Very interesting and telling survey from the Wisconsin Association of School District Administrators that got released yesterday. Here's the major summary so you can check it out yourself, but a few key takeaways.
1. As Mike Tate and the DPW folks told us today, Walker and his honks' tired Kaukauna example has been shown to be a fraud, with increased class sizes and reduced teacher staffing. Yup, indeed it is , and looks Baraboo was also hurt on both counts by Walker's moves.
2. 82% of the districts responding reported that they lost personnel vs. last year, and nearly 2/3 of them lost teachers. Check out this map of places where teachers lost jobs, and you'll notice an interesting placement.
Note that a lot of those blue districts without teacher cutbacks seem to be clustered around the suburbs of Milwaukee and Madison, as well as a solid group in the Eau Claire/ La Crosse area. But the red, teacher-losing districts are a large amount of the rural districts outside of the Milwaukee area, as well as the big losses at MPS. Just the way Scott Walker designed it- help rich suburbs, hurt high-risk districts.
3. More than 2/5ths of the districts increased class sizes for Elementary School- the very times that they need smaller classes to allow for increased attention from teachers. At the higher grades, it's worth noting that over HALF of the districts responding cut class offerings in "career and tech" areas, and nearly half in art, music and phy.ed., choosing those cuts over "Core" areas (38%), foreign language (27%) and AP (22%).
While we need to offer classes for the college-bound in order to make our schools competitive academically, we also need to remember that employers say 600,000 manufacturing jobs are unfilled because of a lack of skills< and that "most manufacturers expect the problem to worsen in coming years." So in light of this need and Wisconsin's strongly manufacturing-based economy...Scott Walker cut school aids which cut tech school classes at the K-12 level, and also cut tech college funding by 30 percent. And sorry Scotty, tech college students are likely to be just out of high school trying to expand on their voc-ed education, and you're trying to take both of these skill-gathering chances away from young people. Completely stupid and regressive on a lot of levels.
3. Lastly, THE "TOOLS" DID NOTHING TO CHANGE WHAT SCHOOLS DID THIS YEAR. Folkbum nails this point. The last pages of the study look into districts that stayed under their old bargaining agreements, and compared them to the schools that had no contract, no bargaining rights, and could use the "tools." There was a minor increase in teacher losses for the unionized schools, and an extra increase in class size for the "tool" schools. But there was really no difference at all, and now the "tool" schools have shot their bullets before next year's cuts come in.
In other words, the tools were a gimmick that accomplished nothing except to demonize teachers, push more of them into early retirement, and discourage others from entering the profession. The only reasons you'd want that result are 1. To send Wisconsin into Idiocracy and 2. To make schools "fail" so they can be sold off to Scooter Jensen and the voucher lobby.
And that is the Walker Admin's goal on public education, make no mistake about it. Remember, and RECALL.