Noam Scheiber, Farah Stockman and J. David Goodman: Over the past five years, as demands for reform have mounted in the aftermath of police violence in cities like Ferguson, Mo., Baltimore and now Minneapolis, police unions have emerged as one of the most significant roadblocks to change. The greater the political pressure for reform, the … Continue reading Governance: How Police Unions Became Such Powerful Opponents to Reform Efforts (Act 10)
David Blaska: [The contract] will boost Chicago teacher compensation — already among the highest in the nation … to nearly $100,000. (By contrast, the median Chicago household earns $52,000.) Teachers will now be permitted to bank an incredible 244 sick days (up from 40) and claim full pension credit for those days upon retirement, creating … Continue reading Chicago’ teacher contract shows why Scott Walker got it right (with act 10)
Rachel Cohen: Meanwhile, a top priority for labor has been sitting quietly on Pelosi’s desk and, unlike USMCA, already commands enough support to get it over the House finish line. The Protecting the Right to Organize Act would be the most comprehensive rewrite of U.S. labor law in decades. It would eliminate right-to-work laws, impose … Continue reading Federalism, local governance, influence and how we arrived at Wisconsin ACT 10
Will Flanders and Lauren Tunney: “Act 10 shook the status quo for public employee unions in Wisconsin. And when workers get a say in the future of their union, the number of public employee unions in Wisconsin continues to shrink,” said Will Flanders, research director for the Milwaukee-based free market think tank. The report is … Continue reading Wisconsin Act 10 and Union Recertification
Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty: Today, on behalf of a public school teacher who has refused union membership, attorneys at WILL have filed a motion to intervene in the latest lawsuit over the 2011 collective bargaining reform law (“Act 10”). This month, labor unions revived a dormant lawsuit in federal court to bring against … Continue reading Act 10 litigation continues
CJ Safir and Collin Roth In Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes mystery “The Adventure of Silver Blaze,” the dog that didn’t bark reveals the greater truth. The same might be said of Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers’s first state budget proposal. Derided by critics as a “liberal wish list,” Mr. Evers’s budget proposes to expand Medicaid, … Continue reading Commentary on Wisconsin Act 10
Mark Sommerhauser: Wisconsin school districts ratcheted up health care costs on teachers and other employees after the state’s Act 10 collective bargaining changes, with the average district now requiring teachers to pay about 12 percent of their health insurance premiums, newly released data show. Madison schools are near the low end of what districts now … Continue reading Wisconsin Act 10 Commentary: Madison schools are near the low end of what districts now require for teacher health insurance premium contributions, at 3 percent,
Patrick Marley and MRy Spicuzzi: “People think that unions are useless today, that we’re dinosaurs,” Bryce said in 2015, according to the book. “Well, how did that happen? We let it happen. The labor movement has become lazy, because it’s something that’s been handed to us.” Bryce, a Democrat running for GOP House Speaker Paul … Continue reading Commentary on Act 10
Patrick Marley: The Democrats running for governor are pledging to end GOP Gov. Scott Walker’s union restrictions, while Walker is promising to veto any changes to Act 10 if he wins re-election and Democrats take control of the Legislature. Act 10 — adopted amid massive protests shortly after Walker took office in 2011 — brought … Continue reading Democrats say they would repeal Act 10 if they unseat Scott Walker
Sarah Hauer: The filing argues that Act 10 is “a content-based restriction infringing on (the unions’) rights to free speech under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.” It says the law infringes upon association rights “to organize as a collective bargaining unit by increasing costs and penalties through its recertification and fair share provisions.” … Continue reading Wisconsin labor unions file lawsuit over Act 10, saying it violates free speech
Molly Beck: The polling also showed 60 percent of public sector employees favor returning to collective bargaining, compared with only 39 percent in the private sector. Nearly 70 percent of union members favor bargaining, while only 38 percent of non-union members support it. Those polled in the city of Milwaukee and Madison media markets favor … Continue reading 2018 Wisconsin Election: Act 10 Commentary
Annysa Johnson According to the report released Friday by the nonpartisan Public Policy Forum, Wisconsin still has fewer teachers than it did before Act 10, which curtailed collective bargaining for public school teachers and most other public employees. However, overall turnover has diminished, and the supply of new teachers is sufficient to fill those slots, … Continue reading Post-Act 10 teacher workforce stabilizes, but exodus of younger teachers troubling, study says
David Madland and Alex Rowell: This issue brief examines the impact of the law on Wisconsin’s K-12 public education system and state economy. While this brief focuses on Act 10’s impact on Wisconsin teachers based on the data available, the same forces driving changes in the teaching workforce can also affect the broader public sector.3 … Continue reading Attacks on Public-Sector Unions Harm States: How Act 10 Has Affected Education in Wisconsin
Dan Benson & Julie Grace: Savings that Wisconsin taxpayers could have realized through implementation of Act 10 in 2011 — sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars in a single district — were lost because federal regulations penalize school districts that find ways to spend less money. The Oostburg School District in Sheboygan County, for example, … Continue reading Act 10 savings torpedoed: Federal regulations force school districts to spend that money or face funding cuts
Alan Borsuk:: But there is a lot more at work than Act 10 when it comes to attracting and keeping people in teaching. The roots of the shortages were showing up before 2011. For example, it was already getting challenging to find math and science teachers. The number of people in college-level programs to train … Continue reading How Act 10 contributes to teacher shortages — and how it doesn’t
Bruce Vielmetti:: A lawyer for 90 retired Germantown teachers asked a jury Monday to award them more than $9 million in damages from their former employer, who the retirees say took their affordable long-term care insurance in a political power play after passage of Wisconsin’s Act 10 law. The district’s attorney urged jurors to reject … Continue reading Jury finds against retired Germantown teachers who lost benefit after Act 10
Molly Beck: A spokeswoman for Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, said Act 10 has been an “undisputed victory for Wisconsin taxpayers.” “Wisconsin’s declining union membership since the passage of right-to-work legislation only reflects that workers now have the ability to make their own decision about the costs and benefits of union membership,” said spokeswoman … Continue reading Wisconsin Act 10, Outcomes, Spending And Rhetoric
Dave Umhoefer: “If you really want to drain the swamp, as Trump says, that would be a way to do it,” Walker said in an interview. Walker added: “It’s the work rules, the seniority, all those things. If they could tackle that in a similar way to what we did, long term it would be … Continue reading Wisconsin Act 10 to go National?
