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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Emily Files / WUWM

Hundreds of airport safety workers in Wisconsin have gone without pay during the federal government shutdown. A small group of them picketed outside General Mitchell Airport in Milwaukee Saturday.

The members of the aviation safety specialists union kept the informational picket small because they wanted to be inside the airport, where they could hand out information to travelers. But they say management told them they had to go outside, to a remote corner with almost no foot traffic, for safety reasons. 

Emily Files

Mentors can help at-risk children stay in school, go to college and find a job. Even though there are many mentorship programs in Milwaukee, the efforts are piecemeal. But there’s a new organization in town that’s meant to bring together and bolster the city's mentorship programs.

Emily Files

You may have heard of one of the world's fastest-growing refugee crises: the Rohingya exodus out of Myanmar, the Southeast Asian country also known as Burma.

After long waits in countries like Malaysia or Bangladesh, a tiny percentage of the world’s Burmese refugees end up right here in Milwaukee. In fact, they are the top arriving refugee group to Wisconsin.

Emily Files

It's been an interesting year for education in Wisconsin. With 2018 coming to a close, let's look back at some of the biggest education stories in the state.

Education was a central topic in the contest between incumbent Scott Walker and challenger Tony Evers.  Walker called himself "the education governor."

"In the last budget, we gave the largest actual-dollar investment in K-12 education in the history of this state," Walker said in his first debate against Evers. 

Screenshot/Wisconsin Eye

There could be major funding changes on the way for Wisconsin public schools. A lawmaker-led committee on education spending met for the final time Wednesday. It put forward a list of recommendations for legislative action.

The Blue Ribbon Commission on School Funding traveled around Wisconsin in 2018. It took testimony from administrators, teachers, parents and students. The consensus: an overhaul of Wisconsin’s education funding system is overdue.

Emily Files

For 25 years, the Wisconsin legislature has restricted how much school boards can raise local property taxes. Some education leaders argue that the rules put schools on an uneven playing field. And they say the tax ceilings have become untenable in recent years.

The restrictions at issue are called revenue limits. They impact 80 to 90 percent of school boards’ budgets, controlling how much a board can spend in state general aid and property taxes. The result: school boards' ability to raise mill rates is confined to a legislature-determined dollar amount.

SCREENSHOT/JULES SUZDALTSEV/TWITTER

The Baraboo School District will bolster education about the Holocaust and examine equity in its schools following the controversy over a photograph of a couple dozen students giving what appears to be a Nazi salute.

The prom photo was taken in May but received international attention after being posted to social media last month.

Emily Files

You’ve probably seen the now-infamous photo of dozens of Baraboo high school boys making what appears to be a Nazi salute.

Emily Files

What does the 300-student Plum City School District have in common with the 20,000-student Kenosha district? Both think an increase in special education funding is overdue.

Emily Files

Sixty percent of college graduates are women. But they’re not pursuing degrees in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) at the same rate as men. Women represent only 35 percent of undergraduate STEM degree-holders in the U.S. — Milwaukee’s Alverno College is trying to chip away at that imbalance.

Emily Files

It’s a record-breaking year for school referendums in Wisconsin. Unofficial results show voters backed 94 percent of ballot questions in Tuesday’s election, including all in southeastern Wisconsin.

Counting elections earlier in 2018, more than $2 billion in school referendum spending has been approved this year. That surpasses the previous record of about $1.7 billion in 2016.  

SCOTT OLSON/GETTY IMAGES

Updated 2:10 p.m.: Gov. Scott Walker has conceded the election to Tony Evers.

He initially refused to concede because of the close margin and questions about more than 40,000 ballots in Milwaukee that were tallied in the eleventh hour.

In a statement, the Walker campaign said it determined that "any change in the result would not be significant enough to determine the outcome of the election, despite its close margin and questions about how the city of Milwaukee executed its election night operations."

Emily Files / WUWM

Milwaukee city and school officials say they're renewing their focus on early childhood education. There aren’t many details yet, but the goal is to help more of Milwaukee’s youngest and poorest children learn how to read.

State test scores show that only one in five Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) students is proficient in English Language Arts. There is a 35-point proficiency gap between black and white children.

Emily Files

Education is at the forefront of Wisconsin’s close race for governor. Incumbent Republican Gov. Scott Walker has been calling himself ‘the education governor,’ while his Democratic challenger Tony Evers is the elected state superintendent.

How has Wisconsin’s education landscape changed under Walker? And if Evers were to unseat him, what would that mean for schools?

Amy Mizialko, president of the Milwaukee teachers’ union, thinks Walker’s decisions around public education are coming back to haunt him in this race.

Emily Files

In November’s election, voters in dozens of school districts will decide whether to further tax themselves to support schools. The 82 ballot measures would let 61 districts either borrow money to pay for projects or exceed state-imposed property tax restrictions, sometimes to cover basic costs.

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