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.

Ways to Connect

Emily Wendler / KOSU

The state superintendent is calling Oklahoma’s school accountability system deeply flawed, and a waste of a million dollars. Three years ago, when it went into effect, proponents hoped it would motivate schools to improve. But instead it’s just been a contentious issue. 

By law, schools in Oklahoma are given a grade- A through F- based on student test scores, and other data. But according to state superintendent, Joy Hofmeister, these grades are no good.

Emily Wendler / KOSU

University of Oklahoma President, David Boren, and his education advocacy group filed a petition with the Secretary of State Monday, that will ask voters to support a one-cent sales tax increase to fund education.

“Are our kids worth a penny?” Boren asked his listeners at the state capitol.

Various estimates say the tax could cost an Oklahoma family anywhere from $75 to $250 a year.

U.S. Department of Education

Is the state’s third grade reading test taking attention away from other subjects? Test data suggests it could be. When legislators amended the Reading Sufficiency Act in 2011—they made the test a high stakes test. As a result, many teachers overly emphasize reading in the younger grades because they’re scared their students will fail, and get held back. 

When lawmakers amended the Reading Sufficiency Act, they wanted to ensure that all kids could read on grade level by the third grade. They said this is when kids switch from learning to read, to reading to learn.

Emily Wendler / KOSU

Jarred Geller uses punk rock to teach his preschoolers about shapes and geography.

“If I play ‘Wheels on the Bus’ it’s hard for them to get invested in that,” he said.

But with catchy, poppy hooks, and fist-pumping riffs, the 5-year-olds are all in.

Geller started his "Punk Rock Preschool" at Eugene Field Elementary in Oklahoma City last January. He knew that fun and play were essential to young students, so he wrote some songs to incorporate rocking out into his lesson plans.

twitter.com/president_boren

OU President David Boren wants Oklahomans to vote on a $0.01 percent sales tax increase—that would be used to fund education.

Emily Wendler / KOSU

Students who get suspended in the Oklahoma City Public School district will now have an option: take the suspension and go home or go through a 10-day remedial program.

In the program, teachers will help the kids keep up with their work, as they go through character development classes and counseling.

“And so, instead of just sending them home, to sit at home, let’s keep ‘em in school, keep up with their academics, and then also teach ‘em some skills that they need to learn,” said Dr. Teri Bell, the district’s executive director of student support services.

Flickr / Brian Cantoni

According to data recently released by the ACT, or American College Test, only 22 percent of Oklahoma students were ready for college courses in math, English, social science and biology when they graduated from high school.  Nationally, 28 percent of students met the benchmark scores in all four subjects.

Oklahoma students have maintained an average score of 20.7 on the test for the past five years. Nationwide, scores have gone down slightly since 2011. The national average for 2015 was 21.0

Students with physical and mental disabilities are much more likely to be disciplined than other students in the state, according to Oklahoma Watch’s Nate Robson.

Emily Wendler / KOSU

The State Department of Education wants more Oklahoma kids to go to college. So they’re launching a pilot program that would make it easier for all students to apply. 

The Superintendent of Public Instruction, Joy Hofmeister, announced the Department's plan to make the college entrance exam, the ACT, free for all high school juniors for the following year. 

Flickr / biologycorner

Tulsa Public Schools starts back this week and for some in the district there will be a lot less testing due to recent cut backs. But still others say those testing cuts need to be deeper.

Last year, teachers spent 135 hours testing students in grades K through 12. This year, the Tulsa Public School Board reduced that time to 60 hours.

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