Dave Umhoefer: Dave Weiland, an Oconomowoc school district teacher and local union leader, thinks the state union was stuck in a 1920s mentality. “The gravy train was running, and they didn’t see the curve,” he said. Indeed, two years prior to Walker’s election, the path appeared to be moving in a different direction. Bolstered by … Continue reading For unions in Wisconsin, a fast and hard fall since Act 10
Chris Rickert: An increasingly diverse Madison School District student body will see at least 55 new teachers of color next year — a major increase in minority hiring from the year before. If those concerned about the district’s long-standing racial achievement gaps are looking for people to thank for this improvement, they might as well … Continue reading 2011’s Act 10 helped Madison diversify its teaching staff
OGECHI EMECHEBE: At the direction of the Legislature, the UW System recently created the new Office of Educational Opportunity to oversee the creation of charter schools in Madison and Milwaukee without oversight from local school districts. How do you react to that? I’m opposed to the concept. I find it objectionable that the state has … Continue reading Doug Keillor leads MTI in a post-Act 10 world
Mitch Henck video. Molly Beck: The bill that later became Act 10 launched the largest protests ever in Madison, including a temporary occupation of the Capitol; legislative chaos highlighted by Democratic senators fleeing to Illinois to forestall a floor vote; and Walker’s historic recall victory. The days, weeks and months after Walker’s Feb. 11, 2011, … Continue reading Commentary on Wisconsin’s Act 10
Mitch Henck. much larger forces are at play on Madison’s monolithic “we know best” K-12 world.
Mitch Henck: This is Madison. I learned that phrase when I moved here from Green Bay in 1992. It means that the elites who drive the politics and the predominate culture are more liberal or “progressive” than backward places out state. I knew I was in Madison as a reporter when parents and activists were … Continue reading Madison Schools Should Apply Act 10
Pat Schneider: The conservative legal group Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty has brought suit against Madison’s public schools through a plaintiff who does not have standing to bring the “scandalous” allegations of violations of teachers’ rights included in its complaint, school district officials claim in a court filing. Plaintiff David Blaska, a conservative blogger, … Continue reading Madison school officials, MTI say claims regarding union dues, teachers’ rights don’t belong in Act 10 lawsuit
Edmund Henschel & Russell Knetzger In its Sept. 17 editorial about Gov. Scott Walker’s second term agenda, the Journal Sentinel Editorial Board said, “Act 10 was a mistake” (“Gov. Scott Walker’s second term? Same as the first,” Our View). Act 10 virtually ended collective bargaining for many, but not all, state and local public employees. … Continue reading Act 10 was no mistake; in fact, it should be expanded
The Neenah Superintendent wrote a letter to Madison School Board Member & Gubernatorial Candidate Mary Burke on 19 September. Ms. Burke recently apologized for her Act 10 remarks: Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke has apologized to the superintendent of the Neenah school district for comments she made on the campaign trail. Burke had been citing … Continue reading Madison School Board Member & Gubernatorial Candidate Mary Burke Apologizes to Neenah’s Superintendent over Act 10 Remarks
Dave Zweiful: Last Sunday’s Wisconsin State Journal carried a front-page story about a new phenomenon in our public schools that’s a fallout from Gov. Scott Walker’s Act 10 — the teacher as “free agent.” According to some, Act 10’s virtual destruction of teachers unions unleashed good teachers from the shackles of their union contracts so … Continue reading Commentary on Wisconsin’s Act 10
Madison Teachers, Inc. Solidarity Newsletter, via a kind Jeannie Kamholtz email (PDF): Governor Walker’s signature legislation, the 2011 anti-public employee, anti-union Act 10, which took away nearly all the bargaining rights of public employees, is once again on the front burner for those represented by MTI. MTI had initially challenged the legislation and gained a … Continue reading Act 10 Bites Again: MTI Recertification Elections to Commence this Fall
Molly Beck: “The great irony is that Act 10 has created a marketplace for good teachers,” said Dean Bowles, a Monona Grove School Board member. Fellow board member Peter Sobol said though the law was billed as providing budget relief for school districts and local government, it could end up being harder on budgets as … Continue reading A teacher ‘marketplace’ emerges in post-Act 10 Wisconsin; Remarkable
Edgar Mendez: The goal in Wauwatosa was to better attract and retain top-flight educators; the method was to change the way teachers are compensated. A new compensation model, approved in February, calls for teachers to earn anywhere between $40,000 and $80,700 a year, based largely on their performance. But teachers had concerns: Would principals alone … Continue reading In wake of (Wisconsin) Act 10, school districts changing teacher pay formulas
Janesville Gazette: Is it good policy? Perhaps Act 10 was an overreach with its union-busting provisions, but it addressed a fiscal need in Wisconsin and the school districts and municipalities that receive state aid. Public employee benefits had become overly generous and burdensome on employers, and Act 10 addressed that by requiring employees to contribute … Continue reading Commentary on the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s Recent Act 10 Decision
Matthew DeFour: Mary Burke, who has already been endorsed by more than a dozen of the state’s largest private- and public-sector unions, said she supports making wages, hours, benefits and working conditions mandatory subjects of bargaining for public employees. She called the annual elections, the prohibition on requiring union dues of all employees, and a … Continue reading Wisconsin Gubernatorial candidate Act 10 Commentary
Erin Richards: Kenosha schools and the teachers union were at odds over the issue of automatic dues deduction for non-union members. Supporters of the contract argued the agreement and terms within it, such as the provision for automatic dues deduction, were legal because of the Colás decision. Kenosha Unified spokeswoman Tanya Ruder explained the School … Continue reading Kenosha School Board settles lawsuit over Act 10 dispute
Steve Strieker, via a kind Michael Walsh email: My first teaching contract 19 years ago at a Midwest Catholic high school grossed $15,000. My retirement benefits consisted of a whopping $500 401K. Cutting into my take-home pay was a $1500 annual premium for an inadequate health insurance plan with a high deductible and 80-20 coverage … Continue reading Walker’s Act 10 Devalues Teaching in Wisconsin
acing reduced membership, revenue and political power in the wake of 2011 legislation, Wisconsin’s two major state teachers unions appear poised to merge into a new organization called Wisconsin Together.
The merger would combine the Wisconsin Education Association Council, the state’s largest teachers union, and AFT-Wisconsin, a smaller union that includes technical college, higher education and state employees, according to new draft documents.
At the same time, a national educators group that promotes itself as an alternative to unions — and has the backing of some conservative-leaning organizations — is picking up new members in Wisconsin.
The developments underscore the changing landscape for Wisconsin teachers unions since the passage of Act 10, which limits collective bargaining and makes it more difficult for unions to collect dues.
After Act 10, WEAC has lost about a third of its approximately 98,000 members and AFT-Wisconsin is down to about 6,500 members from its peak of approximately 16,000, leaders of both organizations have reported.
According to their most recent federal tax filings, WEAC collected about $19.5 million in dues in 2011, and AFT-Wisconsin collected about $2 million. Both have downsized staff and expenses.
The initial governance documents of Wisconsin Together, which include a transition document, constitution and bylaws, have been posted on AFT-Wisconsin’s website for members of both organizations to peruse. A final vote on whether to merge will be taken at a special joint assembly in Green Bay on April 26.
