After several consecutive years of hearing that teachers’ unions are terrible, teachers’ unions are an obstacle to reform, teachers’ unions are greedy, it’s easy to cringe when the subject of unions comes up. I personally have gotten over that. I have come to realize that the war on unions is part of the larger war on public education. The unions are the strongest political ally for the public schools, which are the workplaces of their members, and they need make no apology to the far-right that wants to reduce all working people to atomized individuals, lacking representation.

Bruce Baker decided to explore the recent attacks on teachers’ unions after reading a comment in The Economist magazine saying that the unions are a “scourge.”

Baker looked at the effect of unions overall and found that they tend to be associated with higher pay for teachers (which attracts better candidates into the profession) and with greater funding fairness. No, unions are not a scourge. Unions give teachers a voice in determining the conditions in which they teach and children learn. Why should that be left to the politicians and policymakers, who know little or nothing about education?