, Richard J. et al. Who Will Teach? Policies that Matter. Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press, 1991.

National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (NASTEC). Manual on Certification and Preparation of Educational Personnel in the United States and Canada. Dubuque, Iowa: Kendall/Hunt Publishing Co., 1996.

National Commission on Excellence in Education (NCEE). A Nation at Risk: The Imperative for Educational Reform. Washington D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1983.

National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future (NCTAF). What Matters Most: Teaching for America’s Future, 1996. 

National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). Standards Procedures & Policies for the Accreditation of Professional Education Units. Washington D.C., 1997.

________. Teacher Preparation: A Guide to Colleges and Universities. Washington, D.C., 1996. 

National Education Association. Strategic Focus Plan and Budget, Fiscal Year 1997-98 (July, 1997).

Ponessa, Jeanne. "Despite Rocky Road, Education School Accreditation Effort Is on a Roll." Education Week (June 18, 1997):8.

Silver, Lee M. "My Lesson in School Politics." New York Times (September 10, 1997):29.

United States Department of Education. Digest of Education Statistics, 1995. Washington, D.C., 1996.

Weaver, W. Timothy. America’s Teacher Quality Problem: Alternatives for Reform. New York: Praeger, 1983. 
  

Appendix A

National Commission onTeaching and America's Future 
(NCTAF)


 

 James B. Hunt Jr. 
NCTAF Chairman 
Governor, State of North Carolina

Anthony J. Alvarado 
Superintendent, Community School District Two, New York, NY

David L. Boren 
President, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK

Ivy Chan 
Special Education Teacher, Garfield Elementary School, Olympia, WA

James P. Comer, MD 
Director, The School Development Program, and Maurice Falk Professor of Child Psychiatry, Yale University of Child Study Center, New Haven, CT

Ernesto Cortes Jr. 
Southwest Regional Director, Industrial Areas Foundation, Austin, TX

William G. Demmert Jr. 
Visiting Professor, Woodring College of Education, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA

Jim Edgar 
Governor, State of Illinois

Dolores A. Escobar 
Dean, College of Education, San Jose State University, San Jose, CA

Norman C. Francis 
President, Xavier University of Louisiana, New Orleans, LA

Keith Geiger 
Former President, National Education Association (NEA), Washington, D.C.

Christine (Cris) Gutierrez 
Teacher and Assistant Coordinator, Thomas Jefferson High School Humanitas Program, Los Angeles, CA

James Kelly 
President and Chief Executive Officer, The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, Birmingham, MI

Juanita Millender-McDonald 
Member of Congress, State of California

Lynne Miller 
Professor of Education Administration and Leadership, University of Southern Maine, Gorham, ME

Damon P. Moore 
Teacher, Dennis Middle School, Richmond, IN

Annette N. Morgan 
Former Representative, District 39, Missouri House of Representatives, Kansas City, MO

J. Richard Munro 
Chairman, Executive Committee of the Board of Directors, Time Warner Inc., New York, NY

Hugh B. Price 
President and Chief Executive Officer, National Urban League, Inc., New York, NY

David Rockefeller Jr. 
Chairman, Rockefeller Financial Services, New York, NY

Ted Sanders 
President, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, IL

Albert Shanker 
President, American Federation of Teachers (AFT), Washington, D.C.

Lynn F. Stuart 
Principal, Cambridgeport School, Cambridge, MA

Robert Wehling 
Senior Vice President, The Procter and Gamble Company, Cincinnati, OH

Arthur E. Wise 
President, National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), Washington, D.C.

Richard Wisniewski 
Director, Institute for Educational Innovation, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN
  
 

Appendix B

National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education
 (NCATE)

 

 The following table lists the current members of the NCATE Executive Board, highlighting those appointed by NEA or AFT. In addition, Robert Chase, President of the NEA, chairs the four-member Finance, Personnel, and Membership Subcommittee of the Executive Board. Note that the NEA and AFT have seven members on the Board, while the National School Board Association has just one.

Wilmer S. Cody 
NCATE Executive Board Chairman  
Commissioner of Education, Kentucky Department of Education

Gordon M. Ambach 
Executive Director, Council of Chief State School Officers

Dale Andersen 
Provost’s Special Advisor on Education, College of Education, University of Nevada-Las Vegas

Roseann Bentley 
Missouri State Senate (At-Large 98)

Pauletta Bracy 
School of Library and Information Sciences, North Carolina Central University

Linda Bunnell-Shade 
Chancellor, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs

Ruth Cage 
Resource Teacher, Robertson County School System (NEA)

Dennis Cartwright 
Director of Teacher Education, Northwest Nazarene College

Robert Chase 
President, National Education Association (NEA)

Antonia Cortese 
Vice President, American Federation of Teachers (AFT)

Dr. Josue Cruz 
Professor, University of South Florida

Sandra Feldman 
President, American Federation of Teachers (AFT)

Allen Glenn 
Dean, School of Education, University of Washington

Betty Greathouse 
Dean, School of Education, California State University-Bakersfield

David G. Imig 
Chief Executive Officer, American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education

William B. Ingram 
President, National School Boards Association (NSBA)

James Kelly 
President, National Board for Professional Teaching Standards

Steve Kortie 
Classroom Teacher (NEA)

Thomas McCracken 
Professor, English Department, Youngstown State University

Charles "Chuck" Myers 
Professor, Vanderbilt University

Barbara S. Nielsen 
State Superintendent of Education, South Carolina

Dennis Van Roekel 
Secretary-Treasurer, National Education Association (NEA)

Ted Sanders 
President, Southern Illinois University

Marilyn Scannell 
Executive Director, Indiana Professional Standards Board

Anthony Schwaller 
Professor, Industrial Studies, and Institutional Assessment Director, St. Cloud State University

Joseph A. Spagnolo, Jr. 
Superintendent of Education, Illinois, and State Partnership Board Chairman

Lajeane Thomas 
Professor, Louisiana Tech University

Judith Wain 
Executive Secretary, Minnesota Board of Teaching

Allen R. Warner 
Dean, College of Education, University of Houston

Reg Weaver 
Vice President, National Education Association (NEA 99)

Brenda Welburn 
Executive Director, National Association of State Boards of Education
  
  


 

Appendix C

 National Commission for Teaching and America’s Future  
(NCTAF)

"Partner States"

Illinois

 Indiana

 Kansas

 Maine

 Maryland

 Missouri

 Montana

 North Carolina

 Ohio

 Oklahom

 

 

Conrolling Teacher Militancy Will Recent Empowerment Efforts Have Any Impact? By: Dr. Randy Dunn, Ph.D.

Tremendous emphasis has been given to teacher empowerment in the educational reform movement. A general assumption within this trend is that teacher empowerment will reduce teacher militancy. But is this so? While the conventional wisdom suggests that greater teacher autonomy, authority, and participation in decision-making should lessen militancy across all issues, such may not be the case. Following the introduction, I will seek to explore this paradox. First I will briefly review research identifying the determinants of teacher militancy. Then I'll analyze approaches to empowerment currently seen in schools in relationship to what the research has said regarding the causes of teacher militancy. Finally, I will offer some conclusions about the potential for continued militant behavior among teachers within an empowered environment, and will recommend further research in this area. 

* Dr. Dunn is an Associate Professor in the Department of Educational Administration and Higher Education at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale.

Dr. Dunn thanks Brenda Armstrong for her research assistance on this paper. 

Introduction

In a classic work, Hirschman* posited that organizational actors [e.g., administrators, teachers] rely upon two alternative approaches, exit and voice, when they encounter working conditions which they object to. The concept of "exit" in the organizational literature has usually referred to job turnover (Mayes & Ganster, 1988); and the concept of "voice" (first applied by Bacharach and Bamberger, 1990), refers to the formation of contentious attitudes or the taking of political action (e.g., strike) to improve organizational conditions.

The growth of public sector unionism and the attendant militant actions by these unions over the past four decades have been grist for the mill for researchers. Their studies have been notable for providing numerous models of militancy and profiles of militant employees. Within the field of educational labor relations in particular, potential determinants of teacher militancy have been suggested by scholars since the 1970s (Alutto & Belasco, 1974; Corwin, 1970; Fox & Wince, 1976; Tomkiewicz, 1979).

Though some may assume that teachers become militant solely because of economic concerns, as these educational employees press for higher wages and more extensive benefits, yet it has been shown that such is not always the case (Bacharach, Bamberger & Conley, 1990; Jessup, 1978, 1985). In the present labor relations environment, teachers' concerns for their professional rights and responsibilities in the workplace are on a par with the importance attached to the economic battles of the past. Though McDonnell and Pascal (1988) concede that the attainment of key provisions regulating salary and basic working conditions is necessary to secure contract provisions increasing professionalism, one cannot escape a "distinctive pressure" (Shedd, 1988, p.405) relating to the significance of professional issues in the teacher unionism literature. 

* The Reference list at the end of this article contains the full citation for each study referred to in the text. 

Interestingly, and probably not coincidentally, at the same time such concerns were gaining ground within teacher unions, a second wave of the education reform movement began calling for major changes in the organization of the teaching profession. Indeed, a separate and distinct sub-literature within the larger inquiry into teacher professionalism started to emerge which specifically identified the "empowerment" of the classroom teacher as a key component of educational reform (Maeroff, 1988; Mertens & Yarger, 1988; Sickler, 1988).

This empowerment sub-literature generally indicated that teachers were just as concerned about working conditions that affect their ability to perform their jobs as they are about higher salaries. A definition of teacher empowerment grew from this early literature which implies that teaching conditions must be established which allow greater teacher autonomy, authority, decision-making and control. In the typical world of the teacher, then, these changes would seemingly demand new structures to overcome a lack of input into decision-making on matters such as:

  • teaching and learning,
  • restrictive bureaucratic controls, and
  • incomplete administrative supports for teaching.

In one sense, it is not incorrect to view the arguments in support of teacher empowerment as actually bringing the earliest interpretations of teacher militancy full circle. Corwin (1970), whose book on the "professional militancy" of teachers predated essentially all writing on teacher empowerment by nearly a generation, detailed the modern history of educational administration as an outmoded, hierarchical, bureaucratic system. Corwin argued that as the education bureaucracy controls and standardizes the work setting it constrains the authority of employees over the policies that govern their work. Hence, teacher empowerment can be construed as a militant process, that is, as competing ideas of organization clash in school systems across the nation.

I. Determinants of Teacher Militancy

The literature on teacher militancy to date implies two broad categories of militancy determinants:

  • characteristics of the individual, and
  • characteristics of the workplace (Bacharach et al., 1990).

Characteristics of the individual that have been shown to contribute to increased militancy include the following variables:

  • age (Alutto & Belasco, 1974),
  • gender (Lane & Thompson, 1981),
  • race (Williams & Leonard, 1989),
  • self-image (Smith, Ball & Liontos, 1990), and
  • attitudes toward the union (McClendon & Klass, 1993).

However, while these demographic and attitudinal characteristics have a clear impact in contributing to teacher militancy, most empowerment strategies instead serve to alter the characteristics of the workplace in some way. Thus, in this section of the article I will focus on three dimensions of the workplace that impact teacher militancy:

A. Organizational Decision-making

B. Fair Treatment

C. Job Feedback

A. Organizational Decision-Making

One of the crucial factors in looking at the characteristics of organizational work for teachers is that they view themselves as professionals. As a result, teachers expect to maintain a high level of work autonomy and to be significantly involved in decision making thereby providing overall control gains. By incorporating teachers into decision-making, the administrator places value on their professional judgment and rewards their expertise. In a bureaucracy, the tendency exists for organizational leaders to specify and formalize rules that could result in too great a control over teachers' activities. The feeling that teachers lack authority over decisions, or have less influence over decisions than they should have, may result in a sense of powerlessness and dissatisfaction that leads to militant actions (Conley, Bacharach & Bauer, 1989). On the other hand, Steers and Black (1995) assert that involvement in decision-making enlarges the degree of control that employees perceive over their own behavior in the workplace.

B. Fair Treatment

The notion of fair treatment as a workplace dimension has received attention as teachers have become more sensitive to being treated fairly in regard to such issues as promotion opportunities, job enrichment opportunities, and job transfers. Johnson (1984) discovered that teachers both resented favoritism and admired evenhandedness with respect to employee treatment by principals. Johnson further reported that teachers' judgments to join forces with union members, oppose administrative decisions, and resolve problems through formal grievance channels (all militant actions) were highly dependent upon their perception of fair treatment by the principal.

Bacharach, Mitchell and Malanowski (1983) found limited support for the hypothesis that low certainty about promotion opportunity and low rationality of the promotion process will lead to high militancy. However, high rationality of the promotion process emerged as significant in the expected direction in all cases. Since a high certainty of promotion opportunity failed to emerge as a significant variable in their model (and maybe this should not be surprising given the limited career advancement opportunities available to teachers), fairness of the promotion process appears more important than the certainty of the opportunity for promotion in reducing teacher militancy.

C. Job Feedback

Lastly, research suggests that individuals who receive more job feedback have a less stressful and more positive relationship with the organization. A teacher is less likely to express militant attitudes when there is greater feedback and less stress in the instructional situation (Bacharach et al., 1983).

Because individual characteristics such as age, gender, and race cannot be modified, and the individual implications of self-image and attitude toward the union seem especially resistant to change, systemic influences to reduce teacher militancy will continue to focus upon altering characteristics of the school as a workplace. It is necessary in the upcoming section to examine how contemporary practices for heightening empowerment within schools are being utilized to transform the nature of teachers' work. This review, however, will be approached from a critical perspective as the various approaches to empowerment are analyzed according to the degree to which they refashion workplace characteristics to reduce teacher militancy.

II. A Critical Review of Empowerment

Empowerment has become the latest rallying cry in a variety of organizational settings and, as such, there seems to be no dearth of practices which purport to lead to enhanced levels of teacher empowerment (as commonly defined). For instance, the practitioner literature in educational administration cites numerous examples of practices that principals and superintendents are exhorted to follow to increase empowerment:

  • school improvement teams and
  • school governance councils; lead teachers;
  • peer observation, coaching and evaluation;
  • professional staff development and support programs; and
  • faculty review teams.

Short (1992), in her attempt to advance the discussion of teacher empowerment beyond the stage of a laundry list of strategies, identified six empirically derived dimensions underlying the construct of teacher empowerment; and they are:

  1. participation of teachers in critical decisions that directly affect their work; 
  2. teacher impact as an indicator of influencing school life; 
  3. teacher status concerning professional respect from colleagues; 
  4. autonomy, or teachers' beliefs that they can control certain aspects of their work life; 
  5. professional development opportunities to enhance continuous learning and expand one's skills; and 
  6. self-efficacy?perception of having the skills and ability to help students learn. 

Unfortunately, what has not been easily found are conceptual frameworks or compelling theoretical positions for thinking about teacher empowerment. Lawler (1986) forwarded the idea that teacher

empowerment relates to greater organizational effectiveness as teachers recognize they have the prerogative to help make changes that can correct perceived organizational problems.

Prawat's (1991) framework for examining teacher empowerment considered first the personal context within which the empowerment process occurs (described as conversations with self) before contemplating an external perspective for thinking about empowerment (or conversations with others). This first approach to empowerment is essentially an epistemological one as individual teachers develop the knowledge of how to deal with (what Prawat referred to as) social and political oppression. How? By overcoming "the inclination to uncritically accept (or reject) knowledge claims advanced by so-called experts in the field" (p. 739). The key to empowerment under the second perspective, though, appears to demand more of an organizational or strategic response as teachers must "be open to new and more effective ways of constructing the classroom and workplace environment" (p. 739).

Gamoran, Fowler, Levin and Walberg (1994) reflected on the prior research and their own experience to present three theoretical views of empowerment that differ significantly in their assumptions about the school and classroom domains and the impact of changes in these domains upon teacher empowerment. Their "teacher professionalism" view sees increasing teacher autonomy as leading to improved instruction and academic achievement. The "bureaucratic centralization" view holds that a strong, centralized structure will foster empowerment as teachers reach collective decisions regarding effective curricular content and organization, which must then be applied by a teaching professional in a variety of classroom contexts. Finally, the "loose coupling" view asserts that since teachers already have a high degree of control over and autonomy within their own classrooms, increased empowerment (at the classroom level at least) is irrelevant to teaching and learning. But Gamoran et al. readily acknowledge that a review of the research proffers little evidence to support or disprove any of the three views they posit.

This short review of some of the different ways of looking at teacher empowerment would seem to suggest that access to, and involvement in decision-making is central to any notion of empowerment reform. It is almost intuitive to imply that teachers, if given the opportunity to participate in the overall educational decision-making process, will be more effective and productive, as well as more favorably predisposed toward change efforts. Further, conventional wisdom holds that teachers who perceive a greater feeling of empowerment should be less militant; that is, as they concomitantly sense their professional rights being upheld, and the ability and support to master their responsibilities within the workplace. But for a variety of reasons (that are explained below), I am hesitant to believe that such will necessarily be the case.

A. Implications Related to Organizational Decision-Making

As they conceptualized their image of empowerment, Gamoran et al. (1994) distinguished between two domains of empowerment: classroom and school. Given their importance with respect to many issues of school coordination and control across the nation, one could reasonably assert a third, and possibly a fourth, domain that affect teacher empowerment; namely, the influence of district and state governance structures. Obviously, teachers' influence over decision-making is lessened as these domains conflict with one another.

In schools where empowerment strategies are liberally employed, teachers may have a strong impact on school decisions. Yet, these may not be well aligned with district or state mandates. For example, if a district-level policy requires a textbook for every course of study or curricular area and teacher evaluation is tied to text coverage, but an individual school desires to move away from the textbook-driven curriculum, teachers' wishes will likely take a back seat to district mandates, that is, unless a viable waiver provision exists.

(What these policy makers assume about teachers' lack of competency and firm grounding in matters of curricular content and pacing is not unique, but such discussion is not the focus of this article.)

Even when teachers have outright control over school issues, each school must make a determination of the degree to which collective decisions will be allowed to influence classroom practices. It is not beyond the pale to think that if a centralized, authoritarian decision-making structure is merely replaced by a professional one that is unclear, diffuse and obscure, that the same sense of confusion, powerlessness and dissatisfaction which has been shown to lead to teacher militancy would again prevail.

When teachers, through the vehicle of professional empowerment, are provided the opportunity for increased autonomy and greater involvement in (and control over) a school's mission, objectives and direction, the potential exists for similarly magnified levels of conflict within the organization. If meaningful organizational change is to occur, communication will likely become more complex, which can result in increased conflicts.

At least one study conducted in schools undergoing restructuring efforts to create greater teacher empowerment discovered that when teachers' involvement in decision-making increases, the opportunities for conflict increase due to the disclosure of various ideologies and perceptions (Short, Greer & Michael, 1991). Especially if teachers lack particular skills necessary to address organizational problems or group processes, the teachers may view additional levels of conflict as thwarting their organizational decision-making power, thus leading to more militant behavior. The fact that Short et al. also discovered that empowerment was negatively correlated to school climate (so that as empowerment increased, teachers perceived a less positive climate in their schools) would tend to corroborate this view.

Zeichner (1991) pointed out the problems that ensue when teacher empowerment becomes so strong as to strain the connections between schools and their communities. As teachers gain control of a school's decision-making process, parents and communities might well distance themselves from school affairs as their concerns take a back seat to those of the education professionals. In examining this tension between schools and parents/communities, Zeichner felt that "plans that have given more power to local schools and to teachers within those schools have not necessarily created the means for authentic partnerships between communities and schools" (p. 367).

To illustrate, governance of each of the Chicago Public Schools (under the Chicago School Reform Act) is now mandated by a local school council comprised of parents, community members and teachers. But recent reports from Chicago indicate only mixed success in altering influence relationships between parents and teachers. In some schools, teachers and the principal (whose appointment is determined by each council) can regulate the council through skillful agenda setting, selective information sharing, issues management, and other control mechanisms, these same teachers essentially control key decision-making outcomes as well. Indeed, the seeds of teacher militancy are sown as parents are circumvented from addressing salient policy issues and, as Zeichner sees it, are forced to "approach their involvement in these policy-making bodies as a way to acquire information about the school and provide service to the school, not to make school policy" (p. 368).

Previous research has solidly and credibly demonstrated the role of positive school-community relationships in contributing to student academic achievement, not just for those students typically seen as being at-risk, but for most students in urban settings. Yet as parents and other community members become disengaged from the schools, believing their bona fide interests are not being legitimated, opportunities for the growth of teacher militancy are nurtured. Moreover, as parents act upon their frustration against the professional authority of the school, certain things will presumably happen. Parents will,

  • quit working as volunteer teacher aides;
  • stop coordinating school events;
  • cease supporting teachers' efforts by checking homework, buying additional supplies, and the like; and
  • no longer serve as sympathetic members on boards of education and local school councils.

In their attempt to both counter this treatment as well as recoup some very tangible benefits which accrue from high levels of parental involvement, the temptation will exist for teachers to turn to militant behavior to retrieve these lost resources through normal organizational channels.

B. Implications for Fair Treatment

If it is assumed that autonomy, control, and access to decision-making are central to the existence of teacher empowerment, it must also be remembered that this broad authority granted to school staff to run their schools, if it has ever existed, is frequently compromised. Societal problems dealing with such issues as racial segregation, the provision of services to disabled children, and gender discrimination cannot be addressed on a school-by-school basis in any equitable fashion. Beyond the reach of federal and state mandates in these areas, certain other decisions are necessarily made at the district level, and not by individual schools. Walker and Roder (1993) illustrated just such a circumstance:

For instance, students in a school with a sizable number of African-American students could claim that aggressive enforcement of a disciplinary policy in their school was discriminatory or constituted a denial of 'equal protection" under federal or state constitutions because another school within the same school district with a largely white student population has a more relaxed disciplinary policy.

Indeed, the Office of Civil Rights of the United States Department of Education has taken the position generally that all students should receive the same discipline for the same offense. District-wide FF0 monitoring could ameliorate this problem (p. 169).

When teachers' participation in and control over decision-making is compromised by an array of legal constraints, they may correspondingly sense they are being treated less fairly. If so, militancy will increase.

While on the topic of fair treatment, it is worth mentioning that current research evidence suggests even the most vigorous empowerment strategies cannot overcome organizational antecedents which limit teachers' willingness to participate in school decision-making. Smylie (1992) found that across all decision-making areas, the principal-teacher relationship is the single strongest influence on teachers' willingness to participate in decision-making; this was especially the case in the area of personnel decision-making. To the extent that the causes of militancy within a particular school are r6oted in the principal-teacher relationship, militant behavior will likely continue to flourish. In addition, Smylie also said that "promoting teacher participation in decision-making is a problem of individual and organizational change that cannot be solved effectively through legislation or regulation alone" (p.50).

C. Implications Related to Job Feedback

A review of prior research on teacher empowerment does not necessarily reveal a channel through which empowerment designs might contribute to teacher militancy along the workplace dimension of job feedback. Instead, in this arena, the relationship may actually run in the opposite direction, so that as teachers' perceptions of empowerment decrease, teacher militancy increases.

Short and Rinehart (1992) indicated that teachers who perceive a greater sense of empowerment believe they may significantly impact the work of the organization. It is reasonable to expect that teachers who have "the power to identify problems, facilitate change, and ultimately be responsible for organizational outcomes" (p. 11) must have access to feedback information from multiple sources to gauge the relative success of their efforts. If empowerment is thus correlated with some degree, of organizational efficacy (which is dependent upon receiving job and organizational feedback), not only will teachers' sense of empowerment decrease, but teacher militancy will increase in the absence of feedback.

III. Significance for Policy, Pracitce and Research

Clear implications for policy, practice and future research are somewhat difficult to glean from this work. While it seems intuitive to believe that increased empowerment leads teachers to take on a more professional orientation, thereby leading to less militant behavior, it has been argued here that this may not be so. In fact, some research is now emerging that appears to bear this out.

DiPaola and Hoy (1994) asserted that militancy develops as a natural outgrowth of a professional, as opposed to a bureaucratic, orientation in the school workplace. Indeed, they cite the demand of teachers for "independence, self-determination, and colleagueship" (p. 83) as being at the heart of the professional-bureaucratic conflict. Yet, DiPaola and Hoy made clear that the conflict associated with teacher militancy does not disrupt harmony in the schools. As such, perhaps militancy is better viewed in a somewhat less negative light and more as a resistance to a "blind faith in bureaucracy" (p. 88).

But for those who would ignore these arguments and still desire to respond to an expansion of teacher militancy through some sort of empowerment policy intervention, reform proposals that simply enhance the decision-making power and organizational status of teachers in the name of empowerment are probably not sufficient. To illustrate, most teaching and learning reforms demand new resources in the form of staff development, personnel, and materials for support. Teachers who are "empowered," yet who do not discern an environment of trust and confidence within their schools (demonstrated by the provision of additional needed resources), will continue to take individual and collective action to address difficult professional problems they face every day. This action may take forms that are commonly viewed as militant (e.g., work actions, informational pickets), but need not be seen as anti-professional.

Certainly, all of this is not to then say that school administrators should revert to bureaucratic authority structures to control teachers so that militancy is kept to a minimum. Rather, administrators should carefully analyze the impact and implications of their organizational and administrative strategies. They should not promote educational reforms designed only to stall the advance of militancy; instead, they should diligently seek to recognize problems inherent in the present school organization, and then promote reforms that will correct those problems.

Teachers have fundamental concerns that if left unresolved bring a collective, almost automatic response, known as "first-level" militancy. Teachers' concerns include:

  • class size,
  • teaching assignment,
  • teacher evaluation, and
  • length of school day and year.

These concerns, when categorized as follows, are typical of the traditional concerns that blue collar and other professional employee unions seek to resolve:

  • compensation,
  • job security, and
  • workplace organizational conditions.

When fundamental concerns of teachers remain unresolved, teachers almost always look to the counter power of the union to resolve these problems in the school organization. "First-level" militancy pertains to the above concerns and occurs when the union gets involved.

"Second-level" militancy displays more concern for the following issues within the school:

  • professional decision-making,
  • autonomy, and
  • control.

However, most unions have not yet developed a system for resolving such issues (Kipnis & Schmidt, 1983). Only what Kerchner and Mitchell (1988) call third-generation, "professional" teacher unions are likely to exhibit this second-level militancy, and those do not yet exist (Urban, 1991). Even if they did exist, such professional unions may not be able to lessen first-level teacher militancy or reduce conflict between the union and management.

Streshly and DeMitchell (1994) properly emphasized that the "first business of a union is to secure the material benefits of the members' employment" (p. 66), while Bascia (1994) asserted that teachers fully expect their unions to be receptive to the issues as the teachers interpret them. Evidence that this attitude is shared within professional unionism as well can be seen in Kerchner's (1993) case study of the Pittsburgh teacher union. Though the union made professionalism a significant part of its agenda, and major reforms were accomplished in the Pittsburgh Public Schools, the union continued to do what unions do, namely, increase the number of grievances:

Grievances are filed, and the union represents teachers who receive unsatisfactory performance ratings. The number of grievances going to arbitration has actually increased because the union is some what more willing to take 'judgment call" grievances to arbitration to show that it is still fulfilling its duty to provide procedural due process for members (p. 58).

It must be acknowledged that distinctions between examples of first- and second-level militancy are sometimes difficult to define and may be artificial at best. However, such a notion can be implied from McDonnell and Pascal's (1988) developmental conceptualization of teacher unions that (a) initially bargain to obtain increases in salary and fringe benefits, and (b) later confront the administration on matters of working conditions and job security, and (c) finally address issues of educational policy and professional practice.

While certain characteristics of the individual associated with militancy (e.g., age, gender and race) cannot be altered, the organization by tactical behavior can influence the degree to which teachers resort to first-level militancy. For instance, educational reform is generally associated with increased work demands for teachers. Bacharach et al. (1983) demonstrated that teachers are likely to turn to militant behavior when confronted with high levels of work demands. Thus it is appropriate for administrators to respond to teachers' perceptions relating to the level of work demands. Administrators may need to reallocate clerical or technical support to buttress teachers' reform efforts, or pay them a small stipend via a mini-grant program. Furthermore, administrators can give symbolic rewards to heighten the intrinsic satisfaction and identification that teachers receive from high job involvement, thereby reducing militancy (Bacharach et al., 1983).

Future research should include exploratory investigation into the nature and degree of second-level militancy, especially in those schools that provide comprehensive, systemic opportunities for teachers' full participation in decision-making and policy development (related to teaching and learning). Largely unexplored is the question of whether militant attitudes are influenced more by school-level or district-level actions and practices. Also highly valuable would be longitudinal case studies which expand our understanding of the various facets of first- and second-level militant behavior, while forwarding models of teacher empowerment in diverse school and district organizational contexts.

