WILL Press Release | Five Years On: New WILL Report Looks at Act 10 and Public Schools

 In Education Reform, Press Releases, WILL News

The undertold story of how superintendents have used Act 10 to reform schools

April 19, 2016 – Milwaukee, WI – As Wisconsin reached the 5 year anniversary of Act 10, the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) has released a report documenting the many ways superintendents have used Act 10 to reform their public schools.  The fiscal successes of Act 10 have garnered significant headlines – and rightfully so.  According to the John K. MacIver Institute for Public Policy, Act 10 has saved taxpayers over $5.24 billion since 2011.

But there remains an under told story of Act 10.  With collective bargaining so limited and the unions so weakened, superintendents of public schools no longer have to seek approval from the unions to make changes to the administration of their schools.  They are free to adopt the best practices of teacher pay or classroom management, according to criteria other than the rigid policies from a union collective bargaining agreement.

WILL’s report, co-authored by CJ Szafir, Will Flanders, and Lexi Hudson, explores these Act 10 stories across the state.  Some highlights of the report include looking at:

Merit pay plans for teachers:  Cedarburg School District implemented a new of rewarding teachers through student achievement metrics and evaluations by the administration.  Similarly, Oak Creek-Franklin School District evaluates teachers based on instructional effectiveness, professionalism, and leadership – which can result in pay increases for the highest performing teachers from $78,059 to $88,304.

Beloit Turner School District has offered bonuses for teachers if their students hit certain thresholds on the WKCE and AP testing. Teacher pay increases at Appleton School District are tied to participation in professional development courses and receiving satisfactory evaluations.

New practices for hiring teachers and managing schools:  In dealing with a budget deficit, the Oconomowoc School District reduced staff by cutting 15 teaching positions according to merit and not seniority. The remaining teachers received a $14,000 pay increase to teach an additional class.  Districts, such as Menasha Public Schools and Oregon School District, fill certain teacher vacancies by paying more to attract top talent.

At many schools, “last hired, first fired” is a thing of the past.

Greater collaboration between teachers and administration:  No longer are unions the “middle man” between teachers and the school administrators.  The School District of Waukesha created a teacher advisory board to allow teachers to better communicate with administration.  The New Berlin School District boasts active consultation with school employees on the process of creating the handbook.  The Lakeside-Hartland School District established a Design Team so that teachers can have open discussions with the administration about wages, insurance, and other benefits with the administration.

The full report can be found here.

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