MILWAUKEE -- A survey conducted by a group called School Employees United, made up of WEAC affiliates in the Milwaukee area shows low morale among teachers, and a dreary outlook for Wisconsin schools. Conservatives are blasting the survey, while supporters say it is an accurate look inside the classroom.
The voluntary survey was filled out by 3,800 school employees in 48 districts, and shows 57 percent have considered leaving their jobs in the education field in the last year. Additionally, 44 percent of respondents said class sizes are increasing, and 78 percent disagree with the statement that schools are the same, or better off, than last year.
"It a lot of ways, there are a lot of people that are seeing that education isn't what we thought it was going to be," New Berlin teacher Greta Voit said.
Wearing buttons showing union support, a group of educators stands behind the survey's results. "This survey is an effort to systematically assess what is really happening across southeastern Wisconsin," South Milwaukee teacher Guy Costella said.
Dan Hut with the conservative group Citizens for Responsible Government says the effects of the $700 million in education cuts over two years aren't as drastic as the survey results claim. "This is for the overall fiscal sanity of districts across the state. What we've seen is that school districts that have implemented Act 10 have actually been able to maintain their staff, or increase their staff," Hunt said.
Governor Scott Walker's office said in a statement: "The reforms put in place earlier this year have not only helped schools balance their budgets without massive layoffs or property tax increases, but these innovative changes have also helped improve education." The Governor's office also points to another survey that was done by the Wisconsin Association of School District Administrators, which found the median student-to-teacher ratio in Wisconsin this year is 14 to one.
The Milwaukee Public School District and the Kenosha School District were not included in the survey.