More WI

10 Wisconsin questions I’d like to hear answered below, but three other Wisconsin issues worth mentioning.  There has been some rhetoric about the solvency of the state pension system for teachers.  In fact, while Wisconsin has some unfunded liability it’s manageable and in better shape than most states (pdf).  Although the state is facing some other fiscal problems it’s hard to say the pension system there is in a crisis.

Second, when Jane Hannaway and I did Collective Bargaining in Education we noted in the conclusion ‘that mend it don’t end it’ would focus attention on some important issues while efforts to just do away with bargaining altogether would shift attention from those issues and turn into an unproductive food fight…

Finally, a lot of ink (or pixels) are being spilled over whether states with strong unions have better school systems.  This one isn’t that complicated. Educational practices around the country are pretty homogenous so unionization per se isn’t a powerful variable.  Easy example:  Single-salary schedules.  You have them in right-to-work states and closed-shop states.  It’s the practices that matter, not the existence of unions.  Or put another way, to say that the presence or lack of unions in a state impacts schooling is a classic correlation-causation fallacy.

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