Will Teachers Desert Wisconsin?

Many teachers say they feel undervalued. And statistics show turnover of teachers and a reduction in education candidates.

By - Jul 16th, 2015 12:11 pm
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Rufus King. Photo by Christopher Hillard.

Rufus King. Photo by Christopher Hillard.

To Loribeth Chenault, a Milwaukee Public Schools English teacher at Hamilton High School, the public’s perception of teachers has changed dramatically since the passage of Act 10. Whereas in 2008, at the start of her career, she brushed off an occasional anti-teacher comment, she now hears similar sentiments expressed on a regular basis. “It’s all become rather hostile,” she says. “It is almost like anyone who finds you’re a teacher suddenly feels obligated to comment on your work ethic.”

Chenault is among many teachers who feel undervalued or discouraged about their profession today. There are also signs of increasing teacher turnover in some districts and a decline in the number of students enrolling in education programs. If that continues, it could be a problem for Wisconsin.

Stefanie Klopp, a teacher at Fernwood Public Montessori, another MPS school, had no sense of what the public thought of teachers back when she started teaching (also in 2008), because she really never heard any comments. That is, until Act 10 passed, which she believes prodded people to speak out about their negative opinions of teachers and public schools. “Whatever was hiding under the surface seems now to be worn as a badge of honor by those who have strong opinions against public schools,” she says.

John Jacobson, the Social Studies Chairperson at Shorewood High School, was taken aback by the hostility toward teachers that has arisen in recent years, and thinks Act 10 gave those feelings a platform. “I frankly never expected to be part of any public hostility,” he notes, “but Act 10 demonstrated just how naïve I was.”

In many cases the opinions stem from a lack of understanding of what teachers actually do. One of the biggest frustrations felt by the teachers is people’s misconceptions about their work and how they are paid. “People believe we get paid for 12 months while only working 10 months,” Klopp states. “This is not true. We get paid from September until June, meaning we are essentially unemployed for two months.”

Since teachers are salaried, the amount of unpaid overtime can be immense. Klopp estimates working at least 50-60 hours per week, while Chenault lists all of the work she does that is unpaid and not in her contract: writing letters of recommendation, developing partnerships with local universities and other public schools, and maintaining current knowledge of academic best practices. “Critics don’t understand the amount of time we are putting into our jobs.”

Unions represent teachers and advocate to protect them, which critics have argued makes it tougher to terminate poor ones. But Eric Bauer, a teacher in the Mequon-Thiensville School District, disputes the idea that before Act 10 it was all but impossible to terminate poor teachers. “If new hires are not able to teach to the standards of our district, they are not retained,” he says. “This is unchanged from the way the system worked prior to Act 10.”

Jacobson offers a different take, saying there is less job protection for teachers now, but this can also lead to less protection for children. Previously, when an educator suspected a child was at risk of abuse at home, or was being treated wrongly by the school administration, the teacher was more likely to speak up on the child’s behalf. “In the past, a teacher could advocate (for a student) without fear of reprisal from an angry parent or angry community. Those days are gone. The result is a population of children who are more likely to be abused in every category of abuse.”

Bauer believes the biggest impact of Act 10 is removing professional educators from policy decisions, meaning they have no say at all in the philosophical approach to education in their district. “Instead, elements like the Common Core and the move to base educational decisions on data generated from standardized tests run unchecked through the districts of this state.”

While the teachers have many problems with Act 10, they do have some positive things to say about it. Jacobson says it helped a financially strained state and Klopp believes it led to a new wave of young, energized teachers following the retirement of many veteran teachers, some of whom were no longer committed to the profession.

Still, the negative consequences of Act 10 far outweigh the benefits, these teachers believe. “I’ve become a scapegoat for students who don’t do well for a myriad of reasons,” Chenault says, “and my pay and benefits are less than they were for a job that is harder to do with fewer resources.”

Milwaukee Teachers Education Association President Kim Schroeder laments the instability that has resulted, saying Act 10 encourages teachers to be “free agents.” They can make more money outside of Milwaukee, and many teachers have left the city for other districts. “If you enter the profession making $40,000, since we can only negotiate for cost-of-living increases, after 20 years you’ll still be making the equivalent of where you started.” The lack of stability caused by teacher turnover is not good for children, he argues.

