In the wake of Wisconsin's political dust-up over collective bargaining this year, more teachers than ever there are calling it quits. Teachers are retiring at about double the usual rate rather than face battered morale, bigger classes, trimmed pay, greater health care costs, and more pay funneled into retirement funds, the Christian Science Monitor reports. One tally has roughly 5,000 teachers retiring this year. "Many of us felt very bittersweet about it," says Thomas Howe, one teacher who hung 'em up.
On the positive side, an influx of new teachers "is going to align the system more with the direction of current education reform, which I would say is good," says a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Also, some school districts are already using the new law to save money, Gov. Scott Walker's office says. But Howe sees veteran experience going out the window: His school alone has lost eight teachers with a combined 160 years of experience. "You can't replace that," he says.