cur-mud-geon: anyone who hates hypocrisy and pretense and has the temerity to say so; anyone with the habit of pointing out unpleasant facts in an engaging and humorous manner
WEAC (the Wisconsin Education Association Council) made some significant news with a release of its plan for reformation of the Milwaukee school system and for changes in teacher evaluation statewide. This appears to be a sign that WEAC understands the tide is turning from a political perspective, and that parents are increasingly alarmed about the quality and cost of the education system in Wisconsin.
The plan released isn’t necessarily going to advance without major changes, but the simple fact that WEAC has finally made a preemptive move to engage in this discussion is very meaningful and gives hope that changes can be accomplished.
One might ask what the reformation of the Milwaukee system would mean for Germantown. At the least, if we see Milwaukee’s graduation rates increase from their dismal current levels, and if those graduates need less remedial education in the MATC system, our contributions to MATC should be able to be held in check or decreased. If the chain of welfare benefit-dependent individuals in Milwaukee’s inner city can be arrested and reversed, our tax dollars can be better employed for other purposes.
Beyond this, however, a change in the methods in which teachers are compensated and evaluated can improve even our solid system in Germantown. There is a truism attached to teachers unions and teachers are willing to tell us this: the unions tend to protect teachers that shouldn’t be protected rather than to cull those not suited to this profession from the ranks of those who are good at it.
Will all this lower the costs of education? That is an unlikely though noble outcome. Maybe those costs can be increased in wiser ways and at lower biennial rates of increase, though. Maybe we can see an improvement in the quality of our own system. Maybe our kids can emerge better prepared for their futures. Maybe our devoted and most capable teachers can be helped to feel a lot better about their work places as well as about their cohorts. Maybe those who deserve better compensation based upon delivering superior results can receive that monetary and psychic remuneration.
At any rate, this is a significant step initiated by the largest teachers’ union in Wisconsin and it ought to be applauded.