Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Walker's WI Act 10 destroyed the teaching profession

[September, 2, 2020 Update] - The dramatic cuts to public school funding in Wisconsin which Walker and GOP legislators still ruining things had inflicted on education may make the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic worse in freshly lean times, a new study has found.
"Because K-12 education is the single largest category of general purpose revenue spending in the budget, it may be difficult for state leaders to avoid contemplating cuts in this area," the report said. "However, as they do so, they should consider Wisconsin's spending trends relative to the nation over the last decade."
[Updated several times from 9/1/17] 

The Journal Sentinel today, 6/10/19, documents the devastating exodus of educators from Milwaukee Public Schools since Act 10. Remember this the next time you hear Walker or his drones tout Act 10, which was disingenuously pitched as cost-cutting when, in reality, it was an attack on collective bargaining rights for partisan, power-holding purposes, with damage to children's learning its consequences and his toxic legacy.

MPS has been particularly hard hit. It saw a net loss of 730 teachers between 2010 and 2014, according to a 2015 report by the Public Policy Forum. In addition, more than 1,600 resigned, retired or were dismissed in the last four years alone, the district said. The district has 330 vacant positions, 268 of them for teachers. 
The net effect, teachers say, is a hodgepodge system in which students are taught by fledgling teachers on emergency licenses, or teachers aides and subs — if schools can get them. And when they can’t, full-time teachers take turns filling in during their prep periods, or they bring those students into their own classrooms.
I have heard these accounts from teachers for years since Act 10; now we have the data. And while Republicans have restored some of the money they and Walker stripped from state public schools, none of the bargaining rights and other incentives that could attract and retain teachers have been returned. 

You wonder why the state's growth remained in the lower third nationally for Walker's eight years in office? Look no further than what he did to public education here.

For the record, this posting is the most-downloaded item I have posted among nearly 20,000 on this blog since 2007.  People can deeply about their children's education and are attracted to information that can move issues forward.

The divide-and-conquer sneaky, partisan and giddily disrespectful Walker "dropped the bomb" on the teaching profession, and the consequences are unfolding:
After Act 10 was passed, [teacher] Ferrell-Huber found herself emotionally burned-out and unsure of the future in a state she tells TODAY'S TMJ4 she felt no longer respected her. That's when Ferrell-Huber walked away. She's just one in a trend of fewer teachers in Wisconsin.
"The problem is that the pipeline behind them isn't filled," said Alan Shoho, the Dean of the School of Education at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He said the school's enrollment is down from historical numbers. He tells us jobs that once had 120 candidates before Act 10 now fall closer to 20.
"We can talk about compensation, we can talk about working conditions, but I boil it down to this one word and it's respect," he said. He feels the lack of respect has caused detrimental changes in teacher education.
Is this where the Foxconn workforce wants to raise the kids?

Where government pits educators against parents, conservationists against business and blue-collar workers against public employees?

Here's a summary post with more than 325 links to Foxconn stories, items and commentaries.

9/4 Update: Walker has claimed that his proposed 2017-'19 state budget contains an historic increase in education funding - - a claim rated "mostly false" by Politifact - - and the sum for schools which he has proposed to add does not fully replace education dollars he he'd previously cut from state budgets as part of his attack on teaching and teachers:
In the second year of the biennium, the state’s share of K-12 funding will rise to 64.6 percent (the rest comes from property taxes and federal aid). That’s the highest since 2009 after dropping below 62 percent in 2012, when Walker cut $782 million from public schools — which was largely absorbed by teachers forced to pay higher pension and health insurance premiums.
9/6 Update - - Walker takes to Twitter to amplify an education record filled with whitewash and distortion. 

9/27/17 Update - - Walker vetoed from the budget an Assembly provision that would have added revenue to lower-income school districts. His real motivation was to punish Assembly leaders for having held up the budget. Talk about a vindictive politician.

Again, who pays the price?


Lissa said...

I think that well sums up my feelings, and rather than continue on, I left six years before Zi had planned

Anonymous said...

Ferrell-Huber is one of thousands of teachers who have fled Walker's Wisconsin since Act 10. Across wide swaths of bright red Walker's Wisconsin, teachers are literally hated by a majority of the residents. For at least 85% of the school districts in Wisconsin, teaching is nothing but a low paying dead end job where top teacher pay is $5,000-$10,000 above paltry starting salaries of $35,000-$43,000 per year.

