Organizing the Other Half of Teaching

Julia E. Koppich
J. Koppich & Associates
Charles Taylor Kerchner
Claremont Graduate University

In 1975, California Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr. signed the Rodda Act into law. Formally known as the Education Employment Relations Act (later changed to the Public Employment Relations Act), this statute gave the state's public school teachers the right to bargain collectively and negotiate with their employer legally binding contracts governing the terms and conditions of their employment.

Though the Rodda Act is on California's books, the law's provisions are not unique to this state. Laws in the 37 states that authorize collective bargaining for teachers are patterned on the federal National Labor Relations Act, and outgrown of the New Deal and the rise of the industrial U.S.

This paper, which originally was prepared for the National Commission on Teacher and America's Future, argues for the transformation of education labor relations. Specifically, it proposes a set of ideas which can position teachers, and their unions, as leaders in creating a 21st century institution of education by focusing their efforts on new roles and responsibilities and a new definition of professionalism.

The authors hope that this paper will inform continuing discussions throughout California about ways in which to improve the quality of education for the state's 5.2 million public school students.

Suggested citationKoppich, J. E., & Kerchner, C. T. (1996, September). Organizing the other half of teaching [Report]. Policy Analysis for California Education.