I oppose teachers unions and the tenure system for teachers (including university teachers) partly because they are especially detrimental to the education received by students from low income and more disadvantaged backgrounds. Nevertheless, I do not believe that elimination of unions and tenure would vastly improve the performance of students from these backgrounds. As the 1966 Coleman Report showed decades ago, family background is a much more important contributor to the overall performance of students than are the type of schools that students attend.
Nevertheless, it is very worthwhile to improve what schools can do by eliminating tenure, reducing the power of unions, and introducing more competition into the public school system. To improve family life is not easily achieved and requires a long time horizon. So it is best to do what can be achieved that will help student performance, especially help students who need the greatest help from the schools they attend.
His co-blogger Posner has a different take and concludes:
The problem with American elementary and secondary education may not be its primarily public character, but income inequality and the tendency to segregation of students by family income.
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