Fewer Teachers, More Crowded Classrooms in Wisconsin
The number of teachers in Wisconsin public schools has fallen dramatically over the last several years, according to a new publication from the Wisconsin Budget Project. Even before the budget cuts and collective bargaining changes of 2011, Wisconsin was losing teachers at a rate faster than most other states
Wisconsin lost 2,900 teacher full-time equivalents (FTEs) between the 2004-05 school year and the 2010-11 school year, as shown in the chart below, or nearly 1 out of every 20 teachers working in public schools. The most recent school year for which the National Center on Education Statistics has information is 2010-11.
This analysis relies on national figures so as to be able to make comparisons among states. State-level figures show that the number of teachers in Wisconsin has dropped slightly since 2011.
Only seven other states lost a bigger share of their teacher workforce over this period, according to the Wisconsin Budget Project’s new report.
Over this same period, total enrollment in Wisconsin public schools increased. The combination of fewer teachers and more students means that the student-teacher ratio in Wisconsin has risen. Only five states had a higher percentage growth in the number of students per teacher between the 2004-05 school year and the 2010-11 school year.
Read the new Wisconsin Budget Project report for more on the decline in the number of teachers, as well as information on the rising tide of poverty in Wisconsin schools, and changes in the way the public education is funded in Wisconsin.