CONCLUSION

Given their crucial role in the teaching and learning process, teachers will continue to be key players in determining the success and effectiveness of schools. For educational reform and change to thrive, meaningful teacher participation and involvement is essential. The challenge for schools will be to create conditions that encourage teachers to help develop and implement reforms that improve teaching and learning, while at the same time avoid fostering an over-reliance on strident unionism that encourages negative first-level teacher militancy.

If teachers view educational reforms (with their rigorous prescriptiveness, increased time demands and workloads, and heightened accountability) as disruptive of or contradictory to traditional union interests (e.g., salary and basic working conditions), then first-level teacher militancy will likely expand with each new reform initiative. In addition, I have posited the existence of a different, second-level militancy centering upon issues of professional empowerment. However, this new-fashioned brand of militancy (assuming it exists at all) will emerge to the extent that teacher unions (fomenting militancy in order to develop and maintain the loyalty of their dues paying members) seek to re-establish their legitimacy by addressing problems of empowerment, not just economic growth and job protection. In the end, those of us engaged in the study of educational labor relations can only hope that this new version of teacher militancy is better than the old one. 

References

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Police Compulsory Arbitration: A Review of the Research By Brian R. Johnson and Greg L. Warchol

Brian R. Johnson is currently an instructor with the School of Criminal Justice at Grand Valley State University, Grand Rapids, MI. Johnson holds an MS in Criminal Justice and an MLIR from Michigan State University. Currently, he is completing his Ph.D. in Criminal Justice at Michigan State University, concentrating in police-labor relations. Johnson is a former police officer who worked for the Combined Locks, Wisconsin Police Department. 

Greg L. Warchol is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Criminal Justice at Bemidji State University in Bemidji, Minnesota. Prior to his academic career, he was on the staff of the U.S. Attorney's Office in Chicago, Illinois where he was supervisor of the Asset Forfeiture Support Unit.

INTRODUCTION

During the last twenty-five years, researchers and authors interested in police labor relations have provided policy makers and administrators a greater understanding of police compulsory arbitration. Although this research provided a sound foundation for police compulsory arbitration, much of it is now dated; it has not kept pace with methodological developments in labor relations.

This creates a disturbing situation for the labor relations professional. How effective are contemporary police compulsion arbitration policies if they are based on dated, limited and statistically questionable research methods?

In an attempt to correct this deficiency in labor arbitration research, we will review and classify the methods used in police compulsory arbitration research. Through this review of the strengths and weaknesses of each method, the authors hope to expand and enhance the existing theoretical foundation for police compulsory arbitration, and thus assist the labor relations professional in developing sound policies.

Method

To gain a complete understanding of the different methods and classifications, we performed content analyses on all documents related to police compulsory arbitration (including published articles, research notes and texts). Content analysis, according to Hagan (1982),* is the systematic analysis and classification that is used for comparative and historical studies. Likewise, Fitzgerald and Cox (1987) indicate that it is a research method that "systematizes the use of documents by providing a predetermined coding scheme and categories for tabulating the contents of the documents" (p. 110).

In the context of this research, we selected three primary categories and their subgroups as the classification schema. They are as follows: 

  • exploratory, 
  • descriptive, and
  • multivariate.

* The Bibliography at the end of this article contains the full citation for each study referred to in the text.

Although these classifications are not mutually exclusive and exhaustive (many researchers combined classifications), we classified the data according to the most powerful or advanced method used.

Introduction to Exploratory/Descriptive Research

One of the most basic methods used by researchers is to explore and describe an existing condition, phenomenon or event. Much of the compulsory arbitration literature contains both exploratory and descriptive research techniques or methodologies. There are, however, differences between these research methodologies. Babbie and Maxfield (1994) write that "descriptive studies are often concerned with counting or documenting observations while exploratory studies focus more on developing a preliminary understanding about a new or unusual problem" (p.71). Although these categories or approaches are not mutually exclusive and exhaustive, it is possible to differentiate between them in the existing literature.

EXPLORATORY RESEARCH

Exploratory research explores the nature or frequency of a problem; it is used when a practitioner knows little about a subject or policy, or when there is a policy change (Babbie and Maxfield, 1994). In the context of this article, exploratory research is best illustrated by the research that explored the underlying influences and dynamics that led to the passage of compulsory arbitration statutes. As exploratory research is the beginning of social inquiry, it may also be conducted to develop robust research methods for future research and statistical analysis (Babbie and Maxfield, 1994). Most of the existing exploratory research explains the arbitration processes in various states in the United States, and will be classified as Site-Specific Exploratory research.

DiTolla (1993) provided a historical analysis of compulsory interest arbitration in the state of New Jersey by examining the hearings, commission reports, judicial reviews and public hearings that led to the eventual passage of the state's compulsory arbitration law. Similar to DiTolla, Gilbert (1987) examined factors that influenced mediation, fact-finding and interest arbitration in Ohio. Also, Chvala and Fox (1979) investigated the use of mediation-arbitration in Wisconsin by providing a historical review of the legislation, negotiation and mediation procedures used, and the scope of bargaining under final offer arbitration. Other authors, such as Kochan (1978), examined the history of New York's Taylor Law in the context of political influences that led to the passage of compulsory arbitration; and Anderson and Krause (1987) discussed New York's system as an alternative to the strike. Howlett (1984) examined the processes and procedures, standards and history of interest arbitration in Michigan. Other research examined specific municipalities, as illustrated by Fyfe's (1985) analysis of six municipalities in California that had compulsory arbitration clauses in their city charters.

As compulsory arbitration became a more common phenomena, researchers developed new Multi-State Exploratory classifications. One of the earliest multi-state studies was conducted by Wortman and Overton (1973), who explored and compared all state arbitration statutes that existed in 1970. Bent and Reeves (1978) also researched which states had arbitration, what their statutes covered, and the type and scope of arbitration. Then in 1981, Kruger and Jones reviewed all existing arbitration legislation in the United States, as well as constitutional issues, and provided recommendations for improving the existing dispute resolution techniques.

Other research can be classified as Historical-Exploratory, which emphasizes the social, political and legislative processes that lead to the creation of compulsory arbitration statutes. Nolan and Abrams (1983a, 1983b) conducted one of the most comprehensive reviews of the evolution of arbitration. They provided an extensive historical analysis of the development States by examining the factors that eventually led to both private and public sector arbitration. Similarly, LaRue provided an historical review of interest as it pertained to legislation, Governmental intervention in the private and public sectors, and controversies in public sector labor arbitration.

Other authors examined and classified Legal/Constitutional issues pertaining to police labor arbitration. The William and Mary Law Review (1977) provided an extensive multi-state review of constitutional issues. Hyman (1983) and Staudohar (1976) provided a review of compulsory arbitration legislation and court decisions in various states. Kanowitz (1987) also provided a legal/constitutional analysis of interest arbitration; he examined the implementation of arbitration legislation to see if it served the public interest. Other research (see Craver 1980) was more specific, concentrating on post-arbitration judicial enforcement and review of awards by courts within various states that have arbitration statutes.

Process classifications pertain to various arbitration mechanisms and operations. Some early examples include Olmos (1974), Feuille (1979) and Murray (1982), who discussed general issues involving the benefits and controversies in arbitration. More recently, McGinnis (1989) discussed types of arbitration, and Samavati, Haber and Dilts, (1991) studied the uses and limitations of comparing economic issues. Also, DiLauro (1991) provided an overview of types of arbitration, arguments related to its chilling effect, and constitutional issues; while LaVan (1990) examined arbitration in the context of police and teachers, including a description of the effects of various state statutes on the arbitration process. Years before LaVan's study, Grodin (1976), citing case law related to arbitration, provided an analysis of the political aspects of interest arbitration as they relate to salary and non-salary issues, and of the use of tribunal panels in arbitration hearings. Gallagher (1982) also presented the strengths and weaknesses of compulsory arbitration, including its effectiveness and alternatives to it. 

Some organizations have researched and written about the strengths and weaknesses of compulsory arbitration. The Police Officers Association of Michigan (POAM, 1980) wrote an evaluation of, and made recommendations regarding, arbitration in Michigan. The Public Service Research Council (1978) analyzed the impact of different types of impasse procedures, strikes, and attitudes toward compulsory arbitration (1980). In addition, the Contract Research Corporation (1975) evaluated the existing literature and the effectiveness of different arbitration methods on police labor relations.

DESCRIPTIVE ANALYSIS

Accompanying and closely related to exploratory analyses are other research efforts that have quantified and investigated police compulsory arbitration through a variety of basic statistical analysis techniques. This approach, and its subsequent methodologies, can best be generalized as Descriptiveclassifications. As Simon (1969) said, "in the beginning, there is description" (p.52). Like exploratory research, when someone does not know anything about a problem or variable, it must be understood in a general context. But unlike exploratory research, when researchers attempt to gain an understanding through descriptive analyses they begin by "standardizing the data and separating it into convenient or interesting categories" (Simon, 1969, p.52).

According to Tabachnick (1989), descriptive research "describes samples of subjects in terms of variables or combinations of variables" (p.9). Kachigan (1986) stated that descriptive analysis is concerned with exhaustively measuring the characteristics of a population or collection of objects. Simon (1969) indicated that descriptive research is often in the form of case studies, and is the starting point for research in new areas. Research of this nature generally applies fundamental descriptive or summary statistics that include frequency analyses and measures of central tendency. This type of research usually does not create laws or draw conclusions; instead, it provides suggestions for subsequent research.

Regardless of the variables under analysis, much of the existing descriptive research is inferential in nature. Inferential statistical analysis "is concerned with measuring the characteristics of only a sample from the population; and then making inferences, or estimates, about the corresponding value of the characteristics in the population" (Tabachnick, 1989, p.9). Rowntree (1981) stated that inferential statistics are used to generalize from a sample or to make inferences about a wider population. Thus, inferential analysis requires the sampling of subsets of populations. This sample is then used to draw conclusions about the population.

Much of the descriptive research has analyzed arbitration in specific locations over a fixed period of time. These research efforts may be classified as Longitudinal. Examples include the following research done in New Jersey: 

  • Tener (1982) analyzed the first four years of New Jersey's Police and Fire Arbitration Act, and reported the number of petitions filed, arbitrators assigned, and number of awards issued per year; 
  • Weitzman and Stochaj' (1982) reviewed the impact of arbitration in New Jersey from 1977 to 1979; and
  • Liebeskind (1987) examined the use of compulsory arbitration in New Jersey by examining the economic and non-economic factors of bargaining outcomes. 


In the State of Michigan, Stem researched arbitration from 1970-1974 to develop summary statistics on the parties involved with Act 312 arbitration. Also, in Florida, Magnusen and Renovitch (1992) examined public sector impasse procedures from 1980 to 1987.

A large number of descriptive research efforts were conducted in Ohio. Graham (1988) analyzed the following factors pertaining to the frequency of arbitration from 1986 to 1988: 

  • region of state, 
  • public safety organizations, 
  • unions involved, 
  • issues involved, and
  • results of interest arbitration
  • (e.g., win/loss; wage increases). 

In a 1987 Ohio study conducted by Graham (1987), he examined 60 agencies in Cuyohoga County to measure how often the following matters were raised: 

  • mediation, 
  • fact finding, 
  • arbitration, and
  • particular contract issues. 

Then in a 1993 study, Graham used a frequency analysis to examine the narcotic effect in Ohio.

Other states that have been examined include Iowa, where Gallagher and Pegnetter (1979) studied the arbitration process to discover the frequency that procedural steps were used in the public sector, for the periods from 1975-1976 and from 1976-1977. In Massachusetts, Somers (1977) examined final-offer arbitration where information on the petitioning parties included the following: 

  • an analysis of median percentage increases from 1973-1976
  • petitions for mediation and rates of change from 1970-1976, and
  • the rate of police and fire fighter negotiations from 1970-1976. 

Greer and Sink (1982) provided a review of Oklahoma's interest arbitration legislation from 1972 to 1981 by examining the stages in the process that settlements occur. They also conducted interviews with union and city officials in seven cities, asking them to assess their attitudes toward the existing procedures. In Michigan, Austermiller and Fremont (1985) studied factors related to arbitration from 1971 to 1984; Berrodin and Kurbal (1979) analyzed them from 1973 to 1979; and Kruger (1985) analyzed them from 1976 to 1983, and did a case analysis and history of arbitration in Detroit.

Longitudinal classifications also took on a national perspective. Petro (1992) researched the extent and distribution of public sector unionization and collective bargaining legislation throughout the United States, from its origins to 1982. Hirlinger and Sylvia (1988) investigated the frequency of work stoppages and the effectiveness of impasse procedures in all 50 states, from 1979 to 1980, to determine which procedures were most effective in avoiding work stoppages. Delaney and Feuille (1984), in their study of over 300 municipalities, reported on issues, changes in salary, and numbers of awards per state.

Other researchers investigated specific municipalities. Pursell and Torrence (1983) examined the impact of arbitration in Omaha, Nebraska, to measure increases or decreases in municipal expenditures within various departments of the City, including public safety, from 1968 to 1979. Anderson (1982), to measure the success of the New York City Bargaining Law, conducted a 10-year review of the use, history, and procedures of the law and of interest arbitration in the City.

Attitudinal-Descriptive studies and classifications that rely upon descriptive statistics have also been conducted. Portaro (1986), who provided a review of compulsory arbitration statutes in the United States, conducted a survey of respondents in Ohio to find out how they would modify that state's compulsory arbitration law. Also, Herrick (1983) conducted an attitudinal survey involving arbitrators registered with the FMCS to measure their attitudes on 24 lickert-scaled questions related to the arbitration process. In addition, Helbsy et al. (1988) conducted 28 case interviews to provide an analysis of the attitudes of union and management representatives in Florida toward fact-finding. Prior to these studies, Kressel (1972) researched labor mediation by interviewing 13 labor mediators on processes, strategies, and whether mediation should be considered a profession. 

Comparative classifications were used by other researchers to explore differences in compulsory arbitration between two or more groups. Comparative classifications are developed using statistical methods and procedures such as t-tests, analysis of variance, and other probability-based measures. 

The t-test is one of the best known and widely used methods to determine differences between two population samples. Levin and Rubin (1991) write that the student "t" distribution is a family of probability distributions, used to measure the differences between two independent sample means to determine if there are statistically significant differences between the two groups. To determine differences between groups, researchers construct an interval of values (which may be estimates) that can state with a certain degree of confidence that the characteristics of the population fall (or are likely to fall) within that interval (Levin & Rubin, 1991; Kachigan, 1988).

Although the t-test is an effective measurement device for small samples (of less than 30), and its accuracy can be maintained even if (within limits) some of the assumptions of the t-statistic are violated (see Kolstoe, 1969; and Cohen, 1977 for other conditions), it has not been widely used in compulsory arbitration research.

There are, however, some examples of its use. Rueschoff (1988) tested public workers, public managers, the general public and legislators to discover their most frequent responses to statements about the following: 

  • participation in decision-making; 
  • bargaining for wages, hours and conditions of employment; 
  • whether public work was perceived to be essential; and
  • whether employees should be allowed to strike. 

Wheeler (1978) also performed t-tests to determine if there were differences between the management and union officials. He examined their positions before they reached an impasse and at the point of impasse. (In compulsory arbitration, the point of impasse is the gap between the union demand and the management offer.) In addition, Chelius and Extejt (1983) used t-tests to discover if attitudes could be generalized between groups of subjects in various studies.

Making generalizations from the existing research on arbitration may be limited because the structure and methods of arbitration vary from state to statewhich raises further issues related to the external validity of the research findings. Anderson (1981) addressed this problem when he found it was difficult to generalize because jurisdictions didn't have identical arbitration schemes.

Another possible drawback to the existing research is the difficulty in making valid inferences from the various data because the analysis procedures are "far too simplistic ... If we are to... develop adequate tests of our theories, we shall need to improve the quality of our data analyses" (Namboodiri, 1975, p.2).

Most of the authors used only categorical variables, whereas contingency tables or cross tabulations were the most powerful research methods used. Although they reported degrees of association between variables, the frequency, magnitude or strength of the relationship could not be measured. Hence, certain aspects of the data are summarized at the expense of others, and some data may mistakenly be misrepresented.

There is another drawback to this type of research: it uses methodologies and statistical techniques that examine only one variable at a timecalled a "univariate" method. But variables are often interrelated in complex ways. Thus, if a researcher simply examines one variable at a time, his research method may not be sensitive or robust enough to detect and measure the complex relationship or inter-relationships that exist between the variables (Tabachnick, 1989). As a result, these limited statistical techniques only report the following information on the variables examined: 

  • frequency distributions, 
  • measures of central tendency, 
  • measures of dispersion, and
  • range and standard deviations.

Another problem with the use of descriptive research is that no conclusions about causality can be safely made (Kachigan, 1986). Researchers using descriptive research techniques and statistics generally cannot manipulate the levels of a variable to obtain changes in the other variables (or variables of analysis) because the arbitration process lacks the interaction of multiple variables.

MULTIVARIATE RESEARCH

As a result of such limitations, and to find explanations for various dynamics in the compulsory arbitration process, other research efforts have used multivariate statistical techniques. Unlike univariate analyses (explained above), multivariate analyses are used to investigate the relationships and interactions of two or more variables over a set of objects (Kachigan, 1988). In measuring these objects, researchers construct theoretical models, and then test the strength of these models (and the variables) through advanced statistical techniques. Two techniques used in police compulsory arbitration research are regression analysis and logistic regression.

Regression Analysis

Regression analysis, or Ordinary Least Squares (OLS), is the investigation or analysis of relationships among variables. Although it is related to correlational analysis because it tests the strength of association between variables, it also reports the nature of the relationship if there is a decrease or increase in the relationship between the variables (Levin & Fox, 1988). In doing so, the relationship is expressed as an equation between a dependent variable and one or more independent variables. Hanushek and Jackson (1977) defined regression as a model that simplifies reality because it identifies key variables while making a specific prediction about the interaction of those variables. 

A simple regression equation has one dependent variable and one independent variable. A multiple regression equation has a dependent variable and multiple independent variables (Chattejee, 1991).

Like those who have done descriptive and exploratory research, researchers using multiple regression have also conducted multi-state studies. The largest research effort employing multiple regression was conducted by Feuille, Hendricks and Delaney (1983). They studied collective bargaining and interest arbitration in approximately 1,015 cities and 16 states, for the years 1971 to 1981. This study, which contains a large amount of exploratory and descriptive research, is one of the most comprehensive studies to date of the impact that interest arbitration statutes have on police collective bargaining. Using the same data set, these authors subsequently published research findings that examined the following: 

  • the salary leveling effect of arbitration (Delaney, Feuille & Hendricks, 1984); 
  • the association between interest arbitration and labor
  • contracts that are more favorable for unions (Feuille, Delaney & Hendricks, 1985); and the impact of arbitration on police salaries (Feuille & Delaney, 1986).

Other researchers using smaller samples have also used OLS to examine compulsory arbitration. Connolly (1986) did a multi-state study of the impact of arbitration on wages in the states of lllinois and Michigan. Bloom (1981) measured the effect of final offer arbitration on the salaries of police officers in the State of New Jerseyin the fiscal year 1978 to 1979. Benjamin (1978) conducted similar research into Michigan's Act 312 arbitration law. Schwochau and Feuille (1988) used regression analysis to investigate interest arbitrators and their decision-making behavior. Olson, Dell'Omo and Jarley (1992) sought to discover any differences in the decision-making abilities of arbitrators by comparing their decisions in laboratory or hypothetical settings with actual decisions they made in field settings.

Strengths and Weaknesses of Multiple Regression

One of the primary benefits of regression analysis is that it enables the effects of various factors to be evaluated from the experimental dataeven when the experiment does not follow a simple pattern, or the variables affecting the results cannot be controlled (Williams, 1959). Another strength of multiple regression is that the interaction of multiple variables can be observed at one time. Unlike univariate techniques that measure one variable at a time, multivariate techniques (e.g., multiple regression) allow the researcher to measure correlations and pooled standard errors between the variables in the model (see Kennedy, 1992). In doing so, the interactions of all of the variables can be analyzed.

There are, however, some drawbacks. One drawback to regression analysis is that the variables that comprise a model may not have consistent or accurate specifications. For example, to compare variables, the variables in the models must be linear. Unfortunately, many regression models under analysis are not linear, and may have a curvilinear relationship (defined below under Logistic Regression) or some other non-linear form. Likewise, the reliability of a regression line (or the overall strength of the model) is determined by the coefficient of multiple determination (i.e., the R2). This coefficient, however, can be quite misleading, as a high R2 does not necessarily mean a strong model. The R2 is influenced by the number of independent variables in the model, and more variables always create a higher R2 value (see Lewis-Beck, 1980).

Other drawbacks related to the accuracy or usefulness of model specifications include multi-colinearity, which occurs when the researcher uses two independent variables that are highly correlated with each other. This situation subsequently results in high correlations among variables which in turn affect the R2. As indicated by Hanushek and Jackson (1977), these problems in multiple regression cause the model to not be BLUEthe Best Linear Unbiased Estimate. Such problems can be corrected through proper model specification and a comprehensive understanding of the principles of multiple regression; or by the application of other types of multiple regression techniques, including hierarchical and stepwise multiple regression (Tabachnick & Fidell, 1989). 

Logistic Regression

One statistical tool used very little in compulsory arbitration research is the logistic regression model. Like multiple regression, the logistic regression equation relies upon theoretical models constructed by the researcher. There are, however, some fundamental differences between the two procedures.

One of the basic differences between linear and logistic regression is the parameter estimate. In linear regression, OLS is used to select the parameter estimates that minimize the errors (i.e., the sum of squared errors) to create the most suitable fit (the regression line) between the data and the model (Aldrich & Nelson, 1984). With an OLS model, it is assumed that the dependent and independent variables are linear-related, but the OLS estimates will only be accurate within the range of the data in the sample. The curvilinear (i.e., bound by curved lines, not straight lines; includes more because of broader parameters) model is not subject to the same limitations because it uses the Maximum Likelihood Estimation (MLE). The MLE determines values for unknown parameters; it provides those parameters that would most likely have created the observed data, but which cannot be found in the actual data (Hanushek & Jackson, 1977). This, according to Kennedy (1992), is "based on the idea that the sample of data at hand is more likely to have come from a 'real world' characterized by any other set of parameter values" (pp.20-21).

For the formulation of an analysis, unlike the multiple regression model that assumes a continuous scaled dependent variable, the logistic regression model uses a nominal level dependent variable that is dichotomousit has two opposing parts (Morgan & Teachman, 1988). In traditional linear regression, the dependent variable is assumed to be continuous and linear in nature. The logistic model, however, assumes that the dependent variable is not continuous but is dichotomous, or bound between the values of 0 and 1 (Aldrich & Nelson, 1984). Thus, linearity cannot be assumed. Further, Aldrich and Nelson (1984) indicated that if linearity is violated, none of the distribution properties associated with OLS hold. Because the values of the dependent variable are bound between the values of 0 and 1, a curvilinear relationship now exists between the explanatory variables and the dependent variable (Osgood & Rowe, 1994). Also, if OLS was applied in this situation, meaningless and unreliable values could result, for OLS does not constrain observed values to remain between 0 and 1. Thus, there is no guarantee that the expected values from the fitted least squares equation will always get numbers between 0 and 1 (Namboodiri et al., 1975).

Logistic regression is also necessary because of error term  
the deviation from the conditional mean. In OLS or linear regression, the most common assumption is that the error term follows a normal distribution with a constant variance (Hosmer & Lemeshow, 1989). Other assumptions also include: 

  • that the model has been properly specified, 
  • there is no measurement error, and
  • the error terms have an expected value of zeros, and are not correlated, constant or normally distributed (Lewis-Beck, 1980). 

In logistic regression, however, the error term can only take one of two values. As a result, the expected value of the error term is not independent of the values of the explanatory or independent variable, which causes the variance estimates to be biased (Hanushek and Jackson, 1977). Thus, linear regression techniques are inappropriate where there is a dichotomous dependent variable, since the model will no longer generate the best linear unbiased estimate.

There is some research in police compulsory arbitration that has used the logistic regression model. Ichniowski (1982) studied 600 municipalities, from the years 1972 to 1978, using logistic regression to determine if arbitration statutes reduced the propensity of strikes. Later, Ichniowski (1988) researched police strike activities and unionization rates for municipalities in states with and without unionization rights, to investigate which municipalities experienced recognition strikes more often. Kochan and Baderschneider (1978) also used logistic regression in their analysis of police and firefighter negotiations, from 1974 to 1976, to determine if arbitration increased the probability of impasse or affected the settlement.

Strengths and Weaknesses of Logistic Regression

As previously indicated, logistic regression is a preferred method of statistical research when the research question involves a dichotomous dependent variable. In addition, logistic regression is extremely flexible and can use simpler mathematical functions; other methods, such as Probit models, require more sophisticated mathematical equations (see Kennedy, 1992). It is also considered a more general procedure because it allows for both categorical and continuous independent variables (Tabachnick & Fidell, 1989). In addition, it is easier to interpret than other models which use dichotomous or polytomous dependent variables (Cox, 1970; SPSS, 1994).

There are some drawbacks to logistic regression. Logistic regression measures the probability of an event occurring or not occurring; or it analyzes how the dichotomous dependent variable influences the underlying probabilities (Hanushek Jackson, 1977). The probability of a dichotomous event is calculated using the odds-ratio, which determines the relationship between the dependent and independent variables, and defines the unit of change for the independent variable. This process, at times, may be difficult to calculate, especially when the researcher is using categorical data (Hosmer & Lemeshow, 1989).

Other Multivariate Methods

Although the field of police labor relations has not used them, there are other multivariate statistical procedures. For example, researchers could use factor analysis. Unlike multiple and logistic regression, factor analysis is used to develop and test theories where the researcher is interested in finding variables; that is, variables that form subsets of variables and that are independent of one another (Tabachnick & Fidell, 1989). To illustrate this concept in police compulsory arbitration, one could take a large sample of police and municipality representatives with the following information: 

  • personality characteristics, 
  • education history, 
  • experience in collective bargaining, and other variables. 

Each of the areas would be assessed by other variables, and then be entered into the factor analysis one at a time to study correlations among them. This analysis could reveal patterns of correlation and underlying factors that affect the collective bargaining and compulsory arbitration processes. This multivariate technique could be used to generate additional hypotheses and subsequent theories about the underlying process of compulsory arbitration.

Other multivariate methods that arbitration researchers may consider are Cononical Correlations, which analyze relationships between two sets of variables to determine the highest correlation between them. The sets of variables are combined on one side of the equation to produce a predicted value that has the highest correlation with the predicted value on the other side of the equation (see Tabachnick & Fidell, 1989). Other suitable multivariate techniques may include a time series analysis that looks for trends and fluctuations over a designated period of time (see Kennedy, 1992). These and other techniques may prove to be suitable for determining relationships among variables, thus enabling researchers to construct more effective compulsory arbitration models.

CONCLUSION

This classification review of police labor arbitration reveals that a great deal of research has been conducted in police compulsory arbitration, providing the labor researcher a firm foundation on which to use advanced methods in police-compulsory arbitration research. The vast majority of the existing research, however, has been exploratory and descriptive in nature. Compounded by the fact that arbitration legislation, processes and procedures vary among states, these research classifications have done very little to explain why arbitration occurs or what specific factors contribute to (or impede) the arbitration process. 

Consequently, without the application of sound statistical methods, the compulsory arbitration process may not be clearly understood, and there may be risks in relying upon these research findings to develop social policy. Because of the societal implications, it is vital to fully understand the police labor compulsory arbitration process. By examining the classifications already applied, labor practitioners can gain understanding and develop their own research agendas, basing such agendas on sound theoretical models and advanced statistical applications. 

It is imperative that labor arbitration research takes on a new paradigm and develops better constructed theoretical modelsmodels that can be used to investigate factors involved in police labor arbitration. One alternative is for researchers to use multivariate research techniques. As illustrated earlier, there are a large number of multivariate research techniques that can be applied to compulsory arbitration research. Depending upon the research agenda, available data, and theoretical model constructs, there are a host of powerful multivariate research methods for the labor relations researcher.

Conrolling Teacher Militancy Will Recent Empowerment Efforts Have Any Impact? By: Dr. Randy Dunn, Ph.D.

