Boots & Sabers

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0659, 07 Sep 15

On WPR to Talk About the Teacher Shortage

From 0700 to 0730 today. We’ll be referencing my column from last week.

Tune in!


0659, 07 September 2015


  1. Kevin Scheunemann

    Only liberals make this into something that sounds like crisis (when it isn’t).

    If school district thinks its short on teachers, there is one sure solution: raise wages offered more than other districts.

    That does not need to happen because there is not a shortage, except maybe MPS. We all know MPS is a liberals in control management problem.

    The only thing that will save MPS, is abolishing MPS.

  2. old baldy


    You obviously have never been involved with education nor a member of a school board. Your recommendation, “raise wages offered more than other districts”, may work in the private sector, but won’t in school districts hamstrung by the current administration. They can’t increase the levy, and are getting massive cuts from state aids. Where do you suppose the extra money to pay that teacher will come from ? Cut somebody else? Eliminate math?

    Our rural district just found out last friday that a tech teacher was leaving in a couple weeks for the private sector. The new employer paid the contract penalty of $1500 to get them to leave. Now we are stuck in trying to find a qualified teacher in 2 weeks. Do you propose for us to out bid another district for a teacher?

  3. Kevin scheunemann


    Obvious answer is to consolidate positions and increase class size in a short term as a fast solution.

    Long term answer is technology. Have rock star teachers simulcast subjects from other districts. However, the public school monopoly has been slow to embrace that kind of change.

    The 19th century school model for kids to sit still in an esoteric room for a factory job is outdated. We should quit talking about tweaking the model. It needs to be completely thrown out and reset.

    So your point of view is merely tweaking the outdated monopoly.

    I propose more radical change which includes much more technological innovation and only the best teachers remain….and they get paid much more for wider distribution of their service like movie stars.

    I don’t deny government dysfunction stunts needed school change on multiple levels.

  4. old baldy


    I’ll stand by my earlier statement: You know absolutely nothing about K-12 education in a small district in rural WI. How would you consolidate classes when this teacher was the only one in that subject area? We could have 100 students in a class and it wouldn’t help, long or short term..

    And we also already have “rock star teachers simulcast subjects from other districts”, and have done so for over 20 years. You really need to keep up with the times..

  5. Kevin Scheunemann


    Well, you did not specifiy any specific rural issue in your comment.

    It’s great that the “simulcast” tech is being embraced allowing districts to cut positions. It needs to be done faster with more far reaching effect. That would also solve the problem you specify. Although it takes planning. Sounds like we have common ground there. (but since I don’t know anything, common ground risks you not knowing anything as well…)

    Personally, the tech should have evolved to such a point that school buildings, with posible exception of athletic facilities, should be obsolete in the future. This is what would have happened in a true competitive education environment.

    If student can get lesson at home through technology, do we even need the classroom?

  6. old baldy


    I suspect we have little, if any, “common ground” between us. You certainly have a utopian view of education, but obviously little hands-on experience. While you may be able to teach English via a simulcast, it is impossible to learn MIG welding or tractor maintenance via a TV set.

  7. Fairs Fare

    I tuned in. Unfortunately, you didn’t add much beyond what was in your column. I thought maybe the host would have you cite your sources or maybe challenge some of your assertions. You made reference to calculus as one of the upper end classes where a shortage is seen. However, if we look at the West Bend School District they list four licensed teacher vacancies: H.s. Science, middle school science, chemistry and title 1 reading and math. 4 substitute positions: math, social studies, German and unspecified. Also, 1 student teacher. Out of all of these positions only chemistry would qualify as an example of an upper end/specialized subject area similar to calculus. After reviewing other districts and there vacancies i am finding it difficulty confirming your claim. Can you please provide me the source or sources you used to reach this conclusion? Or was this simply your opinion?

  8. Dan

    As someone who actually has taught in a rural school district (School District of Westfield in Marquette County)they do not have 100 kids in a class and they treat their employees well that there is very little turnover of teachers, much less than the average urban or suburban school district.
    They know how to hire teachers and know where the demand for classes is.
    Yes, they won’t have 5 kids taking Advanced basket weaving class but if they need to offer a class or courses in farm science because 100 kids want to take the course,they will.
    And if kids want to take welding or some other class like that, then they cooperate with other school districts to offer the course, contract with the local community college or they just may not offer the class. And if it’s a welding experience they want, they just may learn how to weld down on the farm.
    And if they want to learn tractor maintenance, I don’t know how many rural schools actually offer it, but it is very few districts, if any. That’s more of a community college course. And again, if a kid wants to learn it, then they learn it at home.
    While Kevin may have a utopian view of education, you have clue when it comes to rural education.

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