Series

Years of budget cuts, increased state funding for private schools, Act 10, an increase in teacher retirements and a decrease in young educators entering the workforce have reshaped the face of public education in Wisconsin over the past decade. But these changes are amplified in rural school districts around the state. Many of Wisconsin's rural counties are slowly losing population, which results in shrinking school enrollment numbers and local tax bases, putting pressure on districts budgets. With a growing teacher shortage nationwide, schools in sparsely populated areas struggle to attract new staff. At the same time, districts across the state are increasingly turning to referendums to fill the funding gap.More
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Wisconsin statue
A century has passed since women won the right to vote in the United States, but their struggle for representation in government continues in the 21st century. Wisconsin was the first state to ratify the 19th Amendment, but it is not a leader when it comes to electing women to office. The state lags behind its neighbors in terms of the number of women elected to state offices. Women also run for office less frequently, facing barriers related to opportunity, incumbency and other factors. To support more women running for office, organizations along the political spectrum are working at local, state and national levels. While Wisconsin might not be a front-runner in this matter of representation, the potential and possibilities for women in office are moving forward.More
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Ticks are a familiar nuisance around Wisconsin, but they also pose a growing health risk to the humans they feed on, exposing them to disease-causing pathogens. Deer ticks have spread across much of the state in recent decades, feeding on wildlife along with people and their pets. These ticks transmit Lyme disease, and the state is facing a persistently high rate of infection. Ticks spread other illnesses as well. Entomologists and public health researchers are investigating the relationship between ticks, their hosts and the surrounding environment, but continue to emphasize prevention as the best way to reduce infections.More
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The pursuit of knowledge about Wisconsin's flora and fauna is not just the province of professional researchers. Public participation in science has woven itself into Wisconsin's history of naturalism and conservation, an important complement to work in the state's research universities and regulatory agencies. People around the state have volunteered their time to help with everything from monitoring invasive insect pests to observing Wisconsin's bat and bird populations. People who participate in citizen or civic science have the opportunity to develop a closer connection with the natural world, and a chance to develop greater understanding of and consensus around environmental issues. Wisconsinites who aren't scientists in their daily lives also can and do undertake all sorts of projects to help address environmental challenges, from building rain gardens to fostering habitat for monarch butterflies.More
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Scientists are still developing a better understanding of brain health and maladies from concussions to Alzheimer's disease, but it's clear that all stages of life can have significant consequences for the human body's most complex organ. Brain health plays a role in everyday wellness challenges elderly adults face, and as Wisconsin's overall population ages, research and public-health efforts promoting well-being and quality of life are focusing on issues like degenerative neural diseases and strokes. At the same time, the medical community is becoming more concerned about threats to younger and middle-aged people's brain health, especially when it comes to devastating effects of athletics-related injuries, whether in high-school competitions or professional sports. Whatever the circumstances, the condition of the brain has myriad effects on both physical and mental health.More
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