Emily Wendler joined KOSU in February 2015, following graduate school at the University of Montana.
While studying Environmental Science and Natural Resource Journalism with an emphasis on agriculture, a professor introduced her to radio and she fell in love.
The Cincinnati native has since reported for KBGA, University of Montana’s college radio station, and Montana’s PBS Newsbrief. She was a finalist in a national in-depth radio reporting competition for an investigatory piece she produced on campus rape. She also produced in-depth reports on wind energy and local food for Montana Public Radio.
StateImpact reporters preview the key health, education, energy and environment issues they'll be tracking in 2018.
Twenty-seventeen is wrapping up, but the growing group of reporters at StateImpact are following many important government policy issues that will carry on into the new year.
Senior Reporter and Managing Editor Joe Wertz brought the StateImpact team into the studio for a preview of their coverage in the year to come. Here are some excerpts from the conversation edited for clarity:
Robert Romines is the Superintendent of Moore Public Schools. He says many administrators are very involved with classroom instruction on a day-to-day basis.
Education leaders in Oklahoma say Gov. Mary Fallin’s executive order on school consolidation oversimplified a very complicated issue.
The November 21 order directs school districts that don’t spend at least 60 percent of their budget on instruction to consolidate administrative staff with other districts. A strict interpretation of this rule would force most Oklahoma school districts to cut an administrator, or a support staff person, and then find a way to split that cost with a neighboring district.
Calumet Public Schools Superintendent Keith Weldon stands in an old garage that he now uses for an agriculture program. Weldon worries if lawmakers take some of his local funding, he would have to scale back the popular program.
The wind blows strong and steady in Calumet, a small town about 40 miles west of Oklahoma City.
It’s the wind that’s prompted companies to build turbines here. A natural gas company also built a plant nearby.
In northeastern Oklahoma, Google built a large data center in Pryor. And the city of Cushing is flanked by fields of large steel tanks that hold millions of barrels of oil.
These industries bring in abundant property tax revenue for nearby schools — enough that 37 districts don’t receive any funding from the state.
Fourth graders at Chattanooga Elementary School play during recess.
On the playground at Chattanooga Elementary School some kids are pretending to be pirates, a few boys are climbing on a baseball dugout, and another group is belting out the words to various pop songs as they wriggle across the monkey bars.
This is the students’ third 15-minute recess of the day, and they’ll get one more before the end of the school day in the tiny southwestern Oklahoma town of about 450.
Added up: That’s an hour of recess a day — double what these kids got two years ago, and double what most kids in America get.
Soon-to-be-released statewide test scores are expected to be much lower than they were in the past, but top education officials say the drop is due to a more difficult grading system, not poor-performing students.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister says the state has a new way of measuring student proficiency.
“This has been a time of recalibrating,” she said in an interview after a press conference held with reporters to explain the declining scores.
Students at Luther High School watch Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream Speech" before a class discussion.
Polls suggest this is one of the the most politically divided moments in American history. There are now tip sheets on how to survive Thanksgiving without disowning your family, and the comment sections of online news articles are full of vitriol.
Schools are not immune to the tension, but not everyone thinks that’s a bad thing.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister
Many people say the former massive federal education law, No Child Left Behind, was a failure. When President George W. Bush signed it in 2002, he set a huge goal for the country: Every child would meet the proficiency standard on state tests by 2014.
Oklahoma City Public School's Superintendent Aurora Lora and Board of Education member, Mark Mann, announce plans to sue the legislature over education funding.
The Oklahoma City Public Schools Board of Education is considering legal action against the legislature for underfunding education.
Board member Mark Mann said the Oklahoma Legislature puts mandates on schools without giving them enough money to fulfill the obligations, which he says creates unfunded liabilities for Oklahoma City Public Schools and other districts across the state. Continue Reading →
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