Friday, June 04, 2004

Unions raise wages and lower equilibrium employment 

The subject line is what we teach our students in principles of economics. Apparently it's news to teachers.
Thousands of younger, less experienced teachers in Minnesota are finding it nearly impossible to find and retain jobs. Declining enrollments and stagnant state funding play a role.

But a Star Tribune analysis of teachers' contracts and school finances has found that teachers' contracts themselves -- with automatic raises based on education and experience and job security based on seniority -- contribute to layoffs. Because districts have to lay off their least experienced teachers first -- and those teachers cost much less -- schools end up cutting even more teachers to balance their budgets.

And that drives up class sizes.
I wonder if the StarTribune will now be villified by teachers? Maybe they can get their editors fired by the Senate? Wonder how they will respond to this statement?
From 1998-99 through 2002-03, 129 school districts lost students yet increased total teacher pay faster than inflation. Over that same time, 92 school districts lost teachers, yet increased total teacher pay over inflation.
Oh, probably by saying they're still falling behind. It appears that adjusting for inflation or cost-of-living differences isn't something we teach to Education Minne$ota officials. (Hat tip: Mitch, who says the union is succeeding in turning teaching into a blue-collar profession.)