July 8, 2021, at Cumberland Elementary School in Whitefish Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Scott Bauer)
July 8, 2021, at Cumberland Elementary School in Whitefish Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Scott Bauer)

During the last year of former Republican Governor Scott Walker’s tenure, Wisconsin’s education system was ranked just 18th in the country according to the gold standard US News & World Reports rankings. 

Just three years later, after two full years under Democratic Governor Tony Evers, Wisconsin schools are back in the top ten, ranking 8th best in the nation. 

Evers, the former State Superintendent of Public Instruction and an educator himself, made strengthening public education a cornerstone of his 2018 campaign. Since taking office, Evers has delivered a number of accomplishments in the education space.

  • 2/3’s Funding: According to PolitiFact, Evers promised to restore the full state commitment to funding public education to two thirds during his run for Governor; today, they rate that as a “promise kept.”
  • Early Education: Despite opposition from Republican lawmakers in the legislature, Evers has found ways to invest in early education, directing more than $130 million in federal funding available to the state directly to programs like Child Care Counts.
  • Higher Education: Evers has extended the tuition freeze for the University of Wisconsin for in-state students, keeping college more affordable for working families while finding other ways to maintain funding levels for schools. 

Stacking these wins for students, teachers, and school districts atop one another has likely been former educator turned Governor Tony Evers proudest accomplishments. And it should be, moving Wisconsin schools up ten spots in the ranking, back to the top ten where they belong is a great accomplishment, by any measure.