Tremendous emphasis has been given to teacher empowerment in the educational reform movement. A general assumption within this trend is that teacher empowerment will reduce teacher militancy. But is this so? While the conventional wisdom suggests that greater teacher autonomy, authority, and participation in decision-making should lessen militancy across all issues, such may not be the case. Following the introduction, I will seek to explore this paradox. First I will briefly review research identifying the determinants of teacher militancy. Then I'll analyze approaches to empowerment currently seen in schools in relationship to what the research has said regarding the causes of teacher militancy. Finally, I will offer some conclusions about the potential for continued militant behavior among teachers within an empowered environment, and will recommend further research in this area. 

* Dr. Dunn is an Associate Professor in the Department of Educational Administration and Higher Education at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale.

Dr. Dunn thanks Brenda Armstrong for her research assistance on this paper. 

Introduction

In a classic work, Hirschman* posited that organizational actors [e.g., administrators, teachers] rely upon two alternative approaches, exit and voice, when they encounter working conditions which they object to. The concept of "exit" in the organizational literature has usually referred to job turnover (Mayes & Ganster, 1988); and the concept of "voice" (first applied by Bacharach and Bamberger, 1990), refers to the formation of contentious attitudes or the taking of political action (e.g., strike) to improve organizational conditions.

The growth of public sector unionism and the attendant militant actions by these unions over the past four decades have been grist for the mill for researchers. Their studies have been notable for providing numerous models of militancy and profiles of militant employees. Within the field of educational labor relations in particular, potential determinants of teacher militancy have been suggested by scholars since the 1970s (Alutto & Belasco, 1974; Corwin, 1970; Fox & Wince, 1976; Tomkiewicz, 1979).

Though some may assume that teachers become militant solely because of economic concerns, as these educational employees press for higher wages and more extensive benefits, yet it has been shown that such is not always the case (Bacharach, Bamberger & Conley, 1990; Jessup, 1978, 1985). In the present labor relations environment, teachers' concerns for their professional rights and responsibilities in the workplace are on a par with the importance attached to the economic battles of the past. Though McDonnell and Pascal (1988) concede that the attainment of key provisions regulating salary and basic working conditions is necessary to secure contract provisions increasing professionalism, one cannot escape a "distinctive pressure" (Shedd, 1988, p.405) relating to the significance of professional issues in the teacher unionism literature. 

* The Reference list at the end of this article contains the full citation for each study referred to in the text. 

Interestingly, and probably not coincidentally, at the same time such concerns were gaining ground within teacher unions, a second wave of the education reform movement began calling for major changes in the organization of the teaching profession. Indeed, a separate and distinct sub-literature within the larger inquiry into teacher professionalism started to emerge which specifically identified the "empowerment" of the classroom teacher as a key component of educational reform (Maeroff, 1988; Mertens & Yarger, 1988; Sickler, 1988).

This empowerment sub-literature generally indicated that teachers were just as concerned about working conditions that affect their ability to perform their jobs as they are about higher salaries. A definition of teacher empowerment grew from this early literature which implies that teaching conditions must be established which allow greater teacher autonomy, authority, decision-making and control. In the typical world of the teacher, then, these changes would seemingly demand new structures to overcome a lack of input into decision-making on matters such as:

  • teaching and learning,
  • restrictive bureaucratic controls, and
  • incomplete administrative supports for teaching.

In one sense, it is not incorrect to view the arguments in support of teacher empowerment as actually bringing the earliest interpretations of teacher militancy full circle. Corwin (1970), whose book on the "professional militancy" of teachers predated essentially all writing on teacher empowerment by nearly a generation, detailed the modern history of educational administration as an outmoded, hierarchical, bureaucratic system. Corwin argued that as the education bureaucracy controls and standardizes the work setting it constrains the authority of employees over the policies that govern their work. Hence, teacher empowerment can be construed as a militant process, that is, as competing ideas of organization clash in school systems across the nation.

I. Determinants of Teacher Militancy

The literature on teacher militancy to date implies two broad categories of militancy determinants:

  • characteristics of the individual, and
  • characteristics of the workplace (Bacharach et al., 1990).

Characteristics of the individual that have been shown to contribute to increased militancy include the following variables:

  • age (Alutto & Belasco, 1974),
  • gender (Lane & Thompson, 1981),
  • race (Williams & Leonard, 1989),
  • self-image (Smith, Ball & Liontos, 1990), and
  • attitudes toward the union (McClendon & Klass, 1993).

However, while these demographic and attitudinal characteristics have a clear impact in contributing to teacher militancy, most empowerment strategies instead serve to alter the characteristics of the workplace in some way. Thus, in this section of the article I will focus on three dimensions of the workplace that impact teacher militancy:

A. Organizational Decision-making

B. Fair Treatment

C. Job Feedback

A. Organizational Decision-Making

One of the crucial factors in looking at the characteristics of organizational work for teachers is that they view themselves as professionals. As a result, teachers expect to maintain a high level of work autonomy and to be significantly involved in decision making thereby providing overall control gains. By incorporating teachers into decision-making, the administrator places value on their professional judgment and rewards their expertise. In a bureaucracy, the tendency exists for organizational leaders to specify and formalize rules that could result in too great a control over teachers' activities. The feeling that teachers lack authority over decisions, or have less influence over decisions than they should have, may result in a sense of powerlessness and dissatisfaction that leads to militant actions (Conley, Bacharach & Bauer, 1989). On the other hand, Steers and Black (1995) assert that involvement in decision-making enlarges the degree of control that employees perceive over their own behavior in the workplace.

B. Fair Treatment

The notion of fair treatment as a workplace dimension has received attention as teachers have become more sensitive to being treated fairly in regard to such issues as promotion opportunities, job enrichment opportunities, and job transfers. Johnson (1984) discovered that teachers both resented favoritism and admired evenhandedness with respect to employee treatment by principals. Johnson further reported that teachers' judgments to join forces with union members, oppose administrative decisions, and resolve problems through formal grievance channels (all militant actions) were highly dependent upon their perception of fair treatment by the principal.

Bacharach, Mitchell and Malanowski (1983) found limited support for the hypothesis that low certainty about promotion opportunity and low rationality of the promotion process will lead to high militancy. However, high rationality of the promotion process emerged as significant in the expected direction in all cases. Since a high certainty of promotion opportunity failed to emerge as a significant variable in their model (and maybe this should not be surprising given the limited career advancement opportunities available to teachers), fairness of the promotion process appears more important than the certainty of the opportunity for promotion in reducing teacher militancy.

C. Job Feedback

Lastly, research suggests that individuals who receive more job feedback have a less stressful and more positive relationship with the organization. A teacher is less likely to express militant attitudes when there is greater feedback and less stress in the instructional situation (Bacharach et al., 1983).

Because individual characteristics such as age, gender, and race cannot be modified, and the individual implications of self-image and attitude toward the union seem especially resistant to change, systemic influences to reduce teacher militancy will continue to focus upon altering characteristics of the school as a workplace. It is necessary in the upcoming section to examine how contemporary practices for heightening empowerment within schools are being utilized to transform the nature of teachers' work. This review, however, will be approached from a critical perspective as the various approaches to empowerment are analyzed according to the degree to which they refashion workplace characteristics to reduce teacher militancy.

II. A Critical Review of Empowerment

Empowerment has become the latest rallying cry in a variety of organizational settings and, as such, there seems to be no dearth of practices which purport to lead to enhanced levels of teacher empowerment (as commonly defined). For instance, the practitioner literature in educational administration cites numerous examples of practices that principals and superintendents are exhorted to follow to increase empowerment:

  • school improvement teams and
  • school governance councils; lead teachers;
  • peer observation, coaching and evaluation;
  • professional staff development and support programs; and
  • faculty review teams.

Short (1992), in her attempt to advance the discussion of teacher empowerment beyond the stage of a laundry list of strategies, identified six empirically derived dimensions underlying the construct of teacher empowerment; and they are:

  1. participation of teachers in critical decisions that directly affect their work; 
  2. teacher impact as an indicator of influencing school life; 
  3. teacher status concerning professional respect from colleagues; 
  4. autonomy, or teachers' beliefs that they can control certain aspects of their work life; 
  5. professional development opportunities to enhance continuous learning and expand one's skills; and 
  6. self-efficacy?perception of having the skills and ability to help students learn. 

Unfortunately, what has not been easily found are conceptual frameworks or compelling theoretical positions for thinking about teacher empowerment. Lawler (1986) forwarded the idea that teacher

empowerment relates to greater organizational effectiveness as teachers recognize they have the prerogative to help make changes that can correct perceived organizational problems.

Prawat's (1991) framework for examining teacher empowerment considered first the personal context within which the empowerment process occurs (described as conversations with self) before contemplating an external perspective for thinking about empowerment (or conversations with others). This first approach to empowerment is essentially an epistemological one as individual teachers develop the knowledge of how to deal with (what Prawat referred to as) social and political oppression. How? By overcoming "the inclination to uncritically accept (or reject) knowledge claims advanced by so-called experts in the field" (p. 739). The key to empowerment under the second perspective, though, appears to demand more of an organizational or strategic response as teachers must "be open to new and more effective ways of constructing the classroom and workplace environment" (p. 739).

Gamoran, Fowler, Levin and Walberg (1994) reflected on the prior research and their own experience to present three theoretical views of empowerment that differ significantly in their assumptions about the school and classroom domains and the impact of changes in these domains upon teacher empowerment. Their "teacher professionalism" view sees increasing teacher autonomy as leading to improved instruction and academic achievement. The "bureaucratic centralization" view holds that a strong, centralized structure will foster empowerment as teachers reach collective decisions regarding effective curricular content and organization, which must then be applied by a teaching professional in a variety of classroom contexts. Finally, the "loose coupling" view asserts that since teachers already have a high degree of control over and autonomy within their own classrooms, increased empowerment (at the classroom level at least) is irrelevant to teaching and learning. But Gamoran et al. readily acknowledge that a review of the research proffers little evidence to support or disprove any of the three views they posit.

This short review of some of the different ways of looking at teacher empowerment would seem to suggest that access to, and involvement in decision-making is central to any notion of empowerment reform. It is almost intuitive to imply that teachers, if given the opportunity to participate in the overall educational decision-making process, will be more effective and productive, as well as more favorably predisposed toward change efforts. Further, conventional wisdom holds that teachers who perceive a greater feeling of empowerment should be less militant; that is, as they concomitantly sense their professional rights being upheld, and the ability and support to master their responsibilities within the workplace. But for a variety of reasons (that are explained below), I am hesitant to believe that such will necessarily be the case.

A. Implications Related to Organizational Decision-Making

As they conceptualized their image of empowerment, Gamoran et al. (1994) distinguished between two domains of empowerment: classroom and school. Given their importance with respect to many issues of school coordination and control across the nation, one could reasonably assert a third, and possibly a fourth, domain that affect teacher empowerment; namely, the influence of district and state governance structures. Obviously, teachers' influence over decision-making is lessened as these domains conflict with one another.

In schools where empowerment strategies are liberally employed, teachers may have a strong impact on school decisions. Yet, these may not be well aligned with district or state mandates. For example, if a district-level policy requires a textbook for every course of study or curricular area and teacher evaluation is tied to text coverage, but an individual school desires to move away from the textbook-driven curriculum, teachers' wishes will likely take a back seat to district mandates, that is, unless a viable waiver provision exists.

(What these policy makers assume about teachers' lack of competency and firm grounding in matters of curricular content and pacing is not unique, but such discussion is not the focus of this article.)

Even when teachers have outright control over school issues, each school must make a determination of the degree to which collective decisions will be allowed to influence classroom practices. It is not beyond the pale to think that if a centralized, authoritarian decision-making structure is merely replaced by a professional one that is unclear, diffuse and obscure, that the same sense of confusion, powerlessness and dissatisfaction which has been shown to lead to teacher militancy would again prevail.

When teachers, through the vehicle of professional empowerment, are provided the opportunity for increased autonomy and greater involvement in (and control over) a school's mission, objectives and direction, the potential exists for similarly magnified levels of conflict within the organization. If meaningful organizational change is to occur, communication will likely become more complex, which can result in increased conflicts.

At least one study conducted in schools undergoing restructuring efforts to create greater teacher empowerment discovered that when teachers' involvement in decision-making increases, the opportunities for conflict increase due to the disclosure of various ideologies and perceptions (Short, Greer & Michael, 1991). Especially if teachers lack particular skills necessary to address organizational problems or group processes, the teachers may view additional levels of conflict as thwarting their organizational decision-making power, thus leading to more militant behavior. The fact that Short et al. also discovered that empowerment was negatively correlated to school climate (so that as empowerment increased, teachers perceived a less positive climate in their schools) would tend to corroborate this view.

Zeichner (1991) pointed out the problems that ensue when teacher empowerment becomes so strong as to strain the connections between schools and their communities. As teachers gain control of a school's decision-making process, parents and communities might well distance themselves from school affairs as their concerns take a back seat to those of the education professionals. In examining this tension between schools and parents/communities, Zeichner felt that "plans that have given more power to local schools and to teachers within those schools have not necessarily created the means for authentic partnerships between communities and schools" (p. 367).

To illustrate, governance of each of the Chicago Public Schools (under the Chicago School Reform Act) is now mandated by a local school council comprised of parents, community members and teachers. But recent reports from Chicago indicate only mixed success in altering influence relationships between parents and teachers. In some schools, teachers and the principal (whose appointment is determined by each council) can regulate the council through skillful agenda setting, selective information sharing, issues management, and other control mechanisms, these same teachers essentially control key decision-making outcomes as well. Indeed, the seeds of teacher militancy are sown as parents are circumvented from addressing salient policy issues and, as Zeichner sees it, are forced to "approach their involvement in these policy-making bodies as a way to acquire information about the school and provide service to the school, not to make school policy" (p. 368).

Previous research has solidly and credibly demonstrated the role of positive school-community relationships in contributing to student academic achievement, not just for those students typically seen as being at-risk, but for most students in urban settings. Yet as parents and other community members become disengaged from the schools, believing their bona fide interests are not being legitimated, opportunities for the growth of teacher militancy are nurtured. Moreover, as parents act upon their frustration against the professional authority of the school, certain things will presumably happen. Parents will,

  • quit working as volunteer teacher aides;
  • stop coordinating school events;
  • cease supporting teachers' efforts by checking homework, buying additional supplies, and the like; and
  • no longer serve as sympathetic members on boards of education and local school councils.

In their attempt to both counter this treatment as well as recoup some very tangible benefits which accrue from high levels of parental involvement, the temptation will exist for teachers to turn to militant behavior to retrieve these lost resources through normal organizational channels.

B. Implications for Fair Treatment

If it is assumed that autonomy, control, and access to decision-making are central to the existence of teacher empowerment, it must also be remembered that this broad authority granted to school staff to run their schools, if it has ever existed, is frequently compromised. Societal problems dealing with such issues as racial segregation, the provision of services to disabled children, and gender discrimination cannot be addressed on a school-by-school basis in any equitable fashion. Beyond the reach of federal and state mandates in these areas, certain other decisions are necessarily made at the district level, and not by individual schools. Walker and Roder (1993) illustrated just such a circumstance:

For instance, students in a school with a sizable number of African-American students could claim that aggressive enforcement of a disciplinary policy in their school was discriminatory or constituted a denial of 'equal protection" under federal or state constitutions because another school within the same school district with a largely white student population has a more relaxed disciplinary policy.

Indeed, the Office of Civil Rights of the United States Department of Education has taken the position generally that all students should receive the same discipline for the same offense. District-wide FF0 monitoring could ameliorate this problem (p. 169).

When teachers' participation in and control over decision-making is compromised by an array of legal constraints, they may correspondingly sense they are being treated less fairly. If so, militancy will increase.

While on the topic of fair treatment, it is worth mentioning that current research evidence suggests even the most vigorous empowerment strategies cannot overcome organizational antecedents which limit teachers' willingness to participate in school decision-making. Smylie (1992) found that across all decision-making areas, the principal-teacher relationship is the single strongest influence on teachers' willingness to participate in decision-making; this was especially the case in the area of personnel decision-making. To the extent that the causes of militancy within a particular school are r6oted in the principal-teacher relationship, militant behavior will likely continue to flourish. In addition, Smylie also said that "promoting teacher participation in decision-making is a problem of individual and organizational change that cannot be solved effectively through legislation or regulation alone" (p.50).

C. Implications Related to Job Feedback

A review of prior research on teacher empowerment does not necessarily reveal a channel through which empowerment designs might contribute to teacher militancy along the workplace dimension of job feedback. Instead, in this arena, the relationship may actually run in the opposite direction, so that as teachers' perceptions of empowerment decrease, teacher militancy increases.

Short and Rinehart (1992) indicated that teachers who perceive a greater sense of empowerment believe they may significantly impact the work of the organization. It is reasonable to expect that teachers who have "the power to identify problems, facilitate change, and ultimately be responsible for organizational outcomes" (p. 11) must have access to feedback information from multiple sources to gauge the relative success of their efforts. If empowerment is thus correlated with some degree, of organizational efficacy (which is dependent upon receiving job and organizational feedback), not only will teachers' sense of empowerment decrease, but teacher militancy will increase in the absence of feedback.

III. Significance for Policy, Pracitce and Research

Clear implications for policy, practice and future research are somewhat difficult to glean from this work. While it seems intuitive to believe that increased empowerment leads teachers to take on a more professional orientation, thereby leading to less militant behavior, it has been argued here that this may not be so. In fact, some research is now emerging that appears to bear this out.

DiPaola and Hoy (1994) asserted that militancy develops as a natural outgrowth of a professional, as opposed to a bureaucratic, orientation in the school workplace. Indeed, they cite the demand of teachers for "independence, self-determination, and colleagueship" (p. 83) as being at the heart of the professional-bureaucratic conflict. Yet, DiPaola and Hoy made clear that the conflict associated with teacher militancy does not disrupt harmony in the schools. As such, perhaps militancy is better viewed in a somewhat less negative light and more as a resistance to a "blind faith in bureaucracy" (p. 88).

But for those who would ignore these arguments and still desire to respond to an expansion of teacher militancy through some sort of empowerment policy intervention, reform proposals that simply enhance the decision-making power and organizational status of teachers in the name of empowerment are probably not sufficient. To illustrate, most teaching and learning reforms demand new resources in the form of staff development, personnel, and materials for support. Teachers who are "empowered," yet who do not discern an environment of trust and confidence within their schools (demonstrated by the provision of additional needed resources), will continue to take individual and collective action to address difficult professional problems they face every day. This action may take forms that are commonly viewed as militant (e.g., work actions, informational pickets), but need not be seen as anti-professional.

Certainly, all of this is not to then say that school administrators should revert to bureaucratic authority structures to control teachers so that militancy is kept to a minimum. Rather, administrators should carefully analyze the impact and implications of their organizational and administrative strategies. They should not promote educational reforms designed only to stall the advance of militancy; instead, they should diligently seek to recognize problems inherent in the present school organization, and then promote reforms that will correct those problems.

Teachers have fundamental concerns that if left unresolved bring a collective, almost automatic response, known as "first-level" militancy. Teachers' concerns include:

  • class size,
  • teaching assignment,
  • teacher evaluation, and
  • length of school day and year.

These concerns, when categorized as follows, are typical of the traditional concerns that blue collar and other professional employee unions seek to resolve:

  • compensation,
  • job security, and
  • workplace organizational conditions.

When fundamental concerns of teachers remain unresolved, teachers almost always look to the counter power of the union to resolve these problems in the school organization. "First-level" militancy pertains to the above concerns and occurs when the union gets involved.

"Second-level" militancy displays more concern for the following issues within the school:

  • professional decision-making,
  • autonomy, and
  • control.

However, most unions have not yet developed a system for resolving such issues (Kipnis & Schmidt, 1983). Only what Kerchner and Mitchell (1988) call third-generation, "professional" teacher unions are likely to exhibit this second-level militancy, and those do not yet exist (Urban, 1991). Even if they did exist, such professional unions may not be able to lessen first-level teacher militancy or reduce conflict between the union and management.

Streshly and DeMitchell (1994) properly emphasized that the "first business of a union is to secure the material benefits of the members' employment" (p. 66), while Bascia (1994) asserted that teachers fully expect their unions to be receptive to the issues as the teachers interpret them. Evidence that this attitude is shared within professional unionism as well can be seen in Kerchner's (1993) case study of the Pittsburgh teacher union. Though the union made professionalism a significant part of its agenda, and major reforms were accomplished in the Pittsburgh Public Schools, the union continued to do what unions do, namely, increase the number of grievances:

Grievances are filed, and the union represents teachers who receive unsatisfactory performance ratings. The number of grievances going to arbitration has actually increased because the union is some what more willing to take 'judgment call" grievances to arbitration to show that it is still fulfilling its duty to provide procedural due process for members (p. 58).

It must be acknowledged that distinctions between examples of first- and second-level militancy are sometimes difficult to define and may be artificial at best. However, such a notion can be implied from McDonnell and Pascal's (1988) developmental conceptualization of teacher unions that (a) initially bargain to obtain increases in salary and fringe benefits, and (b) later confront the administration on matters of working conditions and job security, and (c) finally address issues of educational policy and professional practice.

While certain characteristics of the individual associated with militancy (e.g., age, gender and race) cannot be altered, the organization by tactical behavior can influence the degree to which teachers resort to first-level militancy. For instance, educational reform is generally associated with increased work demands for teachers. Bacharach et al. (1983) demonstrated that teachers are likely to turn to militant behavior when confronted with high levels of work demands. Thus it is appropriate for administrators to respond to teachers' perceptions relating to the level of work demands. Administrators may need to reallocate clerical or technical support to buttress teachers' reform efforts, or pay them a small stipend via a mini-grant program. Furthermore, administrators can give symbolic rewards to heighten the intrinsic satisfaction and identification that teachers receive from high job involvement, thereby reducing militancy (Bacharach et al., 1983).

Future research should include exploratory investigation into the nature and degree of second-level militancy, especially in those schools that provide comprehensive, systemic opportunities for teachers' full participation in decision-making and policy development (related to teaching and learning). Largely unexplored is the question of whether militant attitudes are influenced more by school-level or district-level actions and practices. Also highly valuable would be longitudinal case studies which expand our understanding of the various facets of first- and second-level militant behavior, while forwarding models of teacher empowerment in diverse school and district organizational contexts.

CONCLUSION

Given their crucial role in the teaching and learning process, teachers will continue to be key players in determining the success and effectiveness of schools. For educational reform and change to thrive, meaningful teacher participation and involvement is essential. The challenge for schools will be to create conditions that encourage teachers to help develop and implement reforms that improve teaching and learning, while at the same time avoid fostering an over-reliance on strident unionism that encourages negative first-level teacher militancy.

If teachers view educational reforms (with their rigorous prescriptiveness, increased time demands and workloads, and heightened accountability) as disruptive of or contradictory to traditional union interests (e.g., salary and basic working conditions), then first-level teacher militancy will likely expand with each new reform initiative. In addition, I have posited the existence of a different, second-level militancy centering upon issues of professional empowerment. However, this new-fashioned brand of militancy (assuming it exists at all) will emerge to the extent that teacher unions (fomenting militancy in order to develop and maintain the loyalty of their dues paying members) seek to re-establish their legitimacy by addressing problems of empowerment, not just economic growth and job protection. In the end, those of us engaged in the study of educational labor relations can only hope that this new version of teacher militancy is better than the old one. 

References

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Has Public Sector Labor Topped Out? What is the Clinton Administration Doing About It? By Leo Troy Ph.D. Professor of Economics, Rutgers University

I. The New Unionism and the New AFL-CIO

It appears that public sector unionism (I call it the New Unionism) has topped out, both in membership and market share. The data, though limited at this time, show a slippage in both measures of union strength. Between 1994 and 1995, memberships dropped off by 168,000 (just over 2%), and market share decreased from 38.7% to 37.8%. The larger relative decline in market share was the effect of a gain in employment at the State and local levels, combined with the decrease in membership. 

Despite the probability that the New Unionism is topping out, American unionism in the next century will be dominated by the public sector wing of organized labor. Historically composed mainly of workers employed by business, in the new millennium most union members will be employed by Federal, State and local governments. Added to this clearly identifiable group are another segment of organized workers, namely, "quasi-government workers" who are in industries extensively dependent on public monies, health care and construction. Those in the private sector in each of these industries are, of course, excluded from the concept of the New Unionism. Because of these changes, the symbol of unionism in the twentieth century, the industrial worker, will be replaced early in the next century by a white-collar or service employee working for the government, or financed mainly by public funds.

The underlying explanation for this transformation is the continuing decline in the number of members and in the market share of private sector unions, coupled with the dramatic surge in government labor organization over the past generation—at least until recently. Just about thirty years ago, public sector unionism accounted for approximately 6% of total membership; now it is 42% of the entire union population. Since peaking in 1970, private sector unions have shed about 7 million members; currently government unions enroll almost 7 million adherents. Moreover, government unions' penetration rate of Federal, State and local employment (38%) is a penetration rate never achieved by their counterpart in business. Private sector unions peaked at 36% of non-farm, private employment; and that occurred more than forty years ago, in 1953.

The changeover from a private to a government dominated labor movement has already begun, as evidenced by the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations' (AFL-CIO) election of its new leadership in October 1995. John J. Sweeney was chosen as the new president of the AFL-CIO. He had been serving as the president of the Service Employees International Union, whose membership straddles both government and private employment, but is predominantly government. Like his union, Mr. Sweeney represents a transition that reflects the current change in unionism, that is, from the industrial worker to the government employee. 

The AFL-CIO's new Secretary-Treasurer and second-in-command, Richard Trumka, also epitomizes the transition. His appointment recognizes the diminishing status of the private union labor organization within the Federation and unionism as a whole. Mr. Trumka was president of the United Mine Workers of America (UMW), a union which once numbered 600,000 members (in 1944), but now enrolls perhaps 30,000-40,000. Thus, Trumka symbolizes the historic past of organized labor—the private sector. Paradoxically, Trumka is slated to lead the Federation's efforts to organize the unorganized, despite the inability of the UMW to organize the unorganized in its own jurisdiction, and even though the union itself hovers on the brink of extinction.

Sweeney, as a candidate and now as president of the AFL-CIO, called on the Federation to boost funding ($20 million) to organize the unorganized, particularly women and minorities. He plans to revitalize its Organizing Institute, and to deploy 1,000 new union organizers. The new organizers are to be recent college graduates fired by the zeal to organize. They contrast sharply with the CIO’s recruitment of ideologically committed organizers during the 1930s—individuals prepared to accept physical punishment and jailing to serve the cause. In many instances, these were Communists who saw the organizing campaigns of the 'thirties as the opportunity to fulfill a mission. 

The focus on the planned efforts of the Federation to spearhead the organization of the unorganized distorts the actual strategies of how unions organize. Most organizing is done by the unions affiliated with the Federation, not the AFL-CIO itself. When the Federation gets directly involved, before a single worker is organized, it must be decided to which affiliated union the newly organized workers will belong. Jurisdictional conflict between affiliates still survives, and this factor limits the extent to which the Federation will actually be able to assist its affiliates. Also, in the run-up to his election, Sweeney called for a special fund aimed at organizing in the South. This evokes recollection of the CIO's "Operation Dixie," announced with great fanfare after World War II, but which came to naught. I believe a similar outcome awaits the new "Operation Dixie." 

To further revitalize a dying AFL-CIO, Sweeney promised to enlarge its Executive Council. This step would presumably lead to more representation from public sector unions, minority groups and women. To that end, Sweeney created a new office of executive vice-president, and had a woman (a minority person), Linda Chavez Thompson, elected to the position. Mrs. Chavez Thompson comes from the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, one of the largest public sector unions in the Federation; her selection reemphasizes the changing composition of union membership from private to public. Since the public sector union movement enrolls proportionately (and perhaps absolutely) more women and minorities than the private sector, the creation of the new post and the election of Mrs. Chavez Thompson conforms in yet another way to the emerging profile of organized labor.

As part of his program to rejuvenate the union movement, Mr. Sweeney also said he would seek an age limit of 70 on the future leadership of the Federation. In general, he has portrayed himself as a leader embracing change and diversity, while distancing himself from what he termed "a pattern of gradualism" in past leadership. Nevertheless, my expectation is that despite the best efforts of the new leadership of the AFL-CIO, private unionism will continue to dwindle, both in number of members and market share. As the French expression has it, "the more things change, the more they stay the same." In fact, I expect that by the turn of the century, private union market share will fall to 7 percent, about the same as it was at the beginning of this century. Currently, it is approaching 10 percent of the work force, a figure below that of 1929.

