Reforming The Schools To Save the City, Part II

About the Author

Douglas P. Munro, Ph.D.

Doug Munro was born in in England in February 1964. Two years later, the Munros moved to the Mediterranean island of Malta, engaging in the tourism business until 1977. The family moved back to the U.K. that year, to central Scotland. Munro received his undergraduate degree in history and sociology, with honors, from the University of Edinburgh in 1986.

Munro immigrated to the United States the following year, to begin graduate work in American politics at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. There, he served as editor of the GRONews, the newsletter of the Graduate Representative Organization (GRO). Munro later edited the graduate students’ page of the widely read Hopkins News-Letter. In 1988, Munro merged his two campus interests – politics and journalism – by founding the Hopkins Spectator, a journal opposed to campus radicalism. In 1991-1992, he also served as an editor for the Intercollegiate Studies Institute’s national Campus magazine.

Munro’s 800-page doctoral dissertation was completed in fall 1992, whereupon he took up a correspondence fellowship with the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute (WPRI), a free-market non-profit based in Milwaukee. Simultaneously, he served as a researcher at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C. In August 1993, Heritage published his “How to Find Out Where the Money Goes in the Public Schools,” a State Backgrounder article, and “one of the most comprehensive [studies] to date of U.S. classroom expenditures,” according to the Arizona Republic. A month later, September 1993, WPRI published Munro’s report, “The Effect of Federal Mandates on Wisconsin State Government,” the first publication in the U.S. to audit and track state matching-rate expenditure for federal grants-in-aid.

At around the same time, Munro assumed the position of senior policy analyst at the Southern Governors’ Association (SGA) in Washington, where he created three successful series of publications – one of which is nationally distributed by the National Governors’ Association to the offices of all 57 state and territorial governors. (NGA and SGA are entirely separate organizations.) At SGA, Munro also served as project manager for the country’s first functioning, interstate emergency-management agreement, the SGA-initiated Emergency Management Assistance Compact.

During his time at SGA, he additionally completed a lengthy study for the Goldwater Institute in Arizona. The resulting study, called “Summary Orders from Distant Gods: The Unfinished Agenda Following the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995,” was the second publication in the country to audit and track state matching-rate expenditure on federal grants. It was utilized extensively by the Arizona congressional delegation during debate on the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act.

In 1995, Munro co-founded the Calvert Institute for Policy Research, Inc., of which he is the Co-Director and CEO. The institute is Maryland’s first independent, market-oriented research institute, or “think tank,” to focus exclusively on state and local concerns. The institute disseminates its message through a variety of media.

Its “Calvert Lectures” series is a great success, generally drawing an invited audience of about 35 state and local decision makers and Baltimore-area business people to the downtown luncheon seminars.

The institute’s Calvert News journal is distributed free to most state/local executive and legislative officials. It has been very well received; each mailing inevitably results in telephone calls for extra copies.

The as-needed Calvert Comment op-ed series is distributed to the same people.

The Calvert Issue Brief series provides in-depth coverage of select, critical issues in Maryland. Like all Calvert publications, it is available free of charge to the institute’s donors.

Finally, the institute in 1996 opened a comprehensive Internet site,


Executive Summary

Part I of this two-part series described our theoretical premise, which was this: Only by giving middle-class taxpayers access to schools of their own choice will Baltimore’s population decline be stemmed. This theoretical work, written by education scholar Denis Doyle, prompted what what might be termed the “Doyle question”: If they had school choice, would people stay in the city?

Baltimore loses over 1,000 people a month, net. We decided to ask some of these folk why they left. The institute commissioned the Mason-Dixon polling company to conduct a telephone survey of 309 families that in 1996 left Baltimore City for the six suburban counties. The “leavers,” as we call them in the study, were disproportionately youthful. All told, 80 percent of the respondents were under 50; indeed, almost 60 percent were under 40. Sixty-seven percent of the total sample were married with children under 18 or married without yet having had children. In other words, most of the leavers were just the sort of young, middle-class people this city must retain.

We asked the leavers for their first-, second- and third-most important reasons for leaving. Crime was cited as the number one reason by 43 percent. Education was the most important for 17 percent. None of the other reasons – taxes, corruption, pollution and so on – made it out of the single digits. We then broke the sample into two categories – those with school-aged children and those with no children in school. Among those with no children, crime remained the overwhelming concern. But among those with children in school, a very different picture emerged. Baltimore’s bad schools now shot up in importance. Among parents of school children, education was cited as the number one reason for leaving by 31.4 percent, and number one, two or three by 50.3 percent.

We then asked all respondents what they thought of the Baltimore City public schools overall. Only 36 people out of 309 said that they were “very satisfied” or “somewhat satisfied” with the city public schools. That is just 11.6 percent. By contrast, over half the leavers were satisfied with their new county schools.

Next, we asked a question solely of those respondents that had sent their children to the public schools when they still lived in the city. We asked these people to rate the city public school their child had actually attended, rather than the public schools as an abstract concept, as in the previous question. Among whites, we found that respondents were more charitable toward their own kids’ ex-schools than toward the Baltimore public schools overall. Rating the schools as an overall concept, of those whites expressing an opinion, 82 percent had been dissatisfied. On the other hand, only 54 percent of whites disapproved of their own children’s old city public school. This was not entirely unexpected. People are often more charitable to that with which they are familiar. Among African-Americans, we found the opposite to be true, however. While a “mere” 63 percent of blacks venturing an opinion were dissatisfied with the public schools as an overall organization, an astonishing 80 percent said they were dissatisfied with the particular schools their own children had gone to.

We started edging respondents toward the “Doyle question.” We asked respondents with school-aged children if they might have stayed in the city if they had had “better school options.” Only 43 percent ruled out staying in the city entirely. As for the others, 23 percent said they would have given very serious consideration to staying, with another 31 percent saying they would have given some consideration. (The other three percent was not sure.) In other words, 54 percent might have stayed. That is a lot. Broken down by race, the question revealed sharp discrepancies. Among whites, 43 percent said that to one degree or another they would have considered staying. Among blacks, however, no fewer than 80 percent said that they might well have stayed with better school options.

So we asked an explicit question about school choice. We asked respondents with school-aged children if they would favor a choice plan including tax dollars for religious or private schools. Two-thirds favored full school choice. All demographic categories were in favor, men and women, blacks and whites. In fact, an astounding 92 percent of African-Americans favored school choice.

We then asked the “Doyle question.” We asked respondents with school-aged children if they might have stayed in the city if they had been given access to school choice and vouchers. Twenty-six percent said they would have given very serious thought to staying, with another 25 percent saying “maybe.” That is 51 percent, a majority, that might have stayed had vouchers been available. A closer look revealed that most whites would have left, with or without vouchers, though a very sizable minority of 44 percent did not rule out staying in the city. In short, if vouchers were available, up to 3,000 white families might stay in the city every year. Again, however, it was among African-Americans where the most interesting answers were found. A solid 49 percent said they definitely would have considered staying, with another 20 percent prepared to think about it. That is almost 70 percent, perhaps 1,600 black families. Combined, up to 4,600 families might be induced to stay in Baltimore annually.

The only question is, can Baltimore afford not to implement school choice?

– Douglas P. Munro, Editor


I. Introduction

In part I of this study,1 Denis Doyle laid out his thesis that to save the city we must save public education – though most assuredly not in its current format. By “public education,” Doyle was not referring to the government schools. Rather, he had in mind the education of the public. This may be undertaken by any form of institution, be it publicly or privately owned. We commonly think of hotels as “public accommodations,” even though they are privately owned and operated. The clientele is what makes them public, not the deed of ownership. This is how we should consider “public education,” Doyle argued. The education establishment has somehow over the years made the “education of the public” and “public education” synonymous in the public mind. This is a topic to which we shall return in section IV. For now, however, the reader should simply keep in mind that the Doyle proposal entails the education of the citizenry in large part at public expense, as now, but to a far lesser extent at government-owned and -operated schools than is currently the case.

Now, urban public-sector schools frequently do not educate the public. They are “unsafe and undisciplined, institutions that do not emphasize learning.”2 This is something the middle class will not tolerate. The result is that middle- and working-class residents leave central cities in droves – a net loss of about 1,000 a month in the case of Baltimore.”3 In 1996, Charm City’s population stood at 691,131,”4 lower even than its 1920 population of 733,826,”5 and not much more than two-thirds of its 1950 population of 949,708.”6 As figure1 shows, no new trends are expected. (Note that throughout this paper, we use the terms “middle class” and “working class” fairly loosely and interchangeably. Our definitions are not scientific. We simply mean those ordinary Baltimoreans, white or blue collar, that the average reader would not consider to be either terribly rich or terribly poor.)

If the city is to survive, its middle and working classes must be anchored. Doyle’s case is that this will be impossible without addressing the school situation. No combination of the various other remedies periodically proffered for urban ills – new police, new tax cuts, new green spaces – will stanch the hemorrhage unless these residents are given the schools they want. The simplest way to do this is to allow middle- and working-class Baltimoreans to choose their own schools (along with any other residents, too). To provide the widest array of choices, and because so few government schools hold any appeal, the selection must include non-government schools. There is simply no other way.

The reforms currently about to be implemented in Baltimore – involving new management practices, the hiring of additional teachers and improved teacher training – ultimately must fail.”7 For example, while the devolution of some authority from the central administration to the individual schools is a step in the right direction, it is no more than that. As described in Kathleen Harward’s Market-Based Education, it can also simply diffuse responsibility. When everyone is brought into the decision-making process, teachers and administrators alike, there is the potential for all parties to duck being held accountable should things go wrong.”8 And in a system that retains the dominant feature of public education – monopoly – there are limited consequences when mistakes are made. Parents must still send their children to the same school, or pull up stakes and move. Thus, we should not expect too much from the current round of reforms devised for Baltimore. For the end result envisioned is still a system whereby parents without the wherewithal for private schools are forced to send their children to schools they do not wish them to attend.