Act 10 will have cost my family nearly $250,000 in lost earnings by the time I will be eligible to retire. In addition, I, my wife, and my children have been stigmatized as the "most hated people in town" by the hatred for teachers that Scott Walker and the Wisconsin GOP has encouraged. As I have done for the past seven years, I actively encourage young teachers to flee Walker's Wisconsin within their first 5 years of their career. As I tell them, "The longer you stay (in Wisconsin) the more your career will pay". I'm happy to say that all of my student teachers (math teachers) are now teaching outside Walker's Wisconsin.

To say that Walker's Wisconsin is the Mississippi of the Midwest is an unnecessary slur against Mississippi. Teachers in Mississippi earn somewhat better wages than in Walker's Wisconsin AND are respected for helping communities, not demonized as the most hated people in town.

Jake formerly of the LP said...

Where do you teach/live, if you're OK with telling us. Mostly so we can try to avoid spending money in such a hateful cesspool.

James' point is a good one. If the Fox-con is to have any chance of working, they have to attract workers who want to get paid and live in SE Wis. Why would anyone with,options do that when they can go 9ther places where they can get paid more, with better schools and a better quality of life?

Anonymous said...

There are lots of people in this country with jobs and salaries that "dead-end" around $45-60,000/year with half the benefits that educators enjoy, and more stress. Educators have demonized themselves by showing the residents of WI that they don't care one iota about their kids, they only care about what they believe is owed to them. When they don't get it, they walk away. Not a great example to show our young minds - when things get tough, just complain a lot and then give up. Can't respect that mindset.

Anonymous said...

Educators have demonized themselves? No. And how many of the dead-end jobs you are talking about require advanced degrees and continuing education every year? I'm not a teacher but I can see teachers are no longer respected. The school boards have control over class size, salary and benefits. Teachers used to be able negotiate contracts and demand control over some aspects of classroom climate. Now the Boards, some reactionary, control that. Some school environments are untenable and so teachers leave. I don't blame them. I have a dead-end job but I chose it knowing that. Teachers went to college, trained and had some expectation that they would have control over their careers. The rug was pulled out from under them and they are leaving for greener pastures. Good on them. Some would argue that that is capitalism.

Jake formerly of the LP said...

People who chose a career, then had 21st Century greed screw them over, and they decided to whine and bi*ch instead of get up off their,knees and deal with it?

That does sound like every mediocre white guy in a dead-end town with a dead-end life that voted for Walker and Trump, doesn't it? Boy, you sure showed us who didn't peak at Age 18, didn't ya?


Anonymous said...

Total crap.

Anonymous said...

Hey are you Jake from State Farm?

Unknown said...

Those great benefits you're talking about take 1/4th of my salary to pay for each payday, with copays for everything. Stress??? Sweetie, you have no idea what stress is until you work 10 to 12 hours a day, each school day. Plus, at least 4 more at home on the weekend. Many times giving up time with your own family to complete the paperwork demanded by the school.
Stress us hoping you don't catch wht the students have because it's rasier to come in than to do all the paperwork and grief from administration. Stress is not seeing a raise for 3 years straight and when you finally get one it's about 1 penny but you find your pay check goobled up even more because your insurance payments went up.
Teachers do more than you will ever realize. Come teach for a month, then tell me I'm whining, tell me I have great benefits, and then go to school in the keep up on changes in the curriculum or to kerp your license.
Stop your trolling on teachers, do something; be a volunteer, a teacher yourself...

Anonymous said...

Most teachers are dealing with it, by leaving the state or the profession.

The cook said...

Welcome to the real world. The only difference between your job and mine is that I'm not locked in a room full of disrespectful little brats - and for that I am grateful. But all that other stuff - long days, continuing ed, work weekends, pay ALL of health insurance - just real-world stuff. And we work 250 days a year....

Anonymous said...

