Teacher Unions and Collective Bargaining in Retrospect. Kirkpatrick, David W

When the Pennsylvania legislature passed Act 195 in 1970, giving teachers and other public employees collective bargaining privileges and the right to strike, David Kirkpatrick was serving as the preseident of the Pennsylvania State Education Association. In years prior to the enactment of the Public Employees Bargaining Act, he had been a teacher/unionist and a supporter of the legislation. He had knowledge and experience of the history of his profession and of the obstacles that teachers had to overcome to win public respect for their profession. Collective bargaining, at the time, seemed the best means for realizing that end.

But that was nearly twenty-five years ago. Today, the pendulum has swung so far in the other direction that teacher unions now present perhaps the greatest impediment to education reform. The intellectual journey that led Dr. Kirkpatrick from the one perspective on the significance of the act to its antithesis is reflected in his article Teacher Unions and Collective Bargaining in Retrospect. 

It has become apparent to him that what is needed to improve America's public schools is greater democracy, by giving the populace the decision of sending their children to private schools. That would result in a number of advantages that would ultimately "transform what teachers do from a job to a profession."