The condition of the “city” – Baltimore in particular, but also in the abstract sense of “urban America” – is now so dire that radical measures are necessary. In the words of the Doyle study,

We as a society must accept an unpleasant reality. Middle- and working-class families, black or white, will not send their children to schools where they face danger and dysfunctionality. This is a difficult admission, but it is a fact nonetheless. Society now gives the middle and working classes two options: (a) send your children to school in fear or (b) leave town. Every year, thousands settle for option (b).”9

This is a bitter pill to swallow. All the same, Baltimore’s political establishment must make a choice. Which is more important, the theory of non-tracked, comprehensive public education or resuscitating Baltimore as a viable entity? The former option entails maintaining the status quo, with perhaps some tinkering with the public education system as currently the term is understood. The second option necessitates that the middle and working classes be allowed to select their own schools at public expense. According to the Doyle thesis, there is no other way.

This is a difficult decision. As we examine in section IV, the special-interest opposition to any root-and-branch education reform would be overwhelming. In a largely Democratically controlled state, the fact that the Maryland State Teachers’ Association (MSTA) annually gives over 90 percent of its political contributions to the Democrats also should not be overlooked (this, despite the fact that 40 percent of MSTA public school teachers expressing a party affiliation are Republicans).”10 Regardless, the choice must be made.

Before asking the city’s and state’s political leaders to make this decision, however, the purpose of this paper must be explained. It is this: Doyle’s paper, comprehensive and persuasive as it might be, was a theoretical work. It suggested that school choice was the only way to save Baltimore and it explained why the authors thought so. The essay you now have before you is different. In plain English, it proves the Doyle thesis.

As described in detail below, the Calvert Institute contracted with the Mason-Dixon polling company to conduct a survey of about 300 families that left Baltimore City for the suburbs in the last five months of 1996. Mason-Dixon’s survey illuminated a world of ex-Baltimoreans – or “leavers,” as we call them in this essay – disgusted with crime and schools in the city. In fact, if the reader is time-pressed, he may wish simply to look at figure2, which encapsulates much of this paper’s content. The facts here are glaring. Among the respondents with school-aged children (about half the total sample), a majority was opposed to Baltimore’s education status quo on every question posed: Over 50 percent gave Baltimore’s bad schools as their first-, second or third-most important reason for leaving. Over 70 percent professed themselves to be satisfied with their new county schools, while 51 percent said they were dissatisfied with the city’s public schools. Of those with children that had attended city public schools, two-thirds said they had been dissatisfied with their children’s particular school. Over 53 percent would have or might have considered staying in the city if they had had better school “options.” Two-thirds favored full school choice, including the utilization of tax funds for tuition at private and religious schools. Finally, and most damningly, 51 percent said they would have or might have considered staying in the city if they had had school choice.


II. Background

While Doyle was writing his study, the Calvert Institute set about demonstrating his hypothesis. Very simply, the institute asked this: Before discussing school choice with elected and other officials, would it not be a considerable advantage to know exactly how important poor schools are in people’s decisions to relocate from the city to the suburbs? The Calvert Institute therefore proposed to undertake a survey to quantify the importance of poor schooling in an urbanite’s decision to flee the city relative to other factors, such as crime, high taxes, pollution, etc. As far as the institute was and still is aware, no policy research organization had or has undertaken such a project before or since. Doyle theorized that reforming the schools would save the city, or at least go a considerable way toward it. This data within this publication prove it.


Starting in summer 1996, the institute had a Pennsylvania-based marketing firm, CPC Associates,11 deliver on a monthly basis the names and new addresses of every single family that left Baltimore the preceding month for the six surrounding counties. Unlike most mail houses, CPC Associates maintains records of where people moved from as well as where they moved to. (Many such companies only keep the latter information.) This enabled the institute to specify exactly what it wanted, i.e., the names of all the families that moved from zip codes A, B and C and relocated to zip codes X, Y and Z (where A, B and C represent Baltimore City’s zip codes and X, Y and Z represent the zip codes of the surrounding counties.)12

The institute restricted its search to the six suburban counties that, with the city, make up the metropolitan Baltimore statistical area (MBSA). These are: Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County and Queen Anne’s County. (As it turned out, no responses were reported from Queen Anne’s.) A question in the survey asking people if they had indeed moved from Baltimore City to one of the six counties in question in the past year eliminated those respondents originally from the Baltimore County or Anne Arundel County portions of zip codes straddling the city line. The reason for restricting our survey to the metropolitan counties was to eliminate people who had moved from Baltimore for work or family reasons. In other words, if a household moved to Arizona, it was probably not due to Baltimore’s public schools. Such households were of no interest. If, on the other hand, a household merely moved a couple of miles over the city line, it might well have been because of Baltimore’s poor schools (rather than a career change or because a mother-in-law had recently died leaving property in another state). The institute purchased five months’ worth of names of the heads of household of this latter group, the short-distance movers. This came to 3,873 families (a disturbingly high figure, representing an average of 775 departing families a month, just in the local area, never mind further afield).

These were people who wished to stay in the area but who wanted to get out of the city itself. There must have been a reason for that. We intended to find out what it was. We asked them.

The leavers’ names purchased from CPC Associates did not come with accompanying telephone numbers. The diskettes were therefore submitted to a division of the Gannett Offset company, Telematch, a commercial enterprise in Springfield, Virginia that matches names to telephone numbers by means of its computerized telephone directories. Telematch produced a 22.2 percent matching rate, giving the institute 860 names to work with. These were submitted to Mason-Dixon Political/Media Research, the well known polling company situated in Columbia, Maryland. The institute contracted with Mason-Dixon to conduct an approximately 300-response telephone survey, yielding a margin of error of +/- 6.0 percent. 13 All told, 309 households were polled. Details of Mason-Dixon’s methodology are described at the beginning of appendix II below.


The actual questions are reproduced in appendix I below. Briefly put, however, the questionnaire proceeded as follows. The first question was a “screener” question to ascertain that each respondent had truly moved from the city to one of the metropolitan counties in the previous 12 months. If the response was negative, the call was terminated. (None was.) Respondents were then asked which of the six counties they had moved to.

Next, respondents were asked their first-, second- and third-most important reasons for leaving the city. Replies were not prompted; respondents were not given a menu of options. Each was free to answer as he pleased. The responses were later classified by Mason-Dixon staff into one of nine categories. These categories were:

As noted, all answers were subsequently placed in one of these categories by Mason-Dixon staff. The third-from-last category was a fairly amorphous one, having to do generally with respondents’ desire for a physically better place to live in terms of housing, yard size and so on. Answers pertaining to property that were not obviously environmentally related – such as responses about lead paint – were put in this category. Throughout this essay, it is simply termed the “big yard” category. The category pertaining to concerns about the mayor, the city council and other political matters and/or corruption is abbreviated to the “politics” category.

For those giving an answer that fitted into the “crime” category, a secondary question was asked to ascertain if their concerns about crime meant street crime or school violence.

Mason-Dixon then asked two questions to get respondents to rate the public schools on a scale ranging from “very satisfied” to “very dissatisfied.” The first question asked about the public schools in the county the respondent had moved to; the second asked for a rating of the Baltimore City public schools.

At this point, respondents were asked if they had any school-aged children. For those without, the call was ended (after four brief demographic questions). For those that did have children, another question was posed, asking how many.

Respondents were then asked what sort of schools their children attended when they still lived in Baltimore. The categories were:

Those that answered “public schools” were then asked to rate the actual public school(s) their children had attended, rather than the Baltimore public schools in the abstract, as previously.

At this point, the crux of the survey was reached. First, respondents were asked if they “might have decided to stay in the city” if they had had “better school options,” without specifying what such options might entail.

Then respondents had voucher-style school choice explained to them. The question was straightforward, so as to avoid any confusion. It made explicit mention of private and parochial schools. The wording was: “Some people have proposed plans to allow families to choose where to send their children to school, including using tax dollars to help poor and middle-class families in the city pay for a portion of private or parochial or other religious school tuition if they chose that option. Would you favor or oppose such a plan?”

Respondents were then asked what perhaps may best be called the “Doyle question.” Mason-Dixon asked them if they might have stayed in the city if they, themselves, had had school choice as an option in the eduction of their children. Again, the question was very plainly worded: “This type of plan, using tax dollars to help pay for private or parochial school tuition, is sometimes called ‘school choice.’ If Baltimore City had had school choice, might you have decided to stay in the city?”

Finally, four demographic questions were asked to determine the sex, age, race and marital status of the respondent.

As revealed in the balance of this paper, the answers given show a population sample, at least among those with school-aged children, overwhelmingly concerned about education and crime in Baltimore; a population overwhelmingly in favor of school choice; and, most important, a population that would have been very willing to consider staying in Baltimore had school choice been available.


III. Findings

Moving to the specifics of the survey, other than racially, this was a group more homogeneous than might have been expected. It was disproportionately made up of young families, either with minor children or yet to have children. A demographic profile of the sample is provided in table 1. Throughout the rest of this essay, basic tables are presented in-text with accompanying explanations. More detailed tables, broken down demographically, may be found in appendix III below.


One noticeable feature is that a very large majority of the leavers now live in Baltimore County. Accounting for the resettlement of 68.3 percent of the leavers, the county has taken more than twice the number of leavers than the other MBSA counties combined (211 households next to all the other counties’ 98). Readers with an elementary comprehension of Maryland geography will know that Baltimore County is by far the closest to Baltimore of the six MBSA counties, surrounding the city on three sides like a horseshoe. In short, these people moved the smallest distance they could to get out of the city. This is important.

The implications of this are as follows: The respondents liked Baltimore in many respects. Their desire was not so much to get out of greater Baltimore as a geographical entity but, rather, to escape the city-proper as a political entity. Despite the fact that the “big yard” reason for leaving the city was given by quite a number of respondents (especially as their second-most important reason), most of the leavers appear not to have been in search of new lives in the countryside. Baltimore County’s quite tightly packed suburbs were the destination of most. This comports well with Doyle’s suggestion that, for the most part, it is not the congestion of cities that is offensive to residents;14 instead, it is a crime and education situation beyond tolerance and a hidebound political structure too timid to do much about either.

