Talk about a Marxist mindset.
At a conference of public school funding activists in Wauwatosa on Tuesday, Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction Superintendent Tony Evers told the audience he’s not happy with competition for talent between school districts.
“In addition, especially in this part of the world, and I know you don’t want to hear it, after Act 10, the ability of districts to poach other teachers,” Evers said to over 300 attendees of the Wisconsin Public Education Network conference at Wauwatosa East High School. “I know that, probably I’m sure that, others don’t want to hear it as poaching. It’s the wild west out there.”
Before Act 10, it was very difficult for teachers to change districts. Since pay and benefits were largely based on seniority because of how the union contracts were negotiated, moving to a new district usually meant starting back at the bottom of the labor pool. This practice effectively limited the ability of good teachers to better their pay, work environment, or location.
After Act 10, it is much easier for teachers to move between districts. Act 10 created an environment where districts can recruit (or as Evers calls it, “poach”) good teachers that they need to benefit their students. The districts must recruit the good teachers with more pay, better benefits, better work conditions, etc. if they want to be successful. Act 10 has allowed for the free market to work a little more in the labor market for teachers resulting in better pay and benefits for good teachers – particularly for the teachers who teach in specialized areas.
So instead of celebrating a freer labor market that is allowing great teachers to benefit and encourage them to stay teaching, Evers wants great teachers chained to their districts with no chance of leap frogging their less talented peers. In case Evers hadn’t noticed, this is how the labor market works in 90% of the private sector.
Act 10 really had no impact on movement of teachers between districts. Prior to Act 10 teachers moved all the time for more money, better environment, better location, etc. I could name several dozen in the 10 years prior to Act 10 from our high school alone. Pay was also determined by education, a MS usually earned more than a BS, teachers with special training or hard to find degrees made more. Benefits were the same regardless of seniority. I doubt if you could find any credible proof to back up your statement.
What did happen was that larger suburban districts could and do pay more for good teachers because those districts weren’t hit as hard by the revenue caps, levy limits and cuts to school aids imposed by the legislature. Small rural districts are getting squeezed from every direction.