Last Monday’s Supreme Court hearing, scheduled for 90 minutes, went almost four hours, given numerous comments and questions from the Justices – all seven participating to some degree. The resultant responses caused tension, such as Attorney General Van Hollen’s response to Justice Ann Walsh Bradley’s comment, “aren’t the parties’ arguments like ships passing in the night?” Van Hollen retorted that the two ships, “… are on a collision course” and “the State has a bigger ship and we shall win!”
As The Progressive editor Ruth Conniff wrote of the exchange, “That pretty much sums up the Walker Administration’s attitude toward the teachers, janitors, clerks, and municipal employees it seeks to disempower through Act 10. The state is bigger and stronger, Walker, Van Hollen, and their allies argue, and will not be deterred by public outcry, mass protests, or even the courts.”
MTI legal counsel Lester Pines, when presenting the Union’s argument resurrected the ship analogy, telling Van Hollen that, “The Titanic was a big ship too, compared to the relatively small iceberg that caused it to sink.” Pines added that the administration’s Act 10, like the Titanic, has hit an iceberg, and that the iceberg in this case is the Wisconsin Constitution.
In his argument, Pines told the Court that the fundamental argument came down to Constitutional rights. Pines’ claim led to Van Hollen claiming, “There is no constitutional right to collective bargaining.”
In February 2011, Governor Walker, as he described it, “dropped the bomb” on Wisconsin’s public employees, the birthplace of public employee bargaining, by proposing a law (Act 10) which would eliminate the right of collective bargaining in school districts, cities, counties, and most of the public sector. Collective Bargaining Agreements provide employment security and economic security, as well as wage increases, fringe benefits, and as U.S. Supreme Court Justice Holmes said many years ago, an effective voice for employees in the workplace. Unions had achieved these rights and benefits in a half-century of bargaining. Ostensibly proposed to address an alleged budget shortfall, the Governor’s proposed Act 10 not only called for reductions in economic benefits for public employees (e.g. limits on employer contributions toward pensions and health care), but prohibited public employers from bargaining with nearly all public employees over any issue, other than limited wage increases, under which no employee could recover losses due to the increase in the Consumer Price Index. For example, under Act 10, teacher unions can no longer bargain over issues of school safety, class size, planning and preparation time, and health insurance; educational assistants can no longer bargain over salary progression, insurance coverage or training; clerical/technical workers can no longer bargain over work hours, vacation benefits or time off to care for sick children; and state workers can no longer bargain over whistle-blower protections. The intent of the Governor was to silence public employees on issues of primary importance to them and those they serve, and to eliminate their political activity. His stated extreme, no compromise, “divide and conquer” approach was to gain full power over employees. That resulted in MTI members walking out for four days to engage in political action. Soon thereafter thousands followed MTI members, resulting in the largest protest movement in State history.
MTI legally challenged Walker’s law and in September, 2012, MTI, represented by Lester Pines, and his partners Tamara Packard and Susan Crawford, prevailed in an action before Dane County Circuit Court Judge Juan Colas, wherein Colas found that most of Act 10 is unconstitutional. In ruling on MTI’s petition, Colas agreed that Act 10 is unconstitutional as it violates MTI members’ freedom of association and equal protection, both of which are guaranteed by the Wisconsin Constitution. This enabled MTI to bargain Contracts for its five (5) bargaining units for 2014-15. MTI’s are among the few public sector contracts in Wisconsin for 2014-15.
When Dane Country Circuit Court Judge Juan Colas held officials in Gov. Scott Walker’s administration in contempt this week, he was pushing back against a level of unchecked lawlessness by this administration that is “practically seditious,” says attorney Lester Pines.
Colas had already ruled a year ago that parts of Act 10 — the law that ended most collective bargaining rights for most public employees — were unconstitutional. This included Act 10’s requirement that unions hold annual recertification elections. But commissioners at the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission decided to ignore that decision. They went ahead and prepared for recertification elections for more than 400 school district and worker unions in November.
“The commissioners knew full well” they were flouting the court, Colas said, despite their cute argument that the word “unconstitutional” applied only to the specific plaintiffs in the case — teachers in Madison and city workers in Milwaukee.
As John Matthews, executive director of Madison Teachers Inc., put it, Colas’ decision “is one of the most important decisions not only in public-sector labor history, but also in democracy.”
The principle here is simple. If a law is unconstitutional on its face, it’s unconstitutional in every case. That has always been understood in Wisconsin courts. And, Judge Colas pointed out, the Walker officials understood it, too.
Collective bargaining was restored for all city, county and school district employees by a Court ruling last week through application of an earlier (9/14/12) Court decision achieved by MTI. Circuit Court Judge Juan Colas found that Governor Walker’s appointees to the WERC, James Scott and Rodney Pasch, were in contempt of court “for implementing” those parts of Act 10 which he (Colas) previously declared unconstitutional, which made them “a law which does not exist”, as Colas put it.
The Judge told Scott & Pasch to comply with his finding of unconstitutionality or be punished for their contempt. They agreed to comply.
Judge Colas made his ruling on unconstitutionality on September 14, 2012. MTI was represented by its legal counsel, Lester Pines.
In the contempt claim, in addition to MTI, Pines represented the Kenosha Education Association and WEAC. The latter was also represented by Milwaukee attorney Tim Hawks, who also represented AFSCME Council 40, AFT Wisconsin, AFT nurses and SEIU Healthcare, in last week’s case. Also appearing was Nick Padway, who partnered with Pines in representing Milwaukee Public Employees Union Local 61 in the original case.
Judge Colas specifically ordered the WERC to cease proceeding with union recertification elections, which in his earlier ruling were found to be unconstitutional. Act 10 mandated all public sector unions to hold annual elections to determine whether union members wished to continue with representation by the union. Act 10 prescribed that to win a union had to achieve 50% plus one of all eligible voters, not 50% plus one of those voting like all other elections. The elections were to occur November 1.
Today, the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty – along with Education Action Group – have launched a website that will make it easier for teachers in Wisconsin to exercise their rights. A new website, TeacherFreedom.org, helps teachers opt out of their public unions.
After filling out a short questionnaire on the website, an opt- out letter is automatically created. The teacher then must mail the signed letter to his or her union officer. “TeacherFreedom.org serves as a tool to enable teachers to leave their union if they so choose,” explains Rick Esenberg, WILL President and General Counsel.
“Under Act 10, teachers can resign from their labor union and choose to stop paying union dues, saving money in the process. For the first time, teachers are free agents and not bound to the rigid union employment rules,” he continued.
