In the first half of this year, while Wisconsin lawmakers were pushing legislation to take away most of public employees’ collective bargaining rights, about twice as many public school teachers decided to retire as in each of the past two full years.
The exodus of 4,925 school district employees in the first six months of 2011 has led to fears that the jobs might not be filled, and that classroom leadership by veteran teachers will be lost.
Lawmakers have argued that the changes will help schools and governments deal with deep budget cuts. Since the law took effect, Gov. Scott Walker, a Republican, has repeatedly touted examples of schools that he says are saving money.
A version of this article appeared in the September 14, 2011 edition of Education Week as Wis. Teacher Retirements Shot Up During Union Fight