This week the Wall Street Journal published an opinion piece that you won’t read anything like in any WI newspaper. The piece trumpets the merits of Act 10.
The article is only available online to subscribers, but here are some key excerpts:
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s collective-bargaining reforms have saved taxpayers money, and now a study finds that by rewarding the best teachers they are also improving student learning.
As Stanford University economic researcher Barbara Biasi explains in a new study (which is awaiting peer review), Act 10 created a marketplace for teachers in which public-school districts can compete for better employees. For instance, a district can pay more to recruit and retain “high-value added” teachers—that is, those who most improve student learning. Districts can also cap salaries of low-performing teachers, which might encourage them to quit or leave for other districts.
Ms. Biasi found that better teachers gravitate to districts where they can negotiate their own pay while lousy teachers tend to migrate toward those where salary scales are regimented. The study found “a 34 percent increase in the quality of teachers moving from salary schedule to individual-salary districts, and a 17 percent decrease in the quality of teachers exiting individual-salary districts.”
Individual-salary negotiations might also encourage incumbent teachers to improve their skills and boost the quality of new teacher applicants.
The lesson is that incentives matter in education as in the rest of American life. Giving schools the ability to reward the best teachers produces better results for students. The evidence grows that Act 10 may be the most successful public-policy achievement since welfare reform.