No doubt many of the leavers had and still have jobs in the city and wished to keep their daily driving time down by staying in the general area. Nonetheless, the commuting times to Baltimore City from Carroll, Harford and Howard counties are hardly long. Certainly such commutes pale next to the daily Baltimore-to-Washington, D.C. grind made by thousands. As we shall see further into this essay, there is more evidence to support the idea that the leavers liked the city as a social and cultural entity – but that crime and scholastic sloth made it impossible actually to live in.

The sample was quite evenly divided between men and women, 47.2 percent male to 52.8 percent female. Though there were differences of opinion between men and women on some questions, such disparity as there is in terms of the actual numbers of male and female respondents does not imply that somewhat more women moved out of the city than men. It simply reveals who in the family is more likely to pick up the telephone when it rings.

Racially, over a quarter of the sample families were African-American, most certainly lending credence to the Doyle thesis that we should no longer talk simply in terms of “white flight” and that we should instead use a term such as “bright flight.”15 In detail, 73.5 percent of respondents described themselves as white; 25.2 percent, black; and 1.0 percent, “other.” The remaining 0.3 percent declined to be classified.

However, far and away the most striking demographic feature of the leavers is their youthfulness and family status. The sample was more than substantially made up of young families. It cannot be emphasized enough that this is exactly the demographic group that Baltimore must retain if it is to remain a viable entity, fiscally and otherwise. All told, 80.3 percent of respondents were from families where the head of household was under 50. In fact, 59.5 percent were under 40. Likewise, 67.0 percent of respondents were married with no children or with children 18 or younger. Again, this implies a youthful group. More mature couples, those with children 19 or older, made up only 8.4 percent of the group. There were only a handful of single parents, be they divorced or never married (1.9 percent combined). Respondents with no children and who had never been married made up a fairly sizeable 20.4 percent of the sample. Regardless, the overwhelming lesson to be drawn from the makeup of the sample is this: If you are going to move out of Baltimore, you do it when you are young and married, when you have minor children or before you have children at all. You move when your mind is on schooling.

Reasons for Leaving

Beneficiaries of the education status quo may initially draw comfort from table 2. This gives the raw numbers and the percentages of respondents citing answers in each of the nine categories for their first-, second- and third-most important reason for fleeing the city. It is true that crime was cited as the most important reason for leaving Baltimore by 43.4 percent of respondents. By comparison, education was only mentioned as the most important by 16.5 percent. No other concern made it out of the single digits, however. (Of these, taxes were cited as the most important reason by 9.1 percent and environmental concerns by 7.4 percent. Some people, 8.7 percent, were not sure what their primary reason for leaving the city was.) Thus, if the Baltimore City Public Schools (BCPS) system thinks the relatively low ranking of education concerns compared to crime concerns is cause for relaxation, it most assuredly should think again.

For a start, it is worth pointing out that, while crime was most commonly cited by respondents as their primary reason for leaving Baltimore, education was the second-most commonly given answer – given almost twice as often as the next most frequently heard answer, taxes. Moreover, the question of whether or not the respondent had children should be considered. table 3. shows that 51.5 percent of the leavers had school-aged children. When these 159 respondents are isolated from the rest of the sample, as in table 4. , the situation changes drastically. Among the overall sample of 309, education was cited as the first-, second- or third-most important reason for leaving Baltimore by 28.8 percent of respondents. Among just the 159 with school-aged children, education concerns ranked number one for 31.4 percent, and ranked one, two or three combined for a majority of respondents, 50.3 percent. For these people, education was not terribly far behind crime, which was cited 64.2 percent of the time as reason one, two or three.

Even this may somewhat underestimate the proportion of respondents with education concerns. For those respondents among the whole sample that gave crime as a first-, second- or third-tier reason for leaving, a clarification question was asked. These respondents were asked to clarify if, by “crime,” they were thinking of “street crime” or “gangs, fights and a lack of discipline in the city’s schools.” As table 5. shows, the majority (overall and when broken down by sex and race) were indeed thinking of street crime. Interestingly, however, a sizeable minority of one-third volunteered that they meant “both.” This was not an option that had been read to them from the menu by Mason-Dixon staff. Females were more likely than males to be concerned purely about street crime (62.9 percent to 56.5 percent). Nearly 13 percent of males worried solely about school violence, which did not apply to any women. Women were also more likely than men to answer “both” (37.1 percent compared with 29.4 percent). Whites were more likely than blacks to have both concerns (38.5 percent to 20.0 percent), though more blacks than whites were concerned solely with school violence (11.1 percent to 4.4 percent). Details aside, the fact remains that, in a city such as Baltimore, it is virtually impossible not to be concerned about street crime. Thus, the fact that 39.5 percent of the respondents citing “crime” as an important reason for leaving meant by this school crime (either solely or in combination with street crime) should give pause. If by “crime” these people were at least in part referring the school situation, this implies that the proportion of respondents citing education as a reason for leaving may be artificially low, though unfortunately it is not possible to quantify just how low.

Opinions of the Schools

Some support is lent to this by table 6, which shows that very few respondents were satisfied with the BCPS. All respondents, whether or not they had school-aged children, were asked to rate the public schools (a) in their new county of residence and (b) in Baltimore City. A great number were not sure in either case, though in large part this may be attributed to those without children, many of whom were unwilling to guess. See table A4.2. and table A5.2. Most of the “not sure” responses are in the “without children under 19” category.) Table 6, shows that, just as very few people were dissatisfied with their county schools, very few were pleased with the BCPS. Only 36 people out of 309 said they were “very satisfied” or “somewhat satisfied” with the city schools. On the other hand, within the same sample of 309, no fewer than 152 were either very or somewhat satisfied with their new county schools. Excluding the “not sure” answers reveals that, of those expressing an opinion, 96.8 percent were very or somewhat satisfied with their county schools, whereas 78.0 percent had been very or somewhat dissatisfied with the city schools.

A look at table A4.2. and table A5.2. in appendix III reveals some interesting subcategory answers. Men were rather more charitable than women about the county schools. Over half (51.4 percent of men) said they were satisfied with these schools, with a generous 41.8 percent saying they were very satisfied. A rather lower 47.3 percent of women were satisfied, with only 30.7 being very satisfied.

Racially, blacks tended to be much more pleased with their new county schools than whites. For a start, while over half (52.4 percent) of whites were not prepared to venture an opinion, only 37.2 percent of blacks were similarly shy. Including the “not sure” answers, while not even half of whites (45.8 percent) expressly called themselves satisfied with the county schools, no less than 61.6 percent of blacks did. Indeed, 51.3 percent said they were very satisfied – 20 points higher than the proportion of whites giving that answer. This is interesting. One explanation may be that, while still in the city, black respondents’ children went to worse schools, so that by comparison their new county schools seem especially good. However, most black leavers are likely to have been reasonably well off (or they would have been unable to afford the move), so it is unlikely that their children went to Baltimore’s very worst schools. The reader is thus left to speculate. Finally, similarly small proportions of blacks and whites – 1.3 percent and 1.7 percent, respectively – were explicitly dissatisfied with their new suburban schools.

Among those with school-aged children, black and white families alike, most were happy enough with county schools, 71.7 percent being very or somewhat satisfied. Only 25.3 percent of those with no children of school age said they were very or somewhat satisfied with the county schools but, there again, most (73.3 percent) just did not know enough to form an opinion.

Table A5.2. shows that opinions about the BCPS stand in sorry contrast. Men and women alike, blacks and whites alike, the childless and those with children – all damned the city schools in this survey. By sex, 42.5 percent of men and 40.5 percent of women were very or somewhat dissatisfied with the BCPS. In either case, only about eleven and one-half percent were satisfied even remotely. (The “very satisfied” category only got 0.7 percent of men and 1.2 percent of women.) Black and white families were just about equally dismissive of the BCPS. For whites, 41.4 percent were very or somewhat dissatisfied; for blacks, the figure was 42.3 percent. However, blacks were about 10 percentage points more likely to have been satisfied with the BCPS, with this number resulting in a smaller “not sure” category than for whites. Among whites, 49.3 percent were unsure what to make of the BCPS, while 9.2 percent were very or somewhat satisfied. For blacks, 38.5 percent fell into the “not sure” category,” and 19.3 percent were very or (more often) somewhat satisfied with BCPS.

At this point in the survey, Mason-Dixon asked a screener question about whether or not the respondent had school-aged children. Those with no children were not asked any further questions, other than four demographic questions. Those with children were asked what sort of schools they had sent their children to when the family still lived in Baltimore City. This question served to screen out those respondents that had never utilized the BCPS.(See Table 7.) Almost half (47.2 percent) said they used the city’s public schools. Religious schools had been utilized by 9.4 percent. Private schools accounted for 19.5 percent. Some parents, 3.1 percent, said their children were schooled in “other” ways, which probably refers to home schooling. And 20.8 percent of respondents said they did not have school-aged children when still living in the city. (As the asking of this question was restricted to those saying they had school-aged children at the time of the survey, June 1997, this means that the children of these 20.8 percent must have turned school-age between the time of departure from Baltimore and the time of the survey.)

Parents who at one time or another had sent their children to the public schools in Baltimore were then asked to rate the city public school they had used. The purpose was to compare these answers to those elicited by the question asking respondents to rate the BCPS overall. Here, some fascinating racial discrepancies appeared. The reader will recall that 78.0 percent of all respondents expressing an opinion – i.e., factoring out the “not sure” answers – had been dissatisfied with the BCPS. Among blacks expressing an opinion, 33 out of 48 had been dissatisfied (68.7 percent); among whites, a proportionately much higher 94 out of 115 (81.7 percent). When discussing their own children’s former public schools, the overall subsample of 75 respondents for this question was rather kinder. A “mere” 62.7 percent reported being very or somewhat dissatisfied with their own children’s ex-schools. Men were more likely, 66.7 percent, than women, 56.7 percent, to have been unhappy with their own children’s former city schools. (There were only three “not sure” answers to this question, so we have not factored them out.)(See Table 8.)

