News you can use
November 16, 2011
The campaign to throw Governor Walker out of office officially got underway yesterday. One of the best ways to fight back is by spreading the word that both taxpayers and local governments are better off because of what the Governor has done.
Solid evidence is found in data compiled by the Wisconsin Association of School District Administrators (WASDA) and released last Thursday through the Department of Public Instruction. Here’s what they found:
For the current school year, new teacher hires outnumber layoffs and non-renewals by 1,213 positions. In overwhelming majorities of districts, class sizes are staying the same or decreasing.
For this school year compared with pre-reform years:
- 97% of districts offer the same number or more math courses;
- 99% of districts offer the same number or more science courses;
- 98% of districts offer the same number or more English courses;
- 97% of districts offer the same number or more foreign language courses.
What about the art, music and athletic programs invariably threatened with elimination when taxpayers ask to control school spending?
- 94% of districts offer the same number or more art courses;
- 95% of districts offer the same number or more music courses;
- 92% of districts are keeping sports programs the same or expanding them.
And here’s the ugly truth: Most teacher layoffs occurred in three districts: Milwaukee, Kenosha, and Janesville. Those three took a pass on the Walker reforms, and they account for 68% of all teacher layoffs statewide. Fortunately, they’re home to fewer than 13% of Wisconsin students.
Not every district responded, but 353—that’s 83 percent of the statewide total—did. Somehow we suspect if the other 17 percent were in trouble because of the Walker reforms, they’d have taken the time to let WASDA know.