MPS endures another resignation wave — this time newcomers

Sep 1, 2014 by

In the summer of 2013, hundreds of veteran teachers retired from Milwaukee Public Schools, many taking advantage of the favorable terms of expiring contracts.

After that, Act 10 took effect, and with it, new employee handbooks that dictate salaries and duties.

One year later in the summer of 2014, there’s been another, even greater, spike in teachers leaving. But those walking away now are predominantly educators with three or fewer years of experience, according to district data. Some were the very hires that replaced those retiring veterans last year.

MPS officials say the spike in resignations among less-experienced teachers is a function of the new makeup of the teaching corps. MPS made a large number of hires in recent years, many of them young and mobile.

“There is a national trend toward not staying with the same employer for decades,” MPS spokesman Tony Tagliavia said.

But the roots of the issue may be deeper than that.

Some teachers get a taste of today’s workplace and leave education entirely. The pressures and politics of the job have heightened in recent years, and in many districts across the state, it’s common to hear teachers say they feel disrespected by the public, unsupported by their administration and beaten up by parents.

For those educators who want to stay, there is more flexibility than before, especially for those with in-demand licenses. The Act 10 law that eliminated most collective bargaining for public unions has created a more competitive environment.

There are no statewide figures on teacher resignations in recent years, according to the Wisconsin Association of School Boards. But anecdotally, other school district officials say they’ve noticed a trend.

Johnna Noll, director of instructional services at the West Allis-West Milwaukee Public Schools, said Act 10 has created an open market for teachers, which makes it harder for districts to retain staff with sought-after skills.

“Everyone is talking about resignation rates, they’re higher everywhere in the past several years,” Noll said.

via MPS endures another resignation wave — this time newcomers.

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