Jacobson believes top school districts like Nicolet, Whitefish Bay, and Mequon are losing talented teachers, and argues that states without collective bargaining for teachers produce an inferior educational product. “If I happened to be 25 years younger, I’d be gone,” he says. “If you want to be a public school teacher, and you have no other tie to Wisconsin, then you choose Minnesota if you have an option to work there. That’s happening right now, and it’s happening very fast.”

But Bryan Kennedy, who sits on the Glendale-River Hills School Board (and also happens to be Glendale’s mayor), notes that his school system has has no trouble attracting and retaining teachers. “While there was a rush to retire in 2011 and 2012 because of Act 10, our turnover has not been alarming, and we have literally hundreds of applicants for each vacancy,” he says. “We can choose the best of the best.”

Teacher turnover has clearly become an issue in other districts. According to John Matthews of Madison Teachers, Inc., the turnover in that city’s public school system is significant. In 2011 retirements numbered 184, more than double the usual number. After dropping to 92 in 2012, the number has gone up every year, with 165 retiring this year. Matthews says morale is extremely low and that many teachers in Madison are either retiring from the profession or moving to a different state to work.

Another school district, Spooner, saw 25 percent of its faculty retire, resign, or not have their contract renewed this year. Dan Beck of the Wisconsin Education Association Council, notes that the number “is above any historical number for Spooner even taking into account the turmoil created just after the passage of Act 10.”

Schroeder says MPS saw a huge wave of retirements immediately after Act 10, with more than 700 leaving the district. That number dropped in the following years but remains very high, with more than 100 retiring last year (and that does not include the number of resignations). He says MPS is losing a lot of teachers to other districts.

Meanwhile, not as many people are entering the profession. UW-Milwaukee’s School of Education has seen a 23 percent  decrease in enrollment in a five-year period from more than 3,000 in 2010 to a little more than 2,300 in 2015, according to Jeremy Page, assistant dean of student services in the School of Education. Similarly, figures from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction show there has been a drop in the number of students statewide completing an Education Preparation Program, from 4,298 in 2011-12 to 3,965 in 2012-13.

Gov. Scott Walker and the state legislature may themselves have concerns about a reduction of teaching candidates. Their proposed budget would have allowed teachers with only a bachelor’s degree to teach core academic subjects including English and math, but the provision was ultimately dropped. Still, the budget relaxed requirements for technical education teachers.

Bauer believes it will be increasingly difficult for this state to retain quality teachers. “When the current generation of veteran teachers leave the profession, the teaching profession will be populated by college educated professionals who make less than the average fast food restaurant manager,” he laments. “This will be devastating for the long-term health of the profession.”

Categories: Education

27 thoughts on “Will Teachers Desert Wisconsin?”

  1. AG says:

    You reap what you sow. When the economy collapsed and the private sector workers lost jobs and took pay cuts, ACT10 was a way to make budgets flexible in the public sector as well. The unions consciously decided to make the narrative that ACT10 was an attack on teachers themselves. Most ACT10 supporters don’t have negative views of teachers, but some do, and they make their voices heard because of the narrative created by the unions. Over time this will go away… well… hopefully.

    Silver lining if all these dire predictions are true… maybe more education majors will have an easier time finding a good job after college. Most of my friends who were education majors were never able to get a good teaching job outside of MPS, moving to another state, or teaching at private schools because the supply of potential teachers far outnumbered the openings.

    Side note, MTEA’s Presidents comment about not being able to negotiate except for cost of living and leaves teachers making essentially the same pay their entire career is a sly ploy that ignores that yearly raises for experience and education level is also built into the system. If they want to win support, they should start by being more upfront with the truth. They’ only building more distrust from taxpayers with things like that…

  2. James Lowder says:

    The GOP/Czaja proposal to lower teaching standards would not result in people without high school diplomas filling the staff ranks at Wisconsin public high schools. It would allow districts to fire their full-time, credentialed teachers and replace them wherever possible with part-timers with BAs or MAs or even PhDs, just like colleges and universities have done with their teaching positions. The new adjunct-style K-12 teachers would be paid per class taught, well below the salaries they might expect if they were full time, and, as part-timers, would earn no benefits. One more step in the deprofessionalization of education in the state, one more formerly middle class job eradicated. And as with colleges and universities, the K-12 districts would still end up costing taxpayers and “customers” top dollar, as the districts continue to bloat up their administrations with pricey consultants or supervisors pulling down six figures with higher-value benefits than were ever paid to teachers or janitors or the people doing the day-to-day work in the schools. That’s before you tally up the amount taxpayers would end up paying for food aid or healthcare support for the professional teachers who have found themselves demoted to part-time, at will employment, making less per hour than they might make at a fast food joint.