Sweeney's new staff appointments also underscore the transition of the AFL-CIO to a public sector dominated Federation. Most are from the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), and other purely government unions. This insures that day-to-day functions of the Federation will be in the direction of the New (Government) Unionism. Among the first appointments to staff positions announced by President Sweeney were Robert W. Welsh, who will serve as his executive assistant, the same position he held at the Service Employees International Union during Sweeney's 15-year tenure as president of that union. Serving as executive assistant to AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Linda Chavez Thompson will be Arlene Holt, who had been serving as area director for California for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees—the union in which Mrs. Chavez Thompson most recently served as vice president. The Federation's new general counsel is Jon Hiatt, who held that position in the Service Employee International Union. Another SEIU staff member, Denise Mitchell, was named special assistant to the president for public affairs. She held the same position at SEIU and also is a partner with her husband in Abernathy and Mitchell, an advocacy and public affairs firm. Gerald Shea will serve as assistant to the president to oversee the transition as well as government affairs. For the last two years Shea served as executive assistant to former AFL-CIO President Thomas Donahue, Sweeney’s opponent for the presidency of the Federation. Shea also comes from SEIU, where he served as Sweeney's assistant for government affairs and earlier headed the union's health care division (The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc., GERR, Vol. 33, No. 1639; November 6, 1995, p. 1399).

Some claim that the new leadership of the AFL-CIO will bring new ideas to resolve old problems and formulate plans for the future of organized labor. Is there any evidence of "new ideas"? Let me refer to a recent Ben Wattenberg program, "Think Tank," in which I participated with other scholars. When I challenged another panelist to cite examples of his—and the Federation’s claim—that the AFL-CIO leadership had new ideas, Albert Shanker (president of the American Federation of Teachers and a member of the TV panel) jumped in to say that in all his years on the Executive Council of the AFL-CIO, he had never heard any new ideas. And the Council members with whom he served included John Sweeney, Richard Trumka and others who have announced that new ideas were in the offing. 

The Clinton Administration, a close ally of organized labor, took steps soon after coming into office to strengthen both the private and public sectors of organized labor. The Secretaries of Labor and Commerce established a Commission on the Future of Labor-Management Relations (the Dunlop Commission) to bring in recommendations for amending labor law in the private sector of the labor market. In the public sector, the Administration’s first step was to establish the National Performance Review, headed by Vice-President Albert Gore; its purpose is to address Federal labor relations and personnel issues. Next, to deal with State and local government labor relations, the Secretary of Labor appointed a task force in May 1994, with a mandate paralleling that of the Dunlop Commission. The task force was to make recommendations on labor relations in the State and local sector of public employment (BNA, GERR, Vol. 33, No. 1616; May 22, 1995, p. 702), which the Administration hoped would re-ignite the expansion of the New Unionism at State and local levels.

Meanwhile, the Administration’s efforts on behalf of the Old Unionism have come to naught. Before the Dunlop Commission’s recommendations could even be considered, the Republicans gained control of Congress, which quelled the prospects for enacting the Commission’s proposals. However, even if the Republicans had not gained control of Congress, I don’t believe much of the Dunlop Commission’s agenda would have been enacted. Likewise, for reasons to be discussed below, the Administration’s efforts on behalf of the New Unionism will not spark any new major expansion of membership and market share. However, these efforts do mark a turning point in the Administration’s bid to build the power of the New Unionism at all three levels of public employment—Federal, State and local—because they coincide with the topping-out of labor organization in the public sector. I begin with the Administration’s actions to enhance the strength of unions in the Federal government. 

II. Reinventing Federal Government—Works Councils

The Administration's proposals for Federal labor relations were part of a general review of personnel policies, dubbed the reinvention of government. The review encompassed the hiring, classification, and management of Federal employees, and labor relations. (Labor relations were treated as part of human resource management.) The review, headed by Vice-President Gore, is known as the National Performance Review (NPR). To carry out the recommendations of the NPR, the Administration established a National Performance Council (NPC). The Clinton-Gore "reinvention of government" was singled out (along with the Administration's "activist style") by editors of the Bureau of National Affairs' Government Employees' Relations Report (GERR) as the Administration's leading achievement in Federal labor relations during its first year in office (BNA, GERR, Vol. 32, No. 1546; January 3, 1994, p. 3). (Parenthetically, these editors also endorsed President and Hillary Rodham Clinton's proposals to bring health care under government control, proposals which became a major disaster for the Administration). 

The most important change in Federal labor relations made by the Administration was the establishment of what it euphemistically called "partnership councils" between unions and government agencies. Actually, these are "works councils"—a form of employee relations which many union supporters had been advocating for the private sector. Adopting the recommendation of Vice-President Gore's National Performance Review report, Clinton issued Executive Order No. 12871, creating a National Partnership Council (NPC) of federal union presidents, agency officials, and government labor and personnel experts. According to a statement issued by the labor members, individual agencies were instructed to establish their own councils, which are to "work to create an environment where the workers and their ideas are regarded as valued assets with a vested interest and say in government operations rather than a budget item to be slashed." At the beginning of 1996, two organizations of federal managers and supervisory personnel were added to the National Partnership Council, and in due course will join councils at the agency levels as well. The two groups are the Senior Executive Association and the Federal Managers Association. In emulation of the Federal action, the Secretary of Labor's Task Force on Excellence in State and Local Government Through Labor-Management Cooperation (its full, official name), promptly recommended "partnership councils" (works councils) at the State and local levels of government. This was the Task Force’s most important recommendation.

Not only did the Administration enhance the power of federal unions to participate in decision-making under Executive Order 12871, but that Order also gave federal unions the right to negotiate matters hitherto only permissive (or at the option) of management. This sweeping change now mandates that Federal agencies bargain with unions on such matters as "the numbers, types and grades of employees or positions assigned to any organizational subdivision, work project or tour of duty," and the "technology, methods and means of performing work" (BNA, GERR, Vol. 33, No. 1623; July 17, 1995, p. 897). 

These inroads into managerial prerogatives exceed comparable inroads in private industry. Moreover, the establishment of the partnership (works) council also negates possible benefits of the Performance Review’s recommendation that every department and agency designate a chief operating officer who would bring effective management to the operation of that body. The councils will inhibit any steps to rationalize managerial functions and operations. The two steps illustrate the contradictory nature of the Clinton Administration’s policy-making in labor relations.

The Gore report compared the establishment of partnership councils to similar groups in private industry. But this is misleading, at least in part. Indeed, many nonunion companies had established employee participation committees to enhance productivity, but these have been vigorously opposed by organized labor. Moreover, the National Labor Relations Board has ruled that these groups constitute employer interference with employees’ rights of self-determination and therefore in violation of the National Labor Relations Act. The difference between these private sector efforts and the Administration’s partnership councils is that in the governmental set up, employee participation in the councils is nearly always (or always) in the hands of unions.

The establishment of works councils in Federal departments and agencies is only the beginning of the Administration’s reinvention of labor policies. In May 1995, Secretary of Labor Robert Reich said that although the Administration's programs were already fostering genuine partnerships (through the partnership councils) between Federal agencies and unions, "we're not there yet." This was echoed in the remarks of Robert M. Tobias, president of the National Treasury Employees Union—one of the largest Federal employee unions. He explained that Clinton created these councils because he believed that the Federal government cannot be streamlined without the cooperation of federal unions. He asserted that the councils give unions a significant role in deciding how to reduce the size of the Federal government by 272,000 slots by 1998. 

Looking ahead, perhaps what Secretary Reich meant is that the Administration will, in collective bargaining agreements, grant the agency shop to Federal employee unions. This step would go far to enhance the financial power of Federal employee unions, not only in collective bargaining but also in political action. It would also strengthen the unions’ hand in disciplining those whom it represents. Meanwhile, the Administration has virtually eliminated the historic political limitations on Federal employees under the Hatch Act, and has enhanced the power of federal unions to bring even greater resources to their alliance with the Democrats. This illustrates what I have called the incestuous relationship between some political (public) employers and the unions. 

In 1993, the Administration and a Democratic Congress pushed through the Federal Employees Political Activities Act, under which Federal employees now may manage partisan political campaigns, raise money for candidates, and hold positions within political organizations. Although Federal employees may not run for partisan political office themselves, nor conduct any such activity on government time or property, these are not severe restrictions on their political activities. Meantime, to conciliate the public, the Act continues current restrictions upon employees of certain agencies and offices which deal with national security or government integrity. Many Republicans opposed reform of the Hatch Act, arguing that it would politicize career workers. Meantime, it is worth noting that the BNA editors, presumably neutral observers, endorsed the Administration's legislation changing the Hatch Act. Likewise, the BNA editors singled out for approval the Administration's decision to take back the PATCO strikers (air traffic controllers). 

III. Works Councils for State and Local Governments

When the editors of the BNA looked for the leading public sector development at the State and local levels in 1994, they chose the Clinton Administration's appointment of a task force to review and make recommendations on labor relations in State and local governments (GERR, Vol. 33, No. 1597; January 9, 1995, p. 53). As already noted, the official title of the task force is the Secretary of Labor's Task Force on Excellence in State and Local Government. According to the Secretary, the Task Force was created to respond to requests from several governors and unions to examine and foster labor-management relations in State and local governments. 

The Secretary established the Task Force in May 1994 after the public sector was specifically excluded from the jurisdiction of the Commission on the Future of Labor-Management Relations (the Dunlop Commission), which dealt with labor relations in the private sector. The Task Force complements the National Partnership Council (at the Federal level) and the Dunlop Commission. When Secretary Reich convened the first meeting, he characterized the Task Force as the "third leg of the three-legged stool" of the Department's labor relations policies (October 19, 1994). 

The Task Force consisted of 14 members and an executive director. James Florio, former Governor of New Jersey (D), and Jerry E. Abramson, Mayor of Louisville, Kentucky (D), are co-chairmen. The executive director is Jonathan Brock, associate professor, graduate school of public affairs, and chair of the Cascade Center for Public Service at the University of Washington in Seattle. Other members of the Task Force include: Arvid Anderson, retired chairman of the New York City Office of Collective Bargaining; Martha Bibbs, State personnel director for the Michigan Civil Service Commission; Al Bilik, president of the AFL-CIO Public Employee Department; Hezekiah Brown, director of labor-management programs at Cornell University, N.Y., School of Industrial and Labor Relations; Lucille Christenson, assistant director for the Office of Human Resources in the Washington State Department of Labor; Arthur Hamilton, minority leader of the Arizona House of Representatives; Mary Hatwood Futrell, president of Education International and former president of the National Education Association; Michael Lipsky, governance and public policy program officer for the Ford Foundation; James Mastriani, chairman of the New Jersey Public Employment Relations Commission; Beverly Stein, chief executive of Multnomah County, OR; Kenneth Young, retired executive assistant to the AFL-CIO president; and Kent Wong, director of the University of California-Los Angeles Center for Labor Research and Education, and president of the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (BNA, GERR, October 24, 1994). The make up of the membership was clearly tilted toward the interests of organized labor, an orientation which foreshadowed its eventual recommendations. 

The stated mission of the Task Force (promoting cooperative efforts in labor relations to improve efficiency) mimics that of the National Performance Review (and its progeny, the National Performance Council), and the Dunlop Commission. Actually, all have the same goal—enhancing the power of labor organization. Nominally, the mission of the Task Force was to address: 

• Should new methods or institutions be encouraged to enhance the quality, productivity and cost-effectiveness of public sector services through labor-management cooperation and employee participation, recognizing the broad variety of functions performed by different levels of government and various other agencies and public organizations? 

• Should changes to legal frameworks that impact labor-management relations, including collective bargaining and civil service legislation, be considered to enhance cooperative behaviors that would reduce conflict, duplication and delays? 

• What, if anything, should be done to encourage the parties themselves to resolve workplace problems rather than resorting to administrative bodies and the courts? 

• What, if anything, can be done to improve the coordination between appropriate executive and legislative bodies to enhance labor-management relations in the public sector and to create a climate where productivity, improvement, innovation and risk-taking are encouraged and rewarded? 

• What conditions are necessary to enable elected political leaders, public managers, public employees and labor organizations to work together to achieve excellence in State and local governments? What are the obstacles, and how can they be overcome? 

• What examples of successful cooperative efforts are appropriate to serve as public sector models? Why have some initially successful efforts failed, and what can be done to enhance prospects for success (BNA, GERR, October 24, 1994)?

A. What the Unions Wanted

Not surprisingly, unions representing employees at the State and local levels came out for "labor-management cooperation"; that is, partnership arrangements between unions and public management. Thus, Gerald W. McEntee, president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) told the Task Force that the cooperative movement between unions and management was an essential ingredient in improving the quality and delivery of government service. AFSCME is the largest public employee union in America outside the teachers' union (the National Education Association [NEA]). AFSCME represents about 1.3 million State, county and city workers; the NEA represents over two million teachers and related groups. 

Like the National Policy Review at the Federal level, Mr. McEntee told the Task Force that it must be an agent for change in redesigning State and local governments. Like the Federal policies of the Clinton Administration, he insisted that "re-inventing State and local government" could only be effective with participation limited to the unions and their members. To deny their participation would deny the very idea of empowering workers, according to Mr. McEntee. On the other hand, he said excellence and privatization were "mutually exclusive." 

The Task Force evidently agreed. Its comments on privatization and contracting out were negative: "Within a cooperative partnership [works councils] for most core services, reforms that emerge from employee participation usually produce equal or better quality and results than contracting out." (U.S. Department of Labor, Working Together for Public Service, May 1996, p. 12). The Task Force’s antagonism to privatization and contracting out is evident from the details of its analysis of "Trends In Privatization and Contracting Out" (in Chapter 3 of its report). 

Mr. McEntee also demanded that the Task Force endorse legislation to facilitate organizing. Another of AFSCME's fundamental tenets, he said, is the right of all workers, including public employees, to be represented by an organization of their own choice because "no free government has the right to deny workers this basic right of self-organization and representation." He stated that more than five million State and local government workers are deprived of self-protection rights (ostensibly because of the absence of government to protect their right to organize), and that this was an issue which the Task Force must address. 

In his testimony (prior to becoming president of the AFL-CIO), John J. Sweeney reiterated the theme that workers (read union members) and their unions are the keys to improving the quality of public service, but that these efforts will fail unless labor is an equal partner in the process of change. (As noted above, the Service Employees International Union, of which Sweeney was then president, is more of a public than a private sector union.) 

Even more significant, Mr. Sweeney reiterated a longstanding demand of public employee unions, namely, a Federal law "nationalizing" labor relations at the State and local levels. He called for the enactment of a Federal statute to establish minimum labor relations standards which would guarantee collective bargaining for all State and local employees. He cited the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA), and said that "states would be free to establish their own labor laws so long as they met the prescribed minimum standards," adding that SEIU is currently drafting such a proposed law.  

 Meantime, the first step would be to enforce public sector collective bargaining laws currently on the books.  Furthermore, Mr. Sweeney said, unlike private sector bargaining where employees are protected by Federal labor and retirement laws, collectively bargained economic packages in the public sector too often are overridden by legislators.  (Consider the arrogance of this criticism—that the duly elected legislators of a State would veto what the public employers and unions have agreed to.)  He also complained about what he called raids on the pensions of public employees.  (Of course, these "raids" are again actions taken by duly elected officials with reference to monies which the government had provided in the first instance.)  

 Mr. Sweeney contended that the inability to enforce negotiated contracts (because of legislative actions) weakens the entire bargaining structure in the public sector.  "In other words, bargaining rights are inadequate to give workers the secure and independent voice which they need to become full and effective partners in achieving excellence."  

 Mr. Sweeney also warned against subcontracting government work to contractors who, according to him, pay sub-minimum wages and perform sub-standard work.  He wanted the government to compel employers who receive government contracts to pay what he termed minimum wage and benefit protections, which would be comparable to those paid to public employees performing the same work.  He said, "These standards would force contractors to compete on the basis of management efficiency or quality of services, rather than by slashing workers' wages and benefits [so that] the cost savings come from improved efficiency and not from lowering wages and benefits."  Actually, Mr. Sweeney was advocating the application of Davis-Bacon type legislation to discourage governmental contract work in order to insure that contracting out would become prohibitively costly.  

 Besides Sweeney and McEntee, the leaders from the two major teachers' unions, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and the National Education Association (NEA) told the Task Force that the absence of collective bargaining impedes mutual problem-solving in government.  They said that the right of teachers to organize and bargain is essential to improve education through cooperation.  According to Ed McElroy, secretary-treasurer of the AFT, school employees can only experiment on educational changes when they have the right to elect their representative and bargain over terms of employment.  According to him, "common goals cannot mean a union-free environment," and "excellence in education means management and the union set common goals where employees have the right to collective bargaining and job security, and the union's security is not threatened" (BNA, GERR, January 16, 1995).  

  Marilyn Monahan, secretary-treasurer of the NEA, said labor-management cooperative efforts are only possible when the rights of employees to bargain collectively are respected and protected.  She asserted that bargaining has an enormous and positive impact on the quality of public education because it links compensation with the ability of school districts to attract and retain qualified staff.  Bargaining, she contended, has always been a means of maintaining a dialogue about school improvement, and has helped create a forum for ongoing reform and shared decision-making.  She claimed that since schools are facing complex challenges in a fast-changing world, bargaining should not be limited to annual bargaining.  Furthermore, Monahan claimed that employers and employees must be engaged in a constant dialogue about improving educational services, with bargaining providing a structure for discussions (BNA, GERR, January 16, 1995).  

 While the NEA's secretary-treasurer said that no single model of bargaining is advocated, a management representative who is a member of the National Association of School Boards (NASB) reduced any union claims of variation in models to a single model—one in which “the union gets all it wants."  Needless to say, given the composition of the Task Force, it did not offer any recommendation favoring vouchers to stimulate competition in education.  

 In addition to promoting collective bargaining, unions urged the removal of civil service and the merit system, which is used to recruit, classify and promote government employees.  Thus, Mr. McEntee claimed that "all too often this [merit] system serves neither management nor workers ... that it does not serve the customers for whom we all work."  He described the civil service system as "the self perpetuating maze of laws, regulations, rules, personnel requirements, and written and unwritten procedures and processes" (BNA, GERR, Vol. 32, No. 1587; October 24, 1994, p. 1311).  In addition, union leaders urged the Task Force to further reduce managerial rights now set by law and contracts.  

 In summary, union leaders want a revolution in State and local government labor relations—a revolution which would dilute managerial authority, civil service, and, yes, even sovereignty.  In its place they would substitute a new regime of work councils limited to unions and management, with authority for decision-making transferred to these groups.  While genuine cooperation between unions and management can contribute to efficiency, I believe the typical result of such cooperation in the public sector will be the creation of more rules governing how services are provided, and thus add to inefficiency.   
 

B.  What Professional Negotiators  
 Representing the Public Wanted

 Although critical of many practices of unions in the public sector, professionals who negotiate on behalf of the public find merit in some of the union demands—most notably, the “cooperative partnerships.”  This mixed assessment appears in the testimony, before the Task Force, of Mr. Roger E. Dahl, executive director of the National Public Employer Labor Relations Association (NPELRA).  The Association has more than 2,000 members, many of whom are negotiators for State and local governments.  

 Mr. Dahl pointed out that most union proposals would not help NPELRA members manage more efficiently or reduce costs, but would increase costs and maintain the status quo on work practices.  Indeed, Mr. Dahl’s comment on work practices goes to the heart of the problem of work councils.  Under the guise of “cooperation,” the advocates were actually pushing to increase the unions' ability to impose new work rules.  In effect, work councils should be construed as a synonym for work rules.  Thus, in his testimony before the Task Force, Mr. McEntee, president of AFSCME, acknowledged that the union “may have negotiated a few contract work rules that inhibited effective service delivery ... [but that this was done] to counter overly restrictive civil service rules.”  But for whatever reason, he went on to say that "we will open them up for examination and review and debate ... whether through negotiations or some collaborative venture" [read works councils].  

 Mr. Dahl also apparently endorsed works councils, even though they will add many new work rules and make public service less efficient, an issue he complained about.  Thus, he recommended that the Task Force consider labor-management committees (emphasis supplied), which I interpret as an endorsement of works councils.  In that vein, he also recommended investment in training for all employees to prepare them for the potential flattening of the work place structure (that is, works councils).  As noted elsewhere in this essay, such reorganization of work coupled with employee participation committees in the nonunion private sector have been held illegal.  Private sector unions usually oppose them; only in the context of a collectively bargained arrangement would they countenance them.  So also in the public sector, it is clear that the unions favor reorganization of the work place and labor management cooperation only under a collective bargaining agreement.  

 Mr. Dahl had the following managerial perspectives on labor relations in the public sector: 

1.  On collective bargaining, he pointed out that the States which have laws on collective bargaining modeled them on out-of-date legislation, that is, on the National Labor Relations Act of 1935; and that the adjustments made to accommodate State requirements have not served public management interests.  

2.  On bargaining units, he criticized the inclusion of supervisors in bargaining units with the people they supervise because this weakens the supervisors' allegiance and results in the following:  a less disciplined and focused workplace, wasted dollars and lost productivity.  

 Again, this is another example of a mixed assessment.  It is surprising that Mr. Dahl would find acceptable the organized representation and bargaining for supervisors, and object only to their inclusion in the same unit as those they supervised.  To be analytically consistent, he should have objected to their being able to organize and bargain.  

 This issue was fought out in the private sector during the 1940s until it was ended by the Taft-Hartley amendments to the National Labor Relations Act in 1947, which excluded supervisors from the definition of an employee and therefore excluded them from coverage under the law.  It effectively brought the unionization of supervisors to an end.  Several members of the Dunlop Commission would have restored the right of supervisors to unionize and bargain in emulation of the public sector practices.  In the public sector, neither management nor its negotiators challenge the rectitude of unionizing supervisors.  

3.  On impasse arbitration and strikes, Mr. Dahl noted that compulsory interest arbitration to resolve bargaining impasses exists in some 20 States, and that 10 States allow a limited right to strike.  These conditions have resulted in arbitration awards that out-paced inflation and encouraged costly avoidance of strikes.  Mr. Dahl urged the Task Force to look at all types of arbitration to see if any work fairly for all parties.  He also suggested it reconsider the right to strike.  

 Needless to say, the Task Force ignored these suggestions when it came to its recommendations. 

4.  On the duty of fair representation, Mr. Dahl urged the Task Force to propose ways to give unions leeway to put aside non-meritorious grievances without fear of a lawsuit.  According to him, unions seem to be required to process every grievance to the fullest extent.  

 Are unions “compelled” to process each and every grievance?  Significantly, the unions made no such request of the Task Force.  Neither did the academics or the professional staffs of many State and local agencies.  

5.  Mr. Dahl said that public employers see the scope of bargaining as already far too broad.  Under existing interpretations, management is required to bargain over the effect of some management decisions, which essentially amounts to bargaining over the decision itself.  This is expensive and time-consuming and tends to decrease the desire to make changes that would benefit the public, he added.  

 If Mr. Dahl thought the existing scope of bargaining was already too broad, the establishment of works councils will significantly increase the domain of union input, and further reduce managerial authority.  He would appear to be arguing against himself.  The Task Force apparently paid little heed to his concerns over the diminution of managerial authority.  

6.  Mr. Dahl also commented on the negative impact of many Federal mandates.  Many Federal laws now apply to State and local governments, such as wage and overtime, job bias, family medical leave, disabilities, and drug testing laws, which taken together are expensive and impose further costs on State and local governments.  He noted that Federal mandates often dictate only one way to reach a desired goal, which prohibits flexibility and consideration of alternatives.  

 Mr. Dahl offered some useful insights on what is going on in public sector labor relations at the State and local levels, but he offers what I regard as a mixed assessment of what and why the unions do what they do.   
 

C.  What Academics Wanted

 In their testimony before the Task Force, professors Kate Bronfenbrenner of Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y. and Tom Juravich of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst (hereafter, B&J) argued for works councils but disguised them as a “workplace partnership between labor and management” at State and local levels.  They agreed (not surprisingly) with the union testimony that workplace partnership between labor and management is not possible without union representation, or as they put it, “an institutional voice for workers.”  They contended that excellence in governmental services on State and local levels will continue to be seriously undermined as long as most State and local workers are unorganized, or are "denied the right to form organizations of their own choosing."  In the absence of union representation, efforts to involve public employees in improving service quality will be short lived and wasteful, they told the Task Force.  

  Moreover, based on a study B&J did for the AFL-CIO, they could claim public employees want union representation (Economic Policy Institute, The Impact of Employer Opposition on Union Certification Win Rates:  A Private/Public Sector Comparison, Working Paper, No. 1113, Revised Edition, Feb. 1995).  Using certification win rates in public sector representation elections at the State and local levels (held in 1991 and 1992), they found that unions won with commanding margins, winning an average 85% of representation elections and 83% of votes cast.  Moreover, they noted that this high win rate spanned a wide range of governmental units, and was consistently high across a broad range of employers, regions and occupations.  Unlike the private sector where professional and technical workers rejected union organization, public sector professionals such as teachers, social workers, doctors, engineers and city planners have voted decisively for representation.  Professional groups accounted for nearly 20% of all State and local elections; another 9% of elections occurred in supervisory and managerial units.  In all of these, the unions averaged higher than an 80% win rate (BNA, Inc., Government Employee Relations Report, March 20, 1995).  

 B&J said their findings clearly point to employer behavior as the primary reason for the win rate difference between the private and public sectors.  Aside from a few cases of intensive anti-union campaigns in higher education and health care, where those public sector employers are more insulated from public pressures than their State and local government counterparts, the authors said the public sector tactic data make clear that there is little opposition to unions by State and local government employers.  

 B&J made six recommendations to the Task Force to benefit public sector unionism.  All six points would be familiar to those who have observed public sector labor relations over the past quarter century and longer.  Topping the list was “full bargaining rights” for public sector unions; which is, 

• to extend to all public workers the right to organize and to bargain, and  
• to eliminate most limitations on the right of public sector unions to negotiate or strike.  

B&J noted that there are still 14 States without any public employee bargaining laws, and 13 States where the bargaining laws only apply to specific groups such as State employees, firefighters or teachers.  Consistent with their demand for full rights of collective bargaining, the two academics decried privatization and contracting out because they weaken collective bargaining.  However, they did not address the question of why public agencies might wish to privatize or subcontract.  

 To underpin “full rights of collective bargaining,” B&J urged that State and local labor relations laws be amended to provide clear and effective penalties for employer interference in workers' efforts to organize.  They said these changes are necessary to preserve a positive labor relations climate in the public sector, and ensure that it does not deteriorate to the destructive level of hostility and conflicts which pervade private sector labor relations.  

 To assist unions in organizing, B&J also called for rapid representation elections.  They found lags between the time a petition for an election was filed and the date on which the election was held.  They found the lag time was more than twice as long as in the private sector, although it did not seem to affect the outcome.  

 To further speed up the process of choosing a representative, B&J called for card check certifications, where there is only one union on the ballot.  They said that South Dakota, Washington, Ohio and New York, among other States, permit certification through card checks as long as employers do not contest the unit or demand elections.  An average of 87% of eligible voters in such units had signed cards.  

 B&J also indicated they want labor relations agencies to adopt a standardized reporting system for data collection on all phases of their activity.  Such standardization would allow reliable data to be collected, computerized, compared and stored, they said, adding that good planning requires comprehensive and accessible data on which to base decisions.  This would enhance the power of States to increase their regulation of labor relations (BNA, Inc., Government Employee Relations Report, March 20, 1995 ).  

 Perhaps to assist researchers, and, I believe, to further assist unions in organizing, B&J recommended that a non-Federal clearinghouse be established to collect information from State labor relations boards on a regular basis and that it adopt a standardized collection and reporting system.  The researchers noted that unlike baseline information on the private sector available from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), there is no centralized database for public employees.  Union organizing data must be collected in myriad formats by more than 40 different State and local labor agencies in 35 States, they said.  Although the NLRB has published detailed data on representation elections, it has not helped unions, at least in recent years.  B&J's study was showcased at the AFL-CIO's Public Employee Department Convention in 1993 (31 GERR 1344), and they presented their findings in the sixth annual Larry Rogin lecture at AFL-CIO headquarters in March 1994 (32 GERR 383). 
 

D.  A Critique of the B&J Study

 Bronfenbrenner and Juravich’s (B&J) explanation for the high union win rate in representation elections among public sector workers identifies the absence of public employers’ opposition to organization and collective bargaining.  They observed that “... the employers’ tactic data make clear that there is little opposition to unions by State and local government employers” (B&J, p. 20).  Again, they state that “the data point to employer behavior as the primary reason for the dramatic difference [between] the 85 percent public sector union win rate [and] the 48 percent private sector win rate" (B&J, p. 22).  

 However, B&J do not explain public employers’ behavior toward the unionization of "their" employees.  Their finding of little opposition to unions by most public employers is a fact well known in the field long before their study.  The significant question, which they did not ask, is, "Why don't public employers oppose unionization and bargaining?"  