But the truly interesting questions are raised when the demographics are broken down by race. While nearly 82 percent of all whites (with an opinion) were dissatisfied with the BCPS as a concept, a relatively low 54.0 percent of white parents reported being unhappy with their own children’s BCPS schools. On the other hand, blacks, who previously appeared relatively generous in their opinions toward the BCPS in the abstract, were extremely negative about their own children’s actual BCPS schools. No fewer than 80.0 percent said they were dissatisfied, with 64.0 percent claiming to be very dissatisfied. This is a damning indictment indeed.

This apparent anomaly – between an 80.0 percent “real life” disapproval rating and a 68.7 percent “abstract” disapproval rating for African-Americans expressing an opinion – may probably be explained in part by reference to attitudinal surveys. Broadly speaking, and at some risk of oversimplification, African-Americans look more favorably upon the public sector – especially the federal government – than do whites. For example, a 1996 poll conducted for the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies revealed that, of three levels of government cited in a question (federal, state and local), far more blacks favored the federal government than whites. Over one quarter (26.8 percent) of blacks placed “most confidence” in the federal government, next to just 12.2 percent of whites.16 The same poll showed that 58.2 percent of African-Americans thought the federal government, as opposed to state or local governments, should set basic standards and eligibility criteria for welfare, compared to 30.3 percent of the population at large.17 In terms of this Calvert poll, the same sort of favoritism granted to the federal government may have in this instance been granted to the city’s public schools in the abstract, despite BCPS’s not being a federal entity.

There may be a more practical concern at work here, too. The BCPS is an important employer of blacks in Baltimore. It has been an avenue to middle-class status. Notes Veronica DiConti in a recent book about education reform, “During the 1970s and 1980s, the Baltimore City Public Schools increasingly became a major source of income and upward mobility for many African-Americans.”18 She continues that by the 1990s, 64 percent of superintendents and deputy, associate and assistant superintendents were black, as were 70 percent of BCPS principals and 64 percent of teachers.19 In sum, the BCPS is predominantly black run, and is considered to be such – hence the current uneasiness over talk of extending the contract of interim BCPS Chief Executive Officer Robert E. Schiller. Schiller is white, while every superintendent for nearly 20 years has been black.20 To be too harsh on the BCPS, at least in the abstract sense, might have struck respondents as unseemly.. But theoretical concepts and actual experiences are vastly different. Thus, while a number of African-Americans polled (about a third of those prepared to answer), may have been satisfied with the notion of the BCPS overall, very few appear actually to have had positive experiences with their own children’s schools. It should be recalled that the “abstract” question was asked of all respondents, even those with no children. The “real life” question, obviously, was asked only of those with actual experience of city schools. This may have had some bearing on the differing answers. Of the sample as a whole (black and white), most respondents with no children did not express an opinion on the BCPS, lowering the disapproval rating by 19.7 percentage points compared to the subsample with children (though not increasing the approval rating). Unfortunately, it is not possible to break the children/no children categories down by race.

The reverse holds for white respondents. While 81.7 of all whites (expressing an opinion) disapproved of the BCPS in the abstract, the actual experiences of parents with children previously in city public schools may have softened some whites’ views somewhat – hence the 54 percent “real life” disapproval rating. White parents in the city are often able to get their children into the better public schools. This may have given some respondents a modestly favorable view of their own particular schools, if not of the system overall.

Attitudes Toward Choice

The next question started edging respondents toward the “Doyle question.” As noted above, we suspected that many respondents in a number of respects quite liked Baltimore City. We thus wanted to find out if those with children might have been induced to stay had the education situation not been so abysmal. Respondents were asked, “If your family had had better school options, might you have decided to stay in the city?” As illustrated in table 9, only a minority – 42.8 percent – entirely ruled out staying, while 22.6 percent said they definitely might have stayed and a further 30.8 percent said “maybe.” This probably translates as 22.6 percent saying they would have given very serious consideration to staying, with another 30.8 percent saying they would have given some consideration to the idea. With the “yes” and “maybe” categories combined, a quite large majority of men would have given thought to staying in the city (59.8 percent). Only 37.9 gave a definitive no. Women were markedly more negative. Almost half had given up on Baltimore altogether (48.6 percent), with only 45.8 expressing any interest in staying. (The other 5.6 percent were not sure.)

The divergence between black and white views is the most interesting, however. While 42.6 percent of whites said they would to one degree or another have considered staying if better “options” had been available, a very large 79.6 percent of black respondents were so inclined. It need hardly be pointed out that this is just the group of upwardly mobile African-Americans so desperately needed to serve as role models in the city.

Respondents were then, very explicitly, asked their views on voucher-style school choice.(See Table10.) The wording of the question was designed to preclude choice opponents from being able to say that the questioners misled the respondents about the issue of religious schools: “Some people have proposed plans to allow families to choose where to send their children to school, including using tax dollars to help poor and middle-class families in the city pay for a portion of private or parochial or other religious school tuition if they chose that option. Would you favor or oppose such a plan?” There is no ambiguity here, no negative buzzwords (“vouchers”) or positive ones (“scholarships”). Instead, there is just plain English.

Just as there was no ambiguity in the question, nor was there in the answers. A clear-cut two-thirds of the respondents favored school choice, including the use of tax dollars to assist low-income and middle-class people in sending their children to private or religious schools. None of the demographic subgroups was opposed to choice. (See figure 3.) Men favored it 70.1 percent to 26.4 percent. Women were in favor 61.1 percent to 34.7 percent. Whites approved 54.6 percent to 40.7 percent. It was among African-Americans, however, that the highest support for choice was found. An astounding 91.8 percent of black respondents supported school choice, with a mere 8.2 percent opposed. This is startling stuff, flying in the face of opposition by such establishment groups as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).21

The “Doyle Question”

The next question was, at last, the “Doyle question.” Would people have considered staying in the city if vouchers had been available to let them choose their own schools? The answer is that many might well have. Among all respondents with school-aged children, 25.8 percent would have given definite consideration to staying and other 25.2 percent would have given some consideration, for a total of 51.0 percent – a majority. As previously, women were quicker to rule out the city forever than men. Of males, 56.3 percent would have or might have considered continued city living. This applied to only 44.5 percent of women.(See Table11.)

Likewise, when the sample was broken down by race, most whites would have left anyway. This said, a sizeable minority – 43.5 percent – would have given thought to remaining behind, which could amount to about 3,000 white families a year staying put that otherwise would have left. 22 Once again, however, it is among blacks that the truly amazing figures are to be found. A solid 49.0 percent definitely would have considered staying, with another 20.4 expressing some interest in staying. In other words, up to 69.4 percent of the black families surveyed might have stayed in the city had vouchers been available. This is an extraordinarily high figure, lending much support to the notion that many people are in effect driven out of the city unwillingly by intolerable circumstances. In a nutshell, the introduction of school vouchers might prevent as many as 1,600 black families from leaving.23 That is 1,600 middle-class, role-model families that Baltimore City can ill afford to lose.


Because the poorest of the poor cannot afford to move, almost by definition the leavers are gainfully employed taxpayers. The Doyle essay cataloged Baltimore’s slide over the years into fiscal penury. This city must do what it can to retain its tax base. Quite patently, school choice would go a long way toward this, as this survey reveals. As the authors of part I of this study put it, “The only real question is, can Baltimore afford not to implement school choice?”24

From a wider and more self-interested Marylandwide perspective, the annual retention of a large proportion of Baltimore’s leavers would reduce the chronic problem of suburban sprawl in the surrounding counties. Democratic Governor Parris N. Glendening’s “Smart Growth” plan proposes a stick-and-carrot approach to controlling sprawl by channeling state development subsidies to areas favored by state planners.25 But this only addresses the supply side of the suburban equation. It encourages new housing to be constructed in state-approved locales. The demand side is ignored. Why is there a market for all these new houses, wherever constructed? To a great degree, it is because the thousands of people leaving Baltimore every year must be housed somewhere. If up to 4,600 families could annually be induced to stay in Baltimore by giving them school choice, then every year 4,600 fewer pastel-colored, vinyl-sided new houses would need to be erected in the counties. Environmentally, can Maryland afford not to implement school choice for Baltimore?


IV. Braving the Storm

Let us for a moment review what we have discovered. Clearly, the leavers were unhappy primarily with crime and schools in the city. For the whole sample of 309, schools were cited as being the number one reason for leaving the city by the second-highest quantity of respondents. Among the segment of the sample with school-aged children, schools were cited as being the number one, two or three reason for leaving by a little over half the respondents. Among these people, over 50 percent said they would have considered staying in the city had school choice been available to them. We now reach the half empty/half full question. At this point, critics will assert that telling a pollster that one might stay is hardly the same thing as actually doing so. This is true, but for a city otherwise entirely bereft of ideas for stemming the outflow of taxpayers, it represents an opportunity that it would be foolish not to take. The introduction of school choice appears likely to be a straightforward way to stem a sizeable proportion of Baltimore’s annual bright flight. One thing is certain: Neither the city nor the state has any better idea. Increased and improved community policing, lower taxes, parks no longer off limits to families due to prostitution – all these will help somewhat, no doubt. Nevertheless, if you cannot get an education for your child within Baltimore’s city limits, you will move. It is that simple.

