Last week I blogged about an EIA story reporting on the decline in NEA membership across the nation. Over the weekend, the Fordham Institute released How Strong Are U.S.Teacher Unions: A State by State Comparison. The authors should be commended for the breadth of the study (a three year undertaking) as well as the methodology ( 37 separate indicators were developed to assess union strength and influence).
The study creates five categories ranging from strongest to weakest to measure union strength. How strong are teacher unions in North Carolina? The report placed North Carolina teacher unions in category four, weak unions. Remember, North Carolina technically does not have teacher unions. The major teacher organization in the state is the North Carolina Association of Educators. Nevertheless, all members of NCAE are also members of it’s parent organization, the National Education Association.
North Carolina placed 41st out of 51 teachers unions on strength. While NC was ranked in the moderate to low range on such categories as Resources and Membership, Involvement and Politics and Scope of Bargaining, the state ranked high in State Policies (12) and Perceived Influence (11). Such rankings show that NC teacher policies are aligned consistent with states that have strong union interests. In addition, the report also found stakeholders perceive the union — or in this case the association — to be relatively strong and influential; even if it doesn’t always match up with outcomes.
All good reasons why we expect national teacher unions and state associations will continue to spend resources to get their preferred candidates elected in North Carolina and elsewhere.