Modifying Collective Bargaining Agreements for School Turnaround

Dramatically improving student achievement in a school that has failed for many years requires dramatically different conditions. Although state and district policy have influence over what occurs in school buildings in states with collective bargaining, the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) is the key lever that exerts significant control over day-to-day conditions. Traditional CBAs must be modified to create the conditions necessary for successful turnaround. With unprecedented resources flowing from USDOE in the form of “Race to the Top” and “School Improvement Grants,” states and districts have more incentive than ever to intervene with bold turnaround strategies in chronically underperforming schools. There has never been a time with more targeted funding or political cover for states and districts to challenge the status quo and do what’s best for student achievement.

This toolkit guides states, districts, unions and advocates through the process of strategically modifying local CBAs to support school turnaround.
The toolkit includes (NOTE: click on the titles to download the PDF reports):

  • Negotiating for Change: Modifying Collective Bargaining Agreements for School Turnaround. This main publication identifies the contract elements that must be bargained to create the conditions for successful turnaround; provides examples of states, districts and unions that have begun this challenging but necessary work to make all schools, for all children, highly effective learning environments, and; suggests strategies for districts and unions to pursue collaborative negotiation.

  • Overview of key components. This document summarizes some key points from the full publication, including an overview of the non-negotiable contract elements that must be negotiated to create the conditions for turnaround and the various options for contract modifications.

  • CBA Self-Assessment Tool. This tool allows districts and local unions to analyze their existing CBA for the key contract elements in the conditions areas of People, Program, Time and Money.

  • Sample language from model contracts. This resource, in the same format as the CBA Self-Assessment Tool, compiles sample contract language from existing CBAs, election-to-work agreements and MOUs across the country.

  • Negotiation areas for federal intervention models. This grid displays the federal requirements and recommendations for the turnaround and transformation models that require modifications to traditional collective bargaining agreements.