MTI prevailed last year in a Circuit Court decision in which Judge Juan Colas found much of Act 10, what Governor Walker referred to as his “bomb” on public employee unions, to violate the Constitution. That decision is on appeal to the Wisconsin Supreme Court. Meanwhile, the Walker administration and his appointed Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission has simply thumbed their nose at Colas’ ruling and vowed to continue forcing unions to conduct annual elections, wherein a union is decertified if it does not receive 50%+1 of those eligible to vote, not just 50%+1 of those voting as in every other election.
In a September 17, 2013 ruling, Judge Colas told Governor Walker and the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission’s commissioners that a Circuit Court decision, while they may not like it or agree with it, is precedential and must be followed throughout the State. Colas said, “The question here is not whether other courts or non-parties are bound by this court’s ruling. It is whether the defendants are bound by it.” WERC was a named defendant in MTI’s suit, so as all defendants to a lawsuit are, and in a case in which the statute was found facially unconstitutional, they (WERC) are barred from enforcing Act 10 under any circumstances, against anyone.
The union representing Kenosha teachers has been decertified and may not bargain base wages with the district.
Because unions are limited in what they can do even if they are certified, the new status of Kenosha’s teachers union — just like the decertification of many other teachers unions in the state that did not or could not pursue the steps necessary to maintain certification in the new era of Act 10 — may be a moral blow more than anything else.
Teachers in Milwaukee and Janesville met the state’s Aug. 30 deadline to apply for recertification, a state agency representative says. Peter Davis, general counsel for the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission, said the Milwaukee and Janesville districts will hold recertification votes in November.
To continue as the recognized bargaining unit in the district, 51% of the union’s eligible membership must vote in favor of recertification, according to the controversial Act 10 legislation passed in 2011.
With contracts that were in place through the end of June, teachers in the three large southeastern Wisconsin districts were protected the longest from the new legislation, which limits collective bargaining, requires unions to hold annual votes to be recognized as official entities, and mandates that teachers and other public employees pay more out-of-pocket for their health care and retirement costs.
“It seems like the majority of our affiliates in the state aren’t seeking recertification, so I don’t think the KEA is an outlier or unique in this,” Brey said.
She added that certification gives the union scant power over a limited number of issues they’d like a voice in.
Sheronda Glass, the director of business services in Kenosha, said it’s a new experience for the district to be under Act 10.
Contrary to some published media reports, however, the union did not vote to decertify.
In fact, no such election was ever held, according to KEA Executive Director Joe Kiriaki, who responded to a report from the Conservative Badger blog, which published an article by Milwaukee radio talk show host Mark Belling, who said he had learned that just 37 percent of the teachers had voted to reauthorize the union.
In a prepared statement, Kiriaki criticized the district for “promoting untrue information” to Belling.
Union chose to focus on other issues
Kiriaki said the union opted not to “jump through the hoops,” such as the recertification requirement, created by Act 10, the state’s relatively new law on collective bargaining.
The law, among other things required the annual re-certification of unions if they want to serve as bargaining representatives for teachers and other public workers. It also prohibits most public employees from negotiating all but base wages, limiting them to the rate of inflation.
Kiriaki cited a ruling by a Dane County Circuit Court judge on the constitutionality of Act 10, saying he believed it would be upheld.
Interestingly, Madison School District & Madison Teachers to Commence Bargaining. Far more important, in my view is addressing Madison’s long standing, disastrous reading results.
In my view, the unions that wish to serve their membership effectively going forward would be much better off addressing new opportunities, including charters, virtual, and dual enrollment services. The Minneapolis Teachers Union can authorize charters, for example.
Much more on Act 10, here.
A conversation with retired WEAC executive Director Morris Andrews.
The Frederick Taylor inspired, agrarian K-12 model is changing, albeit at a glacial pace. Madison lags in many areas, from advanced opportunities to governance diversity, dual enrollment and online opportunities. Yet we spend double the national average per student, funded by ongoing property tax increases.
An elected official recently remarked to me that “it’s as if Madison schools have been stuck in a bubble for the past 40 years”.
ines helped spearhead the legal challenge against Act 10, which curtailed collective bargaining for most public sector workers. In a case involving Madison Teachers Inc. and Public Employees Local 61 in Milwaukee, a Dane County circuit judge struck down portions of the law.The case now goes to the state Supreme Court.
In another case involving Pines and Madison Teachers Inc., a Dane County judge struck down a portion of a law that gave Walker the power to veto rules written by the state schools superintendent. The case is now before the 4th District Court of Appeals in Madison.
Pines, representing the League of Women Voters, successfully argued in front of a Dane County judge that the state’s voter ID law violated the Wisconsin Constitution. The decision was overturned by the 4th District Court of Appeals, and the league has petitioned the Supreme Court to review the ruling. The voter ID measure remains on hold because of a ruling in a separate case.
“I believe that my law firm — because of the position we’re in and because of the work we’ve done — has disrupted the (Walker) agenda by using appropriate means and calling on the third equal branch of government (the court) to stop the majoritarian and authoritarian impulses of this Legislature,” he says.
The outcome of the cases is far from certain. But one thing is clear: Pines will keep up the fight.
Base wages, in all MTI/MMSD Collective Bargaining Agreements, have not increased since the passage of Act 10 in 2011. Act 10 also removed the benefit for the members of all MTI bargaining units of the District paying the employee’s share of the mandated deposit in the Wisconsin Retirement System. This in itself caused a 6.2% reduction take-home wages. MTI had negotiated in the early 1970’s that the District pay the WRS deposit. This part of Act 10 caused a loss in earnings of $11.7 million last school year and another $12.9 million this school year for District employees.
All employees do not automatically move up on the salary schedule each year. Members of the clerical/technical bargaining unit, for example, receive a wage additive based on months of service. These “longevity” payments begin at the 49th month of service, with the next one beginning at the 80th month of service.
There are similar increments between the increases in longevity payments. Last year, 199 individuals remained at the same salary, while this year, there were 70 who received no increase in wage.
Members of the educational assistant and school security assistant bargaining units, for example, receive a longevity increase after three years of service, but not anotheroneuntilafter12yearsofservice. Lastyear,282 individuals remained at the same salary, while this year there were 321 who received no increase in wage.
The teachers’ salary schedule requires that a teacher earn six credits each four years and receive his/her principal’s recommendation to be able to cross the salary barrier. This is at each four-year improvement level. For incentive levels, beginning at level 16, one progresses only every two years, and then only if he/she earns three credits and receives his/her principal’s recommendation. Last year, 941 individuals remained at the same salary, while this year, there were 701 who received no increase in wage.
A group of veteran Neenah teachers has sued to restore early retirement benefits that could amount to $170,000 each.
The suit was expected since February, when the School Board denied a group of teachers’ demand to restore them to the original early retirement deal eliminated last year after Act 10.
