Michael T. Hartney


Michael T. Hartney is an assistant professor of political science at Boston College. Professor Hartney's current research focuses on subnational politics and policy making, especially K–12 education policy and, more generally, the workings of US political institutions. His research has been published in leading academic peer-reviewed journals such as the American Journal of Political Science, Perspectives on Politics, and Public Administration Review and has received subsequent media coverage in outlets such as the Christian Science Monitor, the Boston Globe, Education Week, and U.S. News and World Report. During his fellowship year at the Hoover Institution, he will complete a book that examines the causes and consequences of teachers unions’ political power in American education. Prior to academia, Hartney worked as a policy analyst for the National Governors Association, where he provided technical analysis to governors and other state officials on a wide range of K–12 education reform issues, from teacher and principal quality to high school redesign.

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Recent Commentary

A Lesson in Power

by Michael T. Hartneyvia Hoover Digest
Monday, October 18, 2021
With help from their friends in Sacramento, teachers’ unions still shrug off all attempts to reduce their political clout.
Matters of Policy & Politics
Blank Section (Placeholder)Analysis and Commentary

Matters Of Policy & Politics: School Re-Openings – Following The Political Science

interview with Michael T. Hartneyvia Matters of Policy & Politics
Wednesday, September 29, 2021

The ascent of teachers’ unions and the role that unions played during the past year’s school-reopening drama.

Featured CommentaryEurekaAnalysis and CommentaryFeatured Commentary

Teacher Union Power In California: The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same

by Michael T. Hartneyvia Eureka
Thursday, June 24, 2021

Charles Chapel, a California state assemblyman in the 1950s and 1960s, once said that he feared just three things: God, his redheaded wife, and the California Teachers Association (CTA).

Analysis and Commentary

What Determined If Schools Reopened? How Many Trump Voters Were In A District

by Michael T. Hartneyvia Washington Post
Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Debates about whether to open schools have raged since the summer. Whatever else might shape these decisions, it would make sense that the local intensity of covid-19 spread would play a major part: School districts with low rates of cases would be more likely to open than school districts with high rates. Those districts would likely stick with a more cautious, online-only approach.

In the News

The Politics Of School Reopening

quoting Michael T. Hartneyvia BC News
Friday, October 23, 2020

A study co-authored by a Boston College political scientist finds local political conditions—not science or the severity of COVID-19—determined whether K-12 public schools would reopen this fall.

Analysis and Commentary

Stop Playing Politics With School Reopenings | Opinion

by Michael T. Hartneyvia Newsweek
Friday, October 16, 2020

As in many other areas of public policy, America's political leaders are regularly exhorted to "follow the science" regarding the coronavirus. But they aren't heeding this advice when it comes to reopening the nation's K-12 schools.