Union Militancy

The obstacles to the introduction of choice, it should be said, would be formidable. There is every reason to suppose that the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) would file suit in opposition to any school-choice plan the city or state might create. Then, of course, there are entrenched interests to take into account. This is no small matter. ACLU opposition would pale to insignificance compared to the resistance one could expect from the teachers’ unions. DiConti is entirely correct when she observes, “Choice and school-based management are not education reforms, they are political reforms.”26 We have already noted the MSTA’s political giving to Maryland’s governing party but, to recap, some 90 percent of the association’s annual political contributions go to Democratic candidates and causes in this profoundly Democratic state. This wins access – access that can be critical in blocking reforms opposed by the union. Union opposition must be neutralized if political officials are ever to summon the courage to tackle the education problem. This will only be achieved if enough public opinion in favor of choice is generated to overcome the unions’ political contributions. In order to create such pro-choice sentiments, public attitudes about the teachers’ unions – which currently bask in much of the public approval directed at teachers as individuals – must be altered. The union agenda must be illuminated.

It is important to understand what the purposes of teachers’ unions are. The unions’ purposes are to improve the working conditions, job security and annual compensation of union members. These purposes do not necessarily include working to improve the academic standards in schools. Nor do these purposes dictate any concern for the quality and competence of actual teachers, whose union dues keep the associations in business. (As illustrated below, the National Education Association [NEA], for example, has consistently opposed testing its members’ competence to teach.) We state this not in any condemnation. There is no reason why unions necessarily should concern themselves with scholastic standards. Transit workers’ unions busy themselves with improving the lot of their members. We do not expect them to be concerned with improving public transportation for the benefit of commuters. So, too, with the teachers’ unions. In the words of its president, Robert F. Chase earlier this year, “[F]or nearly three decades now, the National Education Association has been a traditional, somewhat narrowly focused union. We have butted heads with management over bread-and-butter issues – to win better salaries, benefits and working conditions for school employees.”27 Speaking at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. in February 1997, Chase made this point in an attempt to highlight the difference between the “old” NEA and the “new” NEA he said he was trying to create. But many education reformers are doubtful that a new NEA will ever emerge.

When Chase in 1996 became the president of the NEA, MSTA’s parent group, he suggested that teachers’ unions should advocate high-quality schools and teaching in addition to improved material conditions for teachers. Many members were outraged. Four NEA-affiliated groups in Wisconsin compared his stance to that of the appeasers of the Nazis before World War II.28 Yet, the only surprise is that we somehow expect otherwise. Perhaps because teaching is a white-collar profession, the public does not think of teachers’ unions as part of the labor movement. They are. The Fordham Foundation also suggests that a certain fatalism may have set in: “In the public perception, unions are the only suppliers of teachers.”29 Whatever the reason, the public’s refusal to confront the obstacles to change represented by the unions is a hindrance for those pushing reform. Having painted school-choice advocates as being “out to destroy public education,” the unions have successfully kept the traditionally decentralized, poorly organized and chronically underfunded advocates of choice and other reforms perennially on the defensive.

But let us consider what our complacency has bought us. Quite apart from the fact that America’s elementary and secondary education is the laughing stock of the industrialized world, the unions have put themselves in the position of opposing any and all reform that might introduce an element of competition to their monopoly. For example, in 1996, in Jersey City, New Jersey, a local Pepsico distributor offered to provide – at company expense – some scholarships to allow poor youngsters to be taken out of the town’s appalling public schools and placed in private schools. The state NEA-affiliate immediately organized a boycott of Pepsi products, forcing an end to the experiment. 30

In the same vein, the unions have repeatedly opposed the idea of merit pay for teachers, which would introduce a smidgen of competitiveness within their monopoly. The unions prefer a system of strictly graded pay scales, dependent solely on length of tenure, regardless of competence or merit. This is not out of any particular concern for the well-being of low-quality teachers. Rather, they fear, merit pay would to a degree at least pit good teachers against bad teachers, weakening the unions’ ability to present a united front.31

The taxpayers who fund the public education establishment may be surprised to learn that Junior’s math teacher, who always seems so pleasant during meetings with parents, belongs to an organization whose pronouncements can only be described as quite radical. This is a country whose taxpayers have twice now elected a Republican Congress. In the form of dues withheld from teachers’ salaries, these same taxpayers’ funds ultimately trickle down to the NEA, whose positions on the issues can only be described as far to the left of the Democratic party, let alone the Republican party. For example, the NEA holds that schools should designate different months for the celebration of black history, Hispanic heritage, Native American heritage, Asian and Pacific Islander heritage, women’s history, and lesbian and gay history.32 (The cynic may be tempted to add, any more such celebrations and they would have to add more months to the calendar.) The NEA has even urged “the appropriate government agencies to provide all materials and instruments necessary for left-handed students to achieve on an equal basis with their right-handed counterparts.”33 The association also recommends special training for teachers to this end: “Such training should also address sensitizing instructional staff to the needs and problems of left-handed students.”34

The truth is, mere descriptions cannot begin to do justice to many of the NEA’s positions. We present, therefore, a selection in the NEA’s own words, taken from its 1996 annual convention resolutions (paragraph breaks omitted):35

Not to outdone in the race to the left, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), the other large national teachers’ union, publishes on its World Wide Web home page a “union boycott list,” urging members to spurn certain companies’ products. Companies get onto the boycott list not just for perceived offenses against the AFT but, rather, for offenses against any AFL-CIO37 union, education-related or not.38

As far as school reformers are concerned, one fortunate byproduct of union militancy may be that the unions have also placed themselves way to the left of their members. This may hurt the unions in the end. Already, according to Sol Stern, in right-to-work states like Texas and Georgia, voluntary, independent teachers’ groups now have more members than the NEA or the AFT.39 Rank-and-file teachers are nothing like as liberal as their union leaders. A 1980 CBS/New York Times poll showed that 45 percent of public school teachers then identified themselves as Democrats, 28 percent as Republicans and 26 percent as independents. These figures were much like those recorded for the public at large.40 In Maryland, as we noted earlier in this essay, 40 percent of MSTA members expressing a party affiliation are Republicans – though over 90 percent of MSTA political contributions go to the Democrats.

Baltimore City

If union opposition to reform is the norm nationally, the situation in Baltimore is very little different. Both the local teachers’ union and the BCPS administration possess outstanding pedigrees in opposing reform. Says DiConti of the BCPS, “For years, the central education bureaucracy has been nearly impervious to outside interests.”41 Both the North Avenue BCPS establishment and the Baltimore Teachers’ Union (BTU), an AFT affiliate, opposed the ultimately successful and very popular adoption of the private Calvert School’s curriculum by the Barclay public elementary school: the BCPS, because it represented a modicum of decentralization; the BTU, because it might result in extra management responsibilities for BTU members at Barclay.42

Again, we should not be surprised. Large-scale education reform requires public-sector officials and teachers’ union members to do more, sometimes with and for less. Bureaucrats ordered to create a new education paradigm are no more rewarded financially if the experiment succeeds than if it fails. Ensuring success is likely to involve much harder work, too. Similarly, if a system of subsidized private education for the less-than-wealthy were introduced, an increased demand for private schools teachers would in all likelihood be matched by reduced demand for public school teachers. That many current public school teachers would simply move over to the new private education sector is not a response acceptable to the unions. In a decentralized, site-based school decision-making process, the unions as corporate entities would have a lower level of influence. Lobbying scores of principals is more difficult than lobbying one public-sector superintendent. Doyle argues convincingly that such a scenario would be of benefit to competent teachers, who would more easily be able to assume leadership roles in decentralized school systems. For just this reason, union traditionalists will balk.43

In fact, opposition will be so intense that Maryland choice advocates should prepare themselves for the possibility of union penetration of faculty at non-government schools. This was attempted in Wisconsin as one component of the unions’ strategy to fight the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program (MPCP).44 Because the legal status of the MPCP is still pending, as described in the Doyle paper,45 the unionization threat has not been carried out and it is not entirely clear what the law would and would not allow in this respect. Here, the success of such an effort would depend largely on labor law in Maryland, an examination of which is beyond the scope of this study. Writing in the Cornell Journal of Law and Public Policy, Michael Hartmann concludes that the state of labor law in Wisconsin and Ohio is such that a unionization threat could be carried out more successfully in Milwaukee, if the MPCP were expanded to include religious schools, than in Ohio, if the Cleveland Scholarship and Tutoring Program (CSTP) were to pass constitutional muster and be reinstated.46

Research into the effects of teacher unionization is sparse. Harvard’s Professor Caroline Minter Hoxby finds that heavily unionized public school districts suffer a dropout rate 2.3 percent higher than that for non-unionized districts, despite a rate of per-pupil spending 12 percent higher. On the other hand, F. Howard Nelson – who, it should be said, is a researcher for the AFT – finds Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) scores to be 43 points higher in districts 90 percent or more unionized than in districts where fewer than 50 percent of teachers are unionized.47 One thing is certain: Unionization leads to higher pay for teachers, which diverts funds from other areas of school spending. Hoxby calculates that unionization results in five percent more spending on teachers’ salaries.48 If the BTU successfully brought about the unionization of the local Catholic schools’ and other private schools’ faculty, the resultant increased pay would drive up costs at the non-government schools. This would result in either (a) an altogether more expensive voucher program for taxpayers or (b) a situation whereby parents had to pay a larger proportion of tuition out of their own pockets. Either scenario would obviously benefit the public schools. (As an interesting aside, the National Association of Catholic School Teachers, which represents about 5,000 lay faculty members of an otherwise non-unionized work force of 100,000 lay faculty, was once affiliated with the AFT. It broke away due to the AFT’s militant opposition to school choice.)49

It is true that the fate of union members and school administrators should not be as great a concern to elected officials as the education of the young. However, it is – and more. The reason is not difficult to find: A diffuse and uninformed public is far less of a threat than noisy and passionately anti-reform groups of education professionals. But politicians and the public alike should be aware that altruism is not the motive for opposing reform. While few, if any, school-choice proponents or charter-school supporters have any direct financial stake in the outcome of their lobbying, the same most assuredly cannot be said of their opponents. Professional supporters of the status quo have made careers within the status quo. Anything new might well threaten their pecuniary and social interests. The public would do well to keep this in mind. Again, DiConti says of the BCPS in the 1980s,

In addition to being members of the same organizations, the senior people in the central education office have been together most of their careers. They have a reputation for pursuing protectionist policies that buffer and resist outside influences.50

According to former Baltimore City Superintendent Alice G. Pinderhughes, “You are talking about people who are very insecure about their own skills and their own self-perceptions.” 51 Such a group is unlikely to experiment vigorously on behalf of children. The true pity is that the public does not realize this. Education reformers would do well to keep the unions’ agenda at the top of their list of talking points at meetings with parents’ groups about schools choice.

