Emily Files

Education Reporter

Emily became WUWM’s education reporter in August 2018 after spending four years in small-town Alaska.

She began as a reporter for KRBD in Ketchikan, where she once covered a bear interrupting a high school cross country race. She then worked as a reporter and eventually news director at KHNS Radio in Haines, where she reported on a man in a bear costume harassing actual bears. Aside from the occasional bear story, Emily covered the local politics, tribal issues, hunting, fishing and, of course, education.

Emily is originally from the Chicago area. She studied journalism at Emerson College in Boston, where she reported her very first radio stories for college station WERS. She interned at NPR’s Weekend Edition, The Boston Globe and PRI’s The World. Emily’s work has aired on Marketplace, NPR’s Only a Game, and The World.

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ANGELA PETERSON/MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL

When students switch schools, they’re more likely to fall behind in class and less likely to graduate high school. A new Milwaukee Journal Sentinel series is analyzing the data on student churn both in Milwaukee and across the state.  

Education journalist Erin Richards reported the series, called Lessons Lost, with the help of a Marquette University O’Brien fellowship.

Emily Files

Wisconsin’s largest school district has a new permanent superintendent. Keith Posley has been interim superintendent of Milwaukee Public Schools since May. At a special meeting Tuesday, the school board unanimously voted to negotiate a permanent contract.

Emily Files

Wisconsin’s higher education system is going through a quiet but major change. Beginning this school year, the state’s 13 two-year colleges are now branch campuses of four-year universities. The restructuring is an effort to keep the colleges’ doors open despite declining enrollment and revenue.

Courtesy MPS

The city of Milwaukee and area schools are holding events to celebrate boys and men of color this week.

Emily Files

New Wisconsin standardized test results for the 2017-18 school year were released this week. Statewide, there aren’t any dramatic changes from the last two years: Students’ math scores are inching up and reading scores have fallen slightly.

But the results are a reminder that just one in five Milwaukee students is proficient in reading and writing. And even fewer meet standards in math.

Emily Files

Research show that students of color are more likely to succeed if they have at least one teacher who looks like them. But in many urban districts like Milwaukee, there is a mismatch between students and teachers. Teachers are mostly white, and students are mostly black and Hispanic.

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Emily Files

Is state special education funding in Wisconsin unfair? School districts from Eau Claire to Oak Creek say it is. They see inequity between public schools and a relatively new voucher program.

The Special Needs Scholarship Program is another chapter in Wisconsin’s storied school choice movement. It provides an approximate $12,000 scholarship — or voucher — for students with disabilities to attend private school. The state pays for the vouchers by decreasing aid to public school districts where the students live.

Emily Files

A Milwaukee school named after a president who helped slavery spread is set for a name change. At a meeting Tuesday, a Milwaukee school board committee indicated support for Franklin Pierce Elementary School to become Riverwest Elementary School.

Franklin Pierce was president from 1853-1857 — immediately before James Buchanan, who was followed by Abraham Lincoln. He is usually ranked among the worst presidents in American history. Historians say his failures helped lead to the Civil War.  

Emily Files

State education chief and gubernatorial hopeful Tony Evers wants to put an additional $1.4 billion into public education over the next two years. The proposal is part of the Department of Public Instruction’s request for the 2019-2021 state budget.

Evers, a Democrat, heads the agency as state superintendent. The spending plan comes in the middle of a tight race between Evers and incumbent Gov. Scott Walker, a Republican.

Emily Files

U.S. Assistant Secretary of Education Frank Brogan — who recently made the news with his comments on arming teachers — visited a Milwaukee public school Tuesday. The federal education official was touring the Midwest to highlight innovation in schools.

He recognized Ronald Reagan College Preparatory High School, an MPS magnet school on the south side, for its anti-bullying efforts. Its anti-bullying initiatives include a program that partners incoming freshmen with older students.

m01229/Flickr

The ACLU of Wisconsin is putting pressure on the Kenosha Unified School District to protect its students from what some are calling "discriminatory" dress code enforcement. Last year, Kenosha-area teens and parents spoke out against the district’s dress code policy, saying it was discriminatory toward female students.

Alexa Grosz was one of the students who testified at an October school board meeting. She said she was punished for wearing an off-the-shoulder sweater.

Theo Stroomer/Stringer/Getty Images

Wisconsin’s candidates for governor touted their education priorities at back-to-school events this week. They're also continuing to criticize each other.

Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign released its first attack ad against Democrat challenger Tony Evers. It claims that as state superintendent, Evers failed to protect children from a teacher who viewed pornography at work.

The story is one of the main lines of attack Republicans backing Walker are using against Evers.

Jimmy Emerson, DVM/Flickr

When you look at a map of Wisconsin, it’s covered in names that remind us of this country’s original inhabitants. Milwaukee, Wauwatosa, Waukesha, Kinnickinnic — all words derived from Native American languages.

Another is Oconomowoc, about 30 miles west of Milwaukee. This week’s Bubbler Talk questioner, Jeff Dittel, moved there about two and a half years ago.

Emily Files

There is a new leader making decisions that affect about 80,000 Milwaukee schoolchildren.

Keith Posley took over as Milwaukee Public Schools’ interim superintendent a few months ago. He wants to turn around low-achieving schools, slash chronic absenteeism and boost enrollment. And he’s not the only one with great expectations. Other Milwaukee education leaders have high hopes for Posley himself.

“This work is all about children for me,” he said in an interview with WUWM.

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In the aftermath of mass shootings across the country, Wisconsin schools are getting $100 million in state grants to keep students safe. The funding comes from the State Department of Justice’s new Office of School Safety.

DOJ recently announced that about half of the funding will go toward mental health-related efforts.

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