More Benefits from Wisconsin’s Collective Bargaining Curbs
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.
IN THIS ISSUE:
- NORTH CAROLINA: The state will soon hold a lottery for spots in its new voucher program. More than twice as many low-income kids applied than can get a spot.
- ALABAMA: A judge reversed a previous decision forcing a new school choice program to stay on hold until a union lawsuit against it plays out. Now kids can receive K–12 scholarships as the suit goes forward.
- 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.
- MILTON FRIEDMAN: The Nobel Prize laureate would say school choice solves the problem of coercive overtesting, two researchers conclude.
- FLORIDA: The state’s school choice program offered a young man an opportunity to dramatically turn his life around.
- ILLINOIS: Federal investigators say a Chicago-area charter school chain defrauded investors and made crony contracts.
- OKLAHOMA: Under great pressure from both sides of the debate, Gov. Mary Fallin signed a bill to repeal and replace Common Core. The state reverts to its former curriculum and testing mandates immediately while writing new ones.
- 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.
- NORTH CAROLINA: The Senate has passed a bill to replace Common Core, shortly after the House did the same. Because the two bills were different, the House must now vote on the Senate version.
- TESTS: A coalition of technology groups wants Congress to allocate $250 million to school districts to buy the tech necessary to use Common Core tests. The Obama administration already has spent more than $300 million to pay for those tests to be developed, but many schools can’t use them without buying more equipment.
- GATES FOUNDATION: The world’s largest philanthropy, which has bankrolled Common Core’s development and public relations, has announced it wants a two-year moratorium on any consequences attached to the national test results.
- CALIFORNIA: Union-demanded job protections for teachers stick poor and minority kids with worse learning opportunities, a judge rules. The ruling could set a precedent for similar court cases across the nation in future years.
- KANSAS: The state board of education will let schools hire teachers who have expertise in their subject area but not a teaching credential.
- EDTECH: President Barack Obama promised schools $1 billion in tech donations from companies. Where is it?
- NEW MEXICO: State officials are scrutinizing cronyism in education contracting after a top official was caught sending tax money to her company.
- CALIFORNIA: Unions try to fend off a charter-school-friendly Democratic candidate for state superintendent.
- PENNSYLVANIA: Lawmakers are considering a bill that would let school districts hire and fire by teacher quality rather than years on the job.
- ARIZONA: The state could be $1.7 billion in the hole, thanks to a school finance lawsuit demanding more money for charter schools and school districts.
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