Ends and Means

One of the ways in which the education establishment has successfully fended off public scrutiny of its motives is to have confused ends with means in the public mind. By this we mean that the teachers’ unions and public school administrators have successfully gotten most citizens uncritically to think of “public education” and the “education of the public” as being one and the same. This achieved, as Quentin L. Quade points out, the unions can then devote their entire time to promoting “public education” (as the term is currently understood) as an end in itself.52 This is a unique situation that has no parallels we can think of. For example, despite endless incantations about ozone depletion and so on caused by privately driven automobiles, public transit systems are essentially debated on their merits; they are not usually considered a good worth preserving ipso facto, with no further questions asked.

Yet, the 100 percent subsidized, near-monopoly government schools provide, in the view of even many sympathetic observers, a thoroughly mediocre service. The preservation of this monopoly has become an end that many Americans are too apathetic to challenge. While the true end of citizens’ efforts should be the most efficient means to educate the public, the preservation of the government schools’ monopoly has, in and of itself, become the focus of many unwitting parents. Thus does the NEA’s Handbook, 1996-1997 incessantly demand the preservation of “public education” without once asking, what is in this for children? A suitably hoodwinked population apparently goes along with this, never pausing to question if the “education of the public” and “public education” need truly be synonymous. That they have become so appears to be a newly “self-evident truth” that, while apparently having no NEA elaboration demanded of it by parents, is not one Thomas Jefferson would recognize.

All the same, public apathy allows supporters of the status quo to remain on the offensive, never being forced to justify the premise upon which their entire position rests. That premise is, in effect, this: To the degree possible in a free society where citizens may spend their money as they see fit, parents should be denied the right send their children to schools of their own choosing. This allows the unions to make some truly preposterous claims and, apparently, to get away with them. The NEA Handbook, for instance, states, “…the survival of democracy requires that every state maintain a system of public education.” 53 Patently absurd, this sort of statement is nonetheless uncritically accepted by many. Even more ridiculous, the NEA goes on to say that “the maintenance of a strong system of public education is paramount to a strong U.S. national defense.”54 We suppose that it might be permissible to make a statement such as this if the Pentagon truly needed a work force 13 percent functionally illiterate.55 Otherwise such self-serving platitudes should be ignored or, indeed, condemned.

We assume that Bob Chase is correct in his assertion that a 1996 “New York Times/CBS News poll late in the [presidential] campaign found that among Americans expressing an opinion, a strong majority believe that ‘teachers’ unions play a positive role in improving the nation’s educational system.'”56 If so, reformers must improve their effectiveness in getting the message out.

Courage Is Necessary

This, then, is the problem reformers face. As the above paragraphs indicate, union and school administration opposition to school choice would be ferocious. The various examples above should illustrate to parents why concerted action is necessary, as much as they may make politicians nervous. Braving the storm of special-interest opposition to root-and-branch education reform will indeed require courage. Nevertheless, the alternative, surely, is worse still. The alternative is a Baltimore City no longer viable as a functioning entity. Part I of this study, Denis Doyle’s component, detailed Baltimore’s excruciating slide from fiscal and social stability to strapped budgets and plunging population counts. State and city decision makers must now listen to the people. As ascertained by scientific polling, they favor school choice. Many of them would have stayed in Baltimore had they been offered choice. One day, the decision will have to be made. Now, at least, readers – officials or otherwise – have the facts before them. There is no arguing. The people want choice.


V. Conclusion

There is not much more to add, other than that the Mason-Dixon poll conclusively bears out the Doyle thesis. Doyle’s case, the reader will recall, was that school choice is a necessary component in any strategy to save urban America. Other remedies will help, of course. But deny the middle and working classes the schools they desire and they will flee the instant they are able to. In Baltimore, over 1,000 a month do just that. The cumulative effect of this is that, astonishingly, the city’s population is now smaller than it was in 1920. Baltimore simply cannot afford to continue bleeding.

We have presented a simple strategy for applying a tourniquet: Give the middle and working classes what they want. And what they want is to be allowed to select their own schools. Let us quickly go over the numbers again. In the survey, parents of school-aged children were opposed to Baltimore’s education status quo on every question. More than half cited the city’s bad schools as their first-, second or third-most important reason for leaving. The better part of three-quarters professed themselves to be satisfied with their new county schools, while more than half said they were unhappy with the BCPS. Of those with children that had attended city public schools, two-thirds said they had been displeased with their children’s particular school. Over 53 percent would have or might have considered staying in the city if they had had better school “options.” Two-thirds favored full school choice, including the utilization of tax funds for tuition at private and religious schools. For African-Americans, this figure rose to 92 percent. Finally, and most damningly, 51 percent of respondents with school-aged children said they would have or might have considered staying in the city if they had had school choice. There is no disputing these figures. If Baltimore is to survive, the establishment must ignore special-interest opposition and do the right thing.

This will require great political courage, no doubt. Opposition from entrenched interests will be ferocious. But elected officials and the regular public alike should keep in mind that such opposition is not for the most part based on altruism. The public, in particular, should realize that the teachers’ unions have politically situated themselves far to the left of the average American. As for elected officials, they must square their shoulders and face up to their responsibilities. For officials concerned about the repercussions, the question should be posed: If this country were able to return to an education clean slate, if we had to start all over again, knowing what we know now, would we construct a public education system that looks like the current one?

We close with a quote from part I of this series, the Doyle paper. It encapsulates the problem and what must be done about it:

Only the high stakes of plunging population counts will make vouchers politically viable. Only when panic at the thought of a virtually zero tax base sets in among the city’s political elite will the siren song of teachers’ union political contributions be drowned out – drowned out by the march of the middle and working classes toward the exit. Vouchers are an affordable strategy to keep working- and middle-class families in the city. Indeed, it is hard to imagine a more powerful or straightforward strategy to reinvigorate our cites. When one mayor – and then many mayors – recognize this, American education will be transformed.57


Appendix I. The Questions

This appendix reproduces the survey questions as read to respondents, with headers and descriptions as per Mason-Dixon. Menu prompts are not reproduced here. The term “open-ended response” indicates that no menu items were presented.

Poll of Former Baltimore City Residents Now Living in the Suburbs, June 1997

Poll of 309 residents of suburban counties in the metropolitan Baltimore statistical area who had moved from Baltimore City within the past year, interviewed by telephone June 3 through 6, 1997. Margin for error is plus or minus 6 percent.

  1. Greeting: Good afternoon/evening. My name is _____ from Mason-Dixon Political/Media Research. We are conducting a local public opinion poll of people who have recently relocated to the suburbs from Baltimore City. Would you have a few minutes to participate?
  2. Screener: Within the past year, did you move your home from Baltimore City? (Yes, proceed; no, terminate.)
  3. Screener: Which of these counties are you living in now? (List six MBSA counties; terminate if negative response received.)
  4. Statement: I am going to ask to you to name the most important, the second-most important and third- most important reasons that you decided to leave Baltimore City.
  5. Question: First, what would you say is the single most important reason you decided to leave Baltimore City? (Open-ended response.)
  6. Question: Next, what would you say is the second-most important reason you decided to leave Baltimore City? (Open-ended response.)
  7. Question: And was there any other reason you decided to leave Baltimore City? (Open-ended response.)
  8. Question: When you say you relocated, in part, because of your concerns about crime, were you referring primarily to gangs, fights, and a lack of discipline at the city’s schools, or were you referring primarily to street crime? (Asked of respondents who had named crime in any of the three previous questions.)
  9. Question: I’d like you to evaluate the public school system in the county in which you now reside. Would you say that you are very satisfied, somewhat satisfied, somewhat dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with the public school system in your new home county?
  10. Question: Now I’d like you to evaluate the Baltimore City public school system. Would you say that you were very satisfied, somewhat satisfied, somewhat dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with the Baltimore City public schools?
  11. Question: Are there any children aged 18 or younger living in your household? (Yes, proceed; no, skip to demographic questions; then terminate.)
  12. Question: How many children aged 18 or younger live in your household?
  13. Question: Did your child/children attend public, private, or parochial or other religious schools when you lived in the city?
  14. Question: I’d like you to evaluate the city public schools that your child/children attended before you relocated. Would you say that you were very satisfied, somewhat satisfied, somewhat dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with the Baltimore City public schools that your child/children attended? (Asked of respondents with children who had attended city public schools.)
  15. Question: If your family had had better school options, might you have decided to stay in Baltimore City?
  16. Question: Some people have proposed plans to allow families to choose where to send their children to school, including using tax dollars to help poor and middle class families in the city pay for a portion of private or parochial or other religious school tuition if they chose that option. Would you favor or oppose such a plan?
  17. Question: This type of plan, using tax dollars to help to pay for private or parochial school tuition, is sometimes called “school choice.” If Baltimore City had had school choice, might you have decided to stay in the city?
  18. Note sex.
  19. Question: Could you tell me the age of the head of your household?
  20. Question: Would you mind telling me your race? Are you white, black/African-American, Hispanic or Asian? (“Other” response not read.)
  21. Question: How would you characterize your household? Are you: single; married, no children; married, with at least one child 18 or under at the time of move; married, with all children over 18; divorced, no children; divorced, with at least one child 18 or under at the time of move; divorced, with all children over 18; ever married, with at least one child 18 or under when left city; never married, with all children over 18; other.
  22. End: That completes the survey. Thank you for participating.

    Appendix II. Methodology and Description

    This appendix describes the methodology and interpretation of the polling data in the words of Mason-Dixon staff.