 The closest B&J come to this issue is their assertion that “[m]any public officials are elected and regardless of their individual attitudes are constrained from engaging in activities that the public might perceive negatively” (B&J, p. 21).  However, they offer no evidence for their opinion of what the public thinks about this matter.  Polls of public attitudes toward unions could hardly be described as favorable.  

 Another dimension of public employers’ attitude toward unionization is revealed in their acceptance of consent elections.  Not only did two-thirds of public employers in the B&J study agree to consent elections but they made no challenge to the determination of the bargaining unit (B&J, p. 14)!  In other words, unions designed the unit so it would be most favorable to their desired outcome, and public management ignored any impact on their ability to manage.  When an election was stipulated or ordered, the union win rate dropped from the average of 85% to 60%.  In contrast, B&J report that in the private sector, less than half of the elections are consent elections, with win rates at about 50%.  In NLRB ordered elections, the win rate drops to 17%.  

 Employer opposition is hardly an appropriate characterization of the attitude of public employers.  Indeed, public employers’ support of union representation could even be described as incestuous!  As noted above, the Clinton Administration’s amendment of the Hatch Act was intended to reinforce the political power of their union allies in the Federal government.  In general, both parties have strong motives for assisting one another—the public employer gains a powerful political ally, and the union easily becomes the representative of large numbers of dues’ payers.  Many public employers actually foster labor organization.  If their attitude and activities were practiced in the private domain, they would often be in violation of a workers’ right of self-determination.  And government workers probably believe their bosses want them to join.  At no time did B&J ever consider these issues.  

 B&J also addressed the absence of a profit motive in the public employer’s attitude and practices toward the unionization of public employees.  Where budget issues come to the fore quickly, as at the level of local school boards, apparently there is some opposition.  In such instances, the public employer’s behavior toward unionization of employees begins to resemble that of private employers.  

 B&J argue that employer opposition in the public sector is virtually absent, and that this is the reason for the decisive union win rates in representation elections.  They hope to demonstrate that a similar result will occur in the private sector if private employers are stripped of their ability to oppose union organization of their employees.  B&J's remedy, as so many of their academic colleagues have already pleaded, is to revise the National Labor Relations Act in order to force private employers to behave as public employers with the hope that this would reverse the deterioration of private sector unionism.  

 Blaming employer opposition for the decline of private unionism, while popular among union officials and the politically correct in academia and the media, misrepresents the real explanation for the decline of private, Old Unionism.  There are at least three reasons for the decline of the Old Unionism:  

• markets,  
• increased global and domestic competition, and  
• structural change.  

It is important to note that private sector union movements in all G-7 countries have declined (Germany is a mixed situation, but private density, if not membership, has decreased).  

 Paralleling the absence of B&J’s inquiry as to why public employers did not oppose the unionization of "their" employees, they also did not attempt to explain why public sector employees voted so overwhelmingly for union representation.  B&J admit that their data do not explain why “public sector workers are enthusiastically joining unions” (B&J, p. 8; emphasis added).  This is a mystery.  

 B&J did identify several reasons which should lead public sector workers to not join unions.  

• Public sector workers are better paid than in the private economy;   
• Public sector workers hold jobs in occupations (professional, technical and generally white collar) which are difficult to organize in the private sector;  
• The lag between the petition for an election and the vote are longer in the public sector than in the private sector; and  
• Unions do not work as hard to organize in the public sector as in the private labor market (B&J, pp., 12, 15, 17, 21, 22).  

Despite reasons which should slow the unionization of public workers, why do they join in such large numbers?  As I have already emphasized, it is because of the encouragement of the public employer.  

 Insofar as I know, no one has carefully examined the issue of employer interference fostering unions in the public sector.  Presumably, this would be an unfair labor practice.  I believe that there has been substantial interference by public employers affecting employees’ decisions to choose a union—interference which in the private sector would be viewed as an unfair labor practice because the employer was dominating or assisting the union.  B&J do not consider this issue, but make a considerable effort to track employer actions which might interfere with the right to join unions.  In the end, they do not demonstrate why government workers vote for union representation; their argument seems to be only that public management does not oppose their actions.  In my judgment, many government employees believe their managers want them to be represented by a union.  

 How important are the representation elections examined by B&J to the growth of public sector unionism?  In the two years of their study, 1991 and 1992, some 45,000 employees per year were in bargaining units won by public sector unions.  (Bargaining units are not the equivalent of membership; they include workers who are not union members.)  Interestingly, between 1990 and 1991, public sector unions added 147,000 members, but between 1991 and 1992, they added only 21,000 members.  Of these gains, it is not known how many can be attributable to organizing the unorganized, and how many to employment growth in existing bargaining units.  The percentage of workers represented in the 1990-91 year remained unchanged at 43.3%, while between 1991 and 1992, the percentage represented actually dropped slightly to 43.2 %.  It is clear that despite the success rate of public sector unions in representation elections, this form of organization played little role in increasing membership or density.  Consequently, the actual impact of the B&J study is speculative.  

 From its inception to the present composition of the New Unionism, representation elections have played a small role in generating total membership (6.9 million) or density (38%).  The size and market penetration of the New Unionism are owed primarily to what I term the organization of the organized, as described with examples below:  

• The transformation of large professional and public employee associations into unions  
•  (e.g., the National Education Association);  
• The merger of many public employee associations into established unions  
•  (e.g., the Civil Service Employees of New York into the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees); and  
• The transformation of some unions from predominantly private sector membership to  
  predominantly public sector membership  
•  (e.g., the Service Employees International Union).  

 The era of rapid public sector union growth has passed.  As already indicated, there is evidence that it has topped out both in membership and density.  For the first time since the BLS began its membership series (1983), public sector unionism has declined both in number of members and density.  Between 1994 and 1995, density declined from 39% to 38%, and membership fell by 164,000.  While one year does not make a trend, taken in conjunction with the growing struggle to restrict the size of government, I believe that these statistics foreshadow the future.  

 The largest decrease in membership took place at the State level (65,000), second largest at the Federal level (50,000), followed by Local Government (35,000), and then Postal Service (14,000) (Hirsch, Barry T., and Macpherson, David A., Union Membership and Earnings Data Book: 1996).  Proportionately, the hardest hit was the Federal sector (I am including the Postal Service in that group).  Most of the decline at the Federal level can be explained by the closure of military bases, accounting for two-thirds of the reduction, while many other reductions came from releasing part-time and temporary workers.  Most of the shrinkage in employment was centered in the Department of Defense, the largest Federal employer of civilian employees.  On the other hand, even as membership fell, public employment grew at the State and local levels, thereby contributing to the overall public sector decline in density.  While Federal employment dropped by about 50,000 (virtually the same as the number of members it lost, although this should be treated as a coincidence), State and local governments added more than 200,000 jobs between 1994 and 1995.  

 The gain in the number of jobs at the State and local levels is particularly interesting in light of the B&J findings on the success rate of public sector unions in winning elections at the State and local levels.  If State and local government employees have such a proclivity for joining unions, why was there a loss of 90,000 members coincident with such a large gain in employment?  Although not all States have laws encouraging unionism and bargaining (and I have not tracked down in which States employment gained), there are public sector organizations in all States which offer a base for organization.  Surely some of the 200,000 increase in employment occurred in States with laws fostering union organization.  Perhaps the answer lies in the attitudes of non-union government employees.  Polls of workers, including government workers, reported that about two-thirds said they would not vote for a union in a secret ballot election.  The Lou Harris organization found such results in the most comprehensive examination of the failing union movement (in the private sector) in 1984, and similar findings have emerged (including in Canada) since as late as 1990.  

 The apparent topping out of public sector unionism is occurring not only in the U.S., but abroad as well.  Just as there has been convergence in the decline of private sector unionism (the Old Unionism)—across the U.S., and in Canada, the U.K., France, Italy and Japan—in all probability, there is also an international convergence producing a decline in the public sector, the New Unionism.  

 The driving forces affecting the topping out of the New Unionism, include the following:  

• public policy toward labor organization, and  
• the size and scope of the public budget.  

Once public budgets slow down in growth, or face actual reductions, employment growth tapers off or even declines; then the size and scope of the New Unionism must slow and decline in tandem with employment.  

 Privatization must also be noted as a factor, but unless and until such huge enterprises as public education and the postal services become privatized to a substantial degree, little downsizing of the unions in these sectors can be expected.  Indeed, at this time in the U.S., the largest union in the country (and in the world) is the National Education Association.  It probably enrolls some 2.25 million members.  If it should merge with the American Federation of Teachers, the new conglomerate will top the three million mark!  The merger, I believe, will occur within a year.  

 While the potential for growth of the New Unionism remains in the public sector, it is not likely to be realized without one or all of the following changes:  

• public policy changes favoring unions (such as advocated by B&J) in States which do not now have such policies, or  
• a national law covering State and local government labor relations, or  
• a renewed explosion of public spending.  

Surprisingly, one recommendation I expected B&J to make, and which they did not, was to recommend a national law governing State and local labor relations.  Since the decision in Garcia v. Samta, decided in 1985 by the Supreme Court, Congress may have the authority to enact such legislation.  Perhaps the realization that such legislation is impossible explains the absence of a recommendation.  Sweeney, as noted above, did recommend such an approach before the Task Force (when he was president of the Service Employees International Union).   
 

IV.  TASK FORCE RECOMMENDATIONS  
  AND MY CRITIQUE

 Before examining the recommendations of the Task Force on Excellence in State and Local Government Through Labor-Management Cooperation, it is necessary to characterize the report as a whole.  It is a pro-union document.  The Public Employees Department of the AFL-CIO has made that clear:  

With the publication of Working Together for Public Service comes good news for public sector unions.  Thumbs up for collective bargaining and privatization simply is not the pervasive panacea some would like to believe.  Among the report’s union-friendly findings (emphasis supplied):  "Collective bargaining relationships, applied to cooperative service-oriented ways, provide the most consistently valuable structure for beginning and sustaining a workplace partnership for effective service results”  (Public Employees Department, Issues & Answers, June 1996).

 FIRST RECOMMENDATION.  As its first recommendation the Task Force said State and local governments have the obligation to transform the way public services are planned and delivered, and to change the management of the public workplace.  To fulfill these obligations, these governments are further instructed to engage the knowledge of public workers.  

 CRITIQUE.  The language of the recommendation—“obligation,” “must transform” and “engage public employees knowledge”—smacks of arrogance.  An unelected group, appointed by an official of the Federal government tells the duly elected officials of State and local governments how they are to handle labor relations.  Of course, the reference to public employees actually refers to organized employees, not the unorganized.  This reference is made clear by what it considered successful examples (termed “snapshots") of labor (meaning organized labor) management cooperation.  There are five such examples, and in four of these five illustrations of cooperation between management and labor, a union is featured.  Only in Charlotte, North Carolina did the cooperation involve unorganized workers; and in that instance, the employee participated in an activity that is currently outlawed in the private labor market.  The key point I wish to make, is that although the nonunion sector in State and local governments comprises more than one half of employment, the Task Force reported on only one example of nonunion employee participation!  

  In a press release, the Task Force’s Executive Director provided nine examples of what he described as “cooperative workplace arrangements.”  All nine involved unions.  The nonunion sector was ignored, and the Charlotte, North Carolina example was omitted.  

 An interesting sidelight into their preference for works councils is the Task Force’s comment on Mayor Stephen Goldsmith’s program for instituting competition between city agencies and private companies for public business in Indianapolis.  They said, 

Although Indianapolis receives much attention for its competitive initiatives, the Task Force found in its site visit that the structured cooperative relationship pervading city operations is the unsung hero of the service and cost improvements (Working Together For Public Service, p. 35).  

 SECOND RECOMMENDATION.  The next recommendation is essentially a repeat of the first.  It states, 

In most places, the public workplace of the future will have to be different from what it is today in order to meet the challenges it will face.  Traditional methods of service delivery, traditional personnel and administrative systems, traditional styles of supervision and workplace communication, and traditional approaches to collective bargaining will not be sufficient.  

 CRITIQUE.  To repeat, this is another call for works councils.  Their statement that “traditional styles of supervision and workplace communication, and traditional approaches to collective bargaining will not be sufficient,” begs the replacement system—works councils.  

 Meanwhile, the Task Force offered no support for its claim that the public workplace will be different in the future; nor for what it will look like, if it does change; nor for what “challenges” that new workplace will face in the future.  Although the Task Force shrunk back from declaring so, surely one of the future “challenges” are works councils.  

 THIRD RECOMMENDATION.  The third recommendation of the Task Force is employee participation.  They declared that in order to meet new challenges, many State and local governments have begun to move away from traditional ways of doing business.  Like many successful private sector companies, they are depending upon the participation of employees.  When successful, this strategy leads to continuous improvement, not merely one-time changes.  

 CRITIQUE.  Yes, nonunion private companies have introduced employee participation plans, plans which the unions oppose, and which the National Labor Relations Board has declared to be violations of the National Labor Relations Act.  These plans currently await a judicial ruling.  In the present context, the Task Force defines works councils with unions as those with employees’ representatives.  Only in its “snapshot” of Charlotte, North Carolina did it report on a nonunion example.  

 FOURTH & FIFTH RECOMMENDATIONS.  The next two recommendations elaborate on the same theme.  The fourth recommendation states that, 

service improvement through workplace cooperation requires that the confrontational rhetoric be lowered and that elected officials, union leaders and workers focus on their common tasks.  

Likewise, the fifth recommendation points out that “employee participation can also be a doorway to reducing confrontation in collective bargaining relationships that have had a history of conflict.”  

 CRITIQUE.  To accomplish these objectives, the Task Force report says that government will need new tools—tools already in use in many places.  And what are these “tools?”  All “tools” cited are only those of union-management cooperation.  

 Although the Task Force made no explicit call for public policies to promote unionism, it is certainly an implicit recommendation.  Such a conclusion is clearly implied by their incessant drumbeat calling for employee participation (meaning union participation) in the management of State and local governments.  

 And this returns us to the initial recommendation, which I had termed arrogant.  Actually, it was more than that; it was a demand for unions to share in the governance of the allocation of public resources.  It was another attack on sovereignty.  

 Significantly, the Task Force either ignored or gave little attention to subjects which several members wanted on the agenda.  One member, Beverly Stein, chief executive of Multnomah County, Ore., said the Task Force should compare organized jurisdictions having strong labor-management cooperation with areas that have cooperative efforts without unions, to decide what recommendations to make about State legislation.  Apparently this might have been too hot a potato to handle, because the Task Force limited itself to implicit, not explicit, endorsement of collective bargaining.  Perhaps the Task Force heeded the advice of another member, James Mastriani, chairman of the New Jersey Public Employment Relations Commission, who urged the Task Force to be cautious in considering the impact of bargaining laws on cooperation—while they may protect public employees' rights, they restrict labor-management cooperation.  Mastriani indicated that the absence of bargaining laws may make cooperation easier to achieve.  In the end, the Task Force did not examine the impact of bargaining laws on labor-management cooperation.  

 Member Michael Lipsky, governance program officer for the Ford Foundation, agreed that the Task Force should review labor-management settings whether organized or not, and whether they operate under a bargaining law or not.  Lipsky said the Task Force report should "speak to all jurisdictions and allow people to make progress wherever they are."  However, there is little evidence that the Task Force made any special effort to learn about cooperation in nonunion settings.  

 Hezekiah Brown, director of labor-management programs at Cornell University's school of industrial and labor relations, stressed that the Task Force needs to look hard at places where cooperative efforts have failed.  Again, the Task Force paid little heed to that advice.   
 

V.  CONCLUSIONS:  IS PUBLIC SECTOR  
 UNION POWER TOPPING OUT?

 The apparent topping out of the New Unionism in membership and market share should not be construed to imply a parallel topping out of their political or bargaining muscle.  This is true of both the Old and the New Unionism, but is even more the case in the public sector.  The reason for this conclusion is the wealth of the major labor organizations and the concentration of power they wield in their respective markets.  While the average penetration rate of the New Unionism is currently 38% (compared to just over 10% in the private sector), in key public employment occupations, the rate is not far from double the average—teaching, about 65%; police, 67%; and fire, 70%.  The U.S. Postal Service tops them all, with just under 75% (Hirsch and Macpherson, 1996).  

 In the public domain, high market penetration and the concentration of membership adds significantly to the New Unionism’s monopoly power.  (Unions in the private domain, with some exceptions, lack the parallel degree of market power.)  In the public sector, the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers have a combined membership exceeding three million; and that accounts for nearly 40% of all public sector membership.  (There is no parallel union dominance in the private sector.)  The teachers, police, fire, sanitary and public service organizations, although localized in structure, occupy monopoly power in their markets in excess of that which national penetration rates would suggest.  The average for the country cannot adequately represent the reality at the local level.  Because of their immense monopoly power, the topping out of the New Unionism does not yet imply a decrease of their bargaining and political power.  Only privatization on a large scale in education and the Postal Service could undermine the bargaining power of unions in these services.  And that outcome is very distant.  

 Can reinvention of government (works councils) at the Federal level, and the recommendations of the Task Force at the State and local levels (also works councils) bring about a resurgence of the New Unionism?  Works councils at the Federal level, already in place, should provide some small gains in membership and market share to federal unionism.  However, reducing employment will offset these gains.  A greater impetus to federal union growth will occur if the Clinton Administration, as expected, grants the agency shop to federal employee unions.  However, nothing can be expected like the historic surge in federal unionism following President Kennedy’s executive order in 1962.  

 The prospect for the enactment of the Task Force’s recommendations for State and local labor relations is unfavorable.  My conclusion is based on the strong tradition of localism in government, an attitude which has been reinforced in recent years.  This, I believe, will ensure opposition to any Congressional efforts to legislate State and local labor relations; the opposition is likely to cross political parties.  Consequently, the status quo can be expected at the State and local levels.  And since the bulk of public sector unionism (93%) is at the State and local levels, there is little reason to expect a renewal of the New Unionism.  Coupled with efforts to reduce the growth and even the size of the public budget at all levels of government, these developments suggest that the New Unionism has topped out in the U.S.  

 In part, this assessment of the future of the New Unionism parallels the history of the Old, private sector, Unionism.  Shortly after World War II, it became apparent that private sector unionism had topped out in terms of both membership and market share.  Its market share peaked in 1953, at 36%.  Even so, in the 1960s, its membership increased, mainly as a consequence of the Vietnam War’s stimulation of goods industries in which unions had a substantial presence.  Corresponding to the winding down and termination of that war, private sector membership peaked in 1970, and then declined in each and every year but one—1994—and that may be a statistical artifact.  The plateau in private membership after World War II was the result of stagnation in the process of union growth.  Later stagnation became decline.  

 It is my contention that the New Unionism has also entered a period of stagnation.  However, unlike the process which led from stagnation to decline in the private sector, the stagnation process in the public sector will continue—stagnation will foster stagnation, and not lead to a decline.  This forecast is based on the slowing in public expenditures, and the inability of union-friendly governments to enact legislation which would re-ignite the growth of the New Unionism.  There remains a strong tradition of localism in government.  Also, there will likely be a reduction in government expenditures in nominal or real terms.  

 Even so, the New Unionism will retain its formidable bargaining and political power.  Moreover, it will become the dominant part of organized American Labor just as it already has in Canada, the U.K., France and Italy.  This may also be true of Japan.  At this time, the breakdown in Germany is too clouded to ascertain the relative strengths of public and private unionism.  Over all, it is clear that if the 20th century was the century of the Old Unionism, the 21st will be the century of the New Unionism.   
 

minimum standards," adding that SEIU is currently drafting such a proposed law.  

 Meantime, the first step would be to enforce public sector collective bargaining laws currently on the books.  Furthermore, Mr. Sweeney said, unlike private sector bargaining where employees are protected by Federal labor and retirement laws, collectively bargained economic packages in the public sector too often are overridden by legislators.  (Consider the arrogance of this criticism—that the duly elected legislators of a State would veto what the public employers and unions have agreed to.)  He also complained about what he called raids on the pensions of public employees.  (Of course, these "raids" are again actions taken by duly elected officials with reference to monies which the government had provided in the first instance.)  

 Mr. Sweeney contended that the inability to enforce negotiated contracts (because of legislative actions) weakens the entire bargaining structure in the public sector.  "In other words, bargaining rights are inadequate to give workers the secure and independent voice which they need to become full and effective partners in achieving excellence."  

 Mr. Sweeney also warned against subcontracting government work to contractors who, according to him, pay sub-minimum wages and perform sub-standard work.  He wanted the government to compel employers who receive government contracts to pay what he termed minimum wage and benefit protections, which would be comparable to those paid to public employees performing the same work.  He said, "These standards would force contractors to compete on the basis of management efficiency or quality of services, rather than by slashing workers' wages and benefits [so that] the cost savings come from improved efficiency and not from lowering wages and benefits."  Actually, Mr. Sweeney was advocating the application of Davis-Bacon type legislation to discourage governmental contract work in order to insure that contracting out would become prohibitively costly.  

 Besides Sweeney and McEntee, the leaders from the two major teachers' unions, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and the National Education Association (NEA) told the Task Force that the absence of collective bargaining impedes mutual problem-solving in government.  They said that the right of teachers to organize and bargain is essential to improve education through cooperation.  According to Ed McElroy, secretary-treasurer of the AFT, school employees can only experiment on educational changes when they have the right to elect their representative and bargain over terms of employment.  According to him, "common goals cannot mean a union-free environment," and "excellence in education means management and the union set common goals where employees have the right to collective bargaining and job security, and the union's security is not threatened" (BNA, GERR, January 16, 1995).  

  Marilyn Monahan, secretary-treasurer of the NEA, said labor-management cooperative efforts are only possible when the rights of employees to bargain collectively are respected and protected.  She asserted that bargaining has an enormous and positive impact on the quality of public education because it links compensation with the ability of school districts to attract and retain qualified staff.  Bargaining, she contended, has always been a means of maintaining a dialogue about school improvement, and has helped create a forum for ongoing reform and shared decision-making.  She claimed that since schools are facing complex challenges in a fast-changing world, bargaining should not be limited to annual bargaining.  Furthermore, Monahan claimed that employers and employees must be engaged in a constant dialogue about improving educational services, with bargaining providing a structure for discussions (BNA, GERR, January 16, 1995).  

 While the NEA's secretary-treasurer said that no single model of bargaining is advocated, a management representative who is a member of the National Association of School Boards (NASB) reduced any union claims of variation in models to a single model—one in which “the union gets all it wants."  Needless to say, given the composition of the Task Force, it did not offer any recommendation favoring vouchers to stimulate competition in education.  

 In addition to promoting collective bargaining, unions urged the removal of civil service and the merit system, which is used to recruit, classify and promote government employees.  Thus, Mr. McEntee claimed that "all too often this [merit] system serves neither management nor workers ... that it does not serve the customers for whom we all work."  He described the civil service system as "the self perpetuating maze of laws, regulations, rules, personnel requirements, and written and unwritten procedures and processes" (BNA, GERR, Vol. 32, No. 1587; October 24, 1994, p. 1311).  In addition, union leaders urged the Task Force to further reduce managerial rights now set by law and contracts.  

 In summary, union leaders want a revolution in State and local government labor relations—a revolution which would dilute managerial authority, civil service, and, yes, even sovereignty.  In its place they would substitute a new regime of work councils limited to unions and management, with authority for decision-making transferred to these groups.  While genuine cooperation between unions and management can contribute to efficiency, I believe the typical result of such cooperation in the public sector will be the creation of more rules governing how services are provided, and thus add to inefficiency.   
 

B.  What Professional Negotiators  
 Representing the Public Wanted

 Although critical of many practices of unions in the public sector, professionals who negotiate on behalf of the public find merit in some of the union demands—most notably, the “cooperative partnerships.”  This mixed assessment appears in the testimony, before the Task Force, of Mr. Roger E. Dahl, executive director of the National Public Employer Labor Relations Association (NPELRA).  The Association has more than 2,000 members, many of whom are negotiators for State and local governments.  

 Mr. Dahl pointed out that most union proposals would not help NPELRA members manage more efficiently or reduce costs, but would increase costs and maintain the status quo on work practices.  Indeed, Mr. Dahl’s comment on work practices goes to the heart of the problem of work councils.  Under the guise of “cooperation,” the advocates were actually pushing to increase the unions' ability to impose new work rules.  In effect, work councils should be construed as a synonym for work rules.  Thus, in his testimony before the Task Force, Mr. McEntee, president of AFSCME, acknowledged that the union “may have negotiated a few contract work rules that inhibited effective service delivery ... [but that this was done] to counter overly restrictive civil service rules.”  But for whatever reason, he went on to say that "we will open them up for examination and review and debate ... whether through negotiations or some collaborative venture" [read works councils].  

 Mr. Dahl also apparently endorsed works councils, even though they will add many new work rules and make public service less efficient, an issue he complained about.  Thus, he recommended that the Task Force consider labor-management committees (emphasis supplied), which I interpret as an endorsement of works councils.  In that vein, he also recommended investment in training for all employees to prepare them for the potential flattening of the work place structure (that is, works councils).  As noted elsewhere in this essay, such reorganization of work coupled with employee participation committees in the nonunion private sector have been held illegal.  Private sector unions usually oppose them; only in the context of a collectively bargained arrangement would they countenance them.  So also in the public sector, it is clear that the unions favor reorganization of the work place and labor management cooperation only under a collective bargaining agreement.  

 Mr. Dahl had the following managerial perspectives on labor relations in the public sector: 

1.  On collective bargaining, he pointed out that the States which have laws on collective bargaining modeled them on out-of-date legislation, that is, on the National Labor Relations Act of 1935; and that the adjustments made to accommodate State requirements have not served public management interests.  

2.  On bargaining units, he criticized the inclusion of supervisors in bargaining units with the people they supervise because this weakens the supervisors' allegiance and results in the following:  a less disciplined and focused workplace, wasted dollars and lost productivity.  

 Again, this is another example of a mixed assessment.  It is surprising that Mr. Dahl would find acceptable the organized representation and bargaining for supervisors, and object only to their inclusion in the same unit as those they supervised.  To be analytically consistent, he should have objected to their being able to organize and bargain.  

 This issue was fought out in the private sector during the 1940s until it was ended by the Taft-Hartley amendments to the National Labor Relations Act in 1947, which excluded supervisors from the definition of an employee and therefore excluded them from coverage under the law.  It effectively brought the unionization of supervisors to an end.  Several members of the Dunlop Commission would have restored the right of supervisors to unionize and bargain in emulation of the public sector practices.  In the public sector, neither management nor its negotiators challenge the rectitude of unionizing supervisors.  

3.  On impasse arbitration and strikes, Mr. Dahl noted that compulsory interest arbitration to resolve bargaining impasses exists in some 20 States, and that 10 States allow a limited right to strike.  These conditions have resulted in arbitration awards that out-paced inflation and encouraged costly avoidance of strikes.  Mr. Dahl urged the Task Force to look at all types of arbitration to see if any work fairly for all parties.  He also suggested it reconsider the right to strike.  

 Needless to say, the Task Force ignored these suggestions when it came to its recommendations. 

4.  On the duty of fair representation, Mr. Dahl urged the Task Force to propose ways to give unions leeway to put aside non-meritorious grievances without fear of a lawsuit.  According to him, unions seem to be required to process every grievance to the fullest extent.  

 Are unions “compelled” to process each and every grievance?  Significantly, the unions made no such request of the Task Force.  Neither did the academics or the professional staffs of many State and local agencies.  

5.  Mr. Dahl said that public employers see the scope of bargaining as already far too broad.  Under existing interpretations, management is required to bargain over the effect of some management decisions, which essentially amounts to bargaining over the decision itself.  This is expensive and time-consuming and tends to decrease the desire to make changes that would benefit the public, he added.  

 If Mr. Dahl thought the existing scope of bargaining was already too broad, the establishment of works councils will significantly increase the domain of union input, and further reduce managerial authority.  He would appear to be arguing against himself.  The Task Force apparently paid little heed to his concerns over the diminution of managerial authority.  

6.  Mr. Dahl also commented on the negative impact of many Federal mandates.  Many Federal laws now apply to State and local governments, such as wage and overtime, job bias, family medical leave, disabilities, and drug testing laws, which taken together are expensive and impose further costs on State and local governments.  He noted that Federal mandates often dictate only one way to reach a desired goal, which prohibits flexibility and consideration of alternatives.  

 Mr. Dahl offered some useful insights on what is going on in public sector labor relations at the State and local levels, but he offers what I regard as a mixed assessment of what and why the unions do what they do.   
 