My name is Ann Conway and I’ve been a Racine homeowner and taxpayer for 40 years. I was a highly rated teacher employee of the district for 19 years.
I was diagnosed in 2003 with an “allergy to mold and hypersensitivity to fragrances/chemicals”, a result of my work as a kindergarten teacher in the basement of the old Knapp Elementary. I requested, but was denied, workplace accommodations guaranteed under the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act. I was ordered by management to file Worker’s Compensation and be examined by their independent medical examiner and did so. I was denied Worker’s Compensation. I did not find out until 2008 that the WC doctor had decided in my favor in his 2004 report stating that I was “partially and permanently disabled” and that the district had “CAUSED my illness”. In 2011, water leakage from the Giese roof ended in my being diagnosed with 80 new allergies. My Worker’s Compensation case was reopened. In November of 2013 the district paid 16k of taxpayer money as penalty for illegally denying me Worker’s Compensation back in 2004.
I had been harassed repeatedly by the Knapp principal and this was reported to HR by a kindergarten colleague in 2004. When I transferred to Schulte from Knapp, I was denied the right to refer students for special education testing (locating and identifying special education students is a requirement of my job). The harassment which occurred before school had even started at Giese in 2006 was so extreme that I filed a federal EEOC complaint. In 2011, A “first year” principal was hired for Giese who would not allow me to file special education referrals, refused to address safety issues, and provided false information to parents and staff. None of these principals were investigated or disciplined by district management.
I did not discover until 2015 that the district, while claiming to “voluntarily” enter into an EEOC settlement for accommodations in 2007 was actually doing so to cover up their failure to follow ADA & WC law. There is now documentation that Racine Unified’s attorney responded to EEOC charges in 2007 by claiming the district had provided accommodations but that I had “turned them down” while the Giese principal’s 2006 notes show that she had denied accommodations and had ordered my “No Fragrance” signs torn from my kindergarten classroom walls.
I attempted to file two special education referrals during the 2012-2013 school year; one for speech and one for behavior. I had worked only 10 weeks of the year when the principal filed false charges against me; he said I was a danger to children because he claimed I sought to “have all my students labeled disabled and placed on medication”. In April, 2013, management requested I, now labeled a dangerous employee, substitute teach throughout the end of the school year, a position in which I would be not be allowed my agreed upon ADA accommodations
My written responses to the charges against me were purposely withheld from the School Board by HR. I was harassed outside my home. Not a single school board member was in attendance at my August, 2013, “Board of Education Non-renewal hearing” in which HR lied multiple times under oath and throughout testimony. When I ordered and paid for court transcripts, I found that management perjury had been deleted as had significant amounts of key testimony from trial.
One such piece of missing information was the announcement that WI DPI had investigated my February, 2013, claim and found that management had violated the I.D.E.A. rights of both of the students that I had attempted to refer that school year. In doing the job I was hired to do, I repeatedly exposed that management was not doing theirs. District management spent hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars in attorney and other fees over the course of 10 years to cover up their own bad behavior. They failed to follow state and federal law, violated student and employee rights and were willing to engage in felonies including perjury and fraud to hide this. Surely such behavior warrants investigation

Jake formerly of the LP said...

And you resent people who demand more than that lousy life, and you don't have a problem with a college dropout and lifetime political hack denigrating their career choices?

Sounds like you should demand more of yourself, and sounds like you're not understanding who the bad guys are in this situation.

Anonymous said...

Scott Walker & his GOP allies legitimized hatred of teachers throughout the state of Wisconsin. I tell young colleagues that if they want to find a good school district to work in, look at a voting map of Wisconsin. With a few exceptions, the redder the county, the worse place to live and work as a teacher.

After 30+ years of enjoying work as a math teacher, I will soon be retiring from teaching in Wisconsin. We are selling our home and joining the teacher "Wagon Train" heading down Hwy 29 to the much greener pastures of Minnesota. Minnesota school districts actively recruit Wisconsin teachers, especially experienced teachers. Even with 30+ years of teaching experience, my passion to teach kids math, from students who struggle with algebra, to the high flyers who take AP Calculus, I enjoy making math fun and understandable for these kids. I love teaching and working with the students, just can't stand being the target of so much hatred in Wisconsin. My youngest children will finish high school in one of Minnesota's (still) top ranked school districts.

After 30+ years of teaching in rural Wisconsin, and a Master's degree in mathematics, I make just over $63,000 per year. I haven't had a raise since Act 10, and my salary has effectively gone down by about 17% due to higher co-pays and other state-mandated cuts. Still, I'm lucky compared to the bleak future of newer teachers in Wisconsin.

New teachers in my district will never make over $50,000 per year at any point in their career. With starting salaries of $30,000 and ten year veteran teachers not even making $40,000/year, there is a constant exodus of younger teachers in my district. My district has had teachers quit mid-month to accept a new better paying job. The hatred for teachers has made teaching just a job in Wisconsin, not a profession any longer. As parents in Wisconsin schools are learning, there is a difference in quality between teachers who view their work as "just a job" rather than a profession. With school opening tomorrow, our district and districts around us are still advertising on WECAN for openings in special ed, tech ed, family and consumer science, science, and mathematics. Three of the (many) teachers my district lost this summer joined the teacher "Wagon Train" down Hwy 29 to the promised land of Minnesota.

