Skip Navigation
Funding Opportunities | Search Funded Research Grants and Contracts

IES Grant

Title: Exploring Competing Theories of How Teacher Accountability Reforms Affect Teacher Labor Markets and Student Achievement
Center: NCER Year: 2017
Principal Investigator: Kraft, Matthew Awardee: Brown University
Program: Effective Instruction      [Program Details]
Award Period: 4 years (09/01/2017–08/31/2021) Award Amount: $1,192,565
Type: Exploration Award Number: R305A170053
Description:

Purpose: The purpose of this study is to identify which malleable policies pertaining to teacher tenure and collective bargaining are associated with educational outcomes and explore how and when these relationships are mediated through teachers. Efforts to weaken and repeal tenure laws and collective bargaining rights as a means of increasing the quality of the teacher workforce have gained considerable momentum in recent years. However, these policy reform efforts have far outpaced existing theory and evidence around how such reforms might affect teachers and their students in the classroom. The researchers will develop a more complete and evidence-based conceptual framework and create a new primary dataset of state teacher policy reforms that will be made publicly available.

Project Activities: The research team will explore the relationships between tenure and collective bargaining reforms, teacher labor markets, and student achievement across all fifty states using comprehensive data on state policy changes and outcomes constructed from nationally representative panel datasets. First, researchers will collect data on state statutes and case law related to tenure and collective bargaining agreements from 1990–2016. Researchers will then classify these statutes and case laws into 5 categories of policy reform:

  1. Repealing tenure,
  2. Extending the number of probationary years prior to tenure eligibility,
  3. Considering teacher performance in tenure decisions,
  4. Repealing collective bargaining rights, and
  5. Eliminating mandatory agency fees.

After classifying the reforms, the research team will estimate the effect of these reforms on teacher labor markets and student academic outcomes.

Products: Researchers will produce policy briefs as well as articles for peer-review journals. The research team will also host webinars and a mini-conference on teacher policy for practitioners and policymakers. Finally, the team will produce a new primary dataset of state teacher policy reforms that will be made publically available.

Structured Abstract

Setting: This study will explore the effects of tenure and collective bargaining reforms on teacher labor markets and student achievement across all fifty states.

Sample: The study includes a large nationally representative sample of teachers and students in U.S. public schools from 1990 to 2016.

Intervention: The malleable factors include state statutes and case law related to teacher tenure and collective bargaining in U.S. public school systems. 

Research Design and Methods: Researchers will use two complementary quasi-experimental methods (comparative interrupted time series and synthetic control methods) to explore the effects of changes in employment protections and collective bargaining rights on outcomes on interest.

Control Condition: There is no control condition in this study.

Key Measures: The research team will construct five primary independent variables related to teacher employment protections and collective bargaining rights. Teacher labor market outcome variables include new teacher supply, college selectivity, teacher job satisfaction, teacher hours worked, teacher absenteeism, teacher turnover, teacher salary, and per pupil expenditures. Student outcomes include student achievement (as measured by the state-level National Assessment of Education Progress) and high school dropout rates.

Data Analytic Strategy: Researchers will use two complementary quasi-experimental methods that fall within the same general class of estimators as difference-in-differences designs. The comparative interrupted time series design (CITS) will be used to analyze policies where there are many different states that have adopted these changes (e.g. considering performance in tenure decisions). Researchers will complement CITS with synthetic control methods to analyze policy changes where there are very few states that enacted these reforms (e.g. repealing tenure). These methods will allow researchers to flexibly estimate both the immediate and medium- to longer-term effects of changes in employment protections and collective bargaining rights. The team research team will also conduct mediation and moderation analyses.


Back