The Role of Collective Bargaining Agreements in the Implementation of Education Reforms: Perils and Possibilities
by Katharine Strunk
American Enterprise Institute
September 12, 2013
The roles teachers play and are expected to play in K–12 public education are evolving because of factors such as innovations in technology, enhancements in our collective knowledge, and pursuant shifts in policy. However, little attention has been paid to teachers’ collective bargaining agreements (CBAs), which in more than 30 states dictate the work lives of teachers and contain within them the policies that can either enable or hinder the implementation of reforms. This paper explores how CBAs in California contain provisions that either restrict or allow for the implementation of two of the most pressing and influential reforms currently under discussion: new school structures enabled by technology and teacher-level accountability policies. CBAs need to change to enable innovation and experimentation in public K–12 education in the hopes of improving student achievement.