The Best Of: Wisconsin Education in 2022

By Christina Lorey

November 29, 2022

Between the shift to at-home learning and the struggle to hire enough teachers, the past three years have been challenging for schools. But 2022 proved Wisconsin’s emerged better than most. 

Here are several “good news” standouts:

1. Under Evers, Wisconsin Public Schools Jump from #18 to #8 in National Rankings.
During the final year of Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s term, Wisconsin public schools ranked 18th in the country by US News & World Report. In 2022, Wisconsin public schools jumped into the top ten– the 8th best in America.

Democrat Gov. Tony Evers, the former State Superintendent of Public Instruction and an educator himself, made strengthening public schools a cornerstone of both his 2018 and 2022 campaigns. Since taking office, Evers has restored the state commitment to funding two-thirds of public education, invested in early education, and extended the UW tuition freeze for in-state students.

MORE: From #18 to #8– Public Schools Rise in National Rankings Under Evers

2. Schools Districts Get Creative to Offset Statewide Teacher Shortage.
Teacher shortages had been rising for a decade before the pandemic pushed many schools past their breaking point. Wisconsin’s were no exception, but the state’s flagship university quickly offered a solution: “Teacher Pledge.”

Started in the summer of 2020, the program provides financial support to future University of Wisconsin teachers– paying the equivalent of in-state tuition and fees, testing, and licensing costs for all students who, in return, work at a Wisconsin school for a minimum of three years post-graduation.

In 2022, “Teacher Pledge” was extended through at least the 2025-26 school year.

MORE: The University of Wisconsin Gets Creative to Recruit, Train, & Retain the Next Generation of Teachers

3. More CEOs Graduate From the University of Wisconsin Than Any Other College in the Country.
The number one university for turning out Fortune 500 CEOs isn’t Harvard. Or Stanford. Or Notre Dame. It’s the UW.

A new study researched where 500 CEOs earned their undergrad degrees and the University of Wisconsin topped the list with 14 Fortune 500 leaders. While six of the seven Ivy League schools made the top 30, the Big Ten was the most-represented conference, with seven schools on the list.

The study also had Wisconsin tied for fourth in “Colleges That Produce the Most Non-Profit Leaders.” No other Big Ten university made that list, with only Yale, Georgetown, and Princeton ranking ahead of the Badgers.

MORE: The #1 University for Turning Out CEOs Isn’t Harvard– It’s Wisconsin

What Does This Mean for 2023 (& Beyond)? Gov. Evers has promised to keep prioritizing public schools in his second term. Lower class sizes, new mental health support programs, and increased special education funding are all ideas he pitched while campaigning in 2022. 

MORE: What’s Standing Between Wisconsin Schools and the #1 Public School in the Country? What Evers Told Us.


  • Christina Lorey

    Christina is an Edward R. Murrow-winning journalist and former producer, reporter, and anchor for TV stations in Madison and Moline. When she’s not writing or asking questions, you can find her volunteering with Girls on the Run, the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, and various mental health organizations.

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