OP-ED: Back to School – Wisconsin Kids Are in Good Hands

As we head into the 2022-23 school year, Wisconsin students have been through a lot. From a global pandemic, to funding uncertainties, to hearing news of gun violence in the very place we trust our kids should be safest, our education system faced well more than its fair share of adversity in the last two years.

Between the struggles, grief, and uncertainty though, there were moments of hope and victory thanks to the dedication and perseverance of the students, teachers, and parents who worked together like never before.

It’s also a testament to public leaders like Gov. Tony Evers, and his advocacy and support for public education and our students.

Gov. Evers often says what’s best for kids is best for our state. He’s turned those words and that sentiment into action and public policy in Wisconsin, like making good on his promise to restore two thirds funding to our schools for the first time in 20 years.

After Republicans in the legislature refused to invest in education during the budget process this school year, Gov. Evers found a way to give $110 million to our K-12 schools, and $130 million to early childhood education.

As our schools weathered the turbulence of a global health crisis, Gov. Evers invested $50 million in after school programs to build on our kids’ education and provide vital socialization at a time when isolation had become the norm.

With a decades-long background in education, Gov. Evers knows better than most the importance of mental health in young kids – especially amid a pandemic. That’s why he introduced the Get Kids Ahead initiative this school year, a program set to deliver $20 million to mental health resources in Wisconsin schools.

This support and the funding that’s being provided is paying off. Wisconsin schools now rank in the top 10 best in the nation, up dramatically from where they were under the previous Republican-led administration of Scott Walker and Rebecca Kleefisch.

Gov. Evers also vetoed GOP bills that would have allowed hidden guns on school grounds, taken money away from public schools, and turned our schools into cultural battlegrounds – keeping students from learning the good and bad of our history, banning books, and letting people sue schools and teachers.

Our governor also knows that not every student will go on to college, but every student deserves an education that will prepare them for life after school. That’s why he’s making investments in apprenticeship programs and collaborations with employers to help with workforce challenges.

Every kid in the Badger state should have equal access to high quality public education that prepares them for the future. Thanks to Gov. Evers, we’re on the right path to get there. As we head into a new school year, we can look forward to an even better academic year for our children and our schools under Gov. Evers’ leadership.

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A Better Wisconsin Together is a state-based research and communications hub for progressives and is an affiliate of ProgressNow.