Emily Wendler

StateImpact Oklahoma

Emily Wendler joined KOSU in February 2015, following graduate school at the University of Montana.

While studying Environmental Science and Natural Resource Journalism with an emphasis on agriculture, a professor introduced her to radio and she fell in love.

The Cincinnati native has since reported for KBGA, University of Montana’s college radio station, and Montana’s PBS Newsbrief. She was a finalist in a national in-depth radio reporting competition for an investigatory piece she produced on campus rape. She also produced in-depth reports on wind energy and local food for Montana Public Radio.

She is very excited to be working in Oklahoma City, and you can hear her work on all things from education to agriculture right here on KOSU.

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Jacob McCleland / Oklahoma Public Media Exchange

After nine days of rallying at the state capitol, union leaders say the Oklahoma teacher walkout is over.

The president of the Oklahoma Education Association, Alicia Priest, said on Thursday that despite thousands of people calling on lawmakers to increase school funding, educators have seen no significant legislative movement since last Friday.

She said the union polled its members, and a majority doubted that continuing the walkout would result in more money for schools.

Emily Wendler / StateImpact Oklahoma

Updated 5:09 p.m.

The state's largest teachers union have announced the Oklahoma teacher walkout is over.

In a press conference this afternoon, Oklahoma Education Association president Alicia Priest said some schools and teachers may continue to walk, but that is up to them and their school boards.

Priest declared the walkout a victory, saying teachers had secured an additional half a billion dollars for public education, but Senate leaders refused to do more this year, and that was the reason for calling things off.

When Evan Taylor heard that Oklahoma teachers planned to walkout, he converted his small Tulsa church into a "glorified daycare" furnished with board games, crafts and a movies to keep kids entertained.

Emily Wendler / StateImpact Oklahoma

As Oklahoma's teacher walkout enters its eighth day, the union leading it has a new demand to end it.

Oklahoma Education Association is now saying lawmakers just need to raise another $50 million in revenue for the state budget, and they'll send educators back to school.

Katherine Bishop, OEA Vice President, says it's up to lawmakers to find the money. She doesn't care whether it comes from a wind tax or a repeal of the capital gains exemption, she just wants to see the legislature raise another $50 million to shore up the state budget.

Jacob McCleland / Oklahoma Public Media Exchange

Updated 2:09 p.m.

It's day six of the Oklahoma teacher walkout and some students miss being in school. Administrators at Wilson Elementary in Oklahoma City arranged a play date so kids could see their friends and their teachers. StateImpact’s Emily Wendler was there.

Updated 10:05 a.m.

All this week schools across Oklahoma were closed as public school teachers rallied at the state Capitol for better pay and more money for the classroom.

After 10 years of budget cuts and some of the lowest teacher wages in the nation, teachers say they've had enough.

Pay in Oklahoma has been so low, in fact, that districts often suffer from severe teacher shortages — many talented educators have left Oklahoma for better pay elsewhere. Some estimates put the number of teachers who have left near 2,000.

Jacob McCleland / Oklahoma Public Media Exchange

SCOTT DETROW, HOST:

Many schools in Oklahoma were closed all week while their teachers rallied at the state capitol for more funding. Yesterday, the state Senate passed two measures that would increase money for schools by about $40 million. But the union leading the walkout said it's not enough, and they'll be back at the Capitol protesting on Monday. Emily Wendler in Oklahoma City has more.

EMILY WENDLER, BYLINE: Teachers in Oklahoma got a pay raise last week, but now they want more money for the classroom. And they've been rallying hard for that money all week.

Ryan LaCroix / KOSU

Update 4:22 p.m.

The state’s largest teachers union says the teacher walkout will continue next week despite the Senate passing two revenue-raising measures today. The Oklahoma Education Association also laid out new demands it says lawmakers must meet for teachers to return to the classroom.

Quinton Chandler / StateImpact Oklahoma

The Oklahoma teacher walkout and educators’ demands for more school funding dominates the news. It’s unclear if lawmakers are willing to meet those demands and quell daily protests. One lingering question: If schools get more money, what happens to other state agencies and workers who need funding, too?

Oklahoma’s state Capitol has been a madhouse all week. Teachers pack the rotunda early, and by 9 a.m. the chants are loud enough to echo through the tunnels underneath the building.

Jacob McCleland / Oklahoma Public Media Exchange

Oklahoma teachers continued to rally Wednesday at the state capitol, the third day of a planned teacher walkout. Educators filled the capitol to capacity, urging lawmakers to hear their demands for more education funding.

The Oklahoma Education Association, the state's largest teachers union, wants more money for the classroom and it identified legislation they think would achieve that. One is a bill allowing ball and dice games in casinos, another would repeal some capital gains exemptions.

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