Britta Pigorsch was a sophomore in a high school outside of Madison, Wisconsin, when Act 10 passed the state legislature in 2011.
She already knew she wanted to be a teacher. But the legislation, which gutted collective bargaining rights for public sector unions and slashed their benefits, galvanized her further.
“It angered me,” said Pigorsch. “I thought: Well, I could either not go into education, or I could go into education and be a voice that stands up for it.”
Now 22 years old and soon to receive her teaching certificate from the University of Wisconsin, Pigorsch faces a vastly changed landscape.
Along with diminished leverage with school boards, teachers have seen lower pay, reduced pension and health insurance benefits and higher turnover as educators hop from one district to another in search of raises, a new report finds.