Educational Policy Trust Agreements
Since September 1987, twelve California school districts and their teachers' unions have been experimenting with a new form of labor accord called an Educational Policy Trust Agreement. The Trust Agreement Project is designed to enable teachers, as represented by their union, and school management to develop agreements on professional issues which fall outside the traditional scope of collective bargaining or which appear better negotiated in this new setting. The project is a cooperative effort of the California Federation of Teachers, the California School Boards Association, the California Teachers Association, and the Association of California School Administrators, under the auspices of PACE.
The twelve participating school districts are Berkeley Unified, Cambrian Elementary, El Rancho Unified, Lompoc Unified, Morgan Hill Unified, Newport–Mesa Unified, Petaluma Schools, Poway Unified, San Diego City Schools, San Francisco Unified, San Juan Unified, and Santa Cruz City Schools. Each district selected policy areas in which it would craft Trust Agreements. Agreements cover a wide range of topics, including teacher evaluation, staff development, site-based management, and curriculum development.
Ideally, Trust Agreements will result in workplace reforms that will enhance the educational capacity of schools. The pilot Trust Agreement study is a test of the proposition that labor relations and school reform can be linked effectively. Thus far, the results are encouraging. Trust Agreements appear to be altering the ways in which decisions are made in project districts. Union and management are beginning to act as a team in their efforts to craft creative responses to significant educational challenges. Importantly, Trust Agreements appear to be encouraging teachers and school managers to assume collective responsibility for educational processes and outcomes.