New Berlin, Market Dynamics, and EJ Dionne

Today I read an article in the Milwaukee Sentinel that New Berlin, a school district that really altered their relationship with teachers as outlined here in a Blue Cheddar post, is facing a significant turn-over in staff.  Makes sense:  young teachers will try to leave if they can, giving other school districts the advantage of hiring experienced staff, and teachers near retirement will view this as an excellent opportunity to exit.  There is research that says that teacher stability is good for a whole school.  New Berlin may face a rocky road, but they created that road.

I understand that here in WI, one aspect feeding the fire against public servants is that in many communities, teachers are the ones who are financially healthy.  I get that.  That sums up the first community in which I taught.

What I don’t understand, however, is conservative confusion over market dynamics, particularly with the comments on New Berlin’s column.  These next years, many new teachers will opt to apply to Minnesota and Illinois, at least until their unions are destroyed, too.  Wisconsin will lose good teachers.

And I think we will definitely see teaching in general take a hit, with fewer entering the field.  Another article today stated “It’s time to give back what state’s teachers lost: Respect.”   I am not holding my breath.

When I became a teacher, there was good insurance, which I valued and sought as a family-centered person.  That is significantly altered.

When I became a teacher, there was security, which I valued and sought based on personal experience.  That is significantly altered.

And when I became a teacher, there was freedom and creativity, which I need.  That is significantly curtailed.

New Berlin sees  staff leave.  Wisconsin will face competition for good teachers from Minnesota and Illinois.  These are the market forces conservatives love so much.  But my kids have 11 years left in the public ed here in Wisconsin, and more, I hope, at the university level.  What will they endure?

I agree with EJ Dionne when he observes “Conservatives used to care about community” but “today’s conservatism is about low taxes, fewer regulations, less government– and little else.”  My kids’ eduction and my career were wrapped up in community, but it doesn’t matter to most conservatives.  Alas.


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