Negotiations and Curriculum-Instruction Components
McCrady, Bonnie Jones
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The problem. The problem of this study was to determine the frequency with which curriculum and instruction-related concerns are evident in collective negotiations in Iowa and how important these concerns are as perceived by the educational leadership. The sources of data were the statements or points of view expressed by persons in positions of leadership and an analysis of actual practice. Procedures. The study population was composed of the public school districts (K-12) in the state of Iowa that elected to negotiate contracts for the first time under the Public Employment Relations Act of 1974. To obtain points of view of leadership, data were collected from two persons who held leadership positions in each of the sample school districts: (1) the person who was designated as the staff member who is most expert in curricular matters; and (2) the person who was the elected president of the local teacher organization. To obtain the points of view of college and university leadership, data were collected from a random sample (nation-wide) of professors expert in curricular matters. The negotiated contract from each of the selected sample districts was analyzed to obtain data on actual practice. The instrument consisted of thirty-four identified curriculum-instruction components. Each component was rated by each person in each leadership group in terms of its perceived importance in negotiations. The instrument served as the criteria for analysis of the contracts. For the four groups of data, frequency distributions were calculated for each of the identified curriculum-instruction components. A one-way analysis of variance was used to determine whether or not there were any significant differences (alpha level .05) between the means across the three leadership groups on the ratings of each component. The least-significant difference test was used for the significant F value. Findings. The findings related to contract analysis show that (1) twenty-six of the components appeared in the selected sample contracts as either Primary or Secondary Importance or both; (2) eight of the components did not appear in any of the contracts analyzed; (3) four of the components appeared exclusively as Primary Importance; (4) nine of the components had ratings in both Primary and Secondary Importance categories since they appeared in at least one contract as either Primary or Secondary Importance; and (5) thirteen of the components appeared exclusively as Secondary Importance. The findings related to the points of view of leadership are that (1) each leadership group rated each of the identified curriculum-instruction components as important in negotiations; (2) there was general agreement on the relative importance of nineteen of the thirty-four components; and (3) statistically significant differences were found between the means across the three leadership groups in the ratings of fifteen of the thirty-four components. Conclusions. The results of the contract analysis indicated that (1) curriculum-instruction components have been negotiated and are of contractual concern; and (2) the negotiated components represent more concern with process related curriculum-instruction components than with substance related curriculum-instruction components. The results of the leadership ratings indicated that (1) each identified curriculum-instruction component was perceived as important in negotiations by each leadership group; and (2) there is a discrepancy between the perceived importance of the identified curriculum-instruction components as negotiable items and the identified curriculum-instruction components actually negotiated in the contracts. Recommendations. A follow-up study could be undertaken in three of four years to analyze contracts to determine whether or not more or fewer of the identified curriculum-instruction components are negotiated in the contracts. Other investigations might be undertaken to increase the understanding of the issue of negotiations and curricular matters.