Wisconsin governor Scott Walker has been called a lot of things over the past two years; many of these epithets are unprintable in this family-friendly publication. But according to a new Fordham report, he deserves one more: public-education hero.
Standards are not self actualizing; unless thoroughly implemented and properly assessed, they have scant traction.
Photo from the Wikimedia Commons
That’s because his Wisconsin Budget Repair Bill of 2011—better known as Act 10, the endlessly contentious measure that shrank (to wages only) the scope of collective bargaining for Badger State teachers—defused the fiscal time bomb that otherwise would have blown up Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS).
Pre-Act 10, MPS was drowning in the rising waters of its retirement obligations (both pensions and retiree health benefits) to current and former teachers. In 2011, it spent $1,860 per pupil for this purpose, more than a tenth of the district’s budget. But the waters were slated to get far deeper.
According to a new technical study by economist Robert M. Costrell and education-finance expert Larry Maloney, MPS was on track to spend as much as $3,512 per pupil by 2020 on retiree health benefits and pension costs, money that would inevitably impact classrooms and students in unfortunate ways. Put differently, without Act 10,...