Boots & Sabers

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1739, 06 Nov 19

Act 10 Causing Fewer People to Become Teachers?

I love how the reporter just throws that in there:

The teaching industry has faced multiple obstacles with less applicants entering the field to fill open positions at school districts. Statewide the number of applicants completing a teacher prep institution has fallen 35% since 2010 and the nation has similar numbers, said Director of Teacher Education, Professional Development and Licensing David DeGuire, who works with the Department of Public Instruction. The University of Wisconsin System assigned a task force to examine the issue more closely, he said.

There are many reasons for the decrease, including a tight labor market, the passing of Act 10, the amount of workload pushed onto teachers and a change in how people respect and see the profession.

Try to reconcile the two phrases in bold. So if the entire nation is seeing a similar decline in people wanting to be teachers, how is Act 10 – which is only applicable in Wisconsin – a factor in that? Did the reporter read her own story?

The truth is rooted in the other causes. The booming labor market makes teaching less attractive. When unemployment is 10% or more, teaching is a great job with a very low risk of being fired. When unemployment is 4% or less, other career choices look more attractive.

Also, the push to use schools as social justice laboratories instead of centers of education is likely pushing teachers out. True educators want to do that – educate. They don’t want to be used to try to fix all of the social ills in society.


1739, 06 November 2019


  1. dad29

    “Social justice centers…”

    The highly-motivated educator also likes to issue grades based on reality–i.e., valid tests and quizzes, not ‘advance them regardless.’

    War zones are not attractive, either.

  2. MjM

    ‘“I can tell you that historically when the labor market is tight, schools have challenges finding teachers because teachers can generally make more money if they go into other fields,” he said. ‘

    But ACT10!!!

    ‘“Some of the research I have read shows teachers make about 20% less on average than their peers who have the same bachelor’s degree but go into other fields.”’

    ~sigh~ Perhaps because teachers work 25% less.

  3. Mark Hoefert

    Those articles seem to write themselves – repeat the same old tropes, update with a few new people with anecdotal information that supports the narrative.  Kind of like the rooster who thinks he is responsible for the sun coming up, because it does every time he crows.

    The Wisconsin Center for Education Research did a 2018 paper on Supply & Demand for Public School Teachers in Wisconsin.

    Only things that can be attributed to Act 10 is that after passage there was a big uptick in retirements (teachers who retired out) & inter-district mobility (teachers who stayed in the profession but changed employers).

    Retirements peaked in 2011 (Act 10). Lowest level occurred in 2014 (compared to pre Act 10 back to 2002).   2015 there was another uptick in retirements, but still below pre Act 10.  Some of the spike may have been due to potential changes in insurance provided to retirees.  Standardized testing & teacher accountability efforts were also kicking up at that time – not Act 10 related, driven by Dept. of Education mandates – since then those efforts have kind of taken a back seat.   Seems like the current philosophy of the Dept. of Education is to let the local level sort it out.  Wisconsin Retirement pensions are market sensitive – might have been some that were waiting for a better market to exit.

    It is inter-district mobility that started trending upward after Act 10. It is responsible for the increased need for recruiting, but not indicative of a teacher shortage.  As noted in the article, it contributes to extra recruiting efforts over the summer and into the start of the school year, because during that time teachers have taken jobs in other school districts.

    Here is the full study – it’s a big read. Page 7 is the section on Act 10/retirements/inter-district mobility.  Other sections deal with types of teachers needed & geography.

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