C.  What Academics Wanted

 In their testimony before the Task Force, professors Kate Bronfenbrenner of Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y. and Tom Juravich of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst (hereafter, B&J) argued for works councils but disguised them as a “workplace partnership between labor and management” at State and local levels.  They agreed (not surprisingly) with the union testimony that workplace partnership between labor and management is not possible without union representation, or as they put it, “an institutional voice for workers.”  They contended that excellence in governmental services on State and local levels will continue to be seriously undermined as long as most State and local workers are unorganized, or are "denied the right to form organizations of their own choosing."  In the absence of union representation, efforts to involve public employees in improving service quality will be short lived and wasteful, they told the Task Force.  

  Moreover, based on a study B&J did for the AFL-CIO, they could claim public employees want union representation (Economic Policy Institute, The Impact of Employer Opposition on Union Certification Win Rates:  A Private/Public Sector Comparison, Working Paper, No. 1113, Revised Edition, Feb. 1995).  Using certification win rates in public sector representation elections at the State and local levels (held in 1991 and 1992), they found that unions won with commanding margins, winning an average 85% of representation elections and 83% of votes cast.  Moreover, they noted that this high win rate spanned a wide range of governmental units, and was consistently high across a broad range of employers, regions and occupations.  Unlike the private sector where professional and technical workers rejected union organization, public sector professionals such as teachers, social workers, doctors, engineers and city planners have voted decisively for representation.  Professional groups accounted for nearly 20% of all State and local elections; another 9% of elections occurred in supervisory and managerial units.  In all of these, the unions averaged higher than an 80% win rate (BNA, Inc., Government Employee Relations Report, March 20, 1995).  

 B&J said their findings clearly point to employer behavior as the primary reason for the win rate difference between the private and public sectors.  Aside from a few cases of intensive anti-union campaigns in higher education and health care, where those public sector employers are more insulated from public pressures than their State and local government counterparts, the authors said the public sector tactic data make clear that there is little opposition to unions by State and local government employers.  

 B&J made six recommendations to the Task Force to benefit public sector unionism.  All six points would be familiar to those who have observed public sector labor relations over the past quarter century and longer.  Topping the list was “full bargaining rights” for public sector unions; which is, 

• to extend to all public workers the right to organize and to bargain, and  
• to eliminate most limitations on the right of public sector unions to negotiate or strike.  

B&J noted that there are still 14 States without any public employee bargaining laws, and 13 States where the bargaining laws only apply to specific groups such as State employees, firefighters or teachers.  Consistent with their demand for full rights of collective bargaining, the two academics decried privatization and contracting out because they weaken collective bargaining.  However, they did not address the question of why public agencies might wish to privatize or subcontract.  

 To underpin “full rights of collective bargaining,” B&J urged that State and local labor relations laws be amended to provide clear and effective penalties for employer interference in workers' efforts to organize.  They said these changes are necessary to preserve a positive labor relations climate in the public sector, and ensure that it does not deteriorate to the destructive level of hostility and conflicts which pervade private sector labor relations.  

 To assist unions in organizing, B&J also called for rapid representation elections.  They found lags between the time a petition for an election was filed and the date on which the election was held.  They found the lag time was more than twice as long as in the private sector, although it did not seem to affect the outcome.  

 To further speed up the process of choosing a representative, B&J called for card check certifications, where there is only one union on the ballot.  They said that South Dakota, Washington, Ohio and New York, among other States, permit certification through card checks as long as employers do not contest the unit or demand elections.  An average of 87% of eligible voters in such units had signed cards.  

 B&J also indicated they want labor relations agencies to adopt a standardized reporting system for data collection on all phases of their activity.  Such standardization would allow reliable data to be collected, computerized, compared and stored, they said, adding that good planning requires comprehensive and accessible data on which to base decisions.  This would enhance the power of States to increase their regulation of labor relations (BNA, Inc., Government Employee Relations Report, March 20, 1995 ).  

 Perhaps to assist researchers, and, I believe, to further assist unions in organizing, B&J recommended that a non-Federal clearinghouse be established to collect information from State labor relations boards on a regular basis and that it adopt a standardized collection and reporting system.  The researchers noted that unlike baseline information on the private sector available from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), there is no centralized database for public employees.  Union organizing data must be collected in myriad formats by more than 40 different State and local labor agencies in 35 States, they said.  Although the NLRB has published detailed data on representation elections, it has not helped unions, at least in recent years.  B&J's study was showcased at the AFL-CIO's Public Employee Department Convention in 1993 (31 GERR 1344), and they presented their findings in the sixth annual Larry Rogin lecture at AFL-CIO headquarters in March 1994 (32 GERR 383). 
 

D.  A Critique of the B&J Study

 Bronfenbrenner and Juravich’s (B&J) explanation for the high union win rate in representation elections among public sector workers identifies the absence of public employers’ opposition to organization and collective bargaining.  They observed that “... the employers’ tactic data make clear that there is little opposition to unions by State and local government employers” (B&J, p. 20).  Again, they state that “the data point to employer behavior as the primary reason for the dramatic difference [between] the 85 percent public sector union win rate [and] the 48 percent private sector win rate" (B&J, p. 22).  

 However, B&J do not explain public employers’ behavior toward the unionization of "their" employees.  Their finding of little opposition to unions by most public employers is a fact well known in the field long before their study.  The significant question, which they did not ask, is, "Why don't public employers oppose unionization and bargaining?"  

 The closest B&J come to this issue is their assertion that “[m]any public officials are elected and regardless of their individual attitudes are constrained from engaging in activities that the public might perceive negatively” (B&J, p. 21).  However, they offer no evidence for their opinion of what the public thinks about this matter.  Polls of public attitudes toward unions could hardly be described as favorable.  

 Another dimension of public employers’ attitude toward unionization is revealed in their acceptance of consent elections.  Not only did two-thirds of public employers in the B&J study agree to consent elections but they made no challenge to the determination of the bargaining unit (B&J, p. 14)!  In other words, unions designed the unit so it would be most favorable to their desired outcome, and public management ignored any impact on their ability to manage.  When an election was stipulated or ordered, the union win rate dropped from the average of 85% to 60%.  In contrast, B&J report that in the private sector, less than half of the elections are consent elections, with win rates at about 50%.  In NLRB ordered elections, the win rate drops to 17%.  

 Employer opposition is hardly an appropriate characterization of the attitude of public employers.  Indeed, public employers’ support of union representation could even be described as incestuous!  As noted above, the Clinton Administration’s amendment of the Hatch Act was intended to reinforce the political power of their union allies in the Federal government.  In general, both parties have strong motives for assisting one another—the public employer gains a powerful political ally, and the union easily becomes the representative of large numbers of dues’ payers.  Many public employers actually foster labor organization.  If their attitude and activities were practiced in the private domain, they would often be in violation of a workers’ right of self-determination.  And government workers probably believe their bosses want them to join.  At no time did B&J ever consider these issues.  

 B&J also addressed the absence of a profit motive in the public employer’s attitude and practices toward the unionization of public employees.  Where budget issues come to the fore quickly, as at the level of local school boards, apparently there is some opposition.  In such instances, the public employer’s behavior toward unionization of employees begins to resemble that of private employers.  

 B&J argue that employer opposition in the public sector is virtually absent, and that this is the reason for the decisive union win rates in representation elections.  They hope to demonstrate that a similar result will occur in the private sector if private employers are stripped of their ability to oppose union organization of their employees.  B&J's remedy, as so many of their academic colleagues have already pleaded, is to revise the National Labor Relations Act in order to force private employers to behave as public employers with the hope that this would reverse the deterioration of private sector unionism.  

 Blaming employer opposition for the decline of private unionism, while popular among union officials and the politically correct in academia and the media, misrepresents the real explanation for the decline of private, Old Unionism.  There are at least three reasons for the decline of the Old Unionism:  

• markets,  
• increased global and domestic competition, and  
• structural change.  

It is important to note that private sector union movements in all G-7 countries have declined (Germany is a mixed situation, but private density, if not membership, has decreased).  

 Paralleling the absence of B&J’s inquiry as to why public employers did not oppose the unionization of "their" employees, they also did not attempt to explain why public sector employees voted so overwhelmingly for union representation.  B&J admit that their data do not explain why “public sector workers are enthusiastically joining unions” (B&J, p. 8; emphasis added).  This is a mystery.  

 B&J did identify several reasons which should lead public sector workers to not join unions.  

• Public sector workers are better paid than in the private economy;   
• Public sector workers hold jobs in occupations (professional, technical and generally white collar) which are difficult to organize in the private sector;  
• The lag between the petition for an election and the vote are longer in the public sector than in the private sector; and  
• Unions do not work as hard to organize in the public sector as in the private labor market (B&J, pp., 12, 15, 17, 21, 22).  

Despite reasons which should slow the unionization of public workers, why do they join in such large numbers?  As I have already emphasized, it is because of the encouragement of the public employer.  

 Insofar as I know, no one has carefully examined the issue of employer interference fostering unions in the public sector.  Presumably, this would be an unfair labor practice.  I believe that there has been substantial interference by public employers affecting employees’ decisions to choose a union—interference which in the private sector would be viewed as an unfair labor practice because the employer was dominating or assisting the union.  B&J do not consider this issue, but make a considerable effort to track employer actions which might interfere with the right to join unions.  In the end, they do not demonstrate why government workers vote for union representation; their argument seems to be only that public management does not oppose their actions.  In my judgment, many government employees believe their managers want them to be represented by a union.  

 How important are the representation elections examined by B&J to the growth of public sector unionism?  In the two years of their study, 1991 and 1992, some 45,000 employees per year were in bargaining units won by public sector unions.  (Bargaining units are not the equivalent of membership; they include workers who are not union members.)  Interestingly, between 1990 and 1991, public sector unions added 147,000 members, but between 1991 and 1992, they added only 21,000 members.  Of these gains, it is not known how many can be attributable to organizing the unorganized, and how many to employment growth in existing bargaining units.  The percentage of workers represented in the 1990-91 year remained unchanged at 43.3%, while between 1991 and 1992, the percentage represented actually dropped slightly to 43.2 %.  It is clear that despite the success rate of public sector unions in representation elections, this form of organization played little role in increasing membership or density.  Consequently, the actual impact of the B&J study is speculative.  

 From its inception to the present composition of the New Unionism, representation elections have played a small role in generating total membership (6.9 million) or density (38%).  The size and market penetration of the New Unionism are owed primarily to what I term the organization of the organized, as described with examples below:  

• The transformation of large professional and public employee associations into unions  
•  (e.g., the National Education Association);  
• The merger of many public employee associations into established unions  
•  (e.g., the Civil Service Employees of New York into the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees); and  
• The transformation of some unions from predominantly private sector membership to  
  predominantly public sector membership  
•  (e.g., the Service Employees International Union).  

 The era of rapid public sector union growth has passed.  As already indicated, there is evidence that it has topped out both in membership and density.  For the first time since the BLS began its membership series (1983), public sector unionism has declined both in number of members and density.  Between 1994 and 1995, density declined from 39% to 38%, and membership fell by 164,000.  While one year does not make a trend, taken in conjunction with the growing struggle to restrict the size of government, I believe that these statistics foreshadow the future.  

 The largest decrease in membership took place at the State level (65,000), second largest at the Federal level (50,000), followed by Local Government (35,000), and then Postal Service (14,000) (Hirsch, Barry T., and Macpherson, David A., Union Membership and Earnings Data Book: 1996).  Proportionately, the hardest hit was the Federal sector (I am including the Postal Service in that group).  Most of the decline at the Federal level can be explained by the closure of military bases, accounting for two-thirds of the reduction, while many other reductions came from releasing part-time and temporary workers.  Most of the shrinkage in employment was centered in the Department of Defense, the largest Federal employer of civilian employees.  On the other hand, even as membership fell, public employment grew at the State and local levels, thereby contributing to the overall public sector decline in density.  While Federal employment dropped by about 50,000 (virtually the same as the number of members it lost, although this should be treated as a coincidence), State and local governments added more than 200,000 jobs between 1994 and 1995.  

 The gain in the number of jobs at the State and local levels is particularly interesting in light of the B&J findings on the success rate of public sector unions in winning elections at the State and local levels.  If State and local government employees have such a proclivity for joining unions, why was there a loss of 90,000 members coincident with such a large gain in employment?  Although not all States have laws encouraging unionism and bargaining (and I have not tracked down in which States employment gained), there are public sector organizations in all States which offer a base for organization.  Surely some of the 200,000 increase in employment occurred in States with laws fostering union organization.  Perhaps the answer lies in the attitudes of non-union government employees.  Polls of workers, including government workers, reported that about two-thirds said they would not vote for a union in a secret ballot election.  The Lou Harris organization found such results in the most comprehensive examination of the failing union movement (in the private sector) in 1984, and similar findings have emerged (including in Canada) since as late as 1990.  

 The apparent topping out of public sector unionism is occurring not only in the U.S., but abroad as well.  Just as there has been convergence in the decline of private sector unionism (the Old Unionism)—across the U.S., and in Canada, the U.K., France, Italy and Japan—in all probability, there is also an international convergence producing a decline in the public sector, the New Unionism.  

 The driving forces affecting the topping out of the New Unionism, include the following:  

• public policy toward labor organization, and  
• the size and scope of the public budget.  

Once public budgets slow down in growth, or face actual reductions, employment growth tapers off or even declines; then the size and scope of the New Unionism must slow and decline in tandem with employment.  

 Privatization must also be noted as a factor, but unless and until such huge enterprises as public education and the postal services become privatized to a substantial degree, little downsizing of the unions in these sectors can be expected.  Indeed, at this time in the U.S., the largest union in the country (and in the world) is the National Education Association.  It probably enrolls some 2.25 million members.  If it should merge with the American Federation of Teachers, the new conglomerate will top the three million mark!  The merger, I believe, will occur within a year.  

 While the potential for growth of the New Unionism remains in the public sector, it is not likely to be realized without one or all of the following changes:  

• public policy changes favoring unions (such as advocated by B&J) in States which do not now have such policies, or  
• a national law covering State and local government labor relations, or  
• a renewed explosion of public spending.  

Surprisingly, one recommendation I expected B&J to make, and which they did not, was to recommend a national law governing State and local labor relations.  Since the decision in Garcia v. Samta, decided in 1985 by the Supreme Court, Congress may have the authority to enact such legislation.  Perhaps the realization that such legislation is impossible explains the absence of a recommendation.  Sweeney, as noted above, did recommend such an approach before the Task Force (when he was president of the Service Employees International Union).   
 

IV.  TASK FORCE RECOMMENDATIONS  
  AND MY CRITIQUE

 Before examining the recommendations of the Task Force on Excellence in State and Local Government Through Labor-Management Cooperation, it is necessary to characterize the report as a whole.  It is a pro-union document.  The Public Employees Department of the AFL-CIO has made that clear:  

With the publication of Working Together for Public Service comes good news for public sector unions.  Thumbs up for collective bargaining and privatization simply is not the pervasive panacea some would like to believe.  Among the report’s union-friendly findings (emphasis supplied):  "Collective bargaining relationships, applied to cooperative service-oriented ways, provide the most consistently valuable structure for beginning and sustaining a workplace partnership for effective service results”  (Public Employees Department, Issues & Answers, June 1996).

 FIRST RECOMMENDATION.  As its first recommendation the Task Force said State and local governments have the obligation to transform the way public services are planned and delivered, and to change the management of the public workplace.  To fulfill these obligations, these governments are further instructed to engage the knowledge of public workers.  

 CRITIQUE.  The language of the recommendation—“obligation,” “must transform” and “engage public employees knowledge”—smacks of arrogance.  An unelected group, appointed by an official of the Federal government tells the duly elected officials of State and local governments how they are to handle labor relations.  Of course, the reference to public employees actually refers to organized employees, not the unorganized.  This reference is made clear by what it considered successful examples (termed “snapshots") of labor (meaning organized labor) management cooperation.  There are five such examples, and in four of these five illustrations of cooperation between management and labor, a union is featured.  Only in Charlotte, North Carolina did the cooperation involve unorganized workers; and in that instance, the employee participated in an activity that is currently outlawed in the private labor market.  The key point I wish to make, is that although the nonunion sector in State and local governments comprises more than one half of employment, the Task Force reported on only one example of nonunion employee participation!  

  In a press release, the Task Force’s Executive Director provided nine examples of what he described as “cooperative workplace arrangements.”  All nine involved unions.  The nonunion sector was ignored, and the Charlotte, North Carolina example was omitted.  

 An interesting sidelight into their preference for works councils is the Task Force’s comment on Mayor Stephen Goldsmith’s program for instituting competition between city agencies and private companies for public business in Indianapolis.  They said, 

Although Indianapolis receives much attention for its competitive initiatives, the Task Force found in its site visit that the structured cooperative relationship pervading city operations is the unsung hero of the service and cost improvements (Working Together For Public Service, p. 35).  

 SECOND RECOMMENDATION.  The next recommendation is essentially a repeat of the first.  It states, 

In most places, the public workplace of the future will have to be different from what it is today in order to meet the challenges it will face.  Traditional methods of service delivery, traditional personnel and administrative systems, traditional styles of supervision and workplace communication, and traditional approaches to collective bargaining will not be sufficient.  

 CRITIQUE.  To repeat, this is another call for works councils.  Their statement that “traditional styles of supervision and workplace communication, and traditional approaches to collective bargaining will not be sufficient,” begs the replacement system—works councils.  

 Meanwhile, the Task Force offered no support for its claim that the public workplace will be different in the future; nor for what it will look like, if it does change; nor for what “challenges” that new workplace will face in the future.  Although the Task Force shrunk back from declaring so, surely one of the future “challenges” are works councils.  

 THIRD RECOMMENDATION.  The third recommendation of the Task Force is employee participation.  They declared that in order to meet new challenges, many State and local governments have begun to move away from traditional ways of doing business.  Like many successful private sector companies, they are depending upon the participation of employees.  When successful, this strategy leads to continuous improvement, not merely one-time changes.  

 CRITIQUE.  Yes, nonunion private companies have introduced employee participation plans, plans which the unions oppose, and which the National Labor Relations Board has declared to be violations of the National Labor Relations Act.  These plans currently await a judicial ruling.  In the present context, the Task Force defines works councils with unions as those with employees’ representatives.  Only in its “snapshot” of Charlotte, North Carolina did it report on a nonunion example.  

 FOURTH & FIFTH RECOMMENDATIONS.  The next two recommendations elaborate on the same theme.  The fourth recommendation states that, 

service improvement through workplace cooperation requires that the confrontational rhetoric be lowered and that elected officials, union leaders and workers focus on their common tasks.  

Likewise, the fifth recommendation points out that “employee participation can also be a doorway to reducing confrontation in collective bargaining relationships that have had a history of conflict.”  

 CRITIQUE.  To accomplish these objectives, the Task Force report says that government will need new tools—tools already in use in many places.  And what are these “tools?”  All “tools” cited are only those of union-management cooperation.  

 Although the Task Force made no explicit call for public policies to promote unionism, it is certainly an implicit recommendation.  Such a conclusion is clearly implied by their incessant drumbeat calling for employee participation (meaning union participation) in the management of State and local governments.  

 And this returns us to the initial recommendation, which I had termed arrogant.  Actually, it was more than that; it was a demand for unions to share in the governance of the allocation of public resources.  It was another attack on sovereignty.  

 Significantly, the Task Force either ignored or gave little attention to subjects which several members wanted on the agenda.  One member, Beverly Stein, chief executive of Multnomah County, Ore., said the Task Force should compare organized jurisdictions having strong labor-management cooperation with areas that have cooperative efforts without unions, to decide what recommendations to make about State legislation.  Apparently this might have been too hot a potato to handle, because the Task Force limited itself to implicit, not explicit, endorsement of collective bargaining.  Perhaps the Task Force heeded the advice of another member, James Mastriani, chairman of the New Jersey Public Employment Relations Commission, who urged the Task Force to be cautious in considering the impact of bargaining laws on cooperation—while they may protect public employees' rights, they restrict labor-management cooperation.  Mastriani indicated that the absence of bargaining laws may make cooperation easier to achieve.  In the end, the Task Force did not examine the impact of bargaining laws on labor-management cooperation.  

 Member Michael Lipsky, governance program officer for the Ford Foundation, agreed that the Task Force should review labor-management settings whether organized or not, and whether they operate under a bargaining law or not.  Lipsky said the Task Force report should "speak to all jurisdictions and allow people to make progress wherever they are."  However, there is little evidence that the Task Force made any special effort to learn about cooperation in nonunion settings.  

 Hezekiah Brown, director of labor-management programs at Cornell University's school of industrial and labor relations, stressed that the Task Force needs to look hard at places where cooperative efforts have failed.  Again, the Task Force paid little heed to that advice.   
 

V.  CONCLUSIONS:  IS PUBLIC SECTOR  
 UNION POWER TOPPING OUT?

 The apparent topping out of the New Unionism in membership and market share should not be construed to imply a parallel topping out of their political or bargaining muscle.  This is true of both the Old and the New Unionism, but is even more the case in the public sector.  The reason for this conclusion is the wealth of the major labor organizations and the concentration of power they wield in their respective markets.  While the average penetration rate of the New Unionism is currently 38% (compared to just over 10% in the private sector), in key public employment occupations, the rate is not far from double the average—teaching, about 65%; police, 67%; and fire, 70%.  The U.S. Postal Service tops them all, with just under 75% (Hirsch and Macpherson, 1996).  

 In the public domain, high market penetration and the concentration of membership adds significantly to the New Unionism’s monopoly power.  (Unions in the private domain, with some exceptions, lack the parallel degree of market power.)  In the public sector, the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers have a combined membership exceeding three million; and that accounts for nearly 40% of all public sector membership.  (There is no parallel union dominance in the private sector.)  The teachers, police, fire, sanitary and public service organizations, although localized in structure, occupy monopoly power in their markets in excess of that which national penetration rates would suggest.  The average for the country cannot adequately represent the reality at the local level.  Because of their immense monopoly power, the topping out of the New Unionism does not yet imply a decrease of their bargaining and political power.  Only privatization on a large scale in education and the Postal Service could undermine the bargaining power of unions in these services.  And that outcome is very distant.  

 Can reinvention of government (works councils) at the Federal level, and the recommendations of the Task Force at the State and local levels (also works councils) bring about a resurgence of the New Unionism?  Works councils at the Federal level, already in place, should provide some small gains in membership and market share to federal unionism.  However, reducing employment will offset these gains.  A greater impetus to federal union growth will occur if the Clinton Administration, as expected, grants the agency shop to federal employee unions.  However, nothing can be expected like the historic surge in federal unionism following President Kennedy’s executive order in 1962.  

 The prospect for the enactment of the Task Force’s recommendations for State and local labor relations is unfavorable.  My conclusion is based on the strong tradition of localism in government, an attitude which has been reinforced in recent years.  This, I believe, will ensure opposition to any Congressional efforts to legislate State and local labor relations; the opposition is likely to cross political parties.  Consequently, the status quo can be expected at the State and local levels.  And since the bulk of public sector unionism (93%) is at the State and local levels, there is little reason to expect a renewal of the New Unionism.  Coupled with efforts to reduce the growth and even the size of the public budget at all levels of government, these developments suggest that the New Unionism has topped out in the U.S.  

 In part, this assessment of the future of the New Unionism parallels the history of the Old, private sector, Unionism.  Shortly after World War II, it became apparent that private sector unionism had topped out in terms of both membership and market share.  Its market share peaked in 1953, at 36%.  Even so, in the 1960s, its membership increased, mainly as a consequence of the Vietnam War’s stimulation of goods industries in which unions had a substantial presence.  Corresponding to the winding down and termination of that war, private sector membership peaked in 1970, and then declined in each and every year but one—1994—and that may be a statistical artifact.  The plateau in private membership after World War II was the result of stagnation in the process of union growth.  Later stagnation became decline.  

 It is my contention that the New Unionism has also entered a period of stagnation.  However, unlike the process which led from stagnation to decline in the private sector, the stagnation process in the public sector will continue—stagnation will foster stagnation, and not lead to a decline.  This forecast is based on the slowing in public expenditures, and the inability of union-friendly governments to enact legislation which would re-ignite the growth of the New Unionism.  There remains a strong tradition of localism in government.  Also, there will likely be a reduction in government expenditures in nominal or real terms.  

 Even so, the New Unionism will retain its formidable bargaining and political power.  Moreover, it will become the dominant part of organized American Labor just as it already has in Canada, the U.K., France and Italy.  This may also be true of Japan.  At this time, the breakdown in Germany is too clouded to ascertain the relative strengths of public and private unionism.  Over all, it is clear that if the 20th century was the century of the Old Unionism, the 21st will be the century of the New Unionism.  

The NEA and Its Federal Charter By: Charles W. Baird

LETTER FROM THE PRESIDENT

The National Education Association (NEA). Isn’t that an association of teachers and administrators whose primary purpose is to provide an excellent education to children; and to serve the best interests of parents, teachers and administrators entrusted with the education and care of those children? Professor Charles Baird, in his article, "The NEA And Its Federal Charter," shows that even from its inception the NEA has not had such a noble purpose. Baird masterfully exposes the NEA for what it really is, namely, a labor union with a federal charter and a political agenda that is often at cross-purposes with parents, teachers, administrators and a good education. 

The NEA is the only labor union that has a Federal charter. Professor Baird discusses Federal charters, identifying the types of organizations that may be granted a Federal charter, and the requirements that must be met for consideration. He demonstrates that today’s NEA does not meet any of the requirements for a Federal charter, and has twice been required by the IRS to change its tax-filing status to reflect its increasing politically activity. Even so, no Congress or Administration has had the courage to revoke the NEA’s charter. 

Professor Baird addresses a problem unique to the emergence of public sector unions; that is, union officials controlling public policy and public pay. As he says, "Public pay is public policy." So why are union officials controlling such decisions, instead of parents, and school and public officials? 

As he explores the history of the NEA, Professor Baird shows that their purpose from the beginning was to control public education by controlling the requirements, training, hiring and firing of teachers. During the past few decades, the effort to control (facilitated by forced dues) was expanded to national public policy issues and elections. An overview of the NEA’s aggressive political agenda is given in the Conclusion

Is the NEA partisan? Baird documents its giving patterns which reveal that the NEA, using compulsory union dues, supports political candidates that 40% of its members oppose. That’s why Baird and others call the NEA the "National Extortion Association." 

Like an airplane just a few degrees off course, the NEA may have had good intentions when it began, but is now so far off course as to have lost sight of those whom it ought to be serving. It can no longer be considered a public service association worthy of a Federal charter or of its influence upon government officials and departments of education. Congress and the Administration should revoke the NEA’s Federal charter. 

Read Baird’s article and you’ll understand why. 

The APPENDIX contains a chronological list of every organization (349 to be exact) granted a Federal charter between 1791 to 1974. There is no other organization among them like the NEA which is a labor union or which conducts such extensive political activities. 

The charts below compare NEA membership to the total number of school teachers for each state, from 1965 to 1995. I’m sure you will find them quite interesting. 

David Y. Denholm

June 1997

   

 

The NEA 
and Its 
Federal Charter 
by
Charles W. Baird

Professor of Economics and
Director, The Smith Center for Private Enterprise Studies
California State University, Hayward, CA 94542

 

The National Education Association (NEA) is the only labor union in the United States with a federal charter, and the only labor union with its own cabinet-level federal department—the U.S. Department of Education. As a matter of simple equity, both these anomalies ought to be corrected. Even so, herein I address only the first anomaly. 

In section I below, I briefly outline the history of federal charters in general and then examine the NEA’s charter (section II). In sections III through V, I examine the NEA’s first hundred years and then trace its evolution from a professional organization, primarily interested in promoting the education of the general public, into what Forbes magazine (1993) called the "National Extortion Association"—a bare-knuckles labor union eager to use fraud and coercion to serve no interests but its own. In brief, if the NEA in 1906 (the year of its charter) looked like the NEA of today, its charter would never have been granted. In section VI, I compare the political activity of today’s NEA with that of other private organizations holding federal charters, and with other organizations upon which Congress has conferred real and personal property tax exemptions. Again, the NEA is perversely unique. I conclude in section VII with some observations concerning the NEA's three-tiered national legislative agenda. 

I. Federal Charters

The United States Congress has chartered 351 corporations (see appendix for chronological list compiled by the Humanities and Social Sciences Division of the Library of Congress). The first charter, issued for the Bank of the United States, was granted on February 25, 1791. The last one was granted for the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation on September 2, 1974. Federally chartered organizations fall into three broad categories:

1. corporations carrying out some federal governmental or public function; 

2. private non-profit corporations which "exist for patriotic, civic-improvement, charitable, or educational purposes" (Hearings, 1988, p. 86); and 

3. ordinary corporations organized in the District of Columbia (e.g., banks, insurance companies and the National Cathedral). 