The named plaintiffs are six “distinguished teachers,” but the suit, filed Monday in Winnebago County Circuit Court, seeks to represent a class including more than 250 teachers who had been eligible to participate in the former early retirement plan.
Their attorney, Charles Hertel, said Neenah Joint School District administrators used the plan for years to recruit teachers, and to induce them to accept lower-than-market salaries. Many teachers’ retirement planning was based on the expectations of the later payouts, he said.
The lawsuit asserts four claims: that the district must be held to promises on which teachers relied, that cutting the plan amounts to unjust enrichment for the district and negligent misrepresentation and strict responsibility.
The suit seeks compensatory damages, costs and enforcement of the retirement plan.
The public schools in Wisconsin are some of the best in the country. Over the years, businesses have moved into this state knowing their employees will be able to feel confident sending their children to the local public schools.
What will happen as the years go by and the public schools in this state lose their ability to meet the expectations of excellence in education? Exactly what will attract businesses to this state when the public schools are no longer quality schools? Are we going to woo companies with the promise of our wonderful weather?
Too many of us have taken our public schools for granted. From early childhood through high school, we have become used to well-trained, dedicated teachers, quality educational programs, identification and early intervention of learning issues and a host of other resources found only in the public schools. We expect this of our public schools, but with Act 10, these opportunities that were of great value to all of our children will continue to disappear.
Unions actively reorienting themselves – even in states without Act 10-like legislation in place – are mobilizing teachers around curriculum and instruction issues. That could mean organizing teachers to champion what’s working best in the classroom by bringing new ideas to the school board, or working to get the community to support specific practices.
It means working more collaboratively, and offering solutions.
But collaboration can break down over ideological differences regarding what’s best for kids. Or teachers.
For example, while WEAC has supported a statewide evaluation system for educators in recent years, it has resisted emphasizing test scores in such evaluations. Others argue that robust data on test-score performance can say a lot about a teacher’s quality and should be used to make more aggressive decisions in termination or promotion.
Asking teachers to take a more active role in their union could also become an additional stress.
MTI’s September 14 Circuit Court victory, in which significant portions of Governor Walker’s union busting legislation (Act 10) were found to be unconstitutional, has gained world-wide attention.
Recognition has been noted twice in The Wall Street Journal, along with articles in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, in Great Britain, and numerous newspapers throughout Wisconsin. It has also been the subject of daily TV and radio coverage. Announcement of the decision received a standing ovation at the Fighting Bob Fest, and at the Osaka, Japan Social Forum. Public employees in Osaka are suffering from Act 10-like legislation.
MTI Executive Director John Matthews hailed Judge Colas’ decision as restoring the basic rights of collective bargaining to Wisconsin’s public employees. He said, “This is the ticket to restoring employees’ equal voice in the workplace, and the means of assuring justice for those not only represented by MTI, but by numerous other Wisconsin public sector unions.” MTI has requested that the Madison Metropolitan School District timely engage in collective bargaining with MTI to establish contract terms for MTI’s five (5) collective bargaining units, for the 2013-14 contract term.
The State has asked Judge Colas to stay (delay) implementation of his decision pending appeal.
Educators are waking up all over Madison this morn able to concentrate on students like it’s Jan 2011. It’s beautiful. #bargainingworks
— Madison Teachers Inc (@MtiMadison) September 25, 2012
CT: What about the training and capabilities of Madison school teachers and how they deliver in the classroom day to day — is there room for improvement there?
JM: Well, there’s always room for improvement — there’s room for improvement in what I do. I can only say that the Madison School District has invested all kinds of things in professional development. One thing teachers tell us if they have time to work together, they can make strides. I found early in my career if I’m having a teacher identified as having a performance problem, ask the principal who is the best at doing what they want this teacher to do. Then you go to that teacher and say: “You have a colleague who needs help, will you take them under your wing?” I don’t have access to any of what they talk about, management doesn’t have access to that — it’s been a remarkably successful venture.
CT: In discussion of the achievement gap in Madison I’ve heard from African-American parents up and down the economic spectrum who say that their children are met at school with low expectations that really hamper their performance.
JM: I’ve heard that too. The Madison School District has an agreed-upon mandatory cultural course that people have to take. But there are people in society who don’t like to be around other races. I don’t see that when teachers are together. And we have a variety of people who are leaders in MTI — either Asian or Indian or black — but there are people who have different expectations from people who are different from them.
CT: Does the union have a role in dealing with teachers whose lowered expectations of students of color might contribute to the achievement gap?
JM: The only time MTI would get involved is if somebody was being criticized for that, we’d likely be involved with that; if someone were being disciplined for that, we would be involved. We’ve not seen that.
In other words, MPS had a surplus of teachers because older teachers were not retiring so as not to lose state pension benefits. Hence, a second pension to offset any loss was created. However, since 1982 the early retirement penalty for teacher has been reduced or eliminated, turning the second pension into an additional benefit which MPS states it had “no intent to establish.”
The survival of the second pension long past its justifiable usefulness is a result of a collective bargaining process that rarely gives back established benefits (see, for example, MTEA’s 2011 rejection of concessions that would have saved teacher jobs). Former MPS superintendent Howard Fuller, school choice advocate George Mitchell, and former WPRI staffer Michael Hartman did a good job documenting in a 2000 book chapter (see figure one) the dramatic growth of the MPS/MTEA contract from an 18 page document in 1965 to a 232 page document in 1997. The most recent published contract? 258 pages.
Much more, here.
Not so long ago, the Wisconsin Education Association Council (WEAC), the state’s largest teachers union, sported the motto, “Every child deserves a great school.”
The irony of that motto was not lost on school administrators, particularly in more recent years, as they struggled to balance budgets while local WEAC unions refused to accept financial concessions that would have helped maintain quality programming for students.
In school district after school district, layoffs have occurred, class sizes have increased and student programs have been cut, partially because many
unions refused to accept temporary pay freezes, or pay a bit more toward their own health insurance or pension costs.
This was happening all over the state, even before Gov. Scott Walker was elected and his biannual budget slowed the rate of state aid to schools.
The problem is not difficult to understand. Most public school administrators tell us they spend between 75-85 percent of their total budgets on labor costs, mostly for salaries and benefits for union teachers. If a budget crisis hits and spending cuts are needed, school boards will logically look at the biggest part of the budget.
But under the old collective bargaining system, local teachers unions had broad legal power to reject cuts in labor costs, and frequently did so. With 80 percent of the budget often untouchable, school boards had little choice but to cut from the 20 percent that has the most profound effect on students.
Something is definitely wrong with that picture, if you believe that schools exist primarily to benefit children.
While there is no disputing the divisiveness and political bitterness Act 10 has created, the law that redefined collective bargaining in Wisconsin has made a dramatic difference for the state’s financially struggling school districts, according to a report slated for release this week.