  3. Laura says:

    This is what political and civic leaders wanted. Now the way is clear for Teach For America and other non-certified, cheap, robotic labor to staff unaccountable for-profit pseudo-schools. You’ll get what you pay for. Good luck with that.

  4. Beer Baron says:

    Not to be “that guy,” and I don’t support Act 10 at all, but Ms. Chenault is an English teacher and she said. “a myriad,” which is the wrong usage. You don’t need “a” when using “myriad.”

  5. James Lowder says:

    Actually, Beer Baron, it’s an accepted use: http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/education/grammar/myriad (“Believe it or not, most language experts say that either way is fine. Myriad was actually used as a noun in English long before it was used as an adjective, and today it’s considered both a noun and an adjective, which means it can be used with an a before it (as a noun) or without an a before it (as an adjective).”)

  6. wisconsin Conservative Digest says:

    We have an overage of teachers in Wisconsin, lots of older teachers that raised families want to come back. In Tosa, WAllis, New Berlin for every opening there are 100 or more apps.

  7. D says:

    Did anyone bother to reach out to MPS when writing this article? I see statements from teachers and the MTEA but nothing from MPS. As already pointed out by AG, the comment about new teachers being stuck at the same effective rate of pay is misleading. Act 10 limited what can be bargained with the union. Act 10 did not limit what MPS can pay teachers. If the money is there, MPS can absolutely move teachers through the pay scale at a rate higher than CPI. The school board has already sought to do that based on their public budget information.

    I also take issue with the assertion that teachers are essentially unemployed for two months. If they were actually unemployed they would be entitled to unemployment. The 10 months of pay is built into the position, there are summer employment opportunities both within and outside school districts, and the older teachers can hardly elicit any sympathy for being “unemployed” for two months when they are paid $70K+ for the other 10 months out of the year. If you are unable to budget yourself properly the credit union will make an arrangement to break your direct deposits up into 12 months of payments. 10 month employment is not a burden. It is a perk of the position. No teacher is unexpectedly unemployed for two months each year and no teacher is failing to make a livable salary because they can’t work a full year.

    Finally, teachers are mandated reporters. Any teacher not reporting suspected abuse is violating the law and there are protections in place for good faith reports, protecting those reporting.

    Unfortunately, many people see claims like this and then write off the greater issue. Whether Act 10 has hurt education in our state is a valid question but no one is going to believe the answer, if that answer is maybe or yes, when its sprinkled with claims that teachers now make the equivalent of $40K for the rest of their lives or that the public fails to understand that teachers are unemployed for two months every year.

  8. James Lowder says:

    New Berlin? A year or two back, New Berlin had fully 5% of the staff at the two high schools teaching subjects they were not accredited to teach. They’ve had ridiculous turnover and some very high profile busts among the new hires. The only thing they’ve done consistently since Act 10 is bloat the size of the administration. There are good teachers in the district, but that’s despite of the district’s actions, not because of them.

  9. Elmo says:

    @AG your comments about a yearly raise and more pay for experience is not true. I have yet to see a raise nor extra pay for experience. In fact, I have lost money; contract says one amount, my W2 said I made $6,000.00 less thanks to Act 10. Prior to the change my contract and W2 were the same.
    As for those who say there are 100 applications for one job thats because many are trying to get out of MPS. I love teaching but if the negative teaching continues I’ll find something else or go where education is valued.

  10. PMD says:

    Yes MPS was contacted for comment. There’s no attempt to elicit sympathy for a veteran teacher making more than $70,000 a year. I doubt there are many teachers in that category.

  11. James Lowder says:

    @D: According to the latest numbers from the DPI, public school teachers in Wisconsin earned an average of $49,816, not $70K+.

  12. AG says:

    Elmo, I understand and I can sympathize with having a lower take home pay… the country as a whole is still struggling to get back to where they were before the recession in terms of salary. With 6k lower, you must be doing pretty good though…? Not that it makes it easier…

    Anyway, those pay raises are still built in, even if there was a take home pay drop after ACT10.