The Bank of the United States, the Tennessee Valley Authority and the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation are in the first category. The NEA, the American Red Cross and the Boy Scouts of America are in the second category—the only one relevant to this paper. In general, such organizations include veterans organizations, fraternal groups, educational institutions and various benevolent societies. 

Not all of the corporations that were granted federal charters still exist. Their charters expired for one of the following reasons: 

  • they became defunct (e.g., the Bank of the United States), 
  • the purposes for which they were created were fulfilled (e.g., the Washington Canal Company), 
  • their membership passed away (e.g., the Grand Army of the Republic, whose members were veterans of the Civil War), or 
  • their charters were revoked (e.g., the National German-American Alliance of the U.S.A., whose charter was revoked in 1918). 

Table 1 below lists 24 extant federally-chartered organizations that, in my judgment, closely resemble the NEA as it was when it received its 1906 federal charter. Whether one examines this list or any other list of federally-chartered organizations, there is one unmistakable distinction between the NEA and all others (in the second category); that is, none other is so deeply immersed in partisan political activity or so aggressively pursuing an agenda that is at the expense of the general public. 

Table 1

Extant Federally Chartered Organizations  
Resembling the 1906 NEA

Organization Year of Federal Charter
American Chemical Society 1937
American Historical Association 1889
American Legion 1919
American Red Cross 1900
American Social Science Association 1899
American Society of International Law 1950
American Symphony Orchestra League 1962
AMVETS 1947
Big Brothers/Big Sisiters of America 1958
Board for Fundamental Education 1954
Boy Scouts of America 1916
Boys Clubs of America 1956
Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching 1906
Corporation for Public Broadcasting 1967
Daughters of the American Revolution 1896
Future Farmers of America 1950
Girl Scouts of America 1950
Little League Baseball 1964
Medical Society for the District of Colombia 1819
National Academy of Sciences 1863
National Conference on Citizenship 1953
National Fund for Medical Education 1954
National Music Council 1956
United States Olympic Association 1950

There is no express power in the Constitution that gives Congress the authority to issue federal charters. However, Article I, Section 8 grants Congress the authority "To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution" all the powers that are expressly granted to Congress. Federal charters are granted under this "necessary and proper" clause. However, since the contemporary NEA is principally engaged in securing for its members the most pay for the least possible educational performance, and for itself increasing institutional wealth and permanent political power, it is difficult to see how the NEA’s charter is "necessary and proper" for Congress to execute any of its constitutional duties. 

Prior to 1969, Congress granted federal charters on a case-by-case basis. They never formulated standard criteria for federal incorporation until 1969 when subcommittees of both the House and Senate Judiciary Committees jointly agreed to a set of "Standards For the Granting of Federal Charters." Even though the new standards don't have the force of law, any private organization seeking a federal charter must meet the five minimum standards established by the subcommittees. The standards were given in the joint subcommittee report as follows: 

Any private organization petitioning Congress for the purpose of obtaining the status of a Federal corporation shall be required to demonstrate to the satisfaction of Congress that it is an organization which is —
  1. operating under a charter granted by a State or the District of Columbia and that it has so operated for a sufficient length of time to demonstrate its permanence and that its activities are clearly in the public interest; 
  2. of such unique character that chartering by the Congress as a Federal corporation is the only appropriate form of incorporation; 
  3. organized and operated solely for charitable, literary, educational, scientific, patriotic, or civic improvement purposes;
  4. organized and operated as a nonpartisan and nonprofit organization; and
  5. organized and operated for the primary purpose of conducting activities which are of national scope and responsive to a national need, which need cannot be met except upon the issuance of a Federal charter. 

Notwithstanding that in 1906 the NEA probably met all five minimum standards, today it does not meet any of them. The NEA is not organized and operated for educational, let alone charitable or civic improvement purposes. It blocks any meaningful educational reform, and certainly does not act in the public interest. It is neither nonprofit nor nonpartisan, and it meets no national need except its own. If the only appropriate form of incorporation of the NEA is federal, why doesn’t the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) have a federal charter? 

In 1988 Congress considered H.R. 3897, a proposed "Federal Charter Act" which would have authorized the Attorney General of the United States "to grant, oversee, and terminate Federal Charters." The bill never became law. Section 2(c)(9)(A) would have required that any organization receiving a federal charter "may not contribute to, support, or otherwise participate in any political activity or attempt in any manner to influence legislation." Although this restriction would have applied only to newly-chartered organizations, it is again clear that the NEA, in its present form, would have been ineligible for a federal charter under the proposed 1988 legislation. 

H.R. 3897 was not intended as an attack on the NEA, for it was introduced by Barney Frank (D-MA) and Howard Berman (D-CA) who are among the NEA’s best friends in the House of Representatives. There is no reference to the NEA in the subcommittee hearings, which were published under the title, "Granting Federal Charters." The NEA apparently was not concerned about the legislation because it did not endanger its monopoly as a federally-chartered partisan organization. 

However, Section 2(a)(2) of the bill would have required the Attorney General to "maintain a current list of all organizations granted Federal charters before or after the enactment of this Act ... in order to ensure that such organizations are complying with the terms of their respective charters." Moreover, the Attorney General "shall terminate the Federal charter of any organization that is not in compliance with the terms of that charter...." Let us see what the NEA’s federal charter says. 

II. The NEA’s Charter

In 1906 Congress enacted H.R. 10501, a bill to incorporate the National Education Association of the United States. President Teddy Roosevelt signed the bill into law on June 30, 1906. In 1937 Congress enacted S.709, a bill to amend the 1906 charter to allow the NEA to make changes in its designation of offices and committees with bylaw changes rather than having to go back to Congress. President Franklin Roosevelt signed the amendments into law on June 14, 1937. The NEA charter as amended is published annually in the NEA’s Handbook.

Prior to the 1960s, teachers were grossly underpaid, but were hard-working professionals dedicated to the welfare of their students. Section 2 of the NEA charter stipulates, 

That the purpose and objects of the said corporation shall be to elevate the character and advance the interests of the profession of teaching and to promote the cause of education in the United States. 

Whatever the NEA did in the past, since the 1960s it has not elevated the character of the profession of teaching in the United States. The NEA has gradually transformed most teachers in its thrall into overpaid, self-serving, seekers of political favors dedicated exclusively to their own interest. Far from promoting the cause of American education, the NEA has presided over the near collapse of educational standards and educational performance throughout the United States. 

Section 4 of the charter states that the NEA’s real property in the District of Columbia, 

and all personal property and funds of the corporation held, used, or invested for educational purposes aforesaid, or to produce income to be used for such purposes, shall be exempt from taxation. 

While the AFT has a tax exemption for funds and income used for educational purposes, among labor unions only the NEA has a federally-granted exemption from real and personal property taxes in the District of Columbia. Forbesmagazine has estimated that this property tax exemption is worth approximately $2 million annually. That amounts to about one-half of NEA’s Political Action Committee [NEA-PAC] spending (Forbes, February 13, 1995, p. 127). 

The 1906 charter was not passed without dissent. Its chief opponent was Congressman Sullivan from Massachusetts who perceived even then that the NEA’s principal goal was to centralize control of education in the hands of a few national bureaucrats at the expense of local teachers. At its chartering, the NEA was predominately composed of administrators of prestigious schools, and of college and university presidents, rather than classroom teachers. According to Congressman Sullivan: 

[I]n the hands of ... five trustees are to be placed the moneys of the teachers of the United States and the control in a large measure of the progress of education itself in the United States.... Let me tell you the powers of the national council under this charter. The national council shall have for its object the consideration and discussion of educational questions of public and professional interest.... [This] means that the discussion of the leading educational questions before the country will be confined practically to the channel which the national council of education prescribes.... It shall also decide suitable subjects for investigation and research and a recommendation of the amount of appropriation that shall be made for such purposes. Not only will they determine the scope of the discussion of questions relating to education, but if research must be made they have the power to give or withhold appropriations in the execution of that design. 

[T]he teachers are voiceless; they have no heads of colleges to speak for them; they have no presidents of universities to lend the prestige of their great names to influence the judgment and action of Members of this House. They are voiceless because they ... are dependent on the goodwill of the superintendents of education over this land, of the supervisors, who are controlled by the leading educators, and while a great many of them protest against this charter they do it silently. They dare not do it publicly for fear of incurring the displeasure of the men who sit in power and judgment over them, the supervisors and superintendents of education in the several cities and towns of the land (Congressional Record, April 2, 1906, p. 4620). 

Notwithstanding Congressman Sullivan’s objections, H.R. 10501 easily passed both houses of Congress. An overwhelming majority of Congress viewed the federal charter as a nearly costless means of promoting the noble cause of education. Member after member asserted that the federal charter would do nothing more than attach the prestige, not the power, of the federal government to the important task of educating the general public. 

The 1937 amendments to the charter were totally unopposed in Congress. They were seen as nothing more than pragmatic procedural changes with no substantive consequences. Obviously they were not. I doubt that the NEA could have redefined itself as drastically as it did in the 1960s and 1970s if every change required congressional approval. No one at that time, not even the leaders of the NEA, could have imagined what the NEA was to become. 

III. The NEA’s First Hundred Years

The NEA was founded in Philadelphia in 1857 as The National Teachers’ Association (NTA). The founding meeting was called by the presidents of ten state teachers associations who wrote, 

We cordially extend this invitation to all practical teachers ... who are willing to unite in a general effort to promote the general welfare of our country by concentrating the wisdom and power of numerous minds, and distributing among all the accumulated experiences of all; who are ready to devote their energies and their means to advance the dignity, respectability, and usefulness of their calling; and who, in fine, believe that the time has come when the teachers of the nation should gather into one great educational brotherhood (Wesley, p. 21).

The founders were following the model of other professional associations. Doctors and lawyers had national organizations that promoted their endeavors; teachers thought they ought to do the same. In its first decade, the NTA was indeed a "brotherhood," for women were not admitted until 1866 (West, p. 2). 

The NTA was not a "tea and crumpets" society from the very start. [That term was used by Don Cameron, the NEA’s current executive director, to disparage the old NEA (Forbes , 1993, p. 81)]. Like other professional organizations, it was formed primarily to promote the economic interests of its members while appearing to promote the public interest. The founding meeting lasted only one day. William Russell, a teacher, writer and editor from Philadelphia, was scheduled to give an address that evening. He was prevented from doing so by illness, but someone else read his speech, titled, "The Professional Organization of the Teachers of the United States," which was summarized in these words: 

The teachers themselves should pass upon the qualifications of applicants for admission to the profession. Let a teachers’ association receive a charter from the state and proceed, without further authorization, to examine and pass upon applicants for membership. It is up to the association itself to issue certificates of membership, which will also serve as legal evidence of competency to teach. That is all there is to it. Let teachers claim the right, set up proper standards, and assume the responsibility of admitting and rejecting candidates; the state and public will quickly, gladly, and appreciatively accept such an assumption of responsibility by the teaching profession (Wesley, p. 23).

To an economist, this is nothing other than a call to set up barriers to entry into a profession. Restricting the supply of practitioners while increasing the demand for their services is a time-honored way to increase practitioner incomes. Professionalization of an occupation does both. Supply is restricted on the grounds that the public (supposedly) must be protected from low quality and fraudulent purveyors. Demand is promoted by selling the idea that professionals, because they are professionals, provide valuable services. 

The true objectives of the NEA, especially for the past 30 years, were clearly stated by Sam Lambert when he became Executive Secretary of the NEA. In his 1967 inaugural address he predicted:

  • NEA will become a political power second to no other special interest group....

  • NEA will have more and more to say about how a teacher is educated, whether he should be admitted to the profession, and depending on his behavior and ability whether he should stay in the profession ... (Blumenfeld, p. 161). 

    This may appear no different from what William Russell preached in 1857. But it is very different indeed. First, in 1967 the NEA became a labor union; public school officials, in increasing numbers, had to bargain in good faith with union officials. Unlike all other professional organizations (who may lobby public officials), only labor unions can, by force of law, compel public officials to listen to and compromise with them. 

    Second, in 1969 the president of the NEA, George Fischer, reiterated the NEA’s plan to regulate entry and exit into the teaching profession. By that time it also became clear that, unlike most professional organizations, the NEA had a hard-left ideological agenda that it wished to impose on teachers and students alike. Other professional organizations try to control entry and exit for primarily economic reasons. Using entry and exit controls to impose an ideological agenda on children was no part of William Russell’s intent in 1857. 

    One political privilege the NTA sought from the beginning was "rent-seeking." Rent-seeking is the process of attempting to get government officials to pass laws and regulations that protect an individual or organization from ordinary competition in open markets, and thus have the effect of increasing the income or granting special privileges to them. Pursuing legal entry and exit regulations is one form of rent-seeking. Pursuing government subsidies is another. Rent-seeking is best done through a government agency set up to specialize in the activities of the rent-seeker. The bureaucrats that run the agency then have interests in common with the rent-seeker. The better the rent-seeker is served, the more secure the government agency and its jobs. The specialist government agency becomes a lobbyist for the rent-seeker. The NTA’s rent-seeking came to fruition in 1867 when President Andrew Johnson signed legislation to create the first federal Office of Education (West, p. 162). 

    In 1870 the NTA joined with the National Association of School Superintendents and the American Normal School Association to form the National Education Association. (From 1886 to 1906, the association's name was the National Educational Association.) 

    The top two legislative goals of the NEA in its first one hundred years (1857-1957) were as follows:

    • the creation of a separate federal Department of Education headed by a cabinet officer; and 
    • general [federal] support for schools administered by the states without federal controls (West, p. 16). 
    The first goal was not achieved until 1979 when President Jimmy Carter created the U.S. Department of Education. The second goal is impossible. Federal money without federal controls is like a vegetarian tiger; there is no such thing. The NEA received federal support for education in 1965 when President Lyndon Johnson signed the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. And, sure enough, with federal money came federal control. Today’s NEA doesn’t mind the federal control because it (the NEA) controls the controllers. From 1980 (after the Department was formed) through 1996 the U.S. Department of Education spent $175 billion on elementary and secondary education (Olson, p. 1). 

    Notwithstanding its "rent-seeking" objectives, one of the NEA’s principal goals in its first 100 years was to improve American education. For example, in 1918 the NEA’s Commission on the Reorganization of Secondary Education published its Cardinal Principles of Secondary Education. The seven cardinal principles (or objectives) were health, basic skills, home membership, vocations, citizenship, worthy use of leisure, and character (Wesley, p. 76). The inclusion of "home membership" and "character" seem especially foreign to the principles of today’s NEA. In 1918, home membership referred to proper nuclear family relations. Today, the nuclear family is only one of many alternative lifestyles acceptable to the NEA; what is proper to them depends on circumstances and personal preferences. In 1918, character referred to moral character; that is, being trustworthy, truthful, self-disciplined, and respectful of the rights of others. In contrast, many in today’s NEA think that the only act that is always immoral is crossing a picket line.

    IV. The NEA Becomes a Labor Union

    The NEA’s transformation from an ordinary professional organization into what some have called the "National Extortion Association" began in the 1960s. By way of background, the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) of 1935 did not cover public employees because the four cardinal principles of NLRA unionism (i.e., exclusive representation, union security, mandatory good faith bargaining and the right to strike) were considered inappropriate in government employment. 

    Exclusive representation means that if a majority (50% + 1) of an employer’s workers vote in favor of being represented by a particular labor union for purposes of collective bargaining on wages, salaries and other terms or conditions of employment, then all workers who were eligible to vote must accept the representation services of the union supported by the majority. The winning union is certified as the exclusive bargaining agent for all the workers, even though many individual workers may prefer to be represented by another union or no union at all. 

    Union security means that all workers who are represented by an exclusive bargaining agent must either join that union, or at least pay dues or fees to that union as a condition of continued employment. 

    Mandatory good faith bargaining means that the employer must bargain, and compromise, with the exclusive bargaining agent. 

    The right to strike means that the exclusive bargaining agent (the union) can withhold the labor services of the workers it represents and legally set up picket lines to try to prevent customers, suppliers, and replacement workers from doing business with the employer who is the strike target. In most other contexts, picketing is considered a form of trespass. 

    Many view public employee unionism as a challenge to the sovereignty of governments. While private employee unionism empowers a private group (a union) to do battle with another private group (an employer), public employee unionism empowers a private group (a union) to do battle with a government. Moreover, the determination of wages, salaries and other terms or conditions of work in the public sector is a matter of public policy. Public pay is public policy! 

    Until recently, most thought it inappropriate for government agencies to allow private groups to share equally in determining public policy, especially if it would force the government to act under the rules of mandatory good faith bargaining. Furthermore, in the private sector, a union and the management it bargains with are on opposite sides of the bargaining table. Money comes to both from customers, but customers can choose to do business elsewhere. Therefore, management is always interested in minimizing costs. In contrast, in government employment a union and a government employing agency are on the same side of the bargaining table—they are both interested in getting more money out of taxpayers. Unlike private sector customers, taxpayers are not free to take their business elsewhere (Baird, 1986). 

    Unions, of course, argued that public sector employment is just like private sector employment; denying the privileges of unionization to public sector employees was treating them as second class citizens. In 1959, the Wisconsin legislature gave into this equivalency argument for unionism in the public sector and enacted the nation’s first public sector bargaining law. The statute denied the right to strike to Wisconsin’s state and local public employees, but the other three cardinal principles of unionism were incorporated in the law. 

    In 1960, the NEA’s Representative Assembly (its annual national convention) called for the Board of Directors to undertake a study of the "negotiation" of salaries and conditions of work with boards of education (West, p. 44). The Board prepared a resolution which it presented to the 1961 convention delegates. In part, the resolution said:

    The National Education Association believes ... that professional education associations should be accorded the right, through democratically elected representatives, using appropriate professional channels, to participate in the determination of policies of common concern, including salary and other conditions for professional service.

    The seeking of consensus and mutual agreement on a professional basis should preclude the arbitrary exercise of unilateral authority by boards of education and the use of the strike by teachers as a means for enforcing economic demands. Professional procedures should be established which can be utilized, when agreement is not reached through joint discussion in a reasonable time, to bring about a resolution of differences (quoted in West, p. 45).

    The repeated use of the word "professional" was intended to mask the fact that the Board of Directors was really proposing a form of teacher unionism. The dominant view in the NEA was that unionism was for blue collar workers, but "professional negotiation" was appropriate for teachers. In order to eliminate the odious reference to "the strike," and reinforce the NEA’s commitment to "professionalism," the second paragraph quoted above was amended to read: 
    When common consent cannot be reached, the Association recommends that a board of review consisting of members of professional and lay groups affiliated with education should be used as a means of resolving extreme difficulties (quoted in West, p. 45). 
    The amended resolution was adopted by the convention. 

    In the 1950s, Walter Reuther, head of the Industrial Union Department of the AFL-CIO, was very interested in organizing New York City teachers as part of his plan to offset declining union membership in the private sector. With help from the Auto Workers, the Communications Workers and other unions, Reuther undertook to organize the United Federation of Teachers (UFT) as an affiliate of the AFT (the AFL-CIO’s national teachers union). George Meany, president of the AFL-CIO, encouraged Mayor Robert F. Wagner to help; by 1960, the UFT was well established. Yet the NEA had no local organization in New York City. 

    In 1960 the UFT and Mayor Wagner agreed that he would appoint a fact-finding commission regarding teacher unionism. The following year, the commission conducted a referendum among all New York City teachers, asking them whether they wanted collective bargaining. They voted three to one in favor (West, pp. 51-52). 

    Following the referendum, the mayor and the board of education agreed to hold a certification election among New York City teachers. The candidates for exclusive bargaining agent were the UFT, the Teachers Bargaining Organization (of which the NEA was one of a coalition of nineteen organizations), and an independent group called the Teachers Union. The mailed ballots were counted on December 15, 1961. The UFT won the election with 20,000 votes. The coalition received 10,000 votes, and the Teachers Union received 2,500. 10,000-13,000 teachers didn’t vote (West, p. 54). 

    This New York experience shocked the NEA into action. It immediately undertook its Urban Project—a plan "to establish a new and vigorous program of services, which will seek to develop active local association programs in urban areas throughout the country" (quoted in West, p. 57). The purpose of the project was to assure that the NEA would never again be out-organized by the AFT in urban areas. As part of its strategy, the NEA carefully avoided using standard unionism words, and presented itself as the alternative to unionism for teachers. At its 1962 convention, William B. Carr, the executive secretary, called on the delegates to respond to the AFT by, 

    1. Strengthening their local associations; 

    2. Securing a written agreement on professional negotiations with their local school boards; 

    3. Making sure each delegate understands and can explain to others the difference between a professional association and a teachers’ union and why the former is better; 

    4. Arranging local forums to make certain every member of the association represented at the convention understands why an independent [of the AFL-CIO] profession is essential; and 

    5. Setting a timetable in each state for the achievement of unified, local, state and national membership with unified collection of dues and a schedule of services and responsibilities at each level (West, p. 64).

    In other words, Carr called on the NEA to become a labor union in every way except in name. Rather than a union, it was to be called a professional organization. Rather than collective bargaining, it was to participate in professional negotiations. This deceptive strategy was very important to the NEA because many teachers thought that unionism was beneath professionals; and because, at the time, the NEA was classified by the IRS as a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. Donations to 501(c)(3) organizations are tax deductible for the donors. Labor unions are 501(c)(5) organizations, which are exempt from paying taxes on their income, but donations to them are not tax deductible for the donors. 

    The strike is the sine qua non of a labor union. Yet in the same convention speech alluded to above, Executive Secretary Carr opined: 

    I think I can say on your behalf to school boards, as well as to parents and other citizens: the members of the National Education Association, whatever others [i.e., the AFT] may do, will constantly strive to improve their qualifications and the quality of service they render; they will keep their pledged word; and they will never walk out on the students in their charge (quoted in West, p. 67).
    That must sound strange to all the parents, students, teachers and school boards who have been victimized by NEA strikes since the 1970s. Compare Carr’s words with the following statement of NEA policy from the 1983-84 annual edition of its journal, Today’s Education
    The National Education Association denounces the practice of keeping schools open during a strike. It believes that when a picket line is established by the authorized bargaining unit, crossing it is strikebreaking. This unprofessional act jeopardizes the welfare of teachers and the educational process....

    In the event of a strike by professional employees, extracurricular and co-curricular activities must cease. Appropriate teacher training institutions should be notified that a strike is being conducted and urged not to cooperate in emergency certification or placement practices that constitute strikebreaking (quoted in Blumenfeld, p. 223).

    According to today’s NEA, striking is professional and teaching during a strike is unprofessional—even in those states where public employee strikes are illegal. 

    What happened from 1962 to 1984 that caused the NEA to come out of the closet and fully embrace unionist agenda and vocabulary? First of all, in 1962 President John F. Kennedy issued Executive Order 10988 authorizing federal employees to unionize, but without union security and the right to strike. Then, more and more states, following Wisconsin and the Federal Government, fell into the trap of public employee unionism. Today 34 states have collective bargaining statutes covering their respective state and local government employees. Most include union security; some include the right to strike. In short, public sector unionism has become respectable. 

    In addition, in 1963 the IRS began to question the NEA’s status as a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. Consequently, in 1969, the IRS changed the NEA’s designation to a 501(c)(6) organization—a business league. Even though it was clear to everyone that the NEA was a labor union (except in name), it was not until 1978 that the IRS declared the NEA to be a 501(c)(5) labor union. Soon thereafter the NEA dropped all its pretenses to the contrary. 

    There is one moment that can be identified as the NEA's first public proclamation of solidarity with the union movement; namely, an editorial by NEA president Willard McGuire in the November-December 1981 issue of Today’s Education. 

    NEA is proud to be a professional organization. We are also proud to be part of the labor movement and are proud to have joined together with the AFL-CIO, the NAACP, and other national and regional organizations—on September 19, Solidarity Day—in protest against the Reagan Administration’s economic policies. 

    Today, NEA is a leader in the American labor movement.... [W]hile we are no better than any other labor group, we are different, and we see our organization, clearly, as having the strength, expertise, and clout to get important jobs done. 

    We call on everyone within the labor movement to join us in a rededication to quality education. We in turn pledge to continue our efforts to ensure dignity and justice and equity for all workers, in all endeavors, throughout the workplace of our nation—and of the world (quoted in Blumenfeld, p. 174).

    In 1968, the NEA drafted a federal collective bargaining law that would impose public employee unionism on every state. The proposed legislation was introduced in the U.S. Senate in 1969 by Senator Lee Metcalf (D-MT). If passed, it would strengthen the hands of unions in states with weak (from a unionist point of view) laws, and would corral public employees and governments in those states that had refused to adopt collective bargaining statutes. The bill didn’t pass, but ever since then the NEA has kept trying to get a federal public employee unionism bill enacted. The Supreme Court did clear the way for such federal interference in state government employment relations in Garcia v. San Antonio Metropolitan Transit Authority [469 U.S. 528 (1985)]. Nevertheless, according to one NEA historian, there is only one major legislative goal that the NEA has not achieved since its centennial, namely, the enactment of a federal collective bargaining law (West, p. 186). 

    V. The NEA as the "National Extortion Association"

    In three articles in Forbes magazine (June 7, 1993; February 13, 1995; and April 24, 1995), Peter Brimelow and Leslie Spencer exposed the NEA as a particularly nasty, self-serving, extortionist organization concerned not with education, students and teachers, but with its own institutional interests at the expense of anyone that gets in its way. Should this renegade organization continue to enjoy the prestige and tax exemption privileges of its federal charter? 

    Extortion is the use of coercion to secure monetary or in-kind benefits from unwilling payers. The NEA is involved in extortion in many ways. For example, in October 1981, the school board of Alpena, Michigan, at the behest of the NEA, shut down the public schools before the end of the academic year because voters had repeatedly refused to raise local property taxes in order to pay high union-imposed costs (e.g., teacher salaries, work rules). At the same time, citizens in several other Michigan districts were threatened with similar shutdowns. The blackmail was successful. Voters came up with the money, and the union attack dogs were called off. 

    The NEA used a similar scheme to extort more money from the taxpayers of Kalkaska, Michigan in March 1993. The public school teachers’ average income in the district was already $32,000 while the taxpayers’ average income was $22,000. Also, the school board had earlier granted a six percent annual pay raise for three years to teachers. Nevertheless, another complicit school board terminated the school year two months early when voters failed to raise taxes for teacher pay increases. The extent of the NEA’s control over the school board was clear when an editorial writer for the Detroit News called the school board for comments on the shutdown: he was told to call the local NEA office. When Forbesinterviewed Keith Geiger, then national president of the NEA, on the shutdown, he made it clear that other Michigan school districts would suffer the same fate if their taxpayers didn’t come up with sufficient protection money. 

    The NEA not only extorts money from taxpayers; it treats many teachers the same way. Since 1975 the NEA has imposed a "unified dues" structure on its members. A teacher who is a member of a NEA local union must also become a member of both the state and national NEA organizations. Dues are collected at the local level for all three levels, which converts forced dues at the local level into forced dues at the state and national levels. To preserve union security, many teachers are forced to join (or at least pay dues to) the local NEA union as a condition of continued employment. Those who are voluntary members at the local level but who prefer not to be members at the state and national levels, as well as teachers who want nothing to do with unions at any level, are coerced to pay union dues for all three levels. The NEA's message to teachers is: pay up or don't teach

    Teachers who object to this extortion may be ostracized and terrorized by the NEA and militant union representatives. For example, in the 1970s the NEA terrorized Kay Jackson who was a teacher in Swartz Creek, Michigan, and who objected to forced dues. Not only was she forced to endure costly litigation and painful ostracism, but dead cats were thrown at her house and her pet German shepherd was killed. 

    Another way the NEA extorts money is by providing liability insurance to its members and collecting the premiums as part of dues. The NEA must make substantial profits from this enterprise. This became clear when Lamar Alexander, then governor of Tennessee, proposed that the state pay for teacher liability insurance through an alternative insurer. The NEA responded by accusing him of union busting. The NEA has apparently convinced many teachers that it can provide life, health and liability insurance at low rates. Yet in most cases the teachers could get better coverage for less through alternative suppliers. For example, the NEA’s Michigan Education Special Services Association (Messa) provides health insurance that costs each teacher $1,000 more per year than Michigan’s state employee health plan. Yet no school board dares to address the Messa issue; if they did, they would invite a strike. 