But superintendents tell Wisconsin Reporter they worry about the long-lasting emotional scars left by the contentious reform battle.
Wisconsin school districts have realized significant savings either through the implementation of collective bargaining changes or the threat of them, according to an analysis by the Michigan-based Education Action Group Foundation, known as EAG, a nonprofit research organization promoting school spending reform.
The pointed report, titled “The Bad Old Days of Collective Bargaining: Why Act 10 Was Necessary for Wisconsin Public Schools,” devotes plenty of its pages to applauding the collective bargaining reforms led by Republican Gov. Scott Walker, but it backs up the assertions with some telling numbers.
We’re in duck and cover mode…purely from the title of this entry.
But, you know what, folks? Whether you are a Walker devotee or a Walker detractor, you have to admit that EVERYTHING that Act 10 did was not bad. Yes, at its heart, Act 10 was a heinous attempt to cut public employees down at the knees. That was neither right nor fair. You can argue whatever you like, but the fact remains that for these scorned public workers, benefits were improved over the years IN LIEU OF salary increases. Rightly or wrongly so, that is what it boiled down to. Publicly, governors declared victory by giving public employees only modest raises (1-2%) each year. In some years, they got nothing. Quietly, however, behind the scenes, they negotiated with the unions to pick up the tab for a greater percentage of benefits…or offered another few days of annual leave(vacation).
This didn’t happen overnight, people! This process developed over the past 25-35 YEARS! We know of many examples of private sector workers who took a job with in the public sector at a substantial demotion in terms of pay. These workers made a choice to do so in exchange for enhanced job security. Again…be it right or wrong, that’s what they did. It took many of these workers 10 years or more to be earning the same salary they did when they left the private sector. But it was a choice, and they were OK with their choice.
Don’t tell us that the private sector is struggling. Certainly, many private businesses and employees have suffered since the economic crisis which began over 3 years ago. But many are faring much better. We are hearing of BONUSES being given this holiday season. Public employees have never and WILL never hear of such a thing. We also know many private sector employees that have good to excellent health and retirement benefits.
Wednesday I wrote about some of the ways collective bargaining can have a monetary cost. Last night the Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) provided an example of how its reform has given local governments a path to financial stability. The MPS board, reports Erin Richards in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, approved by a vote of 6-3 a set of reforms projected to reduce the district’s post-retirement benefit liability by $900 million over the next thirty years.
Anna North: America’s largest school district, New York City, brought some 300,000 students back for in-person learning on Tuesday, even as Covid-19 rates in the city began to tick up. Meanwhile, schools in Miami announced a return to fully in-person learning this month, after a disastrous rollout of online education earlier in the fall. Then … Continue reading 10 facts about school reopenings in the Covid-19 pandemic
Emma Pettit: The global campus, which used to be known as the University of Maryland University College, serves tens of thousands of students and is one of the nation’s biggest players in distance learning. The institution focuses on educating adult students and veterans. The new structure is necessary, Smith said, to prepare for the rest … Continue reading University Of Maryland To Restructure, Terminate Contracts Of 100 Faculty Who Can ‘Recompete’ For Their Jobs
Frank Furedi The rise of the internet and the widespread availability of digital technology has surrounded us with endless sources of distraction: texts, emails and Instagrams from friends, streaming music and videos, ever-changing stock quotes, news and more news. To get our work done, we could try to turn off the digital stream, but that’s … Continue reading The ages of distraction Busy, distracted, inattentive? Everybody has been since at least 1710 and here are the philosophers to prove it
Retraction Watch Springer is retracting 107 papers from one journal after discovering they had been accepted with fake peer reviews. Yes, 107. To submit a fake review, someone (often the author of a paper) either makes up an outside expert to review the paper, or suggests a real researcher — and in both cases, provides … Continue reading A new record: Major publisher retracting more than 100 studies
Cathleen O’Grady: The journal Tumor Biology is retracting 107 research papers after discovering that the authors faked the peer review process. This isn’t the journal’s first rodeo. Late last year, 58 papers were retracted from seven different journals— 25 came from Tumor Biology for the same reason. It’s possible to fake peer review because authors … Continue reading 107 cancer papers retracted due to peer review fraud
Scott Barry Kaufman: Creative products, by definition, are the antithesis of expertise. This is because creativity must be original, meaningful, and surprising. Original in the sense that the creator is rewarded for transcending expertise, and going beyond the standard repertoire. Meaningful in the sense that the creator must satisfy some utility function, or provide a … Continue reading Creativity Is Much More Than 10,000 Hours of Deliberate Practice
The Conversation: Only a tenth of education reforms carried out around the world since 2008 have been analysed by governments for the impact they have on children’s education. A new report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) think-tank looked at 450 education reforms carried out by its 34 member countries between 2008 … Continue reading Only 1 in 10 education reforms analysed for their impact, finds OECD report
In the last decade, we have emerged from the Education Stone Age. No longer must we rely on primitive tools like teachers and principals to assess children’s academic progress. Thanks to the best education minds in Washington, Albany and Lower Manhattan, we now have finely calibrated state tests aligned with the highest academic standards. What follows is a look back at New York’s long march to a new age of accountability.
DECEMBER 2002 The state’s education commissioner, Richard P. Mills, reports to the state Regents: “Students are learning more than ever. Student achievement has improved in relation to the standards over recent years and continues to do so.”
JANUARY 2003 New York becomes one of the first five states to have its testing system approved by federal officials under the new No Child Left Behind law. The Princeton Review rates New York’s assessment program No. 1 in the country.
Special interests in Washington DC have hired expensive lobbyists who also represent large corporate interests including, General Motors and Proctor & Gamble to try to pull the wool over the eyes ofparents ofchildren with disabilities. They allege that their interest is, “To advocate for parental options in education that empowers low and middle-income families to make choices in where they send their children to school.” (1) These high powered special interests have never approached Disability Rights Wisconsin or any other major Wisconsin disability group to learn from those of us who have been advocating for Wisconsin children with disabilities for over 30 years, to find out what really needs improvement Wisconsin’s special education system. Instead, they have set up a Facebook site which fails to tell the whole truth about the bill they promote.
This fact sheet tells the whole truth about AB 110 and its effort to dismantle special education as we know it and subsidize middle and upper income families who want to send their kids to private school ai taxpayer expense.
Myth# l-AB 110 allows parents the option to choose any other school they want their child to attend if they are unsatisfied with the special education being provided in their public school.
Fact-AB 110 has no requirement in it that forces any school to accept a child who has a special needs voucher.
Myth# 2-Since only children with Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) can receive a special needs scholarship, private schools who accept them must provide them with special education and implement the child’s IEP.
Facts-AB 110 makes no requirement that private schools which accept a special needs scholarship provide any special education or implement any IEP. In fact, AB II 0 does not even require that private schools which accept special needs scholarships have a single special education teacher or therapist on their staff!
