BAD TEACHERS, CONT’D….I’m still sort of agnostic on the whole issue of teacher firing (see here), but Mark Kleiman points out today that down in the anti-union South we can run a natural experiment on whether the ability to easily fire teachers is a good thing:

Ignore the rhetoric for the moment and concentrate on the fact: The tyranny of the teachers’ unions is not universal! There are places where it’s as easy for a principal to fire a bad teacher (or, of course, a good one) as it is for a Wal-Mart manager to dump a union organizer.

No coddling teachers: that must be the reason the South leads the country in educational attainment, and in particular why Georgia’s students so outperform students from union-ridden Massachusetts and New York.

In an update, he also delivers the peculiar news that although the South provides the raw material for a study of whether unionization affects school performance, apparently such a study has never been done. “That seems odd,” he says, and I’m not sure I can add anything to that.