Schools in right-to-work states (where unions are weak) are getting better and better over time compared to schools in heavily-unionized states. As Walter Russell Mead notes in "Blue State Schools: The Shame Of A Nation":
When it comes to excellence in education, red states rule — at least according to a panel of experts assembled by Tina Brown’s Newsweek. Using a set of indicators ranging from graduation rate to college admissions and SAT scores, the panel reviewed data from high schools all over the country to find the best public schools in the country. The results make depressing reading for the teacher unions: the very best public high schools in the country are heavily concentrated in red states. Three of the nation’s ten best public high schools are in Texas — the no-income tax, right-to-work state that blue model defenders like to characterize as America at its worst. Florida, another no-income tax, right-to-work state long misgoverned by the evil and rapacious Bush dynasty, has two of the top ten schools. Newsweek isn’t alone with these shocking results. Another top public school list, compiled by the Washington Post, was issued in May. Texas and Florida rank number one and number two on that list’s top ten as well ... On both lists only one of the top ten public schools was located in a blue state.Last week, the Wisconsin Supreme Court upheld a state law limiting collective bargaining with teachers' unions and other government-employee unions in Wisconsin. To justify collective bargaining, Wisconsin union supporters, such as the Democratic National Committee, had falsely claimed that Virginia, which bans collective bargaining in state agencies, ranks 44th in the nation in ACT/SAT scores, compared to Wisconsin ranking 2nd. In reality, Virginia actually beat Wisconsin in ACT scores in 2010, with Virginia ranked 12th and Wisconsin ranked 17th. Unlike Wisconsin, Virginia is a right-to-work state that bars forcing employees to pay union dues. A law professor noted that "in Virginia, test scores have steadily improved since collective bargaining for teachers was ended."