This presentation discusses the results of the DQC’s sixth annual state analysis Data for Action 2010, a powerful policymaking tool to drive education leaders to use data in decision making.
Margaret V. Soucek and a small group of friends set out in the mid-1960s to help reform the Morton High School District 201 Board.
Their group, The Organization for Better Education, met with so much stonewalling and hostility from local political forces in Berwyn and Cicero that one of their candidates, Mary Karasek, considered dropping out of the race, Karasek recalled Monday. But when Mrs. Soucek heard about her friend’s wish, she wouldn’t have it.
“I thought, ‘It isn’t worth it,'” Karasek said. “But Margaret got so worked up about the fact that I withdrew, that I decided I had to [run].”
Mrs. Soucek, 86, a longtime Berwyn resident, would go on to serve as president of the District 201 Board, frequently squaring off against forces loyal to west suburban figures such as former Cicero Town President Betty Loren-Maltese. Mrs. Soucek died Wednesday, May 21, in Adventist La Grange Memorial Hospital after a heart attack.
The U.S. Constitution leaves the responsibility for public K-12 education with the states.
The responsibility for K-12 education rests with the states under the Constitution. There is also a compelling national interest in the quality of the nation’s public schools. Therefore, the federal government, through the legislative process, provides assistance to the states and schools in an effort to supplement, not supplant, state support. The primary source of federal K-12 support began in 1965 with the enactment of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).
Gregory McNamee: We live in a sea of information, as Britannica’s Web 2.0 Forum has made plain. Sometimes that sea is full of algal blooms. Sometimes there’s raw sewage floating on it. Sometimes that sea is so choppy that it’s dangerous to enter. In a time of educational crisis, when reading and analysis are fading … Continue reading 10 Ways to Test Facts
Addison Lathers: To thwart the continued transmission of COVID-19, the Madison Police Department began instituting measures to limit social gatherings in the downtown area with the support of UW-Madison leadership. In a letter sent to downtown apartment buildings, Madison Police Department Acting Chief Victor Wahl said students attending gatherings may be fined a minimum of … Continue reading Madison police tell UW-Madison students they could be fined at least $376 for attending indoor gatherings of more than 10 people
Richard P Phelps: Ten years ago, I worked as the Director of Assessments for the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS). My tenure coincided with Michelle Rhee’s last nine months as Chancellor. I departed shortly after Vincent Gray defeated Adrian Fenty in the September 2010 DC mayoral primary. My primary task was to design an … Continue reading Looking Back on DC Education Reform 10 Years After, Part 1: The Grand Tour
Emily Rauscher: The U.S. Department of Education made recent technical changes reducing eligibility for the Rural and Low-Income School Program. Given smaller budgets and lower economies of scale, rural districts may be less able to absorb short-term funding cuts and experience stronger negative achievement effects. Kansas implemented a state-level finance change (block grant funding) after … Continue reading Does Money Matter More in the Country? Education Funding Reductions and Achievement in Kansas, 2010–2018
Scott Girard: The budget vote this summer took place in a June 29 public meeting, and district spokesman Tim LeMonds pointed to a mention in the June 26 staff newsletter, which he called “the primary mechanism used for communicating to all staff.” In that newsletter, a “Budget Update” section on page two includes a mention … Continue reading Commentary on Taxpayer supported Madison Schools’ compensation practices (and budget)
Statesman: What Biden says about school choice The Biden campaign said he’s firmly against using public money for private K-12 schools. Here’s the full statement we received: “Joe Biden opposes the Trump/(Betsy) DeVos conception of ‘school choice,’ which is private school vouchers that would destroy our public schools. He’s also against for-profit and low-performing charter … Continue reading Fact-check: Does Joe Biden want to end school choice?
Emily Hamer: Grayson also consistently fights for Madison’s Black community on smaller stages. At a recent City Council meeting, Grayson urged council members to pass police oversight measures to hold the city’s law enforcement accountable, something protesters have pushed for. She said voting in support would be to “do what’s right in the lives of … Continue reading Activist Brandi Grayson says she’s an ‘agitator,’ fighter for Black lives
Tax Foundation: What You’ll Learn 1 Identify some of the most common tax policy misconceptions and how to separate fact from fiction. 2 Discover why tax refunds shouldn’t be celebrated, why you should pay your income tax bill, and why certain deductions are wrongly labeled “loopholes,” among other useful facts. 3 Improve your ability to … Continue reading 10 Common Tax Myths, Debunked
Will Cioci: “I am particularly unhappy about the fact that Dane County has chosen some very low numbers of case limits to decide whether to allow K-12 to start back up again in person,” she said. “I have asked that the county should revisit some of those K-12 limits.” One particular area of concern with … Continue reading “I am particularly unhappy about the fact that Dane County has chosen some very low numbers of case limits to decide whether to allow K-12 to start back up again in person”
Rabail Chaudhry, George Dranitsaris, Talha Mubashir, Justyna Bartoszko and Sheila Riazi: Increasing COVID-19 caseloads were associated with countries with higher obesity (adjusted rate ratio [RR]=1.06; 95%CI: 1.01–1.11), median population age (RR=1.10; 95%CI: 1.05–1.15) and longer time to border closures from the first reported case (RR=1.04; 95%CI: 1.01–1.08). Increased mortality per million was significantly associated with … Continue reading A country level analysis measuring the impact of government actions, country preparedness and socioeconomic factors on COVID-19 mortality and related health outcomes
Maxine McKinney de Royston and Erica O. Turner: Let’s be clear: an uncontrolled COVID-19 pandemic, anti-Black racism, xenophobia, climate crises and economic collapse are deepening existing inequities. A large body of research, including our own, shows that students of color are systematically denied access to safe and high-quality education. Maxine’s article, “I’m a Teacher, I’m … Continue reading Acting collectively and systemically for equity in pandemic schooling
Dane County Madison Public Health: The Wisconsin Department of Health Services’ (DHS) Activity Tracker, Harvard guidance, COVID-local and COVIDActNow served as the main sources of the targets used for determining in-person instruction by grade level. Related: Catholic schools will sue Dane County Madison Public Health to open as scheduled Notes and links on Dane County Madison Public … Continue reading Dane County Madison Public Health Slides (late Friday) on Schools; “activity tracker”
Shanzeh Ahmad: A 2018 graduate of West High School, Obuseh comes from a military family and moved to Madison in 2016 after having lived in Germany for some six years. Her younger brother is about to start his sophomore year at West. Before Germany, they lived in Delaware, Alabama and Georgia, where Obuseh was born … Continue reading 19-year-old activist helps spearhead youth-led Black Lives Matter movement
Eugene Volokh: Before I get into the specifics of the various state and local statutes, let me flag some questions that different legislatures have answered differently (and, in some instances, that some legislatures haven’t expressly addressed). [1.] Criminal Liability, Civil Liability, or Both? Some of the statutes expressly provide for civil liability, some for criminal liability, … Continue reading Laws Protecting Private Employees’ Speech and Political Activity Against Employer Retaliation: Cross-Cutting Questions