    This survey was commissioned by the Calvert Institute for Policy Research in order to ascertain why former Baltimore City residents had decided to relocate to the suburbs in the metropolitan Baltimore statistical area within the past year.

    Three hundred nine individuals were interviewed by telephone between June 3 and 6, 1997. The sample was generated from a list acquired by the Calvert Institute. All respondents were screened to ensure that they actually had moved from Baltimore City to one of the six suburbs in the MBSA during the last 12 months (though none of the respondents resides in Queen Anne’s County). Approximately half were parents of children 18 or younger. These respondents were asked an additional series of questions about their children’s education.

    The margin for error, according to customary statistical standards, is no more than plus or minus 6 percent for the entire group. This means that at a 95 percent confidence level, the “true” figure would fall within this range if the total survey universe (all people who had moved from Baltimore City to an MBSA suburban county within the past year) were sampled. The margin is higher for any demographic subgroup, such as age, gender or race.

    General Summary

    Survey respondents were asked to name the most important, the second-most important and third-most important reasons that they decided to leave Baltimore City. The answers given were unprompted by the interviewer, but fitted into the eight categories [listed in the main text plus a “not sure” category]. The actual number of respondents naming each category is listed for each of the three questions. [See appendix III.] The number of respondents answering each question drops from 309 for the “most important” to 217 for “third most important” since those who indicated they were “undecided” or “not sure” were not asked the subsequent questions.


    Crime was the overriding concern of a strong plurality of respondents, named by 43 percent of those surveyed as the “most important reason” they decided to leave Baltimore City. Crime scored a plurality in every demographic subgroup in the survey, including those with children aged 18 or under in their household (47 percent), and got a majority response among respondents aged 40-49 (53 percent) and among blacks (53 percent).

    Crime was named by 12 percent of those who offered answers to the question asking for the “second-most important reason” they decided to relocate, and by seven percent of those who offered answers for the third. Those who offered crime as an answer to any of the first three questions were asked if their crime concerns were primarily about street crime or about school violence. Six percent cited school violence, 60 percent named street crime, and 34 percent said both, though that answer was not read to respondents by the interviewer. Men (13 percent) and blacks (11 percent) were more likely to name school violence, but women (37 percent) and whites (39 percent) were more likely to cite “both.”


    Education was cited by 17 percent of respondents as their most important reason for deciding to leave Baltimore City, named by nearly twice as many respondents as the next highest answer. Education was more likely to be cited by whites (21 percent) than blacks (5 percent) as the “most important reason,” and more likely by blacks (14 percent) than whites (10 percent) as the “second-most important reason.”

    Not surprisingly, the state of city schools was very important to those with minor children in their household. Thirty-one percent of respondents with children 18 or younger at home named education as their primary reason for relocating to the suburbs. Twenty percent of those with minor children cited education as their “second-most important reason.” Conversely, for those without minor children, education barely registered.

    Other Concerns

    The other six responses given by those surveyed to the “most important reason” question can be grouped as either third-tier or negligible concerns. Among the third-tier concerns, Baltimore City’s high taxes were cited as the primary reason for relocating to the suburbs by nine percent of survey respondents, and as the second-most important reason by 12 percent.

    Seven percent cited environmental concerns, such as noise, air quality or lead paint, as their top concern. Seven percent named jobs, and yet another seven percent said that they moved because they wanted more property or a bigger yard.

    Registering a total of just four responses for the “most important reason” were political considerations and a dissatisfaction with city services other than education and public safety.

    Many of these “third-tier” concerns registered bigger numbers as the “second most important reason” these individuals left Baltimore, notably the desire for a bigger yard (21 percent) and environmental concerns (17 percent).

    The number of respondents who cited no specific reason for leaving Baltimore grew from 9 percent who named no “most important reason,” to 23 percent who named no “second-most important reason,” to 59 percent who could cite no “third-most important reason.”

    Local Public Schools

    All 309 respondents were asked to rate the public schools in the jurisdiction in which they were currently living. Forty percent indicated they were very satisfied, 13 percent somewhat satisfied, one percent somewhat dissatisfied, and a scant one percent very dissatisfied. The remaining 49 percent said they were undecided.

    Blacks (51 percent) were more likely than whites (31 percent) to be “very satisfied” with their new school system. Families with minor children in their household more likely to declare themselves “very satisfied” with the schools (53 percent), and less likely to be undecided (26 percent) on this question. Conversely, those without children under 19 at home were more likely to be undecided (73 percent) and less likely to be “very satisfied” (17 percent). These responses reflect both the respondents’ interest in the subject and their newcomer status.

    In the next question, each of the survey’s 309 respondents was asked to rate the Baltimore City public schools system on the same scale. The results were dramatically different. Just one percent of respondents said they were very satisfied, 11 percent somewhat satisfied, 16 percent somewhat dissatisfied and 26 percent very dissatisfied. The remaining 47 percent said they were undecided.

    Black respondents were both more likely to be somewhat satisfied (17 percent) with the city’s schools and very dissatisfied (36 percent) than white respondents (9 percent and 22 percent, respectively). As in the previous question, those with children at home were far less likely to be undecided (30 percent) than those with no minor children (65 percent), and more likely to be very dissatisfied (38 percent). Still, only four percent of those with no minor children expressed even the slightest bit of confidence in the city schools, declaring themselves “somewhat satisfied.”

    Families with Minor Children

    The next several questions were designed to separate the respondents who had minor children at home from those who did not, to see how many children under 19 were in the household, and to learn whether the children had been taught in public, private or parochial schools when they lived in the City of Baltimore.

    Just over half of those surveyed, 52 percent, reported that they had at least one child under 19 living at home. No respondent reported having more than four children under 19. Of these 159 families, 47 percent had used city public schools, 20 percent private, non-religious schools, and nine percent parochial or other religious schools. Twenty-one percent said their children had not yet reached school age, and another two percent reported that their children were educated in some other way.

    Rating Their Own City Schools

    Roughly half of the families in the survey who had minor children at home sent them to city public schools before they relocated to the suburbs. These respondents were asked to rate the schools their children attended on the same scale as the previous questions rating school systems overall.

    Just one percent said they were very satisfied with their child’s school, 35 percent somewhat satisfied, 19 percent somewhat dissatisfied, and 44 percent very dissatisfied. The remaining one percent was undecided.

    Black respondents were far more likely than whites to express extreme dissatisfaction with their children’s former city school. Only 16 percent of blacks were somewhat satisfied, 16 percent were somewhat dissatisfied, with 64 percent saying they were very dissatisfied.

    Exploring School Choice

    The respondents with minor children at home were asked three final questions exploring the issue of school choice.

    In the first question, respondents were asked if they might have decided to remain in the city if they had had “better school options.” Twenty-three percent said yes, 43 percent said no, 31 percent said maybe and four percent indicated they were undecided. Blacks were twice as likely to say yes (36 percent, compared to 17 percent for whites), three times less likely to say no (18 percent, compared to 55 percent for whites), and much more likely to leave the door open (43 percent maybe, compared to 26 percent for whites). Male respondents were almost three times as likely to say they would have stayed than women (32 percent, compared to 11 percent).

    The next question described school choice as a program where “tax dollars are used to help poor and middle-class families in the city pay for a portion of private or parochial school tuition.” Respondents were asked if they would favor or oppose such a plan.

    Sixty-six percent of respondents said they would favor school choice, 30 percent said they opposed it and four percent were undecided. Men (70 percent) and women (61 percent) both supported choice in a big way, but it was between blacks and whites where the differences were most stark. While a clear majority of whites (55 percent) favored school choice, a whopping 92 percent of blacks said they supported the idea, with just eight percent opposed.

    The final question asked respondents who had minor children whether a school choice program in place in Baltimore City might have persuaded them not to move. Twenty-six percent said yes, 48 percent said no, 25 percent said maybe and the remaining four percent was undecided.

    Men (35 percent) were more than twice as likely to be persuaded to stay in the city when offered school choice than women (15 percent). Half of the women (50 percent) indicated that choice would not have been a factor in their decision.

    Nearly half of black respondents (49 percent) said they [definitely] might have decided to remain in the city if choice had been an option, compared to 16 percent of whites. Whites were more likely to shut the door on the possibility of staying, with 53 percent saying no, compared with 29 percent of blacks.


    Though crime is the primary factor in the Baltimore’s population drain, the city’s public schools are big concern among families with minor children, 31 percent of whom here cited education as their primary reason for leaving Baltimore.

    The level of dissatisfaction with the city’s public schools is extremely high, with 63 percent of those whose children had attended the public schools saying they were somewhat or very dissatisfied with the schools in which their children had been enrolled. This is a higher level of dissatisfaction than in any other subgroup in the sample. These numbers are the inverse of what one usually sees when people are asked to rate their own schools in suburban jurisdictions. Even people with no stake in the schools rated them poorly.

    When survey respondents with minor children were asked whether they might have stayed in the city if they’d had “better school options,” 53 percent were open to the idea, responding “yes” or “maybe.” Even when the question was posed with the loaded term, “school choice,” 51 percent left the door open, with 26 percent saying “yes” and 25 percent saying “maybe.” Considering that most of these people had indicated that crime was their primary reason for leaving the city, these are encouraging numbers [for school reformers]. Universally, parents are concerned about their kids’ schools; it appears that the only reason that education doesn’t rank higher in this survey is because their first concern is for their child’s basic safety.

    If half of the families with children fleeing the city for its suburbs might be persuaded to stay if school choice was an option, the Calvert Institute could credibly argue that a policy change might be in order.


    Appendix III. The Statistics

    This section presents are series of tables breaking the responses down in greater detail than that shown in the tables located within the main text.

