Education Watch: Charter School Champion Apparently Fired

Jan 20, 2023 | Wisconsin Voices Blog

Photo from LinkedIn

From Wisconsin Right Now:

“Leaders in the education reform movement in Wisconsin are raising concern over the UW System’s sudden and unexplained termination of highly-regarded Office of Educational Opportunity Director Vanessa Moran, who has approved a larger number of innovative charter schools than her predecessors.

When [former Gov. Tommy] Thompson left the position [as UW System President], Moran was essentially left at the mercy of educational bureaucrats.”

Quinton Klabon

Additional context from IRG Senior Research Director Quinton Klabon:

→ Moran arrived in 2020 and expanded OEO’s reach from just Madison to West Allis, Oconomowoc, Green Bay, and Beloit. Public colleges can approve charters, but only UW-Milwaukee and UW-Parkside have.

→ Despite opening during the pandemic, these schools have solid early results. Against 38 districts with similar demographics, these OEO schools rank 16th in reading proficiency and 33rd in mathematics.

→ Should this developing story turn out to be true, it makes two needs clear. This year, legislators should ensure that any new appointee to the UW System Board of Regents is prepared to authorize high-quality charter schools, not create discord and skip federal charter grant cycles. In the future, Wisconsin should explore a separate authorizing body not wholly owned by the UW Board.