MADISON, Wis. -

Wisconsin state superintendent Tony Evers says teachers have been unfairly targeted in budget and policy debates over the past year and more work needs to be done to restore dignity and respect to them.

Evers made the plea in his annual speech Thursday on the state of education in Wisconsin delivered in the state Capitol.

Evers said reasonable people can disagree over Gov. Scott Walker's proposal that effectively ended collective bargaining for teachers and public workers and forced them to pay more for health insurance and pension benefits.

But Evers said every citizen should be alarmed when teachers don't feel valued and respected in their communities.

Evers opposed Walker's collective bargaining changes but has worked closely with him on a number of other education reforms.