    Table A1.1 No.1 Reason for Leaving City, by Category, Raw Numbers
    Table A1.2 No.1 Reason for Leaving City, by Category, Percentages
    Table A2.1 No 2 Reason for Leaving City, by Category, Raw Numbers
    Table A2.2 No.2 Reason for Leaving City, by Category, Percentages
    Table A3.1 No 3. Reason for Leaving City, by Category, Raw Numbers
    Table A3.2 No.3 Reason for Leaving City, by Category, Percentages
    Table A4.1 Opinion of Current County Public School System, by Category, Raw Numbers
    Table A4.2 Opinion of Current County Public School System, by Category, Percentages
    Table A5.1 Opinion of Baltimore Public School , by Category, Raw Numbers
    Table A5.2 Opinion of Baltimore Public School System, by Category, Percentages

    End Notes

    [Top] 1.Denis P. Doyle, “Reforming the Schools to Save the City, Part I: Toward a New Common School for Baltimore,” Calvert Issue Brief, Vol. I, No. 1, August 1997.

    [Top] 2. Doyle et al., “Reforming the Schools to Save the City, Part I,” p. 1.

    [Top] 3. From data supplied by State of Maryland, Office of Planning.

    [Top] 4. James Bock, “Baltimore Population Down 6.1% Since 1990,” (Baltimore) Sun, March 3, 1996, p. 1A.

    [Top] 5. Frontier Press Company (FPC), The Standard Dictionary of Facts: A Practical Handbook of Ready Reference Based upon Everyday Use (Buffalo, N.Y.: FPC, 1922), p. 517.

    [Top] 6. Harry Bard, Maryland Today: The State, the People, the Government (New York, N.Y.: Oxford Book Company, 1958), p. 9.

    [Top] 7. For further details, see Stephen Henderson and Jean Thompson, “School Reform Moves Ahead,” (Baltimore) Sun, August 13, 1997, p. 1A.

    [Top] 8. Kathleen Harward, Market-Based Education: A New Model for Schools (Fairfax, Va.: Center for Market Processes, 1995), pp. 58-59.

    [Top] 9. Doyle et al., “Reforming the Schools to Save the City, Part I,” p. iii.

    [Top] 10. For details, see Douglas P. Munro, John E. Berthoud and Carol L. Hirschburg, “Choice, Polls and the American Way,” Calvert News, Vol. II, No. 2, Spring 1997, pp. 8-9, 17-19, at 17-18.

    [Top] 11. CPC Associates may be contacted at 33 Rock Hill Road, Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004.

    [Top] 12. The zip codes for every county in Maryland are obtainable from any post office. The zip codes for the six metropolitan counties around Baltimore are too numerous to reproduce here. The Baltimore City zip codes that CPC Associates utilized were: 21201, 21202, 21203, 21205, 21211, 21213, 21214, 21216, 21217, 21211, 21223, 21230, 21231, 21233, 21235, 21241, 21263, 21264, 21265, 21268, 21270, 21273, 21274, 21275, 21276, 21278, 21279, 21280, 21281, 21287, 21288, 21289, 21290, 21297, 21298, 21298 and 21299. The foregoing zip codes fall entirely within Baltimore’s boundaries. The following zip codes fall partially within Baltimore City and partially within with Baltimore County and/or Anne Arundel County: 21210, 21212, 21215, 21226, 21229 and 21239. To capture Baltimoreans living within the straddling zip codes, CPC was instructed to include these zips in its search. Residents of these zips codes who lived in Baltimore County or Anne Arundel County, rather than in Baltimore-proper, were later excluded from the survey by means of an elimination question at the start of the questionnaire.

    [Top] 13. Carol A. Arscott, Vice President, Mason-Dixon Political/Media Research, letter to the author dated January 16, 1997.

    [Top] 14. Doyle et al., “Reforming the Schools to Save the City, Part I,” p. 1.

    [Top] 15. Doyle et al., “Reforming the Schools to Save the City, Part I,” p. 1.

    [Top] 16. Katherine McFate, Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies’ 1996 National Opinion Poll: Social Attitudes (Washington, D.C.: Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, April 1996), appendices, table C-1. (Hereinafter cited as JCPES 1996 Poll.)

    [Top] 17. McFate, JCPES 1996 Poll, table C-2.

    [Top] 18. Veronica Donahue DiConti, Interest Groups and Education Reform: The Latest Crusade to Restructure the Schools (Lanham, Md.: University Press of America, 1996), p. 126

    [Top] 19. DiConti, Interest Groups and Education Reform, p. 126.

    [Top] 20. Stephen Henderson, “Schiller Impresses Board in 7 Weeks,” (Baltimore) Sun, August 21, 1997. p. 1A.

    [Top] 21. For details of the opposition of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) to school choice, see Munro, Berthoud and Hirschburg, “Choice, Polls and the American Way,” pp. 8-9.

    [Top] 22. This figure is derived as follows. The Mason-Dixon poll showed an average of 775 families leaving Baltimore every month for the surrounding area. If three-fourths of respondents were white, this translates into about 580 white families departing every month. This multiplied by 12 months comes to 6,960 white families per year. If 43.5 percent of white respondents would have considered staying if school choice had been available, and if 6,960 multiplied by 0.435 is 3,027.6, then we may extrapolate that about 3,000 white families might have stayed if they had been given school choice.

    [Top] 23. The methodology used to derive this figure is the same as for the previous computation.

    [Top] 24. Doyle et al., “Reforming the Schools to Save the City, Part I,” p. 20.

    [Top] 25. Timothy B. Wheeler, “Sprawl Burdens Taxpayers, Governor Warns,” (Baltimore) Sun, January 12, 1997, p. 1B.

    [Top] 26. DiConti, Interest Groups and Education Reform, p. 28.

    [Top] 27. Robert F. Chase, “The New NEA: Reinventing Teacher Unions for a New Era,” speech before the National Press Club, Washington, D.C., February 5, 1997, National Education Association Internet site (, downloaded August 12, 1997.

    [Top] 28. Ann Bradly, “Despite Resistance, NEA’s Chase Presses New Unionism,” Education Week, July 9, 1997.

    [Top] 29. Thomas B. Fordham Foundation, “Teachers and Unions,” Selected Readings on School Reform, Vol. 1, No. 2, Summer 1997, p. 93.

    [Top] 30. Sol Stern, “How Teachers’ Unions Handcuff Schools,” Manhattan Institute City Journal, Vol. 7, No. 2, Spring 1997, pp. 34-47, at 44.

    [Top] 31. Myron Lieberman, Public Education: An Autopsy (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1993), pp. 60-61.

    [Top] 32. Stern, “How Teachers’ Unions Handcuff Schools,” p. 45.

    [Top] 33. National Education Association (NEA), “NEA 1996-97 Resolutions,” NEA Internet site ( downloaded August 12, 1997.

    [Top] 34. NEA, “NEA 1996-97 Resolutions,” NEA Internet site ( 96-toc.html), downloaded August 12, 1997.

    [Top] 35. All samples are taken from NEA, “NEA 1996-97 Resolutions,” NEA Internet site (http://www., downloaded August 12, 1997.

    [Top] 36. Denis P. Doyle, Where Connoisseurs Send Their Children to School: An Analysis of 1990 Census Data to Determine Where School Teachers Send Their Children to School (Washington, D.C.: Center for Education Reform, May 1995), pp. 21-23, table 19, at 21.

    [Top] 37. I.e., American Federation of Labor/Congress of Industrial Organizations. The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) is affiliated with the AFL-CIO.

    [Top] 38. See the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) Internet site ( The boycott entry was there as of August 12, 1997.

    [Top] 39. Stern, “How Teachers’ Unions Handcuff Schools,” p. 46.

    [Top] 40. Stern, “How Teachers’ Unions Handcuff Schools,” p. 46.

    [Top] 41. DiConti, Interest Groups and Education Reform, p. 127.

    [Top] 42. DiConti, Interest Groups and Education Reform, pp. 145-146.

    [Top] 43. Doyle et al., “Reforming the Schools to Save the City, Part I,” pp. 25-26.

    [Top] 44 Michael E. Hartmann, “Spitting Distance: Tents Full of Religious Schools in Choice Programs, the Camel’s Nose of State Labor-Law Application to Relations with Lay Faculty, and the First Amendment’s Tether,” Cornell Journal of Law and Public Policy, Vol. 6, 1997, pp. 553-643, at 555-556.

    [Top] 45 Doyle et al., “Reforming the Schools to Save the City, Part I,” pp. 7-8.

    [Top] 46. Hartmann, “Spitting Distance,” p. 643.

    [Top] 47.Curtis Lawrence, “Studies Differ on Teachers’ Unions: Two Views on Whether Collective Bargaining Hurts or Helps Education,” Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, November 20, 1996, p. 2B; also Hartmann, “Spitting Distance,” p. 560.

    [Top] 48. Hartmann, “Spitting Distance,” p. 560.

    [Top] 49. Hartmann, “Spitting Distance,” p. 558, note 15.

    [Top] 50. DiConti, Interest Groups and Education Reform, p. 127.

    [Top] 51. As quoted in DiConti, Interest Groups and Education Reform, p. 127.

    [Top] 52. Quentin L. Quade, “The National Education Association vs. America’s Parents: A Look at the NEA Handbook, 1996-1997,” Fordham Foundation Selected Readings on School Reform, Vol. I, No. 2, Summer 1997, pp. 109-110, at 109.

    [Top] 53. As quoted by Quade, “The National Education Association vs. America’s Parents,” p. 110.

    [Top] 54. As quoted by Quade, “The National Education Association vs. America’s Parents,” p. 110.

    [Top] 55. Thirteen percent is the proportion of high school students that cannot read. See Stuart M. Butler and Anna Kondratas, Out of the Poverty Trap: A Conservative Strategy for Welfare Reform (New York, N.Y.: Free Press, 1987), p. 160.

    [Top] 56. Robert F. Chase, “Dole’s Errant Spitball: Why the Attack on Teachers Backfired,” Bob Chase’s Column, November 10, 1996, NEA Internet site (, downloaded August 12, 1997.

    [Top] 57. Doyle et al., “Reforming the Schools to Save the City, Part I,” p. 9.

    Posted in: Education, Issue Brief