Is Act 10 leading to the firing of more Wisconsin teachers?

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Schools are firing more teachers since Act 10 eliminated collective bargaining job protections, according to the teachers union. However, state data actually shows the opposite is happening.

Teachers were on the front lines in the fight over collective bargaining that rocked the state Capitol two years ago.

When Gov. Walker signed Act 10, it effectively stripped the job protections negotiated by unions and replaced them with handbooks from school boards and administrators in each district.

Now, the state's largest teachers union says school administrators are using Act 10 as a way to eliminate positions.

In a statement to FOX6 News, a WEAC spokesperson said:

"There has been a noticeable increase in contract non-renewals and terminations now that school boards no longer have to establish proof of wrongdoing before firing a teacher."

Nick Novak with the MacIver Institute defends Act 10 as giving districts greater flexibility.

"They're entirely unfounded.  They don't point to any actual statistics showing that that is the case. There are many, many teachers that were unfit for teaching in our schools and because of union contracts and because of the power of the unions a lot of them were protected and stayed in their positions. Luckily with Act 10 and these reforms in place, it's allowing these school districts to become more efficient to make cuts where they need to," Novak said.

A review of the number of licensed teachers in Wisconsin shows that from 2008 to 2010, when Gov. Jim Doyle was in office, the numbers declined each year. Then, when Act 10 was passed in 2011, the numbers dropped again. A year later, the numbers are moving up again.

"Teacher positions have actually increased in the past year, they didn't decrease," Novak said.

The Milwaukee Public Schools teachers are now operating under Act 10, and the union president says he hasn't seen an increase in firings.

"I know in Milwaukee there has not been and I don't expect that to be the case next year because there is a just cause provision in our handbook and it will prevent arbitrary decision making," MTEA President Bob Peterson said.

The WEAC spokesperson also said that no one is arguing to keep bad teachers. They simply don't want to see good teachers dismissed without cause.