1. YOU have real input into your working conditions, including class size, prep periods, length of work day, required work outside of school, and most importantly during this pandemic, whether your district does virtual or in-person instruction, the parameters of in-person instruction, what safety measures your school district MUST provide, and accommodations that your district MUST provide teachers with medical conditions. Minnesota teachers have this input because they have a collectively bargained labor contract with their employers.
In 2011, Wisconsin teachers were stripped of all of these rights when Governor Walker & the Republican Dictatorship that controls Wisconsin implemented Act 10. Without collective bargaining, some Wisconsin school districts have significantly increased teacher workload through mandatory evening and weekend “office hours”, evening and weekend “tutorial sessions”, mandatory (unpaid) extracurricular supervision, required Friday night and all day Saturday and Sunday monthly unpaid “in-service” training and many more regressive policies.
Throughout this pandemic in school districts across Wisconsin, primarily the REDDEST counties in Wisconsin, teachers have been forced to conduct in-person instruction throughout the pandemic in crowded, poorly ventilated classrooms, where students refuse to wear masks or practice social distancing because their parents have told them to resist.
2. YOUdetermine your future salary teachingin Minnesota (and many other states). Unlike Wisconsin which has been ruled by a Republican Dictatorship that has slashed over 3 BILLION dollars in funding for public education, Minnesota legislators value the state’s high quality public schools. Unlike most school districts in Wisconsin, Minnesota teachers have collectively bargained fair and objective career salary schedules that reward the increased teacher effectiveness that comes with years of experience and increased expertise from continuing education.
3. Salary Increases at or above the rate of inflation Over the past 10 years, most teachers in Minnesota have at least maintained the value of their teaching salary or earned salary increases at or above the rate of inflation. Contrast that with the tens of thousands of dollars in lost purchasing power t by Wisconsin teachers due to minimal salary increases or pay cuts, substantial insurance increases, severe cuts to deferred salary retirement benefits, and state mandated employee pension contribution increases. For most Wisconsin teachers, the provisions of Act 10 will cost them hundreds of thousands of dollars in career compensation, in comparison to teaching in Minnesota or many other states in America.
4. No More Waste of Time “Educator Effectiveness” Garbage Say goodbye to all that “Educator Effectiveness” crap that the Republican Dictatorship imposed on Wisconsin teachers. In Minnesota, no more SLO’s, PPG’s, tens of pages of self-evaluation and pages of explanation leading to over 100 additional work hours for NO improvement in student learning outcomes. Wisconsin students ACT scores have dropped every year since idiot Republicans overloaded Wisconsin teachers with this massive workload increase called “Educator Effectiveness”.
In contrast to the Republican Dictatorship called Wisconsin, Minnesota’s public school students have scored #1 or #2 in America on ACT tests for the past 40+ years. In Minnesota, legislators understand that quality teachers being allowed to teach are the key to quality public education, not waste of time punitive paper work. In November 2020, Minnesota Governor Walz issued an order requiring school districts to increase teacher preparation time and cut workload to compensate teachers for all the extra work required for virtual and hybrid instructional models.
5.. Fair Disciplinary & Dismissal Process In 2013 while speaking to big money donors at a CPAC convention, Governor Walker bragged that “he made it easier to fire a teacher in Wisconsin than any other state in America”. Act 10 removed nearly all employment protections for teachers and made Wisconsin one of only two states in America where teachers have no tenure protection or rights to a fair disciplinary process. Since 2011, thousands of Wisconsin teachers have been terminated after just one parent complaint or non-renewed with no prior warning or opportunity to improve. Throughout your entire teaching career in Wisconsin, you will always be just one parent complaint, or one allegation away from losing your job and career.
6. Seniority Based Layoff Procedure With over 20,000 college graduates leaving Wisconsin every year, the school age population in Wisconsin is rapidly decreasing. Elementary schools across rural Republican areas of Wisconsin are closing as enrollment crashes. Wisconsin school districts are already laying off teachers, a trend that will increase over the next decade. While Minnesota is still attractive to young people starting families, the exact opposite is occurring in Wisconsin.
Unlike Minnesota, Wisconsin’s Act 10 took away teacher input into layoff procedures. While teachers in Minnesota have layoffs based on years of experience, most Wisconsin school districts lay off the most experienced teachers first. In Wisconsin, the longer you teach, the more likely you are to be laid off. Just the opposite in Minnesota. Which state do you think is a better place to build a career in?
7. Just Cause Standard for Contract Non-Renewal Teachers are human and when faced with hundreds of human interactions and decisions each day, every teacher makes mistakes, says something inadvertently, or makes a bad decision. At some point in their career, every teacher is going to screw up and get called into the principal’s office. In Wisconsin, since 2011 scores of teachers have been FIRED on the basis of ONE parent complaint. For example, a high school math teacher with twenty years of experience who lost her job after one parent complaint. An English teacher was suspended for failing to add Fox News on a list of media sources students could cite for a project. The students were generating the list, she was just writing down their suggestions. Even though no students suggested Fox News, that didn’t stop the school district from disciplining her because “she should have known to add Fox News”.
In Minnesota and 47 other states, teachers have fair, progressive disciplinary policies where complaints are investigated by administration, teachers have the right to representation, and discipline is the same for all teachers. Minnesota teachers aren’t walking on eggshells everyday praying that some crazy parent won’t destroy their career by making ONE complaint.
8. Wisconsin Republican Dictatorship/Stacked Court System (Coming soon)
9. Professional Teacher Requirements (Coming soon)
10. Minnesota is a great place to live and work. (Coming soon)