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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U.S. Department of Education

Oklahoma's third grade reading test is a high stakes test.

If a child fails it, and they don't meet a certain exception, they get held back.

However, for the past couple of years, lawmakers have allowed parents and teachers to consider other academic performance data when determining whether or not to retain a kid who failed the test.

All of the bills promising a teacher pay raise are dead for this legislative session. But, some lawmakers are still fighting for one.

The Senate’s deadline to vote on House Bill 1114 was Thursday, but they chose to not even discuss the measure.

The bill proposed a multi-year approach to increasing teacher pay, starting with a 1,000 raise next year, and a 6,000 dollar bump by year three.

A bill that seeks to increase the lottery's contribution to education funding is heading to the Governor Mary Fallin's desk.

By law, the Oklahoma lottery gives 35 percent of its profits to education. But officials from the Oklahoma Lottery Commission say this mandate is actually stifling the amount of money that goes to schools.

They say it limits their ability to award large cash prizes, and so a lot of people don't play.

Emily Wendler / KOSU

Superintendents across Oklahoma are begging lawmakers to do something about school funding. Ultimately, school officials want more money, but that requires raising taxes, which is a tough thing to do in Oklahoma—for many reasons. However, this year, solutions are popping up in unexpected places.

The Superintendent of Ponca City Public Schools, David Pennington, said if education funding is cut next year he is going to have to drastically change the way his school functions.  

The Senate passed a measure on Thursday that will overhaul Oklahoma's A through F School Report Card system.

For years, educators have called Oklahoma's A through F school report card flawed and unfair. They say the focus on student test scores is a bad way to measure a school’s performance.

Under House Bill 1693, the newly proposed system will focus more on student academic growth from year to year.

In 1999, a Minnesota educator was removed from teaching biology, after school administrators learned he was focusing on creationism, and not evolution.

A bill now heading to the Oklahoma House floor would protect teachers from such backlash, if they chose to do something similar.

The House General Government Oversight and Accountability Committee voted 4-3 Thursday to send the Senate-passed bill to the House floor for a vote.

sde.ok.gov

A study conducted by the State Department of Education casts doubt on the assumption that switching to a four-day school week will save money.

More and more districts are making the switch to the shortened week, citing costs savings as the reason. But the study, requested by Governor Mary Fallin, shows that might not be the case.

A teacher pay raise bill is one step closer to hitting the Governor's desk, after Lawmakers passed it out of its final Senate Committee on Wednesday.

The Senate Committee on Appropriations voted 39-3 for House Bill 1114.

The measure calls for a $1,000 teacher pay raise next year, $2,000 the following year and $3,000 in the third year. A $1,000 raise would cost about $53 million a year.

facebook.com/EdChoiceMatters

Imagine your child is not doing well in school, and you desperately want to send them somewhere else. 

You tried to transfer them to another public school but were told there’s no room.

You don't have a lot of money, can’t move, and you definitely don’t have money for private school. So now what?

Robert Ruiz, the associate director of Choice Matters, thinks this is where a school voucher could be beneficial.

OSSBA

Education funding is down more than $110 million from the beginning of last school year in Oklahoma. While legislators struggle to ensure things won't get worse, schools are already preparing for potential cuts.

A survey conducted by the Oklahoma State School Boards Association asked school districts across the state how more budget cuts would affect them next year.

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