More Benefits from Wisconsin’s Collective Bargaining Curbs

More Benefits from Wisconsin’s Collective Bargaining Curbs
June 11, 2014

Joy Pullmann

Joy Pullmann is a research fellow on education policy for The Heartland Institute and managing... (read full bio)

School Choice Weekly #40

The law that brought labor unions nearly to riot through the Wisconsin capitol continues to benefit students even now, three years after its passage. Teachers union contracts are not subject to the law until they expire, so the measure will continue to have rolling effects as that happens. Recently, the law’s effects in two of Wisconsin’s largest districts, Madison and Kenosha, were in the news.

In Madison, the district used Act 10 to bargain its union into allowing the district to hire the best teacher for the job rather than having to hire the in-district teachers who had been laid off. Ryan Ekvall at Wisconsin Reporter has the story:

Madison Teachers Inc. agreed to a contract Wednesday that backed down from its longstanding insistence the district consider only internal candidates until openings couldn’t be filled.

“What we’re trying to do is see what we can do to raise achievement for all kids in the Madison school district,” said James Howard, vice president of the school board. “We want to make sure we have the ability to hire the best possible candidates.”

In the past, the district had the ability to hire teachers from outside the district and could offer bonuses of up to $5,000. The internal hiring requirement, however, often meant that by the late summer when the district was allowed to look elsewhere the best outside candidates were working for other districts.

Madison is not the only school district with more tools to improve instruction thanks to Act 10. In Kenosha, the district has settled a lawsuit charging it made an agreement with the local union that violates Act 10. The contract would have given teachers an extra $1.65 million in bonus pay, shrunk their hours from 8 to 7.5 per day, had the district collect dues for the union, and required non-union teachers to pay union fees.

When teachers unions are required to defend their demands in public, they tend to lose. That also recently happened in union-controlled California, where a judge agreed that union-demanded tenure and teacher assignments sent the worst teachers to kids who need the most help. What kids need are laws like Act 10 that force unions to show the public what they’re currently nabbing behind closed doors.



School Choice Roundup

  • DELAWARE: Lawmakers will consider a bill to give families education savings accounts that can pay for myriad education expenses, including but not limited to tuition. The bill gives more money to poorer families.

Common Core Watch

  • SOUTH CAROLINA: Gov. Nikki Haley signed a bill to replace Common Core, making it the second state to do so, after Indiana. Oklahoma’s similar decision makes three states to reject the national mandates.

Education Today

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Joy Pullmann

Joy Pullmann is a research fellow on education policy for The Heartland Institute and managing... (read full bio)