Wisconsin Teachers granted a “Lifetime” of Deprofessionalization.


Stupid cliche alert.  “Be careful what you wish for.”

Wisconsin has a new budget! Finally we can get down to the continued further “disruption” of the teaching profession.

Yes it is now official.  $2100, 10 months, and no student teaching gets you a license to teach in Wisconsin—teacher shortage solution I’ve been told.  Never mind the most comprehensive research available that says 90% of teacher openings are being caused by teachers leaving the profession. Sorry. Old news.

In addition to “fast track” certification Wisconsin will be granting “lifetime licenses” for those already teaching and after 3 years of teaching service for new teachers.  I know that the first reaction is

“that’s cool! No more burdensome renewal processes and no more disconnected requirements in order to maintain a teaching license.”

Even though there is a lot of truth to the previous statement, do teachers really think a “lifetime license” was included in the Walker budget to actually help teachers?  Seriously.  This Act 10 Walker?  This is the guy who maligned teachers for having a job with health care and retirement benefits.  Why would he all of sudden do something positive for teachers?

He hasn’t!  A ‘lifetime license” is just the newest way to promote a lifetime of low wages and a diminished professional status.

“But Tim, back in the day I had a lifetime license and continued my education and was rewarded for professional development and advanced degrees.”

Yeah I know.  But “back in the day” teachers had collective bargaining and a strong union that made sure that the PROFESSION was treated as such.  The union advocated and received the supports needed to financially help teachers continue their education and made sure that each level of continued education was also rewarded.

Under the new “lifetime license” the only requirement to maintain it is to simply apply for renewal.  How is this good for kids and how is this good for the profession?

Schools that have been stripped of cash over the last 6 years don’t have the financial ability to reward and compensate plans that maintain teaching as a high level profession. Therefore, teachers—that have been stripped of collective bargaining—are now going to simply morph into low paid labor.  A “lifetime license” with no continued education, professional development requirements, and no need for districts to compensate teachers for advanced degrees is simply a license to work as a low wage laborer for the rest of your life.

Yes the old renewal process was painful, burdensome, and in need of a major overhaul.  However that work was supposed to be done with teachers, teacher educators, schools and communities together.  Politicians that have been actively dismantling our public schools and the profession of teaching had no business entering the world of teacher licensing.

As I used to say, “Someone has to say it!”