Scott Walker’s “tools” force Wisconsin school districts to lay off teachers, cut programs

According to a report released last week by the Department of Public Instruction (DPI), the “tools” Republican Gov. Scott Walker forced on school districts as part of his anti-public employee “budget repair” bill haven’t really “fixed” much in Wisconsin’s school districts, unless you consider bigger class sizes, fewer teachers, and cuts to programs “fixing” things.

As shown in the image below, as a result of the “tools” Gov. Walker gave to school districts, the vast majority of Wisconsin’s school districts have actually cut teaching positions.

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82% of the districts that responded for the DPI’s report indicated they lost personnel as opposed to last year, and nearly two thirds of the districts reported having cut teachers. What’s more, even the Kaukauna School District, which Gov. Walker and his right-wing corporate supporters have touted as a “budget repair” bill success story, is at the top of the list in losing teachers and increasing student-to-teacher ratio.

Speaking of increased student to teacher ratios, more than 2/5ths of the districts reported increased class sizes in their elementary schools, which is especially striking to me given the importance of a quality education early in a student’s life. However, elementary school students weren’t alone in feeling the pain of Gov. Walker’s assault on education in Wisconsin, as over half of the districts responding to the DPI’s report indicated they had cut class offerings in “career and tech” areas, and nearly half in art, music and physical education, choosing those cuts over “Core” areas (38%), foreign language (27%) and AP (22%).

It should be plainly obvious to anyone who reads the DPI’s report that what Gov. Scott Walker is waging all-out war on public education in Wisconsin, and Wisconsin’s children will ultimately be the ones who suffer the most as they see their class sizes continue to grow while the programs available in their schools continue to shrink. At the rate we’re going, Wisconsin’s public education system – which is the envy of many states in our nation – will soon slide to the back of the pack thanks to Gov. Scott Walker and his Republican allies in the legislature.

You can read more about Gov. Walker’s assault on public education here in Wisconsin over at Jake’s Economic TA Funhouse.


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