Political Economy of Public Education: Non-College-Bound Students
My previous research showed that two important changes in the political environment of public schools--growing teacher unionization and a shift of funding responsibility to state governments--adversely affected the performance of college-bound students. Here I show similar impacts for public school students who do not go to college. These effects are found in analyses of 1971-91 changes in a school performance measure derived from individual scores on the Armed Forces Qualifying Test. Comparative analysis of performance trends in different areas of the same state suggests that the adverse performance effects of teacher unionization and spending centralization stem from their impact on state educational policy rather than on the direct operation of schools. These adverse effects are also found for students in the lower tail of achievement and for black students. They are not plausibly related to broader political and social changes. Copyright 1996 by the University of Chicago.
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