March 31, 2011
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With Republicans dead set on crushing teachers’ rights and other public employees, teachers with enough years to retire are heading for the door.
NEA Today reported that:
“In Wisconsin, the number of state employees who have applied to retire this year is already 73 percent over last year – and public schools are bracing for a full-on stampede before contracts end in June.” … “Educators simply can’t afford to stay on. With Gov. Scott Walker’s success in gutting collective bargaining and the rights of the working class, they’re afraid that, if they don’t retire now, they’ll lose their pensions and potential health benefits. Plus, with Walker and his right-wing allies poised to slash public school budgets, educators across the state will be struggling to teach enormous numbers of students in each classroom next year.
“I felt like it was almost like a gun to our heads,” said Thomas Bindl to an Education Week reporter. Bindl, a 57-year-old fourth-grade teacher in Sun Prairie’s Royal Oaks Elementary, has been teaching for 34 years.
A Wave of Teacher Retirements on the Horizon : NEA Today.
We should all be concerned. Parents, teachers and more have been fighting for years, especially in our urban centers who will undoubtedly be hit the hardest by the GOP’s shameless actions, to cut class size allowing teachers and students to engage in real learning.
In addition to an obvious spike in class size, we will lose the benefit of the experience and the knowledge that senior teaching staff bring to the table. For certain, a diverse teaching staff is plum; we need new ideas and methods coupled with the wisdom of senior teaching staff.
Sadly, the GOP’s unbridled lust for crushing public employee unions has nothing to do with our children. Its politics. Gov. Scott Walker will definitely find a place in th history books. I’m not so sure the spot he is looking for.