Unfortunately, Gov. Tony Evers rejected recent attempts to create a friendlier environment for charters. In April, he vetoed bills to expand the number of authorizers, make it easier for high-quality charter schools to expand, and lift the cap on the number of charter schools authorized by the College of Menominee Nation or the Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa Community College. These bills would have made it easier for more charter schools to open across the state, either under existing authorizers or a new authorizer. After charter school enrollment jumped by nearly 5,000 students between the 2019-20 and 2021-22 school years, Evers’ vetoes ignore the demand for public charter schools by Wisconsin families.
Charter schools find themselves under attack not only in Wisconsin, but around the nation. Recent proposed rules from the Department of Education for charters would work to restrict supply, and decrease the ability of charters to compete on a level playing field with other public schools around the country. To remain a leader in education reform, Wisconsin must buck this trend. Let’s create an environment where innovative educators feel welcomed rather than shunned, and where students who aren’t having their needs met in their zone public school have all possible options for an alternative.