Taxpayer Funded Wisconsin DPI Report on Teacher Shortage Misses the Mark

Wisconsin Institute for law of liberty:

Recently, Wisconsin’s Department of Public Instruction released a report on the teacher shortage in the state.  The report claims that nearly 40% of teachers leave the profession within the first five years, and blames declines in teacher compensation over the past decade for the shift.  While the problems identified in the report are legitimate, the causes and solutions offered are more representative of traditional liberal talking points than an honest effort to make improvements for the teaching workforce in the state.  In this explainer, we identify a number of issues with DPI’s report. 

Consistent with National Patterns 

Despite attempts to blame Act 10 for the decline in teacher retention, in reality this is a problem around the county. Indeed, based on the numbers reported by DPI, Wisconsin may actually be better than average. A 2018 study estimated that 44% of teachers nationwide leave the profession within five years  And this data was pre-COVID–there is extensive evidence that turnover has increased since then.  To illustrate this, consider a recent Chalkbeat analysis looked at teachers leaving the profession across four states.  Each of these states saw an annual turnover rate of more than 10% during the 2022 school year.   A figure from that report is reproduced below. 

Figure 1. Annual Teacher Turnover in Four States (Chalkbeat) 

Rep. Barbara Dittrich:

I have supported getting more teachers in the classroom, but several of our efforts (including my bill with Sen. Knodl, SB 608) have been vetoed. Let’s hope we can work together in more constructive ways next session.


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