[Excerpt] The response to what many believe to be a serious decline in educational achievement and standards has been, so far, a spate of studies, commissions, and reports, all aiming toward reform of the education system. Most of the recommendations that have been implemented to date have come about through state-level legislation and mandates (Darling-Hammond and Berry, 1988). Education reformers disagree on the role of teacher bargaining in achieving their objectives. One wing of the reform movement believes collective bargaining is an obstacle to change and maintains collective bargaining is one reason the schools are in bad shape. But another wing holds that collective bargaining can and must be used as the vehicle of change in our schools.
Although the recommendations contained in these reports are wide-ranging, covering everything from school finance to curriculum to educational technology, in this paper our emphasis will be on proposals dealing with such matters as how teachers are to be recruited, retained, compensated, and deployed. And just as the so-called reform movement is a reaction to the process of education, the reform movement has engendered a reaction among teacher organizations. As we shall see, although that reaction has been anything but wholeheartedly accepting, neither has it been uniformly hostile.