Thanks to Act 10, ‘the Most Sought-After School Teachers Across Wisconsin Are Now Enjoying Large Pay Raises’

Even many critics of teacher union officials give them too much credit by assuming that what they stand for, above all, is higher pay and more lavish benefits for educators.  The fact is, what top bosses of the National Education Association (NEA) union, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) union, and their state and local affiliates favor above all is making all educators dependent on their union monopoly-bargaining agent for whatever compensation they get.  Union bigwigs oppose empowering the individual teacher to earn more money through his or her own talents and efforts.

That’s one reason why NEA and AFT union political operatives are now fighting with all their might to elect a Wisconsin governor and legislators who will vote to repeal Act 10, the three-and-a-half-year-old labor policy and budgetary reform that rolled back their monopoly-bargaining privileges and wiped out their power to get educators fired for refusal to join a union or pay dues.

In a recent editorial linked below, the Wisconsin State Journal editorial page, which has long taken the peculiar stand that Act 10 must be too “polarizing” because union bosses oppose it so vociferously, acknowledges that “giving local school boards more freedom to compensate teachers” appropriately has been a boon for schoolchildren, parents, and countless thousands of educators:

[T]he most sought-after school teachers across Wisconsin are now enjoying large pay raises, signing bonuses and what some school administrators are calling “free agency.”

It’s a welcome trend toward treating educators more like the professionals they are, using performance, leadership and expertise as key factors in compensation.

That’s a better system than the old way of compensating teachers based largely on years of experience and advanced degrees.

State Journal education reporter Molly Beck reported in Sunday’s newspaper that public school teachers licensed in high-demand fields such as science, technology and engineering are being recruited and retained with financial incentives.

Oregon School District, for example, is giving its six technology education teachers $10,000 in supplemental pay annually for four years and a $2,500 annual retention bonus after that.

At the same time, more districts are changing how they pay teachers, in part because Gov. Scott Walker’s Act 10 gives school boards more freedom from union contract restrictions. Instead of paying teachers pretty much the same, based on years of service, school boards in many communities are basing compensation on performance. Teachers also can earn more for increased responsibility, leadership and special assignments.

If the national teacher union bosses’ forced dues-fueled campaign to kill Act 10 succeeds, the primary victims will be the very educators the union hierarchy purports to “represent.”

Wherever they wield monopoly-bargaining privileges and are able, effectively, to call the shots regarding how educators are compensated, teacher union bosses routinely insist on contracts that treat K-12 school employees as if they were, to quote Obama-appointed U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan (pictured), “interchangeable widgets.” But thanks to Wisconsin’s Act 10, more and more Badger State school districts are now able to reward teachers with higher pay if they have hard-to-find skills and talents. Image: