When You Make Working Conditions Bad For Teachers, They Don’t Want To Work In Your Schools

Weird, isn’t it?

In the six years since Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker signed the union-busting Act 10, which curtailed collective bargaining rights for public employees, the state’s labor movement has been decimated….

Now a new study highlights the unintended consequences of Act 10, which has proven catastrophic for Wisconsin’s public schools…

A new study from the left-leaning Center for American Progress (CAP) offers a new set of numbers to quantify the effects of Act 10 on public education in Wisconsin. Median compensation—salary and benefits—was $10,843 lower in the 2015-2016 school year than before Act 10, a 12.6 percent reduction

The teachers who are still working in the state are far less experienced than before Act 10. According to the report, 24.1 percent of teachers have been working for fewer than five years, a spike from 19.6 percent of teachers prior to Act 10. And those remaining teachers are shifting around within the state at a higher rate, switching school districts rather than building up local connections. The CAP study refers to other research which has concluded that most of the turnover has been people voluntarily moving on, rather than people getting fired

“Rather than encouraging the best and the brightest to become teachers and remain in the field throughout their career,” Wisconsin state Senate Democratic Leader Jennifer Shilling said during a press call on Wednesday, “Act 10 has demonized and devalued the teaching profession and driven away many good teachers. These serious implications have left schools across Wisconsin struggling to fill teaching positions.”

Meanwhile, Republican governor Scott Walker plans to run for a third term. The University of Wisconsin has seen a precipitous drop in applications for its teacher certification program:

An article by Mother Jones covering the same study cites a conversation with a professor at the University of Wisconsin teaching certification program, ranked by US News and World Report as one of the best in the country. This professor said that prior to Act 10, they would receive 300-400 applicants for their 125 openings, annually. Now they get one applicant per opening.

This is the future Republicans want (and some ‘reform’ Democrats too).

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5 Responses to When You Make Working Conditions Bad For Teachers, They Don’t Want To Work In Your Schools

  1. sethkahn says:

    This isn’t an unintended consequence. It’s precisely the ALEC playbook. Destroy public schools, then proclaim them failures so rich people can profitize them. Really it goes back further than that even: Grover Norquist’s “shrink the government ’til it drowns in the bathtub” brought to life.

  2. jonolan says:

    Two problems: One, the money previously spent didn’t buy the state anything, especially a “better” education for the kids. It never has. Two, given some of the studies and personal anecdotes I’ve encountered, it’s not often a net benefit to have a plethora of “experienced” teachers, especially not ones protected by unions. The post-five-years burnout rate and concomitant drop in teacher performance is pretty high. Younger, more idealist and enthusiastic teachers might be better in the long haul.

    • Lorax says:

      Did you feel like citing any of these studies?

      • jonolan says:

        If I can find them again, I’ll post them here. Given WordPress’ rules involving links in comments, it may take our host approval for the comment to show though and I don’t know how closely he monitors these things.

      • jonolan says:

        I can’t the original study on burnout / performance loss among teachers but here’s a similar one about pre-5-year retention rates – https://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2015337 – I believe that it’s safe to assume that, if we’re losing 17% or more before 5 years, that there’s an equal or greater number that stay but with reduced performance due to burnout or despair.

        And remember that, as I stated, some of my data is anecdotal. I got it from several teachers (k -12) that I’ve known over the years in three states, FL, MD, and NY (NYC to be specific).

        As to how much the US spends v. other developed nations – here’s an article since the source material is a 400+ page report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development – https://www.cbsnews.com/news/us-education-spending-tops-global-list-study-shows/

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