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 NPR's Morning Edition, Marketplace, NPR’s Only a Game, and The World.

Ways to Connect

Emily Files

A new report from a University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee researcher highlights one reason African American teachers may leave classrooms: trust issues in the work environment.

Emily Files / WUWM

An effort to ban Native American mascots, logos, and nicknames in Wisconsin public schools was quashed on Wednesday, at least for now. A resolution to rid schools of the mascots was rejected by a delegation of about 300 school board members from across the state.

This latest push against Native American mascots started with Wausau School Board President Tricia Zunker, who is now also running for Congress. Zunker is Ho-Chunk, and she objects to the about 30 Wisconsin school districts still using Native American mascot and nicknames.

Plunkett Raysich Architects / Courtesy Mount Mary University

Milwaukee’s Mount Mary University is planning a unique housing project that will serve students who are single mothers, alongside aging nuns and other senior citizens.

Emily Files

Have you ever noticed a place name on your Google Maps or GPS, and thought, "I wonder what that is?"

That's what happened to South Milwaukee resident Mary Holtz, when she was driving near Bay View.  

"My husband and I were interested in something we spotted on our navigation screen called the Town of Lake," Holtz told WUWM’s Bubbler Talk. "We were curious about its history. Does it actually exist anywhere other than this digital navigation? What happened to it? Where'd it come from? Where'd it go?"

Emily Files

The small southeastern Wisconsin school district of Palmyra-Eagle will not dissolve, despite serious financial problems. A state-appointed board made the decision at a meeting Thursday.

Palmyra-Eagle, which spans rural parts of Waukesha and Jefferson counties, would have been the first school district to dissolve under Wisconsin’s current funding system. But on Thursday night, that was averted — for now.

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 / WUWM

As 2019 comes to a close, we’re looking back at some of Wisconsin’s most important education stories of the year – many of which will continue to play out in 2020.

The year started on a high note for public school advocates, with Democratic Gov. Tony Evers taking office. Evers spent his career in education, eventually becoming Wisconsin’s superintendent of schools, and then ousting Republican incumbent Scott Walker for the governor’s seat in the November 2018 election.

Emily Files

In April, Milwaukee Public Schools will ask voters to approve a property tax referendum for the first time in 26 years.

The school board decided Thursday night to ask for $87 million in additional revenue. This would allow the district to exceed state-imposed property tax caps.

READ: MPS To Consider Referendum For Educational Programming

Emily Files

Raising money through voter referendums has become a common tool for school districts across Wisconsin because the state restricts their taxing authority. And now the state’s largest district, Milwaukee Public Schools, plans to follow suit.

The last time MPS attempted to raise taxes through a referendum, voters shot it down. That was in 1993 and leaders were seeking $366 million for building projects. Now, more than 25 years later, the district plans to try again on the April 2020 ballot.

Emily Files / WUWM

As part of our Beats Me series, we spotlighted Milwaukee Public Schools parent coordinators, who are tasked with the on-the-ground work of connecting families and schools. But that mission extends beyond a single person in each building.

Emily Files / WUWM

Tjuna Eggson has worked in Milwaukee Public Schools for more than 20 years. Twelve of those years, she’s had the title of ‘parent coordinator.’ "One of the things that I found out is the position is really underrated," Eggson says.

Emily Files

This week, a new collaboration between two UW-Milwaukee programs is taking the stage. Students in UWM's unique American Sign Language program are providing live interpretation at a UWM student theater production — a first for the school.

Courtesy of The Waukesha Freeman

Updated Tuesday at 4:17 p.m. CT

A 17-year-old Waukesha South High School student was shot by a police officer on Monday morning after allegedly aiming a pellet gun at police. 

Emily Files

The nearly-broke Palmyra-Eagle School District in southeastern Wisconsin could be the first in the state to dissolve under current funding structures.

That worries the surrounding school districts. At a recent public hearing, some of Palmyra-Eagle’s neighbors warned the dissolution could create a domino effect — leading other school districts to collapse.

Emily Files

Milwaukee Public Schools is gradually improving on state report cards that measure school districts' overall success.

The report card for the 2018-19 school year, shows that even though MPS struggles with test scores, it's getting better at closing achievement gaps and advancing student growth. But the district is still one of the lowest-ranking in Wisconsin.

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