  13. D says:

    The $70K+ figure represents the top of the pay scale for teachers at MPS (not including teachers that go into administration where they can earn more). As more of them retire there will be fewer at that level, pushing the MPS average down, but it is not a made up number. I would also be surprised if the MPS average for teachers is at or below the state average as first year teachers start a little over $40K as it is. MPS would need a very young teacher workforce to pull the average down to $49K, and if that’s the case then the average doesn’t necessarily indicate that people are underpaid, just young.

    Even at the state average of about $50K a year, it’s still pretty hard to say you have it rough because you only work 10 months out of the year. There are a lot of people in the public sector (and even the private sector) working 12 months for significantly less money than that.

  14. James Lowder says:

    @D: With vacation and holidays, the average worker does not work 12 months a year, either. The difference between the average hours of a teacher and those of other workers is much, much smaller than you’re saying. And if you want to talk about pay relative to other workers, start with other workers required to have at least a BA. Again, pay for teachers looks a lot worse when you start comparing apples to apples.

  15. D says:

    @James Lowder

    While teachers may not get vacation on top of their 10 month work schedule, they absolutely get holidays and interim breaks. Thanksgiving holiday, winter break, MLK, and spring break are all times during the school year teachers have off. This is on top of their time off in the summer. I don’t understand your assertion that vacation and holidays thus shrink the difference between 12 month and 10 month workers. Most teachers work 191 days out of the year while 12 month employees work about 260 (depending on what holidays they get). That’s a difference of 69 days. Knock out two weeks for vacation and you’re still sitting at 59 days of additional work.

    As for starting wages for jobs that require a BA, I’m not convinced wages are as strong as you believe. According to the article below, the average salary for new college graduates is about $45K, placing their compensation below teachers starting at $41K in 10 month positions. If you only look at liberal arts and humanities degrees the average starting salary is $36K while MPS teachers again, start at $41K for a 10 month schedule.

    If you want to talk about the earnings difference you need to look at career earning potential, not starting salaries, because they are actually pretty strong compared to most other college graduates. The difference is that a teacher is more likely to max out at a lower number than in the private sector unless they go into administration.

    Article I’m referencing: http://time.com/money/3829776/heres-what-the-average-grad-makes-right-out-of-college/
    (Just in case the URL is automatically removed, it’s an article titled “Here’s What the Average Grad Makes Right Out of College” by Time)

  16. James Lowder says:

    @D: Most teachers work more than 191 days a year, if you count days worked on weekends during the school year, and your claim of 260 work days for other degreed professionals is downright silly. The average professional works 5 days a week, 52 weeks a year? Ridiculous. You’re manipulating the other numbers in similar fashion–picking the MPS starting salary instead of the actual average starting salary for teachers in the state (actual number is around $33K), so they are below even your cherry-picked lib arts number from the CNN/Money article. The actual average starting salary number in the article you cited yourself is $45K, making it even clearer that teachers are at the very low end of the pay scale for degreed professionals.

  17. Gee says:

    D, you really need to research before you write. You lost credibility from the first with this: “I also take issue with the assertion that teachers are essentially unemployed for two months. If they were actually unemployed they would be entitled to unemployment.”

    Not so, as you would know, if you had looked (it’s easy; it’s online) at state law, which classifies teachers (at all levels, college and university level as well as K-12) as “seasonal employees” — just like pea-pickers — and thus not eligible for unemployment compensation.

    And in your series of comments, there is more, much more, that shows that you are uninformed. I won’t waste more of my time on more points misstated, because you do not appear to want to be informed, but am posting this for other readers to know to do research rather than trust you.

  18. duncan says:

    AG: You reference “built in” annual pay raises for teachers, which is demonstrably false.

    When union contracts were in force, yes, teachers received annual step raises and “lane” raises as they gained more education toward their Masters (etc).

    After union contracts were terminated, those automatic raises went away.

  19. D says:

    @Jamie Lowder

    What’s so silly about the 260 work day claim? Please explain when regular 12 month professionals get regular yearly breaks from work? Vacation? Well I’ve already addressed that. Holidays? Covered that as well. Sick leave? Teacher’s are eligible for sick leave as well so it’s a moot point. If you want to claim that 12 month professionals don’t work a 260 day work calendar then you have to also claim that teachers don’t work a 191 day calendar either because they are bound to get sick or take personal days during their work year. That’s why subs exist. If you want to claim that all teachers work on weekends then you can’t leave out the 12 month professionals who do the same. Working extra hours isn’t exclusive to either side and neither is only working the hours you are required.

