Public School Teacher Contracts and State-Level Reforms: Assessing Changes to Collective Bargaining Restrictiveness Across Three States

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American Educational Research Journal


In many school districts, the policies that regulate teaching personnel are governed by collective bargaining agreements (CBAs). While there is significant policy attention that has affected the scope of these agreements, there is relatively little research on how CBAs vary over time, or whether they change in response to states’ legislative reforms. Using a panel data set of over 1,200 CBAs across three states, we compare CBA change before and after reforms in two states (Michigan and Washington) relative to a state with no statutory changes (California). We show that the state policy reforms lessened the restrictiveness of CBAs, as intended. The results suggest when reforms limit bargaining negotiations, unions are unable to compensate for the substantial reductions in working conditions.


Collective bargaining agreements; K–12 education policy; Teachers’ unions


Educational Administration and Supervision | Education Law

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