    The NEA also imposes extortion against parents of students. For example, John Jenkins, a parent in the Chicago school system, was a plaintiff in a 1993 suit filed against the Chicago public school monopoly by the Institute for Justice. Mr. Jenkins was deeply concerned about the quality of education. He received threatening phone calls that forced him and his family to hide out; the calls did not stop until after this outrage was publicized. If his suit had been successful (which it was not), students held hostage by the NEA in failed public schools could escape to private schools through the use of education vouchers. 

    In addition, the NEA imposes extortion against students themselves. Forbes reported instances wherein the NEA instructed teachers to refuse to write letters of recommendation for college admissions unless the students’ families actively supported the NEA agenda. 

    Finally, the NEA imposes extortion against people who take the wrong side (in the NEA's view) in state ballot initiative campaigns. Consider the antics of the California Teachers Association (CTA), an NEA state affiliate, in the 1992-93 school voucher initiative campaign. Wherever the CTA knew that signatures were being gathered to put the initiative on the ballot, they sent militant representatives to harass and challenge would-be signers. They often physically blocked access to the tables where the signatures were being gathered, and they sabotaged petitions with fake names. But the CTA didn’t stop there. According to the sworn statement of the president of a signature gathering firm, the CTA offered him $400,000 not to gather signatures for the initiative (Haar, Lieberman and Troy, p. 75). 

    To oppose a ballot initiative and therefore decline to sign a petition that would put it on the ballot is an exercise of civil liberty. But to try to use force, fraud and bribery to prevent an initiative from getting on the ballot is coercion and extortion. D. A. Weber, then president of the CTA, excused this improper behavior with these words: 

    [Y]ou and I, the California Teachers Association, decided to do something very dramatic, something nobody had ever tried in the nine decades that the initiative has existed in this state. We decided to create an organized campaign to block an initiative from getting enough signatures to qualify for the ballot. 

    We realized that we would be accused of acting in an ‘undemocratic’ manner. What was wrong, after all, with letting the people vote on an issue? 

    Our answer was firm: There are some proposals that are so evil that they should never even be presented to the voters. We do not believe, for example, that we should hold an election on ‘empowering’ the Ku Klux Klan. And we would not think it’s ‘undemocratic’ to oppose voting on legalizing child prostitution. 

    Destroying public education, in our view, belongs in that category (quoted in Haar, Lieberman and Troy, pp. 75-6).

    Far from being like the KKK and child prostitution, school vouchers for K-12 students are exactly like the post World War II G.I. bill, which gave grants to veterans to use at any college or university. The only education reform that can possibly rescue American K-12 students from the dismal performance of the public school monopoly is competition. Vouchers are the means by which failed public schools will have to improve or perish. 

    What is really at stake in the voucher debate is the NEA’s role as a monopoly provider of teacher services to a monopoly buyer of those services. As long as parents and students do not have open access to private schools they are held hostage in public schools. The NEA can extort high prices from school boards, who in turn pass the costs on to taxpayers. Vouchers would not destroy education, but would destroy the hegemony of the NEA. 

    To the charge of extortion can be added the charge of duplicity (i.e., double-dealing, deceitfulness, double-talking), demonstrated by what happened with the voucher initiative in California. The initiative qualified for the November 1993 ballot, but was defeated. The CTA-NEA successfully conducted a $12.3 million campaign to deceive California voters—a campaign financed in part by a $57 tax imposed by the CTA on most of its members (Haar, Lieberman and Troy, p. 73). 

    VI. The NEA and Partisan Politics

    On February 4, 1997, in his State of the Union speech, President Clinton asked the U.S. Congress to stop politics at the schoolhouse door. Yet that would require them to ban the NEA from all schoolhouses. 

    The NEA initiated its national political activities in 1969-70, when it actively and successfully campaigned against the confirmation of two Nixon appointees to the U.S. Supreme Court—Clement F. Haynsworth and G. Harrold Carswell—on the grounds that their civil rights records suggested they would abridge "the rights of every school child" (West, p. 192). The nominations were withdrawn. 

    The NEA’s appetite for political influence at the national level was whetted. It set up the NEA-PAC in 1972, and endorsed 32 candidates in the House and Senate races that year. In 1974, it endorsed 282 House and Senate candidates; and in 1976, 247 candidates (West, p. 200). The NEA endorsed its first presidential candidate, Jimmy Carter, in 1976. In 1979 President Carter rewarded the NEA for its support by giving the NEA its own cabinet department, namely, the U.S. Department of Education. The NEA has endorsed a candidate in every subsequent presidential election—all Democrats. Similarly, almost all of the House and Senate candidates the NEA has endorsed since 1972 have been Democrats. This is not because no teachers are Republicans—almost 40% are—but is because the Democrats have promised to sustain the public school monopoly. NEA endorsements come with NEA money, and NEA money comes largely from forced dues. Consequently, the almost 40% of NEA teachers who are Republicans are coerced into supporting Democrats at election time. 

    The overwhelming partisan bias of the NEA is illustrated by Federal Election Commission data on the 1995-96 election cycle as of November 25, 1996. Total NEA-PAC contributions were as follows: 

    U.S. Senate candidates: 

    Democratic: $255,000 Republican: $1,500
    U.S. House of Representatives candidates: 
    Democratic: $2,038,180 Republican: $10,350
    National and state party committees: 
    Democratic: $414,900 Republican: $45,000

    (Note: All these data are from an FEC information web site: http://www.tray.com/fecinfo. They do not include PAC contributions by NEA state and local affiliates.) 

    William J. Bennett, former Secretary of Education in the Reagan cabinet, spoke truthfully when he said of the NEA: "You’re looking at the absolute heart and center of the Democratic Party" (quoted in Forbes, June 7, 1993, p. 74). 

    Only one of the 24 federally chartered organizations listed in Table 1 (organizations comparable to the NEA in 1906 when it received its charter) even had a PAC in the latest election cycle (per the FEC information web site mentioned above). That organization is the Medical Society for the District of Columbia (chartered in 1819); it neither raised nor distributed money from January 1, 1995 through November 25, 1996. The NEA is perversely unique among federally-chartered organizations. It enjoys the privileges and prestige of a federal charter while it expends massive resources to subvert federal public policy for its own narrow special interests. 

    Table 2 below lists the organizations, 27 in all, upon which Congress has conferred real and personal property tax exemptions as of October 30, 1995. The list was compiled by the office of Congressman Earl Pomeroy (D-ND), and was part of his response (sent on that date) to a constituent who inquired about the NEA’s real and personal property tax exemption. When I compared this list with the list of all federally chartered organizations compiled by the Humanities and Social Science Division of the Library of Congress (see appendix to this article), I discovered that only 14 of these tax-exempt organizations are federally chartered. Apparently, Congress grants real and personal property tax exemptions to some groups that are not federally chartered.  
     

    Table 2

    Organizations Upon Which Congress Has Conferred  
    Real and Personal Property Tax Exemptions  
    as of October 30, 199

  • Other than the NEA, only one organization on this list, the American Pharmaceutical Association (APA), had a PAC and made political donations to political candidates in the 1995-96 election cycle. Given the significant burden of federal government regulation of pharmaceuticals through the Food and Drug Administration, it is easy to see why the APA is more politically involved than, say, the National Geographic Society. The APA's political donations during the period mentioned were as follows:

    U.S. Senate candidates: 
    Democratic: $46,250

    Republican: $34,250

    U.S. House of Representatives candidates: 
    Democratic: $48,000

    Republican: $42,550

    When compared with the NEA figures given earlier, the APA donates very little and is bipartisan in its giving. Again, the NEA is in a class all by itself among organizations favored by Congress with real and personal property tax exemptions. 

    VII. Conclusion & the NEA's National political Agenda

    The NEA’s political activities are unique among federally chartered organizations. But what are the specifics of its national political agenda? The NEA categorizes its legislative program into three tiers. The first tier is, 

    1. NEA Priority Legislative Initiatives: 

    • constantly increasing federal funding for public schools and post secondary education; and 
    • forcing all teachers at all levels of education into becoming NEA dues payers. 
    Of course, they don’t state the second objective that way. They express it as obtaining "collective bargaining rights" for teachers. In this respect, the NEA continues to promote the adoption of a federal collective bargaining law to impose forced unionism on all state and local government employees—especially teachers—throughout the United States. The NEA asserts that "continuing high activity levels" are necessary to accomplish these objectives (Haar, Lieberman and Troy, p. 53). 

    Similarly, the NEA states that second tier initiatives require "intensive activity to advance NEA’s objectives." These initiatives pertain to national public policy concerns before Congress. 

    2. Current Priority Congressional Issues: 

    • non-educational concerns, such as HIV research; 
    • government-based single payer health insurance; 
    • statehood for the District of Columbia;
    • preventing any Medicare/Medicaid savings;
    • improving Social Security benefits;
    • expanding drug programs;
    • federal funding of congressional campaigns;
    • federally mandated educational benefits for the disabled; and
    • early childhood health and education programs (Haar, Lieberman and Troy, p. 54). 
    Third tier objectives, according to the NEA, require "appropriate NEA activity."

    3. NEA Ongoing Legislative Concerns: 

    • repeal of Section 14(b) of the National Labor Relations Act that allows individual states to adopt right-to-work laws (laws that prohibit forced union membership and forced dues paying in the private sector); 
    • maintaining the cabinet-level status of the U.S. Department of Education; and 
    • assuring funding continues to increase for public broadcasting (Haar, Lieberman and Troy, p. 54). 
    I don’t understand the differences between "continuing high activity," "intensive activity," and "appropriate activity." The record suggests that the NEA pursues all its goals with the same reckless disregard for the rights of those who disagree with them. It is an outrage that Congress has not long since repealed the NEA’s federal charter. Moreover, it is an insult to other federal charter holders. The NEA resembles the Mafia much more than it resembles the Boy Scouts, the American Red Cross, or Little League Baseball.  
      

    References

    Baird, Charles W. "Strikes Against Government: The California Supreme Court Decision," Government Union Review, Volume 7 (Winter 1986), pp. 1-29. 

    Blumenfeld, Samuel L. NEA: Trojan Horse in American Education (Phoenix, Arizona: The Paradigm Company), 1984. 

    Brimelow, Peter, and Spencer, Leslie. "The National Extortion Association?," Forbes, June 7, 1993, pp. 72-84. 

    Brimelow, Peter, and Spencer, Leslie. "Comeuppance," Forbes, February 13, 1995, pp. 121-127. 

    Brimelow, Peter, and Spencer, Leslie. "Apple for the Teacher," Forbes, April 24, 1995, pp. 46-48. 

    Congressional Record, April 2, 1906. 

    Federal Election Commission information web site: http://www.tray.com/fecinfo.html

    "Granting Federal Charters." Hearings Before the Subcommittee on Administrative Law and Governmental Relations of the Committee on the Judiciary, U.S. House of Representatives, 100th Congress, November 10, 1987 and March 3, 1988 (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office), 1988. 

    Haar, Charlene; Lieberman, Myron; and Troy, Leo. The NEA and AFT: Teacher Unions in Power and Politics (Rockport, Massachusetts: ProActive Publications), 1994. 

    Olson, Christine L. "U.S. Department of Education Financing of Elementary and Secondary Education: Where the Money Goes," F.Y.I. No. 126 (Washington, DC: The Heritage Foundation), December 30, 1996. 

    Wesley, Edgar B. NEA: The First Hundred Years (New York: Harper & Brothers Publishers), 1957. 

    West, Allan M. The National Education Association: The Power Base for Education (New York: The Free Press), 1980. 

    Chronological List of 
    Charters Granted by Congress

    Source: Humanities and Social Sciences Division of the Library of Congress

  • The President, Director and Company, of the Bank of the United States (1791)

    Washington Canal Company (1802)

    Mayor and Council of the City of Washington (1802)

    The Directors of the Colombian Library Company in Georgetown (1804)

    The Trustees of the Presbyterian congregation, in Georgetown (1806)

    The Washington Bridge Company (1808)

    The Washington and Alexandria Turnpike Company (1808)

    Washington Canal Company (1809)

    The president, directors and company of the Georgetown and Alexandria Turnpike Road (1809)

    President , Director and Company of the Columbia Turnpike Roads (1810)

    President, Director and Company of the Bank of Alexandria (1811)

    President and Directors of the Bank of Washington (1811)

    Farmers’ Bank of Alexandria (1811)

    The President, director and company of the Bank of Potomac (1811)

    President and Directors of the Union Bank of Georgetown (1811)

    The Trustees of the Georgetown Lancaster School Society (1812)

    Mechanics’ Bank of Alexandria (1812)

    Alexandria and Leesburg Turnpike Company (1813)

    Fire Insurance Company of Alexandria (1814)

    The Georgetown Water Company (1814)

    The Directors of the Washington Library Company (1814)

    The president, directors, and company of the bank of the United States (1816)

    Farmers and Mechanics’ Bank of Georgetown (1817)

    Central Bank of Georgetown and Washington (1817)

    President and Directors of the Bank of the Metropolis (1817)

    Patriotic Bank of Washington (1817)

    Franklin Bank of Alexandria (1817)

    Union Bank of Alexandria (1817)

    Columbian Insurance Company of Alexandria (1818)

    Franklin Insurance Company (1818)

    Mechanic Relief Society of Alexandria (1818)

    Columbian Institute for the Promotion of Arts and Sciences (1818)

    The Provident Association of Clerks (1819)

    Medical Society of the District of Columbia (1819)

    The Navy Bridge Company (1819)

    The Columbian College in the District of Columbia (1821)

    Bank of Columbia (1821)

    The trustees of the Female Orphan Asylum of Georgetown, in the District of Columbia (1828)

    The Washington City Orphan Asylum (1828)

    Sisters of Charity of St. Joseph (1828)

    Sisters of the Visitation (1828)

    Washington, Alexandria, and Georgetown Steam Packet Company (1829)

    Alexandria Canal Company (1830)

    Saint Vincent’s Orphan Asylum (1831)

    Potomac Fire Insurance Company of Georgetown (1831)

    Georgetown Free School and Orphan Asylum (1833)

    Howard Institution of the City of Washington (1837)

    The President and Directors of the Firemen’s Insurance Company of Washington and Georgetown (1837)

    Washington City Benevolent Society (1841)

    Washington’s Manual Labor School and Male Orphan Asylum Society, D.C. (1842)

    German Benevolent Society (1842)

    The National Institute for the Promotion of Science (1842)

    President and Directors of Georgetown College (1844)

    Smithsonian Institution (1846)

    Washington Gas Light Company (1848)

    The Oak Hill Cemetery Company (1849)

    The Sisters of the Visitation of Washington (1853)

    The Georgetown Gaslight Company (1854)

    Glenwood Cemetery in the D.C. (1854)

    The Pioneer Manufacturing Company of Georgetown, D.C. (1854)

    Mutual Fire Insurance Company of the D.C. (1855)

    The trustees of St. Joseph’s Male Orphan Asylum (1855)

    St. Thomas’ Literary Society (1856)

    The Columbia Library of Capitol Hill, in the City of Washington (1856)

    Columbia’s Library for Young Men (1856)

    Columbia Institution for the Instruction of the Deaf and Dumb, and the Blind (1857)

    Washington Insurance Company (1857)

    President and Directors of Gonzaga College (1858)

    The Benevolent Christian Association of Washington City (1858)

    The Washington National Monument Society (1859)

    The United States Agricultural Society (1860)

    Grand Lodge of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows of the District of Columbia (1860)

    Prospect Hill Cemetery, in the District of Columbia (1860)

    The National Gallery and School of Arts (1860)

    East Washington Library Association (1860)

    Washington and Georgetown Railroad Company (1862)

    Mount Olivet Cemetery Company (1862)

    The Union Pacific Railroad Company (1862)

    Guardian Society (1862)

    The National Association for the Relief of Destitute Colored Women and Children (1863)

    The Institution for the Education of Colored Youth (1863)

    St. Ann’s Infant Asylum (1863)

    National Academy of Sciences (1863)

    The Washington City Savings Bank (1864)

    The Union Gas-light Company of the District of Columbia (1864)

    The Directors of Providence Hospital (1864)

    Masonic Hall Association of the District of Columbia (1864)

    The News-boys’ Home of Washington City (1864)

    The Home for the Relief of Friendless Women and Children (1864)

    Colored Catholic Male Benevolent Society (1864)

    Young Men’s Christian Association of the City of Washington (1864)

    Metropolitan Railroad Company (1864)

    Potomac Ferry Company (1864)

    Northern Pacific Railroad Company (1864)

    The National Union Insurance Company of Washington (1865)

    Sisters of Mercy in the District of Columbia (1865)

    National Military and Naval Asylum for the Relief of the Totally Disabled Officers and Men of the Volunteer Forces of the United States (1865)

    The Freedman’s Savings and Trust Company (1865)

    Colored Union Benevolent Association (1865)

    Continental Hotel Company (1865)

    The Capitol Hotel Company (1865)

    The National Asylum for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers (1866)

    The National Theological Institute (1866)

    The Academy of Music of Washington, D.C. (1866)

    Columbia Hospital for Women and Lying-in Asylum (1866)

    The Howard Institute and Home (1866)

    Metropolitan Mining and Manufacturing Company of the District of Columbia (1866)

    Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Union of the City of Washington, D.C. (1866)

    National Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Orphan Home (1866)

    Washington Temperance Society of Washington City and District of Columbia (1866)

    Atlantic and Pacific Railroad Company (1866)

    Directors of the General Hospital of the District of Columbia (1866)

    National Safe Deposit Company of Washington (1867)

    Washington County Horse Railroad Company (1867)

    The First Congregational Society of Washington (1867)

    The Howard University (1867)

    Joint Stock Company of the Young Men’s Christian Association (1867)

    National Capital Insurance Company (1867)

    Lincoln Monument Association (1867)

    The Congregation of the First Presbyterian Church of Washington (1868)

    Connecticut Avenue and Park Railway Company (1868)

    National Hotel Company, in the City of Washington, in the District of Columbia (1868)

    Washington Target-Shooting Association (1868)

    National Life Insurance Company of the United States of America (1868)

    Evening Star Newspaper Company of Washington (1868)

    The Masonic Mutual Relief Association of the District of Columbia (1869)

    National Junction Railway Company (1869)

    Washington Mail Steamboat Company (1870)

    Washington General Hospital and Asylum of the District of Columbia (1870)

    Washington Homeopathic Medical Society (1870)

    Washington Hospital for Foundlings (1870)

    Washington and Boston Steamship Company (1870)

    Washington Market Company (1870)

    Columbia Railway Company (1870)

    National Savings Bank of the District of Columbia (1870)

    Trustees of the Corcoran Gallery of Art (1870)

    Washington Zoological Society (1870)

    Association for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (1870)

    The National Life Assurance and Trust Association (1870)

    National Bolivian Navigation Company (1870)

    United States Freehold Land and Emigration Company (1870)

    Texas Pacific Railroad Company (1871)

    Centennial Board of Finance (1872)

    Loomis Aerial Telegraph Company (1873)

    Anacostia and Potomac River Railroad Company, of Washington City, District of Columbia (1875)

    Capitol, North O Street, and South Washington Railway Company (1875)

    The Trustees of the Louise Home (1875)

    Inland and Seaboard Coasting Company of the District of Columbia (1875)

    Washington City Inebriate Asylum of the District of Columbia (1875)

    The Citizens’ Building Company of Washington City (1876)

    Georgetown and Tennallytown Railroad Company (1876)

    Mutual Protection Fire Insurance Company of the District of Columbia (1876)

    National Fair Grounds Association (1878)

    Utah and Northern Railway Company (1878)

    United States International Commission (1880)

    Luther Statue Association (1885)

    Trustees of Young Woman’s Christian Home (1887)

    Eckington and Soldier’s Home Railway Company of the District of Columbia (1888)

    Rock Creed Railway Company of the District of Columbia (1888)

    Board of Trustees of the Girl’s Reform School of the District of Columbia (1888)

    Georgetown and Tenallytown Railway Company of the District of Columbia (1888)

    Georgetown Barge, Dock, Elevator, and Railway Company (1888)

    Brightwood Railway Company of the District of Columbia (1888)

    American Historical Association (1889)

    The Maritime Canal Company of Nicaragua (1889)

    Washington and Western Maryland Railroad Company (1889)

    North River Bridge Company (1890)

    The King Theological Hall (1891)

    Washington and Arlington Railway Company of the District of the Columbia (1891)

    National Conservatory of Music of America (1891)

    The District of Columbia Suburban Railway Company (1892)

    Board of Children’s Guardians (1892)

    National Academy of Art (1892)

    Washington and Great Falls Electric Railway Company (1892)

    Maryland and Washington Railway Company (1892)

    Protestant Episcopal Cathedral Foundation of the District of Columbia (1893)

    Eclectic Medical Society of the District of Columbia (1893)

    The American University (1893)

    Choctaw, Oklahoma and Gulf Railroad Company (1894)

    The Supreme Lodge Knights of Pythias (1894)

    Capital Railway Company (1895)

    Post Graduate School of Medicine, of the District of Columbia (1896)

    The National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution (1896)

    The Supreme Council (Mother Council of the World) of the Inspectors General Knights Commanders of the House of the Temple of Solomon of the Thirty-Third Degree of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Free Masonry of the Southern Jurisdiction of the United States of America (1896)

    The Convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church of the Diocese of Washington (1896)

    National University (1896)

    (merged into Georgetown University)

    Convention of American Instructors of the Deaf (1897)

    The National Florence Crittenton Mission (1898)

    The Masonic Temple Association of the District of Columbia (1898)

    East Washington Heights Traction Railroad Company of the District of Columbia (1898)

    Washington and University Railroad Company of the District of Columbia (1898)

    American Social Science Association (1899)

    The American National Red Cross (1900)

    Frederick Douglass Memorial and Historical Association (1900)

    German Orphan Asylum Association of the District of Columbia (1901)

    National Society of United States Daughters of Eighteen Hundred and Twelve (1901) 
      
     

    General Federation of Women’s Clubs (1901)

    Society of American Florists and Ornamental Horticulturists (1901)

    The Eastern Star Home of the District of Columbia (1902)

    The Society of the Army of Santiago de Cuba (1902)

    General Education Board of the District of Columbia (1903)

    Association of Military Surgeons of the United States of America (1903)

    Washington Sanitary Housing Company (1904)

    Carnegie Institution of Washington (1904)

    Mutual Investment Fire Insurance Company of the District of Columbia (1905)

    Trustees of the Grand Encampment of Knights Templar (1905)

    American Academy in Rome (1905)

    The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching (1906)

    Great Council of the United States of the Improved Order of Red Men (1906)

    The American Cross of Honor (1906)

    The Edes Home (1906)

    Archeological Institute of America (1906)

    National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution (1906)

    National Education Association of the United States (1906)

    The Lake Erie and Ohio River Ship Canal Company (1906)

    The International Sunday School Association (1907)

    National Child Labor Committee (1907)

    The National German-American Alliance of the United States of America (1907)

    The Hungarian Reformed Federation of America (1907)

    The Brotherhood of Saint Andrew (1908)

    The Congressional Club (1908)

    Cordova Bay Harbor Improvement and Town-Site Company (1909)

    The Imperial Palace, Dramatic Order Knights of Khorassan (1909)

    National McKinley Birthplace Memorial Association (1911)

    American Numismatic Association (1912)

    The Naval History Society (1912)

    American Hospital of Paris (1913)

    National Institute of Arts and Letters (1913)

    Ellen Wilson Memorial Homes (1915)

    American Academy of Arts and Letters (1916)

    Boy Scouts of America (1916)

    United States Shipping Board Emergency Fleet Corporation (1916)

    War Finance Corporation (1918)

    Near East Relief (1919)

    The American Legion (1919)

    Roosevelt Memorial Association (1920)

    Belleau Wood Memorial Association (1923)

    The Grand Army of the Republic (1924)

    Inland Waterways Corporation (1924)

    The United States Blind Veterans of the World War (1924)

    American War Mothers (1925)

    Lucy Webb Hayes National Training School for Deaconesses and Missionaries (1927)

    Catholic University of America (1928)

    Textile Foundation (1930)

    Reconstruction Finance Corporation (1932)

    District of Columbia Commission, George Washington Bicentennial (1932)

    Disabled American Veterans of the World War (1932)

    Capital Transit Company (1933)

    Tennessee Valley Authority (1933)

    Corporation of Foreign Security Holders (1933)

    Home Owners’ Loan Corporation (1933)

    Central Bank for Cooperatives (1933)

    Federal Farm Mortgage Corporation (1934)

    Cairo Bridge Commission (1934)

    Columbus University of Washington, District of Columbia (1934)

    Port Arthur Bridge Commission (1934)

    Federal Prison Industries (1934)

    Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corporation (1934)

    Commodity Credit Corporation (1935)

    Export-Import Bank of Washington and the Second Export-Import Bank of Washington (1935)

    Trinity College of Washington, District of Columbia (1935)

    The American National Theater and Academy (1935)

    Electric Home and Farm Authority (1936)

    Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States (1936)

    The National Yoeman (1936)

    Disaster Loan Corporation (1936)

    Federal Surplus Commodities Corporation (1937)

    Farmers’ Home Corporation (1937)

    Marine Corps League (1937)

    Owensboro Bridge Commission (1937)

    Southeastern University (1937)

    American Chemical Society (1937)

    United States Housing Authority (1937)

    Federal Crop Insurance Corporation Consolidated into Agricultural Conservation and Adjustment Administration (1938)

    Washington College of Law, Washington, D.C. (1938)

    Niagara Falls Bridge Commission (1938)

    Arkansas-Mississippi Bridge Commission (1939)

    City of Dubuque Bridge Commission (1939)

    Louisiana-Vicksburg Bridge Commission (1939)

    Memphis and Arkansas Bridge Commission (1939)

    Group Hospitalization, Inc. (1939)

    United Spanish War Veterans (1940)

    Navy Club of the United States of America (1940)

    White County Bridge Commission (1941)

    The Union Church of the Canal Zone (1941)

    Smaller War Plants Commission (1942)

    District Unemployment Compensation (1943)

    City of Clinton Bridge Commission (1944)

    Civil Air Patrol (1946)

    District of Columbia Redevelopment (1946)

    Export-Import Bank of Washington (1947)

    AMVETS (1947)

    Institute of Inter-American Affairs (1947)

    Roman Catholic Archbishop of Washington (1948)

    Commodity Credit Corporation (1947)

    Panama Railroad Company (1948)

    Federal National Mortgage Association (1948)

    Virgin Islands Corporation (1949)

    National Trust for Historic Preservation in the United States (1949)

    Girl Scouts of the United States of America (1950)

    Reserve Officers Association of the United States (1950)

    Future Farmers of America (1950)

    The Military Chaplains Association of the United States of America (1950)

    The American Society of International Law (1950)

    United States Olympic Association (1950)

    Sabine Lake Bridge and Causeway Authority (1951)

    Conference of State Societies, Washington, District of Columbia (1952)

    National Conference on Citizenship (1953)

    National Safety Council (1953)

    Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation (1954)

    Board for Fundamental Education (1954)

    Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War (1954)

    The Foundation of Federal Bar Association (1954)

    National Fund for Medical Education (1954)

    Army and Navy Legion of Valor of the United States of America, Incorporated (1955)

    Muscatine Bridge Commission (1956)

    National Music Council (1956)

    Boys’ Clubs of America (1956)

    Veterans of World War I of the United States of America, Incorporated (1958)

    Congressional Medal of Honor Society of the United States of America (1958)

    Military Order of the Purple Heart of the United States of America (1958)

    Blinded Veterans Association, Incorporated (1958)

    Big Brothers of America (1958)

    Jewish War Veterans, USA, National Memorial, Incorporated (1958)

    Ladies of the Grand Army of the Republic (1959)

    Blue Star Mothers of America (1960)

    Agricultural Hall of Fame (1960)

    Metropolitan Police Relief Association of the District of Columbia (1962)

    Communications Satellite Corporation (1962)

    National Women’s Relief Corps, Auxiliary to the Grand Army of the Republic (1962)

    Naval Sea Cadet Corps (1962)

    American Symphony Orchestra League (1962)

    Eleanor Roosevelt Memorial Foundation, Inc. (1963)

    Association of Universalist Women (1963)

    Aviation Hall of Fame (1964)

    National Committee on Radiation Protection and Measurements (1964)

    Little League Baseball, Inc. (1964)

    Corporation for Public Broadcasting (1967)

    Government National Mortgage Association (1968)

    Overseas Private Investment Corporation (1969)

    Inter-American Social Development Institute (1969)

    Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (1970)

    National Railroad Passenger Corporation (1970)

    Paralyzed Veterans of America (1971)

    Pennsylvania Avenue Development Corporation (1972)

    U.S. Railway Association (1974)

    Consolidated Rail Corporation (1974)

    Legal Services Corporation (1974)

    Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation (1974)  

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