Young teachers often ask, "When will the pendulum swing back" and the awful treatment of teachers in Wisconsin improve again? I tell them that in a state consumed by hatred, especially teachers who were the original targets of the right wing hate machine, I don't think that the pendulum ever will "swing back" because hatred for teachers is the foundation of mainstream culture in so many communities across Wisconsin. Better to leave Wisconsin than to wait for the pendulum to "swing back".

Human said...

Ellen J has said it all.

Human said...

Ellen J speaks the truth!

Anonymous said...

I think people will work there no matter what. As far as management's children? They will attend private school on the taxpayers dimes (vouchers).

Anonymous said...

If teachers have it so good, go to school to become one, go into big debt, get a teaching job (good luck paying off that debt), and then let us know if you feel the same way! I am positive your ignorant assumptions will change!

Anonymous said...

My wife is a teacher and I feel so bad for her everyday. The districts do nothing in supporting discipline on students who need it. Kids are allowed to say and do whatever they want in the classroom with little to no consequences due to the fact that parents will sue over every little thing. Don't get paid for overtime for all the weekly meetings, conferences, after school activities. Stress? That's being a teacher in a nutshell. And that's just looking at it from the outside. Pay? She has her masters degree. I work in manufacturing with no college degree and only make 3500 hundred less than her a year?! There is no reason I should be making as much as her! She's been teaching for over 10 years and I've been where I am for 3. She's lost count of the people who have left teaching just for the lack of support on kids behavior issues.

Middle class guy said...

I was an educator in Wisconsin for 30 years. I now teach in Illinois. Left because Act 10 was a 12 percent hit on my take home pay followed but two years of no raises. Hard to lose your standard of living.

Anonymous said...

Here's Why Walker's Wisconsin is the WORST State in America to be a K12 Teacher

Walker's Wisconsin is: 
* One of only 6 states in America where teachers do not have the right to collectively bargain over benefits, working conditions, and all aspects of pay.
* One of only 3 states in America where there are no tenure protections for experienced teachers. Almost every teacher in Wisconsin is now what was known as a probationary teacher before Act 10  for their entire career and can be fired without a defensible reason.
* The ONLY state in America where all teachers have no tenure protections AND do not have the right to collectively bargain for fair treatment or reasonable job security.
The toxic combination of no state tenure protections and being stripped of the core rights to collectively bargain has resulted in:
* Many experienced teachers being laid off, non-renewed, or forced to resign without recourse. In addition to creating a separate but unequal state-wide voucher school program, Scott Walker has cut over 3 BILLION dollars in funding to Wisconsin's public schools. As a candidate for President, Walker bragged that his laws encouraged Wisconsin school districts to fire teachers.
* Wisconsin ACT scores are FALLING as experienced teachers who have been non-renewed and terminated since Act 10 are replaced by inexperienced and sometimes uncertified teachers. Faced with increasingly severe shortages of physics, mathematics, computer science, technical education, and special education teachers, Govenor Walker & Republican legislators are working to lower teacher licensing requirements to allow people with no teacher training to teach in Wisconsin's public schools.  
* Gutting of 50 years of improvements to compensation, benefits, and workload gained through collective bargaining. Many school districts have eliminated salary schedules and benefits negotiated in good faith prior to Act 10. Teachers in Walker's Wisconsin are experiencing working conditions that most states left behind in the 1930's. 
* Teachers with decades of excellent service have been forced out based on ONE parent complaint. In Walker's Wisconsin, there have been instances where even one parent allegation or complaint has resulted in a teacher being suspended and recommended for termination.

True Independent said...

The Walker administration has treated the majority of state employees the same way. This was consistent with his campaign promises. Elections have consequences. As one of the previous commenters said, the "pendulum has swung" and will not swing back quickly. I would not blame the "hate machine" but lack of union jobs, less prevailing wage rate work, bad farm and small business income, the deep recession and the old Charlie Sykes.

Anonymous said...

10-12 hr days? My neighbor is a teacher, she leaves home at 7:45 and is home by 4pm.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Ellen J. I was one of those teachers that left. Thank you Walker. I invited any one that thought we had it so good, to follow me for A day. Interestingly I had no takers. I loved my years as a teacher.
That is until Walker...He has done more to hurt Wisconsin education than anyone in History.

classichammond said...

