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Wisconsin’s Teachers: Betraying Students, Robbing Taxpayers

Are they loyal to anything but themselves?

Matt Patterson


March 5, 2011 - 12:00 am
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The average salary of a Milwaukee public school teacher is $56,500. But factor in the enormous benefits packages, including health care and pensions, and the annual average compensation is $100,005! In spite of such well-compensated instructors, and per-pupil spending higher any other Midwestern state, two thirds of Wisconsin 8th graders cannot read at a proficient level, according to 2009 data from the U.S. Department of Education. Twenty-two percent, or nearly one in four students, cannot even read at a “basic” level. True, that is slightly higher than the national average — but what a pathetically weak average it is! An atrocious 30 percent of 8th graders nationwide are “proficient” readers.

In spite of this dismaying record, Wisconsin’s teachers had the temerity to walk off the job en masse in protest of Walker’s proposals, flock by the thousands to the capitol in Madison, and force the closure of schools throughout the state. Of course, though they declined to teach while protesting their right to bankrupt the state, they were still collecting their salary. As reported by the MacIver Institute:

In Madison, the school district was closed for three days after hundreds of teachers engaged in a mass sick-out so they could attend protest rallies at the State Capitol. That could cost the district $2.7 million […]. If all the teachers in Milwaukee and Madison are paid for the days missed, the protest related salaries for just the state’s two largest districts would exceed $6.6 million dollars.

American public-sector workers have become more loyal to their unions than to the state, just as Roman soldiers became loyal to generals instead of the Senate. It’s the corruption that comes, and always will come, when one class of citizens is given privileged access to the public purse.

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Matt Patterson is the Warren Brookes Fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute and senior editor at the Capital Research Center.
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