Education Watch: Back-to-School Optimism

Sep 8, 2022 | Wisconsin Voices Blog

Quinton Klabon

Governor Tony Evers recently proposed some expensive, ineffective ideas, but, as children head back, let’s focus on where schools are serving students well. Good school systems have steady, high-quality teachers, excellent curricula, and direction toward useful, satisfying career paths. These districts stand out.

Teacher teaching students in a classroom

Photo: Dan Reiland, Eau Claire Leader-Telegram

Additional context from IRG Senior Research Director Quinton Klabon:

  • Eau Claire, like many school districts in Wisconsin, is not experiencing a teacher crisis. Official numbers indicate that this year is normal, especially if enrollment continues to decline. Legislators should focus on long-term quality-of-life and compensation improvements, especially in rural and urban areas, to stay competitive.
  • If you want to see a school system working for kids, check out this Waukesha board meeting. Math was hit the hardest in the pandemic, but Waukesha is fighting back by rethinking how they do it. Long story short: combine subjects so that college-ready kids do reach the most advanced classes, other students get statistics instead of less applicable subjects, and more high schoolers take math all 4 years.
  • Both parties are pushing apprenticeships hard, opening up new options in arboriculture and aviation. Northeastern Wisconsin just won a national award for getting kids from Luxemburg to Green Bay to Ahnapee prepared for high-paying jobs without a 4-year degree.