So the previous poster stands next to her neighbor and watches as she doesn't grade papers, do homework for the required further education, or works an additional job after having the severe paycuts walker instituted. Class sizes have increased due to budget cuts and still the walker teacher shortage is looming. This shortage will appear first in math, science, and special ed. But to some these courses are unimportant, or so it seems. Wisconsin historically was first or second in ACT/SAT scores FOR DECADES. Watch as your children's education levels diminish. Keep in mind it will take years to see a trend, as it takes awhile for the "good" teachers to leave. But it will come, and has already begun. Then ponder the pathway back to excellent education.....which requires exemplary educators......that will have to be imported from states that still value education such as Minnesota. Because, guess what, the educators can't be educated in a state lacking quality Teaches! 4 years ago I left a district of 430 teachers. Every teacher who was 57 had left, most of whom would have worked another 5 to 8 years. These are the teachers that take the new people under their wing.....or use to....with tenure being pulled, who would help someone making half of what you do that could take your job. Simply look at how teachers are treated down south, then look at their results. Try North Carolina, where a district with 28 high schools, has NO physics certified teachers, but what physicist works for 40K a year? Then look at their dismal SAT ratings. Wisconsin is becoming the new south. And that's hardly a compliment.

Anonymous said...

Anon Sept 5, 10:10 pm your teacher neighbor might be home from work at 4 pm because many districts have rules about who can be in the buildings after school is over. Where I live, teachers have to be out of the building 30 minutes after the school day unless they are being paid for extra curricular activities. They are given 30 minutes so they can work with students for a limited time after school but then they and students have to be out. So don't judge your neighbor unless you know.

Anonymous said...

According to this article, there used to be 120 applicants for a teaching job. That's just far more than needed. According to this article, we still get 20 applicants for a teaching job. That is hardly a shortage. Those who left the profession or now teach elsewhere are fine to have done so. I hope they find success and happiness wherever they ended up. But the facts are, they have been replaced, and according to the department of public instruction, our school achievement hasn't suffered. I think all this means this change was net positive. We have saved money, teachers who otherwise wefe unemployed have found work, and presumably those who left have landed somewhere else and are doing fine. I'm sure there are a few who were impacted negatively, but for the majority, act 10 has proven to be beneficial. The numbers and data dont lie. Act 10 might be one of the few good things Walker did.

Anonymous said...

Act 10 has been a disaster for every teacher in Walker's Wisconsin. The ignorant attitude of the poster at 7:23PM is another example of the low information Stand With Walker supporter.

ACT scores have been dropped off the cliff in Wisconsin in the years since Act 10. Before Walker "dropped the bomb" on teachers, Wisconsin's ACT scores were tops in the United States for 30 years. Now we're in the middle of the pack, about 25th highest, and dropping every year.

Today, there are still nearly 1000 unfilled full time teaching positions in Wisconsin's public schools posted on WECAN. Plus at least 400 "emergency certified" teachers where a 1st grade teacher is teaching high school physics somewhere.

I would be just fine with the 7:23PM poster being taught by unqualified teachers who have emergency certification to enable a school district to have a "body" in the classroom, but I wouldn't want my own children to suffer that fate. That's why I successfully encouraged all my adult children to leave Walker's Wisconsin once they graduated college to begin their families in a state that values high quality public education.

The "Stand With Walker" poster at 7:23PM is a perfect example of why "Friends Don't Let Friends Teach in Wisconsin".

Ken Mobile said...

It is very sad and troubling of the decline of public education in Wisconsin. Act 10 has also effected other public workers. Wisconsin Dept. of Corrections prior to act 10 was running a 2% vacancy rate, now it’s at 30% essentially make our prisons increasingly dangerous to work in. Causing officers and Sgts. to work mandatory overtime and sometimes 3 to 4 16 hour workdays weekly.

Anonymous said...

I had worked for the school district I live in as support staff in the food service program for 17 years. That year Scott Walker was elected governor and was the first year we didn't receive any kind of raise. The raises were small usually just a few cents but always welcomed. We were told raises would come according to merit then. I kept questioning who was going to determine who got the raises. Not a single person could answer me and of course no raises. We worked harder and harder. That last year I worked I fell 3 times because I was running around so crazy. I said to my husband is it worth $10,000-$11,000 a year to get hurt. He told me to just quit then. So, after 18 years I left the job I loved. I would probably still be there if things hadn't changed so radically. You could just see and feel the mood and tension throughout the district after Scott Walker was elected.

We had 5 kids get their education through this district. We were very involved in their education while they were in school. Pretty much everyone knew us and we knew them. We also had quite a few relatives in the teaching profession. People in education are very dedicated to their jobs and work hard and long hours.

All of our kids received excellent educations and are doing very well at this time. We love public education!

We know people that have left the state for teaching jobs and some have chosen totally different careers now.

It just saddens me to think of the changes that had occurred. How much has been lost and how long it will take to get it back or if we will ever get back what was lost.