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

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.

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 or 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.

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