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

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.

Emily Files

This week, Milwaukee Public Schools formed a new community task force that will guide the district's decision on a potential spring tax referendum.

The task force will recommend priorities that a voter referendum could support, like small class sizes or increasing the number of school counselors. But the MPS Board has already charged forward with new multimillion-dollar commitments that may strain the district’s budget.

Emily Files

An advisory referendum on whether the rural Palmyra-Eagle Area School District should dissolve shows how divided the community is on the issue – and the dramatic difference in opinion between the towns of Palmyra and Eagle.

More than 2,000 residents voted in the election. According to unofficial results, 53% cast ballots in favor of the district shuttering its doors. In the town and village of Palmyra, 73% of voters were against the district dissolving. In the town and village of Eagle, 74% supported dissolution.

Courtesy of MATC

Just 30% of adults in the city of Milwaukee have a college degree. About 22% completed some college, but didn’t graduate. Milwaukee Area Technical College (MATC) is bolstering its outreach to those adults, who might be interested in giving college another shot.

Courtesy UW System

The University of Wisconsin System will soon be searching for a new leader. President Ray Cross announced his retirement Friday after five years on the job and more than 40 years in higher education.  

Cross, 71, will stay on as president until the Board of Regents hires a successor.

Alesandra Tejeda

Updated on Oct. 31 at 1:28 p.m. CT

A criminal case is proceeding against Riverside University High School student Eddie Seaberry, 20, who was charged with one count of making terrorist threats.

The criminal complaint against him describes the Facebook post that led to Seaberry's arrest, in which he is allegedly holding a BB gun and threatens to kill people who called him dumb. The police received calls about the post from the Riverside principal and parents of students.

There's a scene in the movie Mean Girls where new student Cady Heron gets a lesson from her friend, Janice Ian, about the social hierarchy of the high school cafeteria.

"Where you sit in the cafeteria is crucial," Janice says. She then maps out the cliques, including preps, jocks and, of course, the "plastics."

The scene is an exaggeration of a common experience: the stress of finding your place in a school cafeteria. But Wisconsin resident Smitha Chintamaneni can't relate.

Courtesy Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

In his new book, The Years That Matter Most: How College Makes or Breaks Us, education writer Paul Tough dismantles the myth of college as a pure meritocracy. Instead, he makes the case that the U.S. higher education system reinforces class and racial inequalities.

Research shows that a college degree, especially from an elite institution, increases one's chances of social mobility. But the people who could most benefit — low-income, first-generation, and black and Hispanic students — often don’t get those opportunities.

Emily Files

Over the next few months, Milwaukee residents washing clothes at laundromats will start to see something different: mini libraries.

A new city office focused on early childhood education is installing reading nooks in places where children tend to have downtime. The goal is to meet families where they are to encourage early literacy.

The first laundromat to participate in the initiative is Riverworks Coin Laundry, on Holton Street in Riverwest.

Pages