La Rae G. Munk is a former teacher and labor union president. As an attorney, she has represented both teacher unions and private sector management in collective bargaining negotiations. She wrote the study Collective Bargaining: Bringing Education to the Table, published by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy.

By La Rae G. Munk

School Unions Shortchange Students

School Boards Should Fix Problems in Collective Bargaining

Politicians promise to help children learn better by passing new laws and spending more money, but Michigan school districts could improve education themselves simply by negotiating better contracts with teacher unions. … more

Collective Bargaining: Bringing Education to the Table

Michigan parents, citizens, and policy makers have begun an earnest discussion over the issues that affect the quality of children's education, but one issue that is rarely considered in discussions about education reform is public school union collective bargaining. This Mackinac Center for Public Policy study is the first ever to systematically analyze the hundreds of collective bargaining agreements for every school district in a state. It examines collective bargaining's impact on Michigan public education and makes recommendations that school boards should incorporate into their union contracts to improve their ability to direct maximum resources to the classroom and deliver quality education to students. The study also explains the historical and legal framework of public employee collective bargaining in Michigan, analyzes seven important court rulings that affect public collective bargaining issues, and advises districts on which subjects to negotiate or not negotiate into their labor contracts. Three appendices compare costs and benefits of various health care plans and present contract and financial data from the survey of Michigan's 583 school districts. … more