Public education is sure to undergo many changes in the next few years, given the present discontent with student performance. The collective bargaining process will have to change simultaneously if it is to continue to play an influential role in education. William G. Keane, a Michigan public school superintendent for 23 years, recently noted that
Collective bargaining for educators is almost certainly entering a very different era. The economic, political, and social contexts in which American public education will operate in the future are unlikely to be anything like the environment of the past 30 years. As an artifact of the present educational system, collective bargaining will have to change with the system itself or become a useless and irrelevant appendage.2
It is through understanding how collective bargaining works that participants in the process can ensure that the focus remains on what is best for individual teachers, administrators, and students. Recent changes in Michigan law now give school boards and teachers more opportunity to effectively direct school operations with student achievement as the priority.