Writing for Jacobin, Nora De La Cour explains why neoliberalism has been chipping away at public education. This piece focuses on Wisconsin, where the Democratic incumbent governor is facing a challenge from Tim Michels, who is already singing from the Chris Rufo songbook.
It’s not a new thing. Scott Walker implemented a not-very-subtle attack on public schools, first by cutting school budgets and cutting the tax base needed to support them.
To offset his cuts, Walker gave districts “flexibility” to slash spending on employee benefits and retirement. His signature Act 10 eliminated public sector unions’ capacity to automatically collect dues, restricted collective bargaining to wages capped at inflation, and required annual union recertification and contract renegotiation. Public sector union membership plummeted from 50 percent in 2011 to 22 percent in 2016, largely driven by shrinking teachers’ unions.
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