Emily Hamer: Breaking away from Madison’s recent decision to remove police officers from its schools, the Middleton-Cross Plains School Board on Monday voted to extend its contract for school resource officers. Citing the need for relationship building between officers and students and protection from school shootings, the board voted unanimously to re-approve the contract with … Continue reading Middleton-Cross Plains School District extends contract for police in schools
David Randall: In 1996, Californians overwhelmingly approved Proposition 209 that prohibited all state agencies from using anyone’s race, ethnicity, or gender to discriminate against them or give them preference in university admissions, public employment, or competition for a state contract. Those who opposed Proposition 209 predicted that ending racial or gender favoritism would result in … Continue reading National Association of Scholars – The Effects of Proposition 209 on California: Higher Education, Public Employment, and Contracting: 2020 Update
Logan Wroge: The Madison School Board approved a contract Monday to hire a Minnesota school administrator as the next superintendent before releasing details of the agreement to the public. That’s a change from how the board handled the hiring process for its first choice for superintendent — who later backed out of the job — … Continue reading “We know best”: Madison School Board approves superintendent contract before it becomes public
Jason Stein: Estimates for WI general school aids are out from DPI – not surprisingly given its increases in property values, Madison schools will see max 15% decrease (largest decrease in raw $s in the state). Milwaukee Public Schools expected to get a 2% increase: bit.ly/38lfSWQ Budget Brief, via the Wisconsin Policy Forum: But for … Continue reading K-12 Tax & Spending Climate: Madison to receive 15% reduction in redistributed state tax dollars (property tax values and referendum spending are factors)
Scott Girard: The Madison School Board will vote Monday on continuing or ending early its contract with the Madison Police Department to have officers stationed in its four comprehensive high schools. Based on public statements from board members this spring and previous votes, it’s likely the board will vote to end the contract early, though … Continue reading Madison School Board will vote on police contract Monday
Alan Borsuk: First, success in reaching proficiency in reading is shockingly low among students from low-income homes and those who are black or Hispanic. The Wisconsin gap between white kids and black kids has often been measured as the worst in the United States. Only 13% of black fourth through eighth graders in Wisconsin were rated as proficient or … Continue reading On the education front, one way to move from anger to action would be to make sure all youngsters are proficient in reading
Karl Leif Bates: Hundreds of published studies over the last decade have claimed it’s possible to predict an individual’s patterns of thoughts and feelings by scanning their brain in an MRI machine as they perform some mental tasks. But a new analysis by some of the researchers who have done the most work in this … Continue reading Studies of Brain Activity Aren’t as Useful as Scientists Thought
Patrick Jaicomo and Anya Bidwell: The Supreme Court created qualified immunity in 1982. With that novel invention, the court granted all government officials immunity for violating constitutional and civil rights unless the victims of those violations can show that the rights were “clearly established.” A virtually unlimited protection Although innocuous sounding, the clearly established test … Continue reading Civics: Police act like laws don’t apply to them because of ‘qualified immunity.’ They’re right.
Kelly Meyerhofer: The System took a new approach for this study, contracting with Equifax, which identified employment records of UW graduates and sent the confidential, anonymized data to the System’s Office of Policy Analysis and Research for analysis. Among the findings: Graduates earned a median annual salary of nearly $50,000 a year out of college, … Continue reading University of Wisconsin uses Equifax Credit Bureau data to evaluate Graduate activity
Steven Levitt: Little is known about whether people make good choices when facing important decisions. This article reports on a large-scale randomized field experiment in which research subjects having difficulty making a decision flipped a coin to help determine their choice. For important decisions (e.g. quitting a job or ending a relationship), individuals who are … Continue reading Heads or Tails: The Impact of a Coin Toss on Major Life Decisions and Subsequent Happiness
Scott Girard: Ethan Yang had to recopy his essay into unfamiliar software as the clock ran down on the Advanced Placement U.S. Government and Politics exam Monday. The Memorial High School senior hit submit with seconds left, but the “Congratulations” screen never popped up — instead, he saw a message about the test being over … Continue reading ACT online testing commentary
Kelly Ho: Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam has claimed that students should be protected from being “poisoned” as she said that “false and biased” information had spread on campuses. She also rejected criticism on her administration’s Covid-19 measures and warned against legislative filibustering and “foreign interference.” In an interview with state-run newspaper Ta Kung Pao published … Continue reading Students cannot be ‘poisoned’ with ‘false, biased’ information says Hong Kong’s Carrie Lam, vowing action
Yvonne Kim: As of April 30, over 70 institutions of higher education had adopted some form of test-optional policies this spring, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education. The Board’s vote extends an interim policy, which suspended the requirement through June 17, through the 2021-2022 academic year. UW-Madison “may continue to require ACT or SAT scores from … Continue reading No ACT/SAT required at UW schools (except UW-Madison)
Scott Girard: The Greater Madison Writing Project was set to celebrate its 10-year anniversary on March 21. Ten days before that, the University of Wisconsin-Madison closed most of its facilities and social distancing practices went into effect amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, forcing GMWP to cancel its celebration and shift its work with teachers and students online. … Continue reading In lieu of celebration, Greater Madison Writing Project shifts online for 10th anniversary
AnnaMaria Andriotis and Orla McCaffrey: Robert Rodriguez and Migdalia Wharton, a married couple in Orlando, Fla., have been out of work for more than a month and can’t afford to pay their credit-card bills. When they called Capital One Financial Corp. to explain, the bank told them they could skip their April payments. But they … Continue reading K-12 Tax, Referendum & Spending Climate: Millions of Credit-Card Customers Can’t Pay Their Bills. Lenders Are Bracing for Impact.
Tony Room: More than 2,100 U.S. cities are anticipating major budget shortfalls this year and many are planning to slash programs and cut staff in response, according to a survey of local officials released Tuesday, illustrating the widespread financial havoc threatened by the coronavirus pandemic. The bleak outlook — shared by local governments representing roughly … Continue reading K-12 Tax, Spending & Referendum Climate: More than 2,100 U.S. cities brace for budget shortfalls
Ross Anderson: There have recently been several proposalsfor pseudonymous contact tracing, including from Apple and Google. To both cryptographers and privacy advocates, this might seem the obvious way to protect public health and privacy at the same time. Meanwhile other cryptographers have been pointing out some of the flaws. There are also real systems being built by governments. Singapore has already deployedand open-sourced one that uses contact tracing based … Continue reading Contact Tracing in the Real World