The state Senate has approved legislation to include class preparation time in teacher contract negotiations. Debate over the bill , to make prep time a mandatory subject of collective bargaining between teachers and school districts, took a contentious tone when West Bend Republican Glenn Grothman took the floor.
"We all know that this bill is going to make it more difficult to operate schools," said Grothman. "We know that this is something that, largely the teachers' union which is going to be due for a big raise when this budget comes in, is pushing. Grothman said the bill is "one more step on the road to saying that the purpose of schools is not educate students, but to employ teachers," and may result in fewer course offerings, higher pupil-teacher ratios, or school districts being forced to hire more teachers.
Grothman's talking points did not go over well with Democrats, including Senator Robert Wirch of Kenosha. "Let me remind that gentleman that a lot of teachers spend hundreds of dollars out of their own pocket, providing materials for the classroom," said Wirch. "I'm insulted by that" said Senator Dave Hansen of Green Bay, who taught school for nine years."
"Many of you all have talked to teachers and you know for a fact that they do some much off campus for the children, each and every day," said Milwauee Democrat, Senator Spencer Coggs . "What we're trying to do where is give them some more time on campus, to serve the children." The Senate passed the measure on a partisan 18-to-15 vote, and it now heads to Governor Jim Doyle.