Emily Wendler

Reporter

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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Flickr / alamosbasement

The state set a new record today for the number of emergency certified teachers in Oklahoma classrooms.

The State Board of Education approved 574 new emergency certifications, bringing this year’s total to about 1,400.

Last year, there were 1,160 emergency certified teachers in Oklahoma. Five years ago there were 32.

Schools ask for permission to hire emergency certified teachers after proving they could not find anyone with traditional qualifications.

Flickr / wfryer

A new survey shows what many state leaders feared: Oklahoma’s teacher shortage is getting worse.

As of August 1, there were still 500 unfilled teaching positions across the state. That's according to a survey conducted by the Oklahoma State School Boards Association.

Shawn Hime, the Executive Director of the OSSBA, says his agency talked to more than 300 school districts in order to complete the survey.

Emily Wendler / StateImpact Oklahoma

The Oklahoma City Public School Board of Education unanimously approved a resolution on Monday that gives district leadership the green light to pursue a lawsuit against the state.

Board members say lawmakers are not adequately funding education and they hope legal action changes that.

The resolution says legislative leaders don’t give schools enough money to do what is required of them by law, and therefore have failed to comply with their constitutional responsibility to fund public education.

Emily Wendler / StateImpact Oklahoma

Recent violent events in Charlottesville have spurred Oklahoma City Public School board members to consider the significance of school names like Lee, Jackson, Stand Watie, and Wheeler.

The four schools are named after Confederate Civil War officers, and board members have expressed interest in changing the school names.

Emily Wendler / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma schools are becoming more and more reliant on teachers with no training.

A lack of school funding, low pay, and waning morale have driven many of the experienced teachers out of the classroom, or out of the state.

Superintendent of Mid-Del Schools, Rick Cobb, said he used to have 10 to 15 applicants for every open teaching position. Now he’s lucky if he has two.

“You want to know you’re picking the best person that you can, and that’s hard to do now with the super shallow pool of applicants,” he said.

Emily Wendler/KOSU

Updated August 2, 2017 9:11 a.m.

Oklahoma County District Attorney, David Prater, dropped all felony charges against State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister on Tuesday.

Prater charged Hofmeister with four felony counts in November 2016, alleging she had colluded with a “dark money” group during her 2014 campaign for state superintendent. Two of the charges were for accepting illegal donations, and the other two were for conspiring to break campaign finance laws.

Hofmeister said she is grateful, and has been innocent all along.

Flickr / wfryer

The State Board of Education approved 631 emergency teaching certifications at Thursday’s board meeting, which is nearly double what the board had approved at this time last year. It brings the total number of emergency certifications to 850 for the 2017-18 school year.

Compare that to last July, when the board had issued a total of 381 emergency teaching certifications, a record number at the time.

State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister says August is typically when most of the requests for emergency certifications come in, so the number is expected to grow.

Emily Wendler / StateImpact Oklahoma

For some low-income children in Oklahoma, summer does not mean vacation and playtime — It means being hungry. The lunch and breakfast these kids receive at school is no longer readily available, so they often go without — or they eat junk food. And while Oklahoma has summer food programs to combat this, there are roadblocks for many children.

The gap in access to healthy food is a potential problem for more than 400,000 Oklahoma children.

Victor A. Pozadas

A new report from the Brookings Institution says Oklahoma City is positioned for growth. It says the city has a solid layer of infrastructure essential for development — and diversifying the economy.

But there’s a threat to this development, and that’s a potentially weak workforce. Some researchers say local officials need to ensure schools provide the training innovative companies need. And they need to be doing it now.

About exactly a year ago we brought you the story of Shawn Sheehan, Oklahoma's 2016 Teacher of the Year.

At the time, he and about 40 other educators were running for office in the state, wanting to make a change because, as Sheehan puts it, lawmakers weren't prioritizing education. Funding for schools in the state has been cut tremendously over the past decade and teachers in Oklahoma are some of the lowest paid in the country.

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