    As for the MPS numbers, I’m using the MPS numbers because a sizable part of this article is about MPS, as was my initial comment, and how people are allegedly leaving MPS in droves for better pay elsewhere. If MPS is paying higher than most other school districts then is it really pay that is keeping people away? The president of the MTEA is claiming that MPS is losing teachers to other districts because they can make more money outside of Milwaukee. Perhaps you should be refuting his claims rather than taking issue with my MPS example, which is completely valid.

    And as a note, I did not cherry pick numbers as I mentioned both the average $45K salary as well as the $36K for liberal arts and humanities degrees.

    @Gee

    I’m sorry if I wasn’t clear but that is exactly my point. I am very well versed in state law. State law indicates that teachers are not considered unemployed in the summer. The fact that they are aligned with seasonal workers is exactly the reason they aren’t actually “unemployed” and thus are not eligible for unemployment benefits. It is built into the position. They aren’t losing their job every year (and in fact, if they do not receive reasonable assurance that their job will be there in August they ARE eligible for benefits during the summer). Teachers receive full compensation for their work year.

    It’s completely ridiculous to assert that they are unemployed in any real sense. They aren’t farm workers who suddenly don’t have a job for a few months because of unexpected drought. They aren’t factory workers who expected to work all summer and then get laid off because of slow sales. If a teacher starts work on August 15th, with a $50K annual salary, they will have earned that $50K by June 15th. If a 12 month employee starts work on August 15th, with a $50K annual salary and then gets laid off for two months on June 15th, they will NOT have earned $50K by June 15th, or even August 15th, of the next year. That’s real unemployment. The teacher has their full annual salary, the other individual does not.

    I welcome your comments on my other points, if you actually have any. I am more than happy to be wrong but you need to show me that I am wrong. Simply calling me uninformed while vaguely quoting state law (that doesn’t actually refute my point), and then failing to identify any of the other ways I am misinformed, is not going to work.

  20. Adam says:

    I would like to back up the claims of a teacher shortage. There are many small districts that are seeing the number of applicants hit rock bottom. They are no longer getting qualified educators, and if they do, they are leaving within a couple of years. They will not stay in the community unless they have family in the area, or a significant other who is taking home the main income.

    When it comes to salaries, I am in my in my 8th year teaching, my total income from the last year teaching, coaching 2 sports, teaching summer school, and supervising weight room and athletic events was 40,000. I know it was a small district, but it didn’t present me with enough to keep me in that district. In many districts new teachers are being paid the same as the individuals who have been there for 5 years due to those changes.

    As for the comments about teachers and unemployment. After my 3rd year teaching, I was laid off by a nonprofit at the end of July due to county budget cuts. I immediately started to file for unemployment and the funds were placed in question until the start of the next school year. I was not able to secure a permanent placement for that year, so I spent the year subbing. I received the check for August unemployment 1 1/2 years later in March.

    Still after 8 years teaching, I have never had a take home check over $1,000 without a coaching salary being added.

    This message is not meant to make anyone feel bad for me, but to raise a question. Why would any educated individual enter education if they knew there are no means to progress in your field? You don’t have the union, and at the same time, you can’t negotiate your salary. Do people want elementary schools, where you don’t see a male face? With the rise in divorce, and the number of kids that are going into schools without a real male role model, do you want to make the profession one that no educated male is willing to enter? That is what you have Wisconsin, people who only walk into the classroom because they want to educate your youth. They get thanked face to face, but bashed as freeloaders at every community event. The ONLY reason we are here, is to ensure that Wisconsin doesn’t turn into Wississippi.

  21. AG says:

    I stand corrected… I didn’t realize how many districts have already adopted merit pay raises instead of the old system. Looks like many, like MPS, still follow that old system though so don’t act like it doesn’t exist. Also, merit raises still give raises but it’s now based on performance instead of seniority.

  22. PMD says:

    Those are important points Adam. People can quibble about the accuracy of “unemployed” and private sector vs. public teacher pay, but the bottom line is (overall) morale is low, there is good reason to believe that turnover problems are real, and data suggest not as many people are entering the profession. Those are serious problems that should concern people on both sides of the ACT 10 debate.

  23. Will says:

    Personally, I think the future is going to get way more bleak for teachers as they are replaced by technology. I’ve learned Spanish with amazing teachers using nothing but youtube and other websites, all for free. It’s all there and their teaching methods were better than any Spanish class I had in school. Soon there won’t be teachers just “t.a.’s” roaming the classroom helping students as the students watch the lessons on their gov’t paid for ipad’s. Sucks for teachers, but I think it will be better for students.

  24. daniel golden says:

    I am constantly amused by my conservative friends who strongly supported using federal bailout funds to pay bonuses to Wall Street banksters after the Bush Cheney economic crash because “we need to keep the best people to straighten out this mess” arguing teachers are overpaid. The teachers offered during the Act 10 negotiations to accept all the economic cuts Walker wanted if they could keep their own union. Walker refused. This is nothing more or less than part of a massive scheme to privatize all aspects of our educational, economic and political lives. If Wisconsin continues to go in this direction, like a farmer who eats his seed corn for next years crop, things will not end well.

  25. SteveM says:

    @will Good for you for being such an eager learner! But your assumption that it’s all free and there for the taking is a bit off the mark. Imagine having your own children someday and one of them struggles with learning, or even crazier, one is a boy and “just doesn’t like reading.” You may want a professional available. Or when your daughter has a disability…are you just going to quick watch a Youtube video on how do work with children with autism? Conversational language is one thing…applied physics, ceramics, and vocal music are another.

    It appears that we have all become slaves of the dollar. Every argument from the “taxpayers” and school administrations is about saving a buck. I guess that 80″ smart tv and boat are more important than the kid next door.

  26. JMyers says:

    Excellent post Daniel Golden…there is really nothing more to say. Except, of course I will…because I have a need to mention that I have never met a rich teacher, nor one who drives a Lexus or travels to Aruba frequently.
    To all those who bitterly point their fingers and say “Well, some of them make $70,000 a year” I say:
    1) Most do not make $70K
    2) The last I heard, 70K does not put you in the upper middles class range, much less the wealthy tiers.
    3) There are truck drivers, postal carriers, construction workers and many others who make way more than teachers, who do the most important job in society.
    4) If you think it’s such a cushy deal why aren’t you racing out to become one? Have at it, because soon nobody else will. You couldn’t pay me double that amount to be a teacher.

  27. Mrs. MPS Teacher says:

    Ignorance really is bliss. My husband and I are both public school teachers. He’s in MPS, I’m in the suburbs. My husband got the highest possible rating, Distinguished, in his evaluation last year, one of only two teachers in the building to get it. He got the worst raise of his career, slightly over 1/2 percent. This year, no raise. At all. Obviously, he is still the same excellent teacher he was last year, but he got nothing, same as every other MPS teacher this year, his years of experience and master’s degree notwithstanding. The old system of step and education increases is long gone in MPS, too, and with the changes from Act 10, we are taking home $1,000s less, and over the life of our careers, this will compound and add up to hundreds of $1,000s less in take home pay between the two of us. Side note: Is the person making the argument that MPS is free to pay whatever they want unaware that funding from the state is being cut substantially year after year? What money are they supposed to be using? The whole idea of merit pay is smoke and mirrors to hide the fact that most teachers will not be getting much in the way of raises any more, regardless of how good they are or hard they work. I don’t much care about convincing anyone here, but it’s important for future teachers to understand that.

    In my suburban district, I get the pleasure of starting each school year not knowing how much I will be paid that year. I sign a contract that binds me to my job (but not my job to me, of course) with last year’s salary amount. [Another side note: Did you know that teachers can be forced to forfeit $1,000s in salary if they resign during the summer or into the school year? Two weeks notice does not cut it in our profession. We have to sign those contracts before the current school year is over.] It usually takes just about the entire year for the district to hem and haw before agreeing to give a 1% raise on a base salary that isn’t even the salary I make. If you are a new teacher starting at $40,000, it would take 3 years to make an additional $1,000. At that rate, it would take over 20 years to make it to $50,000. It takes more than 5 years for me to make back one year of Act 10-mandated cuts to my salary. And with many teachers in my field, what are my chances for being able to negotiate on my own for a higher pay raise, despite my strong evaluations? And, really, why would the district open up that can of worms, when it’s much easier for them to just give 1%, or nothing at all?

    In conclusion, young people, get your education here while our public universities are still good and then get the hell out.

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