Gov. Scott Walker’s Act 10 reforms, which limited collective bargaining for public employees and gave school boards more authority over their districts, have been a source of controversy since they passed in 2011. However, the evidence is in and Act 10 is working in ways we never anticipated.
As a Wall Street Journal editorial points out, Act 10 is even improving student test scores, despite claims to the contrary.
Mary Bell, president of the Wisconsin Education Association Council teachers union, declared at the time that Mr. Walker “has taken an ax to our public schools” and that the reforms would result in “the destruction of public service and public education in this state.” But public schools and student performance are better now because of the reforms, according to a new study by the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty.
The study examined state math scores before and after the reforms were implemented. Reading scores weren’t considered because the state changed language arts tests after the reforms took effect. Math proficiency increased by an average of 2.1% across school districts after districts implemented the reforms.
The editorial also points out that urban school districts like Milwaukee and Madison did not see the same benefit, perhaps because of those school districts’ resistance to implementing the Act 10 reforms.