This week, with Labor Day and the beginning of the school year, it is a good time to remember that the GOP and former Gov. Scott Walker’s passage of Act 10 decimated the profession of teaching in Wisconsin.
Now, the state is seeing a massive teacher shortage. Since the passage of Act 10 in 2011, teachers have received far lower pay, faculty turnover rates have increased, and teachers have fewer years of experience. Before the passage of Act 10, only 15% of teachers over 55 retired in a given year. Now, it is 30% a year.
And while retirements increase, fewer college students are pursuing careers as teachers, with statewide enrollment in teacher training programs down 33% from 2012.
In the Milwaukee area alone, there are over 2,000 reported teaching jobs unfilled. And rural school districts report an inability to keep teachers on staff.
Who can blame them? Just five years after Act 10, average teacher pay in the state had dropped by over $10,000, with Wisconsin dropping to 33rd in the nation for teacher pay.
We need to elect politicians who are going to repeal the union-busting Act 10, so that teachers can organize as the professionals they are. We need elected officials who will raise teacher pay and increase school resources.
Our teachers deserve better because our children deserve better.
— By William Garcia, chair of the La Crosse County Democratic Party