The purpose of this mixed-methods study was to address that gap in the literature and investigate whether current collective bargaining agreements have affected school reform efforts. The study was grounded in the pragmatic view with the goal of finding common contractual roadblocks to programmatic change and common solutions being used by educators to avoid them. To support this research, the following areas of literature were reviewed: (a) the history and scope of NCLB and the controversy surrounding its resultant reforms, reforms, (b) the role of collective bargaining in California public school districts, and (c) the impact of collective bargaining agreements on school reform efforts.
This research targeted the 56 California school districts in the Inland Empire's Riverside and San Bernardino counties. Data were collected via an online survey, individual semi-structured interviews, and a document review.
Key findings regarding the impact of contract language on reform efforts were (a) the importance of a collaborative relationship between the teachers association and the district and/or the presence of a contractually required implementation process for reforms, (b) perceived restrictive contractual language and the lack of an implementation was common among subjects who viewed the contract as having a negative impact, (c) hours of employment/meeting times, class size and evaluation procedures were the contractual perceived as having the most impact on reforms, and (d) teacher benefits and leave policies were perceived as having the least impact.
The study concluded that the more collaborative the relationship was between the district and union the more likely it was that they would be able to work with each other and overcome any contractual issues together. Districts that do not have a program implementation protocol find the process to be more confrontational for all stakeholders. Curricular leaders were not always cognizant of their role in dealing with the contract's impact on reform initiatives and demonstrated a detachment from their colleagues in human resources. Participants in this research held similar opinions regarding the ideal role of the contract regarding programmatic change.
This study may lead future researchers to explore other connections between contracts and reforms. It may also lead current educational practitioners to consider the effectiveness of reform implementation practices and union relationships in their own districts and ways to improve them.
|School:||California State University, Fullerton|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||DAI-A 74/09(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Educational leadership, Education Policy, School administration|
|Keywords:||Collective bargaining, Contract negotiations, Teachers unions|
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