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Photo of a Stanford GSE event near Cubberley Building

GSE Colloquium Series: Michael Hartney

Wednesday, November 29, 2017
12:00pm
CERAS 101

Turning Out Teachers: The Causes and Consequences of Teacher Political Activism

Michael Hartney, Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science at Boston College

Michael Hartney, Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science at Boston College

This project examines the political activity of organized teacher interests in the postwar U.S. Michael Hartney first demonstrates that states’ policy choices in the 1960s and 1970s about how to regulate public sector labor relations– most prominently the adoption of mandatory collective bargaining – helped catalyze rank-and-file teacher political activism by decreasing the costs for unions to mobilize educators in politics. Exploiting variation in the timing of bargaining laws across states, he finds that the effect of a teacher working in a bargaining environment proved greater than a teacher’s income, education, and union membership status on her likelihood of participating in politics. In light of recent efforts to curtail school employee bargaining rights, these results call attention to the fact that policies often have significant feedback effects on interest groups’ mobilization efforts and the distribution of political power in the education arena. After demonstrating how teacher union interest groups gained significant political clout, he then provides evidence of the impact their activism has had on the tone and direction of education policy.