Friday, September 2, 2011

Teachable Moment

An unprecedented number of teachers in Wisconsin are choosing to retire rather than work under the new anti-union rules promoted by Gov. Scott Walker.

According to documents obtained by the Associated Press, about double the number of Wisconsin public school teachers have retired this year when compared to the past two years, before Scott Walker’s anti-union law — which stripped away most collective-bargaining rights for public-sector unions, and required greater contributions by public employees for their healthcare and pensions — was ever proposed or much less passed.

“It wouldn’t make sense for me to teach one more year and basically lose $8,000,” said Green Bay teacher Ginny Fleck, age 69, who has 30 years of experience.

The retirement request records obtained by the AP show overall public employee retirements have been double that of 2009 or 2010, totaling 9,933 retirements, including 4,935 school district employees, and 1,091 University of Wisconsin System employees.

If this is Gov. Walker’s idea of creating more jobs in his state, it’s a rather stupid way of doing it.

Of course, the ones who will really pay for this are the kids. Good teachers are hard to come by no matter what; after all, it takes real dedication to put up with the hours, the low pay, and the maddening lack of support from the state that keeps demanding more results with less resources. So this just makes a bad situation worse. But hey